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How the hell did this happen?

All my life, I've had a fairly consistent image of New Hampshire's politics. We were a conservative state. That meant that we tended to elect Republicans, but when given a choice between a too-conservative or otherwise unacceptable Republican, we'd go Democrat just to keep the GOP on their toes. We've had a couple of Democratic governors, but they got their breaks when the Republicans put up a hard-line ideologue and an arrogant technocrat.

But over the last decade or so some things started to change, and I didn't notice.

The Democrats started making small advances here and there. It was mostly below my radar, as I tend to be distracted by the never-ending car wreck that is just south of us. They kept it quiet and subtle, never making much of a splash, until they found just the right time to press the issue, and press hard.

That time came Tuesday, when New Hampshire changed to a near-solid blue. The Democrats unseated both incumbent congressmen, kept the governorship, took 237 of the 400 House seats, 14 of 24 Senate seats, and 3 of the 5 Executive Councilors. Our two senators remain Republican, but I suspect a good chunk of the reason is that neither were up for re-election this time around.

Since I didn't see it happening, I'm not sure just how it happened, but I have a theory:

I blame the flatlanders.

To those unfamiliar with that term, a "flatlander" is our pet name for those people who flee to New Hampshire for our low cost of living, low-maintenance government, friendly business environment, healthy economy, and sense of independence and freedom. Unfortunately, they see only the good things and don't see the underlying elements needed to maintain them. There is a price to be paid for such things, and we have looked at them, seen how they work out elsewhere, and want nothing to do with them.

The newcomers don't make the connections, and immediately start working towards "improving" our state by bringing in the parts of their old home they miss the most. They don't see the underlying costs and needs of such things.

And the main ingredient for such things is money. Public money. Tax money. OUR money.

We learned a long time ago that a well-fed government is a happy government. A happy government is an active government. And an active government wants to grow.

When it comes to the power game between the individual and the state, it is a zero-sum game. For one to gain, it must take from the other. We understand that here in New Hampshire, and have kept our foot firmly on the throat of the state for centuries. We warned them from the outset just what we were capable of doing -- look at Article 10 of our Constitution:

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

June 2, 1784

That is the club. That is the blunt weapon, the big gun, the "nuclear option" that tells the state that if you go too far, we'll take you out. But it is hardly our only weapon.

We also have the stiletto, the quieter, more subtle weapon. And that fine knife is the power of the purse.

Money, as I said, is the food and water of government. And while we don't exactly starve the government, we keep it lean and weak. We see it as a necessary evil, so we feed it only what we think is absolutely necessary for survival.

New Hampshire has the distinction of being the only state with no general sales tax, nor any income taxes. We also pay our legislators less than a pittance -- $100 a year, plus expenses. We understand that in our three branches of government, the judiciary interprets the law, the executive carries out the law, but the legislature MAKES the law -- and we neither want nor need more laws. The idea is that if we don't pay the legislators a living wage, they might not feel inclined to make a living out of lawmaking and therefore won't make so many new laws. We see every day the consequences of a "full-time, professional" legislature, and we don't want anything to do with it.

As I said, we learned a long time ago the price of a full-service government -- "a government that is powerful enough to give you anything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have." But in the last few years, we have unlearned that and fallen into that deadliest of sins, envy. We see the advantages our neighbors enjoy, and don't see the price they pay for it -- or don't care.

We're still drawing a lot of people, a good chunk of them the right types who understand what is the essential nature of New Hampshire, the elements that made us what we were. But we have far too many of those -- mainly from Massachusetts -- who "come up here to get away from the craziness, then start remaking things to be just like what they ran away from."

Maybe I'm just being bigoted and xenophobic, but I am damned proud of my state, and love her just the way she is. I see changes happening, the diminishing of the elements I cherish and the rising of the elements I have always disliked in the other states. Maybe it'll all work out for the best in the end.

I'm not betting the rent on it, though.


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Comments (23)

Jay, well come on back to M... (Below threshold)

Jay, well come on back to Massachusetts. We need you here.

I think you are seeing the ... (Below threshold)

I think you are seeing the political equivalent of "the malling of America". You are getting homogenized politically the same way everything else is by the influx of McDonald's, Starbuck's, etc.

