Flotsam & Jetsam

Love is in the air

Don’t you get a kick out of politicians when they try to make history disappear, even history that’s happening before our very eyes?

A case in point is the recent election of Sherman Packard, the state rep from Londonderry, as the new House minority leader. He defeated Gene Chandler, the former House speaker from Bartlett, in a race that was about as tight as it can get, 82-79.

A three-vote margin from among 161 cast? Not exactly a landslide – and certainly a sign that not every member of the Republican caucus was gung-ho for Packard, whatever the reason.

But in the end, the tightness of the race just disappeared. That’s because Chandler called for another vote, to make Packard’s choice unanimous. Then again, what else would you expect from a guy – Chandler – who campaigned on unifying the party? It was, as Wilford Brimley used to say, the right thing to do.

Blast from the past

Never let it be said that the folks at the Union Leader have completely let go of their long, storied heritage.

Consider the rather interesting placement of articles on Sunday, Nov. 30. On the front page ran a story with the intriguing headline, “Perfect storm for a tax revolt?” detailing the efforts of groups to embolden voters throughout the state to reject any and all spending proposals at upcoming town meetings.

Nothing particularly new here – except it does beg the question whether it really is local control if outside groups push their anti-spending agendas on communities, whether they want it or not.

Anyway, the UL – in an historically accurate representation of its former self – buried on the last page of the first section of that very same paper are two other stories. One, “Statehouse might take on tax reform,” about a plan to sponsor a state spending cap, and the another, “Passed on costs put many towns in tight spot,” about how the state’s budget troubles are already stressing municipalities.

So why did the “revolt” get front-page play over the other two? We’re only reporting, you be the decider.


Signs of the financial times:

Did you hear the one about the guy who went out to buy a toaster and came back with a bank?

How about the investment banker’s worst of all worlds: Lose 50 percent of your assets and still have a wife.

Then there’s this one: What’s the difference between a pigeon and an investment banker? The pigeon can still make a deposit on a Ferrari.

Moving on

Considering that his year started off on what at least a few people would call the wrong foot – being forced out of his job as spokesman for the Manchester School District after casting a vote as state rep for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana – David Scannell certainly seems to have bounced back.

After the smoke cleared from the marijuana brouhaha, Scannell landed a job as executive director of the state Democratic Party, where he “deserves great credit for our 2008 successes,” said Ray Buckley, the party’s chair.

Now Scannell has left the party post, with word that he’s been talking with various elected officials about taking a staff position.


Fran Wendelboe: The state rep from New Hampton launches the NH GOP Voice Web site, which she bills as an alternative to the state party’s own site.
Sherman Packard: The 10-term state rep from Londonderry is chosen as House minority leader over a former speaker, Gene Chandler.
Matt Mayberry: Uncowed by all the talk of former guv John Sununu desiring the position, the Dover Republican says he remains interested in running for state GOP chair.
Judd Gregg: Saying he needs to focus on the ‘09 legislative agenda, the U.S. senator quits the committee in charge of providing oversight of the $700 billion financial bailout package.
John E. Sununu: After losing his re-election bid, the New Hampshire senator grows a goatee, but only momentarily.

It’s been making the rounds…

• After a meeting with the former governor, Fergus Cullen says John Sununu was “going to play a larger role” in the state GOP. When, it may be asked, has he ever played a smaller role in anything?

• In a Concord Monitor column, Mike Pride reasons that Judd Gregg has been the best New Hampshire governor over a 30-year period. Did anyone ask Steve Merrill if he agrees?

• Could the Commission to Study the Feasibility of Public Funding of State Election Campaigns have had worse timing in releasing its recommendations that the state launch a potentially $6.5 million public financing program for state campaigns?

• Never mind all that stuff John The Elder Sununu is spouting, John Lynch is still the best Republican governor New Hampshire has had in decades.