Thursday, April 09, 2009
Out of Step with NH
On April 21, NH Senate District 3 will be having a special election. After last year’s GOP smear campaign against Democratic candidate Bud Martin, William Denley was voted in, and then promptly got his third DWI shortly after taking office. The Republicans couldn’t decide whom to run as a replacement. There was talk of Fergus Cullen, the former chair of the NH GOP. Given how resoundingly the GOP lost in 2008, Fergus wisely decided to stay home. These days he confines himself to making nasty comments about Congresswoman Shea-Porter with all the other Mensa members in the comment section of the Union Leader.
There was talk of Joe Kenney, after his rather inglorious defeat in the governor’s race. All over NH, people are still scratching their heads and asking, “Joe who?” The lucky guy who won the toss, or drew the short straw, depending on how you look at it, is Jeb Bradley. That’s right, Jeb Bradley, former Congressman. After what could only be charitably described as an undistinguished 2 terms in the US House of Representatives, Bradley lost in 2006, and then again in 2008 to Carol Shea-Porter. Apparently Bradley is so desperate to get elected to anything, he chose to run for the Senate seat, so hastily vacated by William Denley.
Jeb Bradley served in the NH House before he was sent to Congress. In the NH legislature he had a reputation for being a nice, moderate Republican. That nice moderate fellow disappeared completely when he began his Congressional campaign. He ran against Martha Fuller Clark, and ran a series of ads that focused on Martha’s appearance, something he’d never have done in a campaign against a man. Sexist? You betcha.
Jeb campaigned on the issue of Social Security, and was clear that he was against privatizing it. Once he got to Washington, he flip flopped on that issue – to the point where he STILL won’t take a firm stand on it. Jeb promised he was against drilling in ANWR. Again – he changed his tune once he got to Washington. In fact, Jeb Bradley voted with George Bush about 90% of the time. Jeb voted for every disastrous Bush budget. Jeb waved his pom-poms in support of the invasion of Iraq. He supported every single outrageous military appropriations bill. With Jeb’s help, we’ve spent close to a trillion dollars in Iraq, and counting, with absolutely no accountability for where that money went.
Jeb also supported the disastrous Medicare Part D drug insurance benefit. The Part D plan was written by a bunch of folks who shortly thereafter went to work for Big Pharma. One of the provisions stipulated that Part D could not negotiate for better drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies. This means that we taxpayers, who subsidize Part D, pay as much as 500 times more for some drugs than they actually cost. When I read the letters of support that describe Bradley as a fiscal conservative, that’s what I remember. He was right there with George Bush – the same George Bush whose disastrous policies got us where we are today.
State Representative Harry Merrow complained bitterly in a recent letter to the editor about the Democrats turning NH into a “nanny state,” which is why we need Jeb Bradley. Apparently Representative Merrow is suffering from the same kind of collective amnesia that so many of his fellows Republicans seem to be victims of. Jeb Bradley supported illegal wiretapping, arresting and imprisoning US citizens without charge, spying on US citizens, no fly lists, torture, and the shredding of the Constitution by the Bush administration and its Justice Department. Jeb never uttered a peep against any of those tyrannical actions. In fact, Jeb proudly voted for the REAL ID Act, which would have put all of our personal information in a national data bank, and forced us to carry national ID cards. The state of NH voted against participating in the REAL ID program – which was the ultimate in nanny statism. The GOP only gets to wailing about the nanny state when seatbelt laws are brought up. They don’t care if Uncle Sam forces you to carry an ID card, as long as Uncle Sam is wearing an elephant and a flag pin in his lapel. Other nanny stateish activities would include interfering in the marriages and uteri of NH residents. The NH GOP has no problem with either.
In 2005, I listened, as Jeb Bradley tried to explain his position on marriage equality at a town hall meeting in Harts Location. He repeated, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” over and over. He couldn’t tell us WHY he believed that -he could just repeat the talking point, over and over again. Since then, NH passed a civil union law, and may well join our neighbors in VT and Massachusetts in granting our gay and lesbian citizens full marriage equality. Surely the GOP can continue to cling to bigotry an integral part of the party platform – but the voters of NH are smarter than that. I’m certain that caterers, florists, inns, and hotels are thinking that marriage equality might be very good for business in a bad economy.
Jeb Bradley is out of step with NH voters. While he went to Washington and joined the far right, NH has been moving in a different direction. We rejected REAL ID. We’re rejecting bigotry and embracing equal rights. Bradley is being called a leader. He hasn’t shown a scintilla of leadership since his first Congressional campaign. What he has shown is a remarkable ability to embrace the politics of the far right, and a talent for mouthing their talking points, without even being able to explain them.
NH has a lot of challenges ahead. Those challenges will require our unpaid legislators to work long and hard. The GOP is transitioning into being the party of NO. The voters of district 3 deserve better, and so does our state.
“The Republican brand is in the trash can. If we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf.” Tom Davis, 2008
This was submitted to the Conway Daily Sun as an editorial to appear in the April 10 edition. The Sun seems to have taken a very sharp turn to the right during the last few weeks, so I don't know if this will see print.
Posted by susanthe at 10:42 PM