Friday, October 21, 2011
Hits and Mythos
I’d like to take a moment to thank NH House Speaker William O’Brien, and the entire Teabaglican legislature for providing me with endless column fodder this year. Every week has brought a new outrage; an outrage ignored by the careful GOP stenographers that comprise the majority of the NH media. This is an incurious media, media that fails to do any follow up with the Perry campaign to see what they think about supporter Al Baldasaro’s unpatriotic soldier bashing. This is a media that hasn’t followed up with the Perry campaign to see what they think about the ethically challenged Maynard Thomson, who “just happened” to resign his post as Carroll County Republican Chair to serve as a NH Perry campaign Poobah on the same day the AG’s office sent him a “cease and desist” letter concerning his violations of campaign finance reporting laws. Yes indeedy, thanks to the NH GOP, I’ve experienced very little writer’s block this year.
In June, local GOP activist and unabashed racist Ray Shakir made national news because of emails he sent to his fellow Carroll County Republicans, in which he referred to President Obama as a “jungle alien.” Because NH is the home of the first in the nation presidential primary, the national media is paying far greater attention to what goes on in our state. That’s why State Rep. Al Baldasaro (R: Crazytown) made national news. During this last week, NH’s legislature has captured national attention again. And again. During the discussion on forming a House committee to investigate the Local Government Center, Rep. Jordan Ulery attached an amendment that would have given the Speaker the right to send people to jail if they failed to answer subpoenas. Speaker O’Brien had conveniently stepped down from his throne, and was able to cast a yea vote on this amendment. His spokesperson said (unblushingly) that he “just happened” to be taking a break at the exact moment when this amendment came up for a vote. It was voted down. Local Representatives Umberger and McCarthy both supported giving the Speaker the power to jail NH residents. Rep. Pettengill didn’t vote, and Rep. Chandler (despite his role in the O’Brien leadership team) voted nay, as did Rep. Norm Tregenza (R: John Birch Society). The blatant power grab made national news.
Barely a day later, State Rep. Harry Accornero (R: Insanitea) made national news because he wants a commission formed to impeach President Obama for treason. He sent out an email stating his intent to all of his fellow members of the NH House. Being a Teabaglican he couldn’t leave out Obama’s middle name – but being a Teabaglican he did spell it incorrectly. Accornero is miffed about Obama ignoring “illegal aliens” in the US. His level of miffage must have been manfully suppressed during the last administration, when it was a white guy doing the ignoring. Accornero is another example of the caliber of the freshman Republicans elected in 2010. GOP voters didn’t waste any time on learning about the candidates, they just voted for anyone with an R next to their name, as we learned during the Martin Harty incident.
Both of these stories come at a time where other states are trying to make inroads into the early primary season. The sheer lunacy of the current NH House is causing people around the country to question why NH should have any kind of a role in choosing the eventual nominee, given that we’re a state full of crazy white folks. Nice work, NH GOP!
In the category of non-national news, I particularly enjoyed the story about the recent visit to Carroll County by members of the House redistricting committee. According to the story in the Sun, Rep. Mirski announced to the assembled throng, “This is your opportunity to provide testimony.” My experience with testimony has always been linked to proposed legislation or some sort of a plan. This was a truly unique opportunity for local residents to offer testimony on…nothing. The committee didn’t bother to show up with even a rudimentary plan. Nice work, NH GOP!
I also enjoyed the tele-talk comments on the bypass. This discussion has been going on since I was a child, and I expect it will continue long after I’m dead. What amused me most were the comments from those who were annoyed with Governor Lynch for daring to suggest that the community needs to have some sort of consensus on what the bypass should look like. Some callers were quite huffy at the idea that the bypass is really up to them.
What the huffy don’t understand is that NH is about 20 years behind its own 10-year transportation plan. Going forward requires revenue. The Teabaglicans have done their best to eliminate all revenue streams. Remember the dust up over snow plowing and cuts to the DOT budget? The Teabaglicans eliminated a fee that was going to the DOT. The Republican mantra reads: “NH doesn’t have a revenue problem, NH has a spending problem.” That, huffy amigos, is why we have a 19th century infrastructure in the 21st century, and why the bypass will never be built. You folks keep voting for representatives who will ensure that the money is never there to build it. Governor Lynch is correct: this is up to the voters. As long as folks vote in accordance with the lying Republican mantra, they’ll get exactly what they deserve. Nothing.
As NH continues to attract national attention for the increasingly bizarre actions of our state legislature, we move ever further from keeping our first-in-the-nation primary status. We are well on our way, however, to becoming a national joke. Thanks NH GOP!
“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” Bertrand Russell
© sbruce 2011
Published as an op-ed in the October 21 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper.
Posted by susanthe at 12:06 AM