Thursday, November 14, 2013

Elections and Eulogies

New Hampshire cities had municipal elections last week. After the Great Bearcat Media Event in Concord, a number of Free Staters decided to run for the City Council. Given that the Bearcat was a done deal, running on the anti-Bearcat platform wasn’t the best strategy. Most revealed a woeful ignorance of what the job entailed. They all lost.

City and town elections should be nonpartisan – they should be about electing the best person for the job. The key word there is “should.” We all know that partisan politics and ideology sometimes creep in. Former state Republican Party Chairperson, Fergus Cullen, ran for the Dover City Council. Despite billing himself as a humble small businessman (he failed to disclose that he’s the executive director of a far right think tank in Connecticut) he lost. Badly. Cullen has written about the dangers inherent in what the NH Republican Party has become, and now he’s experienced what he predicted.

In addition to the municipal elections, Nashua had a special election in Ward 8 for a state representative. It was an ugly business. Republican Peter Silva (former House Majority leader) had some unattractive things to say about his opposing candidate, Latha Mangipudi. Speaking to the Nashua City Republican Committee, Silva remarked that upon coming out of the polls on primary day, “I thought I was in New Delhi,” referring to the large turnout of Indian American voters. He told his fellow Republicans  “they’d be coming out of the woodwork” to vote for Mangipudi. That effort to rebrand the GOP to be friendlier to women and minorities sure is coming along nicely. Silva refused to apologize, whined about political correctness, and generally dug himself a deeper hole every time he opened his mouth. He lost.

That wasn’t the end of the ugliness in Ward 8. Inside the polling place, Karen Thoman, Secretary of the City Republican Committee was videotaping voters. Apparently she had permission from the City Clerk, who ran it by unnamed “state officials.” (One hopes that this is being investigated.) As one would expect, there was some backlash from angry voters. At least one called her a Nazi. She piously defended herself by stating that she didn’t videotape children. She has standards!  That this videotaping took place ONLY in Ward 8 underscores the sheer nastiness of this special election. The day will come when Republicans want minority votes. (HINT: this isn’t the way to get them.) This kind of conduct only serves to continue the erosion of confidence in our electoral system.

Alcoa stock prices have been on the rise this week, thanks to former state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball. Kimball sent out an email to 50 of his pals warning them that the UN was invading NH. Apparently his daughter saw a convoy of about 50 trucks on the highway. From the email: “It consisted of a wide range of military vehicles, many of them white and nondescript and unmarked." He said they later saw another group of around 10 to 12 18-wheelers, also nondescript and driven by military personnel,” Kimball told the Portsmouth Patch, “We’re on the watch for stuff like this.” The fact that white UN trucks have UN painted on them in big black letters was lost on Mr. Kimball. Turns out, those frightening white trucks belonged to medics from NH, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island National Guard units, who had been in Maine conducting training exercises. Ooops. Jack had to send out a retraction to his followers.

Kimball also told Patch, "We're all concerned about what's going on with Obama. We've all been talking about what's happening. We've got Chinese troops arriving in Hawaii... and Kansas. There’s a lot of things going on that are very suspicious. There are a lot of people that are very vigilant.

“We” appears to be Kimball’s fellow members of the shiny haberdashery club. Some cursory research reveals that the Chinese troops in Hawaii are there taking part in disaster relief exercises. They’re simulating post-earthquake relief operations. This sort of exchange is an annual exercise that is part of a security cooperation agreement established in 1998. I can find no reputable sources confirming the invasion of Kansas by Chinese troops. Perhaps they’re sneaking in, undercover, in UN trucks.

In other news, NH has lot a couple of the good guys to cancer in the last 2 weeks. Marty Capodice died at home in Concord. Marty was a retired research analyst with the NH Employment Security Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. He was also a long time house manager at the Capital Center for the Arts. Marty was married to Arnie Arnesen, who can be heard discussing national politics and events on radio in at least 4 states. Marty was a truly happy man – he loved his family, his friends, and his community. He could convince even the most Eeyore amongst us (me) that they could do anything, give them a bear hug, and send them on their way, feeling as if maybe Marty was right. A big loss.

District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton died this week. Ray served the North Country in that capacity for 35 years. Since the council districts are based on population, Ray’s district covered 2/3 of the state. It’s a stupidly huge district, but Ray managed to be everywhere at once, handing out combs and remembering the names and faces of everyone he ever met. Ray was a staunch advocate for the oft-forgotten northern part of our state. He was a Republican, but not an ideologue, and he always returned my phone calls. It has also been mildly amusing to watch all of the people who were howling for his resignation 8 years ago offering up accolades now that he’s gone. As a tribute to Ray, I hope we can all agree that no one else can do what he did. District One should be divided into at least 2 parts. Ray had decades to figure it out, something the next person will not. Creating 2 manageable districts would keep the Council at an odd number (no tie votes), and ensure quality representation for the biggest part of the state.


victoria said...

You write so well what many of us out here are thinking about, and trying to put into some kind of meaningful perspective -

Steven J. Connolly said...

