As I was watching the recap of the other night's primaries from Alabama and Mississippi, which plunged the Republican race further into chaos and had the folks at party headquarters handing over their belts and shoelaces, I was intrigued by some of the exit polling and comments from two of the most deeply red states in this country. An overwhelming majority of voters in both Mississippi and Alabama expressed a deep dislike for the federal government. They feel it is too invasive, too big, and spends too much of their money. All sentiments I agree with. Except for one problem, it is red states like Mississippi and Alabama that are bleeding us dry. The suggestion by the mainstream of the Republican Party that the red states are the hard-working epitome of real America, while the blue states are the welfare states taking from them, is just patently false.
Every graph I see that deals with the state-by-state distribution of federal revenues makes me more pissed off at Abraham Lincoln for fighting to keep these guys in the Union. The truth is, if you live in a blue state you are working to support the freeloaders from the red states. As a Republican living in New Jersey, this makes me doubly mad. Not at Democrats, but at these red-state goobers, who the only time they lift their faces out of the public trough is to scream about how they want government out of their lives. Like an old sailor once told me, "it's impolite to suck on Lady Liberty's t*ts while complaining she's blocking your view".
Former Mississippi governor Hayley Barbour is the perfect example of this, and not just because he resembles a more rotund version of the warden in Cool Hand Luke. Many Republicans love to tout Barbour as the guy who they wish would run for president. They love his critiques of the Obama administration and his small government rhetoric. However, in reality Barbour is the antithesis of what he claims to be. He seems to have only two hobbies, gorging himself on federal tax dollars and practicing "gloryhole politics", meaning he just gives blind lip service to the concept of small government without any intention of actually governing that way.
Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S., its citizens are the unhealthiest, it ranks last in education and child welfare, and that's only a few examples. Google "Mississippi" along with "ranks last" and you will be presented with a horror show. Yet there is one category that Mississippi is among the leaders, it has one of the highest ratio of federal funds received to federal funds paid of any state in the nation. For every dollar Mississippi sends to Washington they receive back over two dollars in return. I'm all for Haley Barbour calling for smaller government but if he had any shame whatsoever he would start by apologizing to the taxpayers in the blue states. If Republicans had any common sense, they would be pointing to Barbour's tenure in Mississippi as the epitome of big government failure, accomplishing the least while receiving the most.
Although I have no qualms about singling out Barbour, he is far from the only offender. Instead of listing them all, I'll just show the graph listing all fifty states. Almost all the "freeloader" states are Republican states while almost all the "producer" states are Democratic states, with New Jersey getting screwed the worst.
I don't see how any voter can trust the mainstream of the Republican Party if they can't even be honest with themselves about the way that they currently govern. Every so often Sarah Palin will get on television and launch into some phony rant about how the elites in the Northeast are out of touch with the real Americans in places like Alaska. Believe me, it's not that we're out of touch, it's that we're sick of carrying your deadbeat asses.
Perhaps the most offensive aspect of my party's hypocrisy is the narrative that it is minorities in urban areas who are the ones who are the biggest freeloaders. Rick Santorum even went as far as to tell a crowd of Iowa voters that he didn't want "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money". While I do believe that the condition of our urban areas symbolize the failure of big government, the simple truth is that almost all of the deadbeat states are rural and overwhelmingly white. To borrow from Rick Santorum, I don't want my bank account robbed to buy some trailer-park, meth-head a clean wifebeater.
If you are a Democrat who lives in a red state, I hope you are telling everyone that you're way under taxed. Now if you are a Republican who happens to live in one of the freeloader states and are offended by any of this, too bad. We are members of a political party that is supposed to stand for limited government and fiscal responsibility. Every other issue is bullshit. What's a bigger threat to our children's prosperity, going broke or Elton John getting married? Personally, I'd rather be debt free and see Elton happy, that way everybody wins.
We as Republicans have a responsibility to demand that our party's elected officials govern in a manner that is completely consistent with our principles. Republicans in red-states should be insisting their states receive no more in federal funding than they contribute. Otherwise, you're part of the problem. I'll happily stick with the sixty cents on the dollar we get in New Jersey if what's left over goes towards debt reduction. Strip away the rhetoric and the Haley Barbour's of the Republican Party are cut from the same cloth as Barack Obama. We have to demand better, Lady Liberty deserves to put her top back on. On second thought, I probably should have gone with the shark and remora analogy.