hasn't earned you haven't helped him, you've contributed to his delinquency and dependency," says Reise, a liberal Democrat turned conservative Republican.
"We tried the welfare thing in this country. It damn near broke us."
Many Americans appear full of ambivalence and contradictions when it comes to government spending on social programs.
Typical is Lucy Barr, 75, of Heber City, who rails against government spending and the deficit, but thinks politicians "have some nerve" even thinking about curbing increases in Medicare or Social Security.
Many say they deplore the welfare culture but don't want to put the poor out on the street.
Those who have experienced or observed the welfare system up close generally say it needs to be reformed, but not eliminated.
Warren Cogdell, 29, a student at the University of Colorado at Denver who hopes to go to law school, said his single mother doggedly avoided welfare, telling her son, "It's like crack -- once you get on it you never get off."
But Cogdell, who supports himself by delivering pizzas, has tutored homeless children and has seen the despair of people when they believe there is no safety net: "After a while they think, 'Why should I even try?' Once they get that attitude, the rest writes itself."
Particularly in the West, where the government owns much of the land and where livelihoods are tied to it, the government's presence looms large and engenders rabid feelings often stemming from personal experience.
Lace Honert, a Clinton voter who owns the "Remains To Be Seen" fossil shop in Vernal, sees the government as "the enemy" because it prevents commercial diggers like herself from collecting vertebrate fossils on public lands. Bills that would loosen such regulations by granting permits to diggers are pending in Congress.
"When I was a kid, we couldn't afford vacations, so my family would take us rock collecting," says Honert, a free spirit in a black "Bats Need Friends Too!" T-shirt who dropped out of school in the eighth grade to pursue her passion for digging.
"Today if you did that, you'd take your family to jail."
Staunch conservative Marvin Moore makes a living ensuring that individuals and businesses are complying with government regulations. "And I hate it," says the 65-year-old Craig resident.
He says the government, which he contends should be confined to delivering mail and protecting its borders, is "permit happy" and wholly ineffective.
"They don't deliver the mail very well. They don't build good roads. They don't protect our shores. Come to think of it," he says over a beer at a local bar, "it's darn hard for me to think of anything they do that satisfies me."
But vacationer Katie Muldoon, who calls herself "pro-regulation," says she is frightened by recent militant episodes, such as the Freemen standoff in Montana, and an escalating anti-government sentiment she is hearing from "otherwise reasonable-sounding people."
Muldoon, who worked for an aerospace company in Laguna Beach, Calif., before moving to Wyoming, believes citizens are rebelling in radical ways because they feel voiceless and unrepresented by their elected officials.
"In aerospace, for instance, who gets the contracts depends on who flies to Washington and hobnobs with which senator and congressman," she says.
"The average citizen feels, 'What's my voice compared to the corporate person who knows how to pull strings?' "
Erosion of hope
Others believe the disillusionment with government and politics has been long in the making, with its roots in the Vietnam era.
"Vietnam was bad enough," says Judy Sheppard of Hilton Head. Watergate was the icing on the cake, the final stab in the back. Massive disillusionment!"
Sheppard, who voted for Clinton, says she has become so disgusted with politics that, for the first time in her adult life, she's considering not voting.
Such hopelessness seems reflected in the surprisingly tepid enthusiasm in these parts for an alternative presidential candidate, in contrast to 1992, when independent candidate Ross Perot came in second to Republican George Bush in Utah, and even first in pockets of Colorado.
Many of Perot's former supporters here seem uninterested in him this time. And Richard Lamm, the former Colorado governor who also is running for the nomination of Perot's Reform Party, gets only a rare mention.
But there are those, such as Laurie Brock, a publishing consultant in Denver and Clinton Democrat, whose outlook is bright.
"I'm more concerned about the effect of the Israeli election on peace and the effect of the Russian election on freedom than I am about what's going on here," says Brock, visiting Steamboat Springs with her husband.
"We've got problems, but we've got a pretty healthy economy, and people have calmed down from the far-right ridiculousness. I have a more positive sense moving into the millennium."
But she is among the few -- at least of those willing to admit to such satisfaction.