"It's been mildly amusing to watch the people that were howling....offering accolades now that he's gone."
And who exactly are these people Ms. Bruce?
Perhaps when your done standing on the pulpit of liberal-socialist mantra you might be able to explain why New Hampshire now trails every northeast state including Vermont in such areas of job creation and home foreclosure rates.
What do your endorsed candidates have to say about all this? I'm sure your perspective in this area is very meaningful if not innovative.

susanthe said...

"These people" would be folks like former Congressmen Jeb Bradley and Charlie Bass, former Governor Lynch, the Union get the idea. If you were here in 2005, I suspect you remember - and that you were one of the howlers.

As for why NH trails every other northeast state in job creation? That's almost too easy.
Vermont has invested heavily in improving Vermont. They made getting the whole state wired for high speed internet a priority. It's almost done. They included the far flung rural areas, like the Northeast kingdom. NH has no such priority. NH could care less about the northern, rural part of the state. NH has been kicking the can of infrastructure down the road for decades, because NO NEW TAXES. NH now has some 500 bridges on a "redlist" for structural impairments, and no money to fix them. NH has inadequate highways and few east-west connectors. NH is too cheap to invest in NH. NH is too cheap to invest in education, and so we rank 50th in the nation for funding our state university system. NH, because NO NEW TAXES has an over-reliance on the property tax. Thanks to the nuclear power plant on the coast, NH has some of the highest energy costs in the region.

Then there are the other, more subtle reasons that businesses would cause businesses to choose not to come here. The 2011/2012 legislature made it clear to the world that NH is populated by lunatics. Martin Harty, DJ Bettencourt, Bill O'Brien, the Magna Carta bill, the warning signs at the border bill, and so on. We were a global laughingstock.

The tea party whackos like Jack "UN invading NH" Kimball have a high profile in our media. This is the image we project. Same is true of O'Brien, whose media coverage is more extensive than his political influence. The battle over guns in the state house made us look insane to the rest of the nation and the world. Then there's the Free State Project - the group of armed glibertarian misanthropes moving to NH to take over the state government and threaten to secede. Why would any company come here?

NH is the Texas of the northeast. Texas works in the south, because the south is full of similar thinkers. NH doesn't work because the rest of the northeast is not full of mouth breathing ideologues. Even Texas is investing in its own infrastructure, which is more than NH is willing to do. The GOP has been beating the dishonest drum of "NH doesn't have a revenue problem, NH has a spending problem" - but that's a big old crock of guano. No other state in the union funds their state parks the way we do - which is why our parks are in such bad repair. NH isn't a poor state. It's a cheap one. The result of that cheapness is staring you right in the face, but I suspect you're too impaired by ideology to see it.

Simple answer Sparky? NH is behind because the wingnuts of the far right are opposed to investing in bringing NH even as far as the 20th century, even though we live in the 21st.

I'm curious to learn what candidates I've endorsed. Since you seem to have the inside track, perhaps you could share it with me.

Steven J. Connolly said...

"Since you seem to have the inside track, perhaps you could share it with me."

I do have the inside track. Having served two terms in the NH House myself and being active in NH politics since 1987.

In terms of your 'endorsements' you might not have been holding a sign, but you've endorsed Rep. Latha Mangipudi or at least you were there in principle.

Have you been to India Ms. Bruce? This is a country that is like a train wreck. This is a country that refuses to help itself. And other than bringing their cultures, their values and their ideas to the U.S. what do these individuals from India bring to New Hampshire and the NH House?

Former Rep. Silva's comment about "New Delihi" is likely accurate. Instead of assimilating to values that have existed since the 1700s these people have chosen to remake and rebrand NH into how THEY want it. Including using economic models, values and ideas that fail and continue to fail in their own countries.

Socialism is an economic model that has continually demonstrate that it can't work over time. Yet it is one that yourself and other continue to espouse and promote and an a direction that will tax and spend New Hampshire into oblivion.

susanthe said...

I wasn't aware that writing about a campaign was the same thing as endorsing it. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Connolly. You might want to take a peek into your dictionary. One of these things really isn't just like the other.

I note that rather than address any of the issues I raised in my earlier post, you chose to engage in a xenophobic rant about "those people." You are aware that GOP rising star Bobby Jindal is one of "those people" aren't you?

Investing in our state is not socialism, Connolly. It's pragmatism - and something you and your fellow mouth breathers would do well to consider.

Some Guy On The Interwebs said...

"Connolly" is an Irish name, is it not?

Perhaps we should bar you from political participation based on your ethnic heritage. After all, Ireland, thanks to a string of inept, corrupt, center-right governments, has long been one of the economic bottom-feeders of Europe. It could usually be found battling it out with Greece and Portugal for the coveted "Biggest Train Wreck" distinction.

If you are going to judge the representative from Nashua based o what happens in New Delhi, I'm going to judge you based on what happens in Dublin. said...

Judge me on whatever you want. At least the Irish Republican Army stood up against the Royals.
Beware of anyone that lives in a castle, has servants and footmen, taxes you off your own land and then says "They're really just trying to help you."
Agree with your comments about Greece and Portugal this is what happens when left wing marxists gain control. The same thing is happening here in New Hampshire.

susanthe said...

Left wing Marxists in NH? Better get to the doctor right away, before that jerking right knee gets any worse.