1) New Jersey: 57 centsEight of the ten donor states are blue, including Massachusetts, New York, California and Illinois—home base to the contemptuous elitists whom red-states denizens love to scold. Throughout the campaign, George Bush mocked the troubling values of liberal Massachusetts voters—people who send big bags of money to support Bushs red-state supporters.
2) New Hampshire: 64 cents
3) Connecticut: 65 cents
4) Minnesota: 70 cents
5) Nevada: 70 cents
6) Illinois: 73 cents
7) California: 78 cents
8) Massachusetts: 78 cents
9) New York: 80 cents
10) Colorado: 80 cents
Is this a silly, pointless critique? In some ways, yes, as one e-mailer claimed in a semi-spot-on analysis:
E-MAIL: Here is the source of those tax numbers. I have to say that, while I generally agree with you and am also a bit tired of the whining, your prejudices are showing here. Most of the "red states" (other than those in the Midwest) have extractive economies and many are in effect internal colonies. Their current poverty is historically constructed by these facts and the relative prosperity of the blue states has created andBut the mailer misconstrues our incomparable fairness. Its that infernal whining we have specifically criticized—and the bogus attempt to blame elitist liberals as the source of red-staters problems. Were not economists, and the e-mailer surely knows more than we do about red-state status as internal colonies. But, as Michael Lind discusses in Made In Texas, Southern red states became internal colonies with extractive economies because of the choices and values of Southern elites—the same Southern elites who feed their boo-hooing red-state voters their phony grievances against contemptuous eastern liberals. Historically, Texas elites helped make Texas an extractive economy, and blubbering Texans need to be told that, even as they stick their hands deep into northeastern pockets.
is dependent on their continued poverty (the existing economic development of the blue states in effect inhibits the red states from developing). The relationship here is essentially the same as the relations between the first world and the third world. There is a general correlation here between relative prosperity (even within red and blue states) and voting patterns. I think what the red states have in common is economic deprivation and a sense (justified) of a lack of control over their future. Unfortunately, they have wrongly identified "liberals" as the cause of their problems—in part because, as Thomas Franks points out, we have stopped talking about economic and class issues while still pushing for minority and gender enfranchisement.
Keep up the good work, but try to have a little sympathy for the unlovely lot of those red staters (if not for their infernal and unseemly whining).
We complained about an e-mail to Alterman, not about the way red-staters have voted. (In our view, there is nothing wrong with basing your vote on opposition to abortion, for example. Richard Cohen makes this point in this mornings Post.) But boo-hoo-hooing religious voters have long tended to get a free ride in the press (much more on this to come). When they say that Democrats mock their religion, its time to ask them who they mean. Clinton? Lieberman? Kerry? Edwards? Who exactly has mocked their faith? And when they boo-hoo-hoo and keen and wail about the values of northern elites, we think its time to ask these people why theyre prepared to pocket free money from such contemptuous elements. Were tired of stupid political arguments based on blatantly cherry-picked Scripture, and were tired of listening to talk-show conservatives stage their endless Pity Parties. Do northeastern elites have troubling values? Sorry, but one of their values is handing free money to the less fortunate—a value red-staters seem to affirm as they stuff the free dough in their pants.
Meanwhile, for more on internal colonies and extractive economies—and for more on the historical values behind Bush conservatism—we again recommend Michael Linds dry but deeply intriguing book, Made in Texas.
Final point about our prejudices: We think people are basically the same in all fifty states, and we think those states are all red white and blue. We find it amazing that Dem politicians—Barack Obama excepted—dont know enough to say so. We think Massachusetts is a great state—and we think Alabama is a great state too. We think the presidents endless, sneering attacks on Massachusetts were a sign of his low, inept character. And we think those attacks played hard on foolish voter prejudice—voter prejudice that ought to be challenged. And oh yeah—we think the president shows his contempt for red-state voters when he panders to them in this way. But then, we normally try to avoid making points that are blatantly obvious.
STOP THE EXPLAINING: This past Sunday, This Weeks panel struggled and strained to describe the size of Bushs win. But at ABC, weak analysis has long been matched by molasses-slow posting of transcripts. We postpone our discussion of this debate until ABC gets its Sunday transcripts posted on Nexis.
