Thursday, October 14, 2010
Digging Out, Digging In
All of the miners trapped for 70 days in the collapsed San Jose copper mine in Chile have been rescued. It’s a remarkable story. After the collapse of the mine in early August, they were assumed to be dead, since rescuers could not reach them at all. For two weeks, rescuers tried to get in there to get the bodies out. After drilling in some deep bore holes, the rescuers learned that the miners were still alive. After many logistical problems were overcome, by people working together, the 33 miners were all rescued. This wasn’t a scripted reality show, designed to tug at our heartstrings. This was the real deal – ordinary working stiffs who were part of an extraordinary series of events. We saw humans at their best, which made for quite a contrast to the current acrimonious election season in NH.
The ads are everywhere. Thanks to the Citizens United decision made by the far right activist judges of the Supreme Court, there’s no limit to the money that can be funneled into shadow groups that don’t have to identify themselves or their donors. The abhorrent US Chamber of Commerce being a perfect example. They’ve promised to spend $75 million on ads attacking Democrats. Their money comes from corporate donors spread all over the world. As many feared, the Supreme Court paved the way for foreign business interests to influence US politics. The ads are all similar, all dishonest, all spewing one sided political vituperation. What we don’t see is them taking on any of the corrupt or crazy Republicans running for office, and this year we certainly have a bumper crop.
Thanks to Christine O’Donnell, anti-masturbation crusader and candidate for US Senate in Delaware, I’ve decided that every political ad should begin with the candidate gazing into the camera saying, “I am not a witch.” Teabaglican Carl Paladino, candidate for governor of NY has been a fiesta of crazy. First we learn that his family values are so deep and vast that he had to spread them out, simultaneously, over two families! Later, speaking from atop his lofty family values soapbox, he spoke about the evils of homosexuality. Then we learned that his nephew owned a series of gay bars that Paladino had invested in. Oops.
Speaking of oops, a number of NH Republican candidates have had recent, unattractive revelations. Poor Frank Guinta is still being dogged by his magic bank account that funneled some $350,000 into his campaign. (Not the paltry $250,000 that I reported in my last column.) Guinta is moaning about that mean ole Carol Shea-Porter picking on him. What he fails to acknowledge, is that it was members of his own party, during the primary that started questioning his financial shenanigans. Former NHGOP party chair Fergus Cullen wrote about it in the Union Leader. Guinta’s former employer, State Senator Jeb Bradley told Politco.Com in August that if Guinta didn’t have an explanation for that money, he should drop out of the race. Guinta still doesn’t have an explanation that rings true, but he’s blaming the Democrats for his failure to come clean.
Charlie Bass and Kelly Ayotte are both on the hot seat as well. Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph reports on Bass’s problem. It seems Bass championed parts of the Renewable Energy Security Act (RESA) provisions of the 2005 energy bill. The parts that provided tax credits for companies like his nephew’s. He even set up a meeting between the company president and Bush’s Energy Secretary. According to his financial disclosure forms, Bass bought $500,000 worth of stock in his nephew’s company – before Bass left office. Bass claims that he never set up that meeting between the company president and Secretary Bodman, (even though it was written up in the company newsletter) and that he bought the stock after he left office, and he can prove it. It’s the same old revolving door politics we’re all so sick of. No wonder he wants to get back to Washington.
We also learned, via some recently revealed emails between Ayotte and political operative Rob Varsalone, that her first thought, on hearing of Michael Brigg’s murder was the opportunity to use it for political gain. Ayotte was still Attorney General, after promising Governor Lynch she would serve a full term if he reappointed her, but this terrible crime provided her with an opportunity to grandstand in public, via the death penalty. After the case was concluded, she broke her promise to the governor (and the people of our state) and announced she was running for office. This week, 10 former NH prosecutors (including former AGs and US AGs) criticized her for politicizing the death penalty.
Our local state races my not be quite as colorful, but thanks to the best efforts of romance novelist/ Carroll County GOP Chair Maynard Thomson, there’s plenty of vituperation. On October 1st, the long string of ads in the Conway Sun began. This full-page ad was expensive, full of typical Thomson florid prose, plenty of Sloganese, and unintentionally humorous. Toward the end of the pretentious blather was a bolded banner announcing, “OUR PROPOSAL.” My dictionary defines a proposal as a suggestion, or a plan put out for consideration. The GOP proposal was not a plan or a suggestion. It was five points of criticism of Carroll County’s four Democratic State Reps. The criticism was not limited to state business. The romance novelist tried to link our state reps to Pelosi, Reid, and “Mr. Obama.” Thomson lacks sufficient politeness to give the President of the United States the courtesy of his title.
That’s it in a nutshell, really. The local GOP doesn’t respect the people of Carroll County enough to be honest. They don’t have a plan, so they’re just offering a lot of wordy criticism. No new ideas, just the same old thing they’ve always offered. “NO TAXES. CUT SPENDING.” A return to the past. Remember the Developmental Disabilities Wait List? That was the waiting list that numbered in the hundreds, of folks with developmental disabilities waiting for services in NH during the years of GOP control in Concord. Few things could be more shameful than that list. NH doesn’t spend money on “radical social programs.” Third world countries provide better social programs than the state of NH does. Their goal is to move NH backward; interfering in marriages, and robbing women of reproductive choice, while re-installing corn bandit Gene Chandler as speaker of the house.
The Chilean miners were lucky. They got out of the hole. NH Republicans just keep digging further hoping to return our state (and our country) to the failed policies of the past.
This appeared as an op-ed in the October 15, 2010 edition of the Conway Daily Sun
© sbruce 2010
Posted by susanthe at 6:04 PM