Entities that are locally unique get lost. Having grown up in a small town (pop 343) in the midwest, a lot of what was special has been pushed aside by growth.

Then again, it may just be the "massive" influx of Libertarians into NH that I've been reading about.
I heard the recently had a get-together that drew a crowd reported to be in the twenties.

Gee, pretty soon there'll b... (Below threshold)

Gee, pretty soon there'll be no political distinction between Vermont and New Hampshire.

Maybe it's already happened.

To go from "Live Free or Di... (Below threshold)

To go from "Live Free or Die" to "Better Dhimmi Than Dead" would be a sad turn of affairs. Thanks for getting the word out.

You just repeated one of th... (Below threshold)

You just repeated one of the concerns I have over modern day immigration, illegal or otherwise. People come here often for financial reasons, but believe their former land and/or culture had it all figured out otherwise. They consciously or unconsciously try to change things from they way they are done here into the way the were done back home. Al the while ignoring the fact the way they did things back home is why they had to leave.

Yeah, its a problem Jay. Ra... (Below threshold)

Yeah, its a problem Jay. Rance makes good points as well.

I'm going to have to move to some remote part of Alaska in order to be left alone.

Let's do something about it. Time to get involved with the local stuff.

I voted for Lynch, and then straight republican.

The passage for Question 2 is good, because it gives power back to small towns. That should help a little.

I don't think NH is Blue so mauch as it cherishes local control. But we need to make sure the Dems don't abondon that.

"Maybe I'm just being bi... (Below threshold)

"Maybe I'm just being bigoted and xenophobic"

Ding! That should have been the title of your post.

Border fence?... (Below threshold)

Border fence?

It could be more than just ... (Below threshold)

It could be more than just a population shift.

Many Democrats seem to have finally gotten a clue, and are running on much more conservative platforms than in years past. And for the most part, those are the ones who are getting elected.

We'll just have to wait and see if they stick to their pre-election platforms, or revert to Kos/Lee/Mantis land.

The <a href=" ... (Below threshold)

The Free">http://www.freestateproject.org/">Free State Project people need to get working and have more people move in. I think that's what Rance is referring to.

who "come up here to get aw... (Below threshold)

who "come up here to get away from the craziness, then start remaking things to be just like what they ran away from."

That is a point I made a few days ago. Abandon your home state, family and friends to move some place you can afford to live. Forget to leave the left wing liberal idea's behind and immediately start to turn the new home state into some place you can't afford to live. It's happened all over the south. Soon there will be no place for the liberals to run from reality. One thing they won't do is learn to live on their own without government assistance. Plant, harvest and store enough food to stay independent is to complicated, so eventually they will starve.

The biggest example of stupidity in the country today is the groups wanting the turn cities and counties into safe havens for criminal aliens (there is no such thing as an illegal). That simply turns that city or country into a replica of the third world country the criminals came from.

Everyone can't be on the government pad, someone has to work to pay the governments bills. How long will it be before the government assigns you to a work place for life? Liberal College grads are going to love being assigned to a ditch digging, sewer cleaning crew for life.

Jay Tea:I've taken... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea:

I've taken a look at the terrain. It looks like your last stand could come on a line from Freedom, NH and roughly extending south of Ossipee Mtns. to and not including Lake Winnepesaukee -- for there you will find Center Harbor.

Geez, and you have all those Frenchies just north, too. Ouch!

Hey, it's happening in Flor... (Below threshold)

Hey, it's happening in Florida too.

Re: FLATLANDAHSI'm a... (Below threshold)

I'm a flatlander that moved to NH 7 years ago and let me tell you that it's not only the flatlanders that are ruining NH.
It's the old time New Englandahs that are finally able to cash in on all that hertofore useless farmland that their great grandaddies bought way back when land was cheap.
If you hillbillies have a problem with FLATLANDAHS; STOP SELLING THEM YOUR LAND!!!
Not to mention that the powers that be in many small towns believe that RETAIL DEVELOPMENT is the solution to all your problems.
Littleton NH went from a nice peaceful New England town to a shopping hub for the whole North Country in the space of just a few short years.
It was a nice place to live...WAS

It seems the Vermontization... (Below threshold)

It seems the Vermontization of New Hampshire is almost complete.

