Jeb, who is running for president of the United States, is asked for the THIRD TIME about septic tanks here in Raymond, NH.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) November 4, 2015
The metaphor is inescapable! But I would argue the Great NH Septic-Tank Demand says something larger about the GOP’s forty-year disconnect between the need for community services and the unpleasantness of paying for such services. Philip Bump, at the Washington Post, has the backstory…
… The septic tank problem to which Bush referred arose fairly early during the question-and-answer part of the event. “First of all, governor, thank you for coming to Raymond, New Hampshire,” the man asking the question said, prompting applause. “We’re a community of a little over 10,000 people and we are facing an enormous infrastructure issues. We need help. We do not have sewers.”
“Why not?,” Bush asked.
“We can’t afford it,” he was told. Even the building they were in used a septic tank instead, the man said, “so don’t everyone go to the bathroom at the same time!” (Bush: “Ha ha ha! That’s pretty graphic.”)
“Coming from Florida, we wouldn’t expect you to know this,” she said. “You have sandy soil. You know we have granite here in New Hampshire.” Drilling through sandy soil to create a sewer system is one thing. Drilling through granite is another. “To build the type of infrastructure that Raymond or other small towns would need costs one to two million dollars per mile. … Many small towns do not have the funding to build that infrastructure.”
Bush’s response was as you might expect: Funding for infrastructure is important, but it should be dealt with by the states. “This is not the job of a president,” he said. “The federal government needs to be a partner with what’s going on.”…
Jeb!: "Live free or die, brothers and sisters, that's what I'm for!"
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 3, 2015
And right there (says the cynical Massachusetts resident) is the problem, my fellow voters: The “Live Free or Die Trying” New Hampshire voters have internalized the eternal fantasy of government benefits without corresponding government costs.
They want — they consider it their right! — Tha Gubmint to provide them with a sewer system.
They don’t want Tha Gubmint to “take their tax money”, because taxes just get flushed down the toilet (and the more you flush, the fuller the septic tank!).
And the responsible, grown-up, Permanent Establishment wing of the Republican Party — currently embodied in John Ellis Bush, son and brother of former presidents — can only parrot slogans of anti-Tha-Gubmint defiance, because it’s become Repub doctrine that there’s a government-funding money mine under the White House, from which the Right People are being blocked by stubborn Democrats and their greedy, wastrel un-American partisans.
I’m sure there were some Republican voters at that town meeting who genuinely can’t afford the property-tax surcharge it would require to install a proper sewer system, along with the snowbirds who don’t want to pay for a system they’d “only” use six months a year, and the retirees who figure they’ll be dead before the sewers get hooked up anyway. But I’d have more sympathy if I didn’t suspect a lot of those voters moved to New Hampshire because it’s a no-income-tax, limited-services Libertarian paradise where the local politicians are happy to denigrate Tha Gubmint in the name of Freedum!!!
And I sure as hell don’t have any sympathy for Jeb Bush, whose family has been profitably exploiting the disconnect between government funding and community services since Poppy shut up about “voodoo economics” and accepted the undercard spot on Ronald Reagan’s deliberately dishonest Morning in America campaign.