Thursday, October 06, 2011
GOP Values on Display
The invasion of the presidential candidates has begun. The media is crafting the narrative they prefer, and the debates are in full swing. Silly season is upon us, here in the first in the nation primary state. Since the primary contest is only on the Republican side, the values of today’s GOP are on full display.
Thus far, the majority of candidate town hall meetings have taken place in Rockingham County – the area of our state that gives lie to the GOP myth of “liberals from Massachusetts moving to NH.” Rockingham County is full of angry Republican imports from the state just south of us. Many of them move here to run for office, to ensure that NH continues to be a state that chooses not to fund infrastructure or education. Republicans really hate education. A good education decreases the likelihood that the recipient will vote GOP.
The televised debates have not only been good theater, they’ve been a remarkable illustration of GOP values. During the first full debate (with all of the media anointed candidates), Brian Wallace asked Governor Rick Perry about the execution conveyor belt in Texas. When he stated that Perry had presided over 234 executions during his time in office, the crowd cheered. Yay death! Williams asked Perry if he ever “struggled to sleep at night” over the possibility of executing an innocent person. Perry, of course, said no. Sociopaths don’t experience empathy.
In the second full debate (sponsored by the Tea Party Express), Congressman Ron Paul was asked a hypothetical question about whether a man with no health insurance should be allowed to die, and again, the crowd cheered the death of this uninsured man. Ron Paul, a doctor, mumbled something about letting the churches pay for the guy’s care – which essentially means letting the guy die. Paul should know. Kent Snyder persuaded Ron Paul to run for president in 2007, and became his campaign chairman. In 2008, the 49-year-old Snyder died of pneumonia. He had no health insurance. His mother was given the $400,000 bill. No church came forward to pick up the tab.
During the most recent debate, people who had been videotaped in advance asked some questions. Candidate Rick Santorum was presented with a question on the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. An openly gay Marine currently serving in Iraq asked the question. The audience booed the gay soldier. Chickenhawk Santorum never even acknowledged or thanked this Marine for his service. Not a one of the candidates mentioned the utter inappropriateness of the audience booing a soldier. The next day a few campaigns tried to repair their image by speaking up, but it was too late by then. This is today’s Republican Party, booing a gay soldier, even as he serves his country. Gone are the days of the yellow ribbons and blustering commentary about “supporting our troops.”
That incident has come home to roost in the form of NH State Representative Al Baldasaro, a supporter of candidate Rick Perry. Baldasaro was caught on video saying that he thought the booing of the gay soldier was great. In an interview with Scott Keyes, of Think Progress, Baldasaro said, “ I was so disgusted over that gay marine coming out, because when he came out of the closet. Bob won’t say it because they’re scared to get in trouble, but their brothers and sisters – brothers especially- that are there, they’ll start getting away from him. They’ll start ignoring him. He doesn’t realize it, but when the shit hits the fan, you want your brothers covering your back, not looking at your back.”
Al Baldasaro is a former Marine. In fact, he’s the kind of veteran that feels compelled to mention his service at least once every 15 minutes or so. This is today’s GOP. A former Marine cheering the booing of one of his own, while the man serves in Iraq. Baldasaro is one of NH’s most outspoken elected homophobes, having testified at a committee hearing last winter that the state of NH sells babies to gay couples. He was later forced to retract that lie. Baldasaro is the chairman of the House State-Federal & Veterans Affairs Committee. Yep. Veterans Affairs. Rep. Baldasaro should be forced to resign immediately, but of course, he won’t be. Today’s GOP is in agreement with Baldasaro’s disgusting comments about a gay man serving his country. Not a peep out of Jeb Bradley or Bill O’Brien. Barely a peep out of the complicit NH media. The only paper that has even mentioned it so far is the Nashua Telegraph.
If we add Baldasaro’s commentary to Ray Shakir’s national publicity garnered by referring to our president as “a jungle alien,” we can certainly see the sort of shamelessness that is a characteristic of today’s GOP. I would be remiss if I failed to remark upon the recent cease and desist letter that the state AG’s office sent to Maynard Thomson and the Carroll County Republican Party. It seems that under the stewardship of romance novelist Thomson, the Carroll County GOP failed to properly report, itemize, and provide receipts for their expenditures during the 2010 campaign. It seems that some expenditures went on Chairman Thomson’s own personal credit card. According to the AG’s letter (which I have a copy of), the report that was submitted just lumped everything together as one big expense, without itemizing. From the letter: “Your conscious decisions to fail to report the committee’s expenditures for political advertisements until after the General Election and to lump them together with the committee’s cable bill violates RSA 664:6.”
Remember the good old days when politicians at least attempted to present a public façade that they weren’t crooks and charlatans? It’s enough to make one long for those halcyon days of Richard Nixon.
“Well, I screwed it up real good, didn't I?” Richard M. Nixon
published as an op-ed in the 10-7-11 edition of the Conway Daily Sun
© sbruce 2011
Posted by susanthe at 7:48 PM