Flotsam & Jetsam



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The ultimate spin From almost Sopranos-like family infighting to phone-jamming convictions, things haven’t been going awfully well for the state’s Grand Old Party. And they don’t seem to be going any better for its beleaguered chairman, Warren Henderson. In fact, considering the words being exchanged behind his back - not for attribution, of course — Henderson would probably receive a warmer welcome if he were to attend the Democratic Party’s next Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Manchester. No one says Henderson has been the most inspiring of recent party chairs - Republican or Democratic - but, then again, who has? Still, the recent GOP backbiting has taken on a particularly nasty tone. And that should serve as a warning for any potential replacement, if and when Henderson leaves (no matter whether he’s pushed or he jumps). After all, with a Democratic governor holding on to 70 percent approval ratings and Senate Republicans as polarized as the Hatfields and the McCoys, it ain’t going to be getting better anytime soon. In a real jam No matter what you think of him, you have to have some sympathy for Jim Tobin, the Republican phone-jamming mastermind convicted earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Concord. Not because he faces some serious prison time for his involvement in the 2002 vote-depression scheme (up to seven years in the pen along with a $500,000 fine). And not because he may have learned the errors of his ways and promises never, ever to do such a deed again. No, the real reason was his misfortune to actually hear his defense attorney’s absolutely mawkish closing argument. In the argument, Dane Butswinkas actually had the chutzpah to compare Tobin to George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character in the Christmas “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and even had the temerity to employ Tobin’s (fortunately absent) children to drum up sympathy for Phone Jammin’ Jim. In fact, someone might want to check into the possibility that Butswinkas’ sickeningly sweet closing may have been the reason that one of the jurors took ill a day or so later. Look out Below Newly named Public Utilities Commissioner Clif Below is widely regarded as capable, smart and bright and won’t have the unfortunate disposition of falling asleep at PUC hearings. There is one possible drawback to Below’s appointment: The long-winded ex-state senator does run the ever-so-slight risk of putting other people to sleep. Making the rounds... • Considering the millions they pulled in as an industry, maybe lawmakers would consider a tax on lobbyists’ income to fill any budget gaps. • Now that Mitt Romney is all but officially a presidential candidate, does that mean The Boston Globe will send some reporters to New Hampshire again? • Not to throw any cold water on Governor Lynch’s dropout-prevention plan, but has anyone checked with local school boards about how they want to pay for the possibility of making kids who don’t want to be in school in the first place stay for an additional two years? • To put it mildly, not everyone is happy with Senate President Ted Gatsas’ decision to kick Bob Preston off the Pease Development Authority and replace him with State Street Discount owner Gary Levy. • Ever notice how the New Hampshire media get more worked up about and give more detailed analysis of the fight to save the primary than school funding, for instance? • It was certainly inspiring to see all those Republicans and mainstream Democrats invoke the name of Eugene McCarthy in attempting to defend the New Hampshire primary. F&J TOTE BOARD
HILLARY CLINTON: Now that she’s whispered in John Lynch’s ear that she supports the New Hampshire primary, any chance that she’ll let the rest of the world in on her little secret?
N.H. REPUBLICAN PARTY: They’re going to have to do a lot better than “Who lost the primary?” if they want to take on John Lynch in ’08.
JOHN SUNUNU: His powerful attack on the Patriot Act as it now stands conjures up images of him standing at a podium introducing a New Hampshire crowd to Russ Feingold.
ARNIE ARNESEN: She may not be getting local advertisers, but judging by the response of the national punditry to her potential demise as a local radio talk show host, maybe just passing the hat in D.C. will do the trick.
BOB BAINES: The outgoing Manchester mayor is turned down for the presidency of New Hampshire Community Technical College-Manchester. Was it during the job interview?
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY: Whether you support it or not, you know the national Democrats will find a way to form a circular firing squad before it’s all over.
KELLY AYOTTE: After a newspaper article suggests she might want to get rid of a nervous quiver in her voice if she were to seek higher office, the attorney general tells the Union Leader her husband’s buying her voice lessons for Christmas.

 

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