WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is messing with Texas, the senior senator from that state alleged.
Speaking to MSNBC on Friday, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison acknowledged that Texas does depend heavily on taxpayer funds –- a paradigm at odds with the state's rights braggadocio that frequently emanates from its capital in Austin. But still, Hutchison said, she felt that the Obama White House looked down, if not stigmatized, the Lone Star State.
"I see a bias in this administration against Texas… yes, I do see it in this administration, absolutely. We didn't get the help in the wildfires that I think any other state would have gotten," said Hutchison. "I think if you look at the things that have not happened in Texas, I think it is pretty clear that there is a bias against Texas. Even in the border issues we are not getting the help we should have from the federal government to secure the 1,200-mile border we have with Mexico. So I do think that a lot of the rhetoric has rubbed the administration wrong, and we have had to fight hard for our fair share."
This acute distrust with the Obama administration is nothing new for prominent Texas Republicans. The Gov. Rick Perry, who is a rumored GOP presidential candidate, has hinted that the state would be better off seceding from the United States.
But is it detached from or belied by actually policy? In 2007, during the waning years of the Texan President George W. Bush's administration, the state received roughly 94 cents for every tax dollar it sent to the federal government. From 2007 through 2009, that number was only slightly less: 92 cents.
While there was, indeed, controversy over the government's decision to deny a federal disaster declaration during recent wildfires in the state, the Obama administration has poured in more money towards border protection than its predecessor. The idea that the president's team is denying stimulus funds from conservative locales, moreover, ignores the procedural underpinnings for how that money is rewarded. (It's not the politics of the region, its their ability to effectively shift federal money into readied projects.)
The real reason that Hutchison's comment appears to be a touch paranoid, however, is that it makes zero political sense. The president's team has hinted heavily that they will compete in Texas during his reelection campaign. That is, in all likelihood, due to a recognition of the state's changing demographics, but it is also evidence that there is no inherent bias.