Doug Patton: Red State governors should be careful what they wish for
Recently, Republican Governors Rick Perry of Texas and Terry Branstad of Iowa appealed to those wanting to flee liberal California. “Move your business to our state,” they implore. “We’ll welcome you with open arms here.” They should be careful what they wish for.
When my wife and I used to vacation in Colorado in the 1970s, I started noticing bumper stickers that read “Don’t Californicate Colorado.” The initial movement that spawned that sentiment was a way for Colorado residents to express their disapproval of how Southern California had exploded with seemingly unlimited development. However, since that time, “Californicate” has taken on a whole new meaning.
In September 2011, a frustrated but perceptive blogger at the libertarian website “Western Hero” summed up the feelings of many in Colorado thusly: “We used to be a good mix of libertarian liberals and conservatives with a live and let live attitude. Not anymore. We’re now getting stupider, and this is being powered by the mass influx of east coast and west coast liberals into the liberal loon town of Denver. You can see evidence of this in online forums. Enlightened progressives sing Obama’s praises and remark what an east coast feel Denver has, and they are right. It is now easily the least ‘Colorado’ part of the state. Reminds me of the old saying: Half the people of Colorado live in Denver, and the rest of us are glad they do!”
They may live in Denver, but their ideology has spread like a cancer to every area of the state, mainly because liberals always think they know better how to run everyone else’s life, and they are more than happy to do so.
Former Denver Mayor and now Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is no exception. Hickenlooper is now parroting Barack Obama while wringing his hands about gun violence and repeating the line, “If it saves just one life, we have to do something!”
Unfortunately, Colorado is not alone in its drift to the left. According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, one of the ten most liberal states in the country is now New Hampshire. That’s right. The “Live Free or Die!” state. So what happened? Massachusetts happened, that’s what. Residents of the Bay State, including business owners fleeing from crushing taxes and regulations, moved to New Hampshire. All was fine...for a while. New Hampshire was happy to have the business, and they welcomed their new neighbors.
Then, inevitably, election seasons began to roll around, and those self-transplants from Massachusetts began to vote for the same sort of meddling liberal politicians who had enslaved them and their businesses back home. And so, in 2012, New Hampshire helped re-elect Barack Obama and gained the dubious distinction of becoming one of the top ten most liberal states in the country.
Finally, consider California itself. The Golden State, which once gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan (the last Republican presidential candidate to carry it), has become the land of Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein and Jerry Brown. And the invasion of illegal aliens has all but ensured that it will take a miracle for the GOP ever to carry the state again.
In the case of Texas, it is one of the last holdouts for freedom, as evidenced by the 2012 election of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. It is fiscally and socially conservative, with no state income tax and with perhaps as many guns in private hands as in the rest of the nation combined.
Iowa is more of a mixed bag. In fact, the voters are almost schizophrenic in their voting patterns. Branstad was returned to office in 2010 after 12 years of Democratic governors, but the state went for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Like Minnesota to its north, the Hawkeye State elects a conservative like Chuck Grassley to the U.S. Senate one cycle and a liberal like Tom Harkin the next. Yet, when the Iowa Supreme Court arbitrarily legalized same sex marriage a few years ago, the voters mobilized to throw half the court off the bench.
In any case, both Perry and Branstad should be very careful what they wish for. Like New Hampshire, they just might get it.
Doug Patton can be contacted by email at email@example.com