Thursday, September 16, 2010
Get Ready for a Bumpy Ride
The votes have been counted, the winners declared, and the primary officially over. Now we move into the concentrated madness of election season; the season we love to hate. Robo-calls, lawn sign wars, letters to the editor, ugly accusations, and underhanded deeds will be part of our lives for the next month and a half. It’s better than any reality show.
I’ve made it a point to listen to our candidates over the last few months. What I’ve learned is this: Republicans only care about money. Their sole message is “cut taxes, cut spending.” Their whole focus is ensuring that NH is a tax-free haven for millionaires. They never mention the natural beauty of our state; never mind how to preserve it. Our state parks are underfunded to the point of being closed down. Jeb Bradley carps incessantly about business taxes in his seemingly unlimited Sun op-ed space, but never mentions that NH kids are the healthiest in the nation. Of course, to mention that would be to have to acknowledge the role that NH Healthy Kids/SCHIP play in keeping all of our kids healthy, especially when Republicans hate funding it.
All they care about is taxes. In a recent op-ed, Jeb Bradley wrote that liberals contend Americans are obligated to pay their fair share of taxes. He says this as if it’s a bad thing. Yet, every day, State Senator Silver Spoon drives on publicly funded roads, as he drives to the publicly funded State House. He relies on the publicly funded fire and police departments. As a resident of Wolfeboro, he benefits from the municipal water and sewer systems. He may even use the services of the public library. Yes, Jeb, when “liberals” talk about paying their fair share, that’s what we mean. We believe in paying for the public services that do so much to enhance our collective quality of living. In that same op-ed, Bradley used the phrase, “liberal Democrat” eleven times. Given that he feels all Democrats are liberals, that phrase would appear to be a redundancy. It’s sloganspeak, the official language of the GOP.
Jeb bemoans wasteful spending, yet sponsored SB-472, a bill that the NH Judicial Council warns, “may cost the state in excess of $5 million a year.” Bradley and 10 other Republicans sponsored this bill to broaden the scope of the NH death penalty. More murderers in our state would be eligible for the death penalty, which means the costs would increase dramatically. As it is, the Michael Briggs case has cost the state approx. $1 million. More cases would mean building a death row. We don’t have a death chamber. Then there are the years of appeals. Millions upon millions of our tax dollars would be going to execute a small number of people. Next time you see State Senator Bradley, ask him where the money is going to come from to pay for all of these executions he supports.
US Senate hopeful Kelly Ayotte, another self-styled fiscal conservative supports expanding the death penalty as well. Of course we learned a little bit about Ayotte’s fiscal responsibility during her campaign. That famous “victory” against Planned Parenthood that Granny Grizzly touted when endorsing Ayotte wasn’t actually a victory. The law was repealed, the court ordered Ayotte to pay a settlement of $300,000 to Planned Parenthood, which she did. Quietly. The Union Leader was quite outraged. It will be fun to watch them walk back from their disdain for Ayotte, in order to support her. As NH’s official GOP newspaper, they will surely find a way.
Ayotte barely squeaked out a win over teabagger favorite Ovide Lamontagne. Apparently Palin’s endorsement didn’t help Ayotte. It was hard not to notice the strongest common bond the two women have. Sarah Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska, midway through her term. Kelly Ayotte quit her job as NH Attorney General, not even halfway through her second term, after she promised the governor that she would complete a second term. On a humorous note – her website lists her “plan” for fiscal reform. The last item mentioned is reforming “reckless earmarking to fund projects like the “bridge to nowhere.” As we all know, Ex-Governor Quitter took that money – yet here is her protégé, AG Quitter, speaking against it.
The primary also brought us perennial candidate John Stephen, running for governor this time. Stephen has been all over the place for months claiming, “Our state is broken.” Yet another Republican with nothing good to say about NH. His website is a lot of fun. He claims that he’s opposed to “intrusions into individual rights.” Yet, he’s opposed to a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and privacy, and he’s said he’ll sign a repeal of NH’s marriage equality law. Let us applaud Mr. Stephen for his staunch defense of the rights of heterosexual men! John Stephen’s record at DHHS will provide plenty of fodder in the weeks to come, but all that really needs to be said about John Stephen as a candidate is this: the day after the election, 6 high profile Republicans became “Republicans for Lynch.” One of them is Joel Maiola, who was Judd Gregg’s former Chief of Staff.
I was saddened to read that senate candidate Bill Binnie, and his father, had both received death threats, as a result of Binnie’s moderate stand on social issues. Binnie was brave enough to be a pro-choice Republican who also didn’t oppose marriage equality. In other words, Bill Binnie actually did support individual rights, something his party claims to be all about. His reward for not being a hypocrite was threats. After all, nothing says “Pro-Life” like making death threats. New Hampshire used to be a place where moderate Republicans were the rule, rather than the exception. The lunatic fringe has seized control of the GOP, and the moderates are being squeezed out by rabid rightwing nutjobs.
It’s time to pay attention, read up on the candidates, listen to what they say, and ask tough questions. Clean your glasses, get out your ear trumpet, and take the phone off the hook – it’s going to be a bumpy ride to November 2.
Published as an op-ed in the September 17, 2010 edition of the Conway Daily Sun
© sbruce 2010
Posted by susanthe at 10:55 PM