FRIDAY, JAN. 4: GOING VIRAL. A Democratic state lawmaker’s recent web post critical of the libertarian-leaning Free State Project has gone virtually viral in the past few days and, as one might expect, has drawn criticism.
Reacting to reports that the Free State Project is aggressively trying to bring 20,000 supporters to live in the state over the next two years, Rep. Cynthia Chase, D-Keene, wrote on BlueHampshire.com:
“In the opinion of this Democrat, Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.”
She went on to write that while there is “legally, nothing we can do to prevent them from moving here to take over the state, which is their openly stated goal,” she proposed making “the environment here so unwelcoming that some will choose not to come, and some may actually leave.”
Chase continued, “One way is to pass measures that will restrict the ‘freedoms’ that they think they will find here. Another is to shine the bright light of publicity on who they are and why they are coming.”
She wrote that the last election “was a repudiation of their extremism.
“Ultimately,” Chase continued, “the Free Staters want NH to be a platform state for them to export their views to the rest of the country. Some of these folks dress up pretty well, but if you check their website you will find that they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
The post this week was picked up by the Breitbart.com website, the creation of the late conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, with columnist Warner Todd Huston opining:
“Imagine if a legislator had written a blog post targeting the freedoms of gays, or women, or some other minority? One would think that the media would go wild with such a story.
“But here we have an elected official suggesting that government be used in the United States of America to eliminate freedoms for certain citizens in order to gain political control, and the media is silent.”
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh mentioned the controversy on his program on Friday and posted a link to the Breitbart web site commentary on the top of his web page. He also wrote about it in a web commentary.
Limbaugh did not mention the Free State Project specifically, saying instead that Chase wanted to restrict the freedoms of “Granite State conservatives.” Free Staters, however, are generally viewed as more libertarian than conservative.
He also posted a photo of Chase and wrote that she “looks like a Teamster.”
A post on TheFreeEconomy.com includes a video from libertarian author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., who says the Chase comment made him “doubly enthusiastic” about the Free State Project, “just to drive this woman crazy. It’s become an end in itself to me.”
Locally, state Rep. Mark Warden, R-Manchester, a Free State leader, said, the Chase post was “inappropriate, of course, and a bit chauvinistic for anyone to say they don’t want people moving to New Hampshire. If you replaced her reference to us with ‘Irish’ or ‘Indian’ or ‘women’ or ‘gay people,’ she would be in every newspaper in the country as one of the biggest bigots around.
“But it’s OK for them to bad-mouth people moving here because they believe in more liberty or smaller government,” said Warden, who, as a real estate agent, is helping Free Staters relocate to the state.
Chase could not be reached for comment Friday.
Democratic National Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan said that while she could not speak for Chase, the lawmaker is entitled to her opinion, “just as the Free Staters are entitled to their opinions.”
Sullivan said Free Staters have a variety of opinions on various topics, but must “contend with” opinions sometimes expressed by leaders in favor of secession, even though not all Free Staters support secession.
Sullivan said that if Free Staters run for office they should “disclose that they are part of that organized effort,” but she said she disagrees with the idea of trying to keep anyone from moving into the state.
“Would I prefer that more people of my political persuasion, who support strong public education, for instance, move into the state? Yes, but that’s not what our democracy is,” Sullivan said. “Walls don’t work.”
She said she was not surprised Limbaugh picked up on the matter, but added, “Maybe everyone on either side needs to calm down and talk to each other.”