AMAZINGLY WEAK: How weak are the press corps analytical skills? In yesterdays USA Today, Peter Johnson reviewed the election coverage of the various nets. Try to believe that he said it:
JOHNSON (11/8/04): At ABC News, political chief Mark Halperin earned his stripes with his political Web log, The Note, now required reading for political junkies—but was flogged for his memo suggesting that sins by the Bush team deserved more scrutiny than sins by the Kerry camp.Weak! Halperin didnt say that Bushs sins deserved more scrutiny than Kerrys (text below). He said that Bush had committed larger sins, and that ABC shouldnt feel the need to pretend otherwise in its coverage. You might think that Halperin was right or wrong in his assessment of the two campaigns, but his prescription made obvious sense. If Candidate A robs a bank and Candidate B gets a parking ticket, should the two stories get equal treatment? Duh! But conservative spinners jumped on Halperins troubling memo, and people like Johnson still type their cant. Indeed, Johnson was seconded by a major insider press critic. Robert Lichter (Center for Media and Public Affairs) offered his own strange remark:
JOHNSON (continuing directly): High marks go to correspondent Brian Ross for his revived "money trail" segments and to Jake Tapper for his "fact check" pieces. Anchor Diane Sawyer was first with Howard Dean after his famous "scream" and Bill Clinton after heart surgery.That statement by Lichter is so utterly silly that well assume it was yanked out of context. But your major press corps reasons very poorly, a point it almost never tries to hide.
But ABC continues to be dogged by accusations from conservatives that it leans left. Halperin's memo implied that journalists get to tell us the truth, as opposed to us deciding for ourselves, Lichter says.
WHAT HE SAID: What did Halperin actually say? Here is part of Howard Kurtzs story in the October 18 Post:
KURTZ (10/18/04): Are the media's truth-squadding troops ganging up on George W. Bush? And if so, does he deserve it?...Did Halperin say that Bushs sins should get more scrutiny than Kerrys? No—he said that Bush had committed more sins, and that ABC News shouldnt feel it has to pretend otherwise. Johnsons statement was deeply misleading, and Lichters statement (as quoted) was simply incoherent. But go ahead, readers. Say hello to the analytical skills routinely displayed by your press corps.
At issue is how far reporters should go in analyzing the candidates' attacks and ads, especially if one side is using a howitzer and the other a popgun. Mark Halperin, ABC's political director, fueled the debate with a memo that leaked to the Drudge Report.
"Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and [makes] mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win," Halperin wrote. While both sides should be held accountable, that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides equally accountable when the facts don't warrant that.
ONE MORE E-MAIL: A Montana denizen unburdened herself about her own states values:
E-MAIL: Im a resident in a northern "red state—Montana—that experienced a wonderful Democratic sweep at the state level...including flipping the state Senate to Democratic control for the first time in over a decade, and putting a Democrat in the Governor's seat for the first time since 1989.Answer: We voters rarely have a clue, a fact the press strongly tends to bury. For the record, the self-reliant state of Montana gets $1.60 from the feds for every tax dollar it submits. Also for the record: Were sure there are aspects to this transaction that we havent explained or explored.
Of course, on a national level, Montana red-staters went for Bush the Lesser, wouldn't you know. Perhaps he reflected those wonderful values everyone is going on about. I don't yet understand why we had the good sense to elect Democrats at one level, only to turn to the little imperialist for the big vote.
I absolutely agree with your article: My red state of Montana would be completely unliveable were it not for all the tax revenues that flow in from those darned "elite blue states, and I know that our vaunted Western cowboys would go belly up and bloat if they didn't get that subsidized grazing for the cattle ranches.
I wish the blue states could/would turn off the taps, and let all the red-staters experience real up by their own bootstraps independence for a change.
Oh, and would you like a mordant chuckle for today? I noticed the November 3-5 AP poll on voters' priorities for Bush in my paper this morning: 2/3 of the respondents want Bush to balance the budget and forget the tax cuts. Do the voters even have a clue where this guy stands (silly question, I know)?