Thursday, September 05, 2013

Cry Me a River

In a recent Union Leader opinion piece, former NH GOP Chair Fergus Cullen bemoaned the takeover of his party by  “Tea Partiers, Ron Paul apostles, and fringe figures.” These are the same people that won in 2010, victories Cullen cheered about. The NH GOP threw open the doors to the Tea Partiers, Ron Paul apostles, Free Staters, John Birchers, and wearers of tinfoil berets. They boasted about their great electoral accomplishment. They elected Jack Kimball, a bombastic, bellicose tea tyrant, to be their state party chair.

And soon it all fell apart. That great GOP majority proved to be comprised of inept bumblers and outright lunatics. There was the guy who had to resign for saying that people with disabilities should be sent to Siberia to freeze to death. There were the guys who wrote the bill to include relevant quotes from the Magna Carta in each new piece of NH legislation. There was the Free Stater who wanted to put warning signs up at the NH border. Let us not forget Speaker O’Brien. The list of his follies is long, and includes closing the House gallery to members of the public, and refusing to allow a reporter from a newspaper that had been critical of him into a press conference. This is but a thumbnail sketch of the results of that great majority that the NH GOP crowed about. When Fergus cries his bitter tears about how his party has been taken over by the lunatic fringe, he’d better cry me an entire river. The NH GOP not only allowed this to happen, they welcomed these people. Only now, when they have no chance of winning much of anything in the next election does Fergus get out the crying towel.

The old guard NHGOP must have been absolutely petrified when O’Brien announced he was considering a run against Ann Kuster in the second Congressional District. Poor Obie was not able to raise much money, possibly because he has all of the charm and charisma of a garden slug. He decided (or the party higher ups did) that he’d better drop out. This week, former State Senator Gary Lambert announced he’d be running for that seat. Lambert doesn’t have much name recognition outside of the Nashua area, and his brand of conservatism isn’t likely to be popular in the more liberal of NH’s congressional districts. He’s opposed to marriage equality and does not believe that women are autonomous, equal human beings. At his campaign launch, he said, “Republican ideas work. We’ve proven how they work in New Hampshire.” We have indeed seen how those Republican ideas work in NH. Every day we see our crumbling infrastructure, the death of our manufacturing base, and our high, high property taxes.

In the first Congressional District, Frank Guinta is making noises about a rematch against Carol Shea-Porter. Frank, a Tea Partier who rode the red wave in 2010 would be facing the same questions and ridicule he was ignoring when he was voted out in 2012. He ran on a huff of indignation over Shea-Porters alleged overuse of the House franking system. Frank was outraged about franking! He practically accused Shea-Porter of electioneering. Then, once in office, he became the number one Congressional abuser of the franking privilege, spending double what Shea-Porter had spent during her term.

Then there’s the matter of Frank’s magic bank account. He loaned his first campaign $355,000 that he didn’t have, according to his original financial disclosure forms. He later amended the forms, saying he forgot about a bank account with $250,000 in it. Well, of course he did. Who among us hasn’t forgotten about a quarter of a million dollars? Why it could happen to anyone.  

The Committee for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) put Guinta on their 2011 “most corrupt members of Congress” list, which is something of an accomplishment for a freshman legislator. Frank doesn’t just have baggage - he has shipping containers. This time he’ll not only be running against Carol, he’ll be running against himself.

If Guinta doesn’t run, State Representative Pamela Tucker is considering running for that Congressional seat. Tucker was former Speaker O’Brien’s deputy Speaker, and one of his trusted lieutenants. That would be her biggest claim to fame in a district where she has no name recognition.
Rep. George Lambert, a NH native allied with the Free State Project, is exploring a run for governor. He’s definitely part of the “Ron Paul apostle, fringe figure” types that Fergus Cullen is now bemoaning. So far, he’s the only one. He’s another “candidate” with zero name recognition. Where are the candidates with even an iota of gravitas or name recognition? I saw a discussion online among Republicans where Craig Benson’s name was being bandied about as a potential gubernatorial candidate. That’s a subterranean level of desperation right there.

The NH GOP is in disarray, and they have no one but themselves to blame. They not only invited these folks to join them, they allowed them to take over.  To paraphrase the old maxim: “If you lie down with clowns, you will rise with rubber noses.”

© sbruce 2013  
published as a bi-weekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The egoism displayed by individuals translates to the entire party and the GOP in NH is an outstanding example of this. Their outrageous behavior I can only attribute to a culture of 1980's "everybody wins" and "you are all winners and successful regardless of how stupid you actually are". And now we see the results first hand. If each of these individuals believes they are wonderful and on a pedestal and their peers continue to support them, then there is no yardstick or checks and balances.
Unbelievable and absolutely unacceptable to those of us who are not idiots and can differentiate between common sense and ridiculous idiocy.