When Bush was president, there were some hopeful signs on the subject of secession. It was when Bush was president that the Free State Project was initiated, and it was under President Bush that liberal pundits made their first, tentative explorations into the subjects of nullification and secession, subjects previously forbidden to liberals and progressives. The tentative progressive explorations all came to an abrupt halt when Obama was elected, of course, at which point conservatives started making the same explorations with regards to health care, explorations that were forbidden due to the war on terror.
But secession is not the only way to deal with irreconcilable differences between different states and regions of the country. Although there has been no noticeable exploration of this option, it should be possible to jettison a state that is more of a burden to the union than the rest of the states wish to bear.
This option is actually being discussed in the much looser federation known as the European Union, as Germans are, on average, quite displeased with the bailout of the Greek Government. Some talk about Greece withdrawing from the EU, some talk about Germany withdrawing from the EU, and some talk about kicking Greece out of the EU.
That last option could be applied to great effect in the United States.
California, for example, is a state in such severe financial disarray that it is actually in worse shape than Greece. It is practically inevitable that at some point the federal government will have to come in and rescue California from its massive structural deficits, and will have to do so more than once. Is it right that other states should have to shoulder that burden simply because California politicians are unable to resist giving the public employee union anything they desire?
Texas, where talk of secession was so notable that it made the news, is in much better shape financially. They are causing a controversy because they are getting unabashedly political in their choice of textbooks, and their decisions have an impact on the rest of the country. People in smaller states are quite displeased that their own textbook choices will be limited by manufacturers trying to please politicians in Texas.
There is no precedent for ejecting a state from the union, so every single action taken would be groundbreaking. It is possible that one could argue that under Article Five it is forbidden to eject a state on the grounds that doing so would deprive them of representation in the Senate. It is possible, but that is a weak argument given that the article is supposed to ensure that no state that is in the union lacks proper representation. Any state that is jettisoned is no longer a state.
The benefits to jettison can be immense. There is no way currently for people in one state to reject noxious politicians elected by another state. If jettison were implemented on, for example, Arizona’s new immigration bill, the result would mean the United States is permanently relieved from having John McCain taint the Senate any more.