It's been coming for years - at least since Pat Buchanan won the Republican Primary there, the signs of mental breakdown have been unmistakable . . .

I'm a native State-of-Maine... (Below threshold)

I'm a native State-of-Mainer now living in NH after 18 years in the south. When I was growing up in Maine, we were the only Democrats in town. Now Maine is like Vermont and NH is heading the same way. I agree with you that a lot of it has to do with out-of-staters and a lot has to do with increasing reliance on entitlement programs (at least in Maine) and less reliance on taking care of ouselves. My parents were poor but they were proud that no matter how bad things got, they never went "on the dole." I don't think people feel that way anymore.

It's simply the mistake of ... (Below threshold)
John S:

It's simply the mistake of not building a security fence along the Mass. border.

Having born in NH some 50 years ago, I've seen every attempt by the Democrats to institute an income tax. Except this time the Dems have the House. Congrats, you've voted yourself a 6% pay cut timed for in the middle of the next recession. Let's hope Lynch is honest about no new taxes.

Rance, the FSP meetings com... (Below threshold)

Rance, the FSP meetings commonly draw 40-50 people, not 20... 20 is a small meeting.

As for Jay's question about what happened, he makes the mistake of blaming the myth, instead of the reality. Study the voting maps, study the legislators elected in past years and who voted in what roll calls, and a trend shows up that will likely be very surprising for some of you: it's the natives up north who are now tending to elect the less 'live free' sorts. Combined with the university hotspots, this has been near tipping. It finally tipped.

The good news: the first of the FSPers was elected, as a Democrat. (More would have been as elected as Republicans, but the tidal wave knocked them and tons of good R incumbents out) With a 2 year residency requirement, only a few dozen were now eligible. In 2 years, we'll have even more folks running for the House than we did this time.

The next two years will be interesting... Just keep in mind: the more extreme it goes, the more likely a reversal will be.

I, for one, welcome our new... (Below threshold)

I, for one, welcome our new Democratic overlords!
[Simpson's reference]

Seriously, though, Jay Tea is right. This really sucks. These idiots have turned their state into a Hell hole, and then they come up here and start voting for the same stupid things that screwed up Massachusetts.

I had a series of running internet debates a few years ago with one of these morons, and I finally asked him, "Look, if you think that things in New Hampshire as so bad, why don't you move to Massachusetts? You'd like it there. They think just like you do." He never answered, so I kept repeating the challenge until one of his friends responded for him. His friend said: "He used to live in Massachusetts, but he moved because he can't afford it."

Here, here, Jay Tea. I sec... (Below threshold)

Here, here, Jay Tea. I second the emotion. But, remember that the only way Democrat John Lynch on (his first race, at least - second, not much competition) was a no income/no sales tax pledge. We still are the 'Live Free or Die' state.

I'm not so sure about the 'blue change' here - after all, it's not like NH conservatives voted this year.

"After all, it's not like N... (Below threshold)
John S:

"After all, it's not like N.H. conservatives voted this year."

I'm guessing after they watch their take home pay drop by $5,000 yr., they'll be back. But it'll be too late. Like an inoperable cancer, taxes are forever -- they only get worse.

While I agree that the infl... (Below threshold)

While I agree that the influx of MassHoles has contributed greatly to the Blue-ing of NH, I gotta wonder what the hell happened to the NH Republican Party. Why did we not see this coming? I heard repeatedly that Bass's ground game was in disarray. I'm thinking the State needs new blood at the top. Whoever was captain of this ship should go down with it. We need some vigorous leadership and we need to rebuild the State party...

"I'm thinking the State ... (Below threshold)

"I'm thinking the State needs new blood at the top. Whoever was captain of this ship should go down with it. We need some vigorous leadership and we need to rebuild the State party..."

I'll be there soon. My new job in Manchester starts on the 4th of December, and we close on our new house in Brentwood on the 20th, just in time for Christmas.

I'm ready for the fight!






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