Joe Klein’s latest road trip for TIME has taken him to Laredo, Texas, where he visited a small contingent of Republicans in heavily Democratic territory.

Klein’s column on the Laredo visit starts with an interesting observation:

I asked Esmeralda Rodriguez Hereford why she was a Republican. “Because we believe in independence,” she said. “The Democrats’ message is always ‘We’ll take care of you. We’ll give you welfare and health care and Social Security.’ Republicans believe we can look after ourselves.”

Later, Klein learns a lesson from a discussion with a liberal group in Laredo:

This was definitely something new. Whenever I’ve met with liberal community groups like LULAC, there has been a pretty strict set of talking points — always a desire for more: more government funding, more affirmative action, more new programs. And while these Latino leaders were (rightfully) upset with Governor Rick Perry’s stiff educational funding cuts, the conversation really turned passionate after they watched Turk’s documentary and began to talk about Hispanic traditions and values, the strong sense of family, church and community that was gradually being lost. …

… When I suggested that nostalgia for stronger family values and a more rigorous attitude among their young people were very similar to the less toxic issues being raised by the Tea Party, there was no dispute. Even among liberals, it seems, the quality of the liberal welfare state is now open to question.