Flotsam & Jetsam: June 14, 2013

Reading between the lines

OF COURSE that editorial in the UL about NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg was all on the up and up.

The editorial purported to be about Mayor Mike’s gun control fixation and his anti-Ayotte TV ads, written in a newspaper that itself has a fixation on gun control (“Armed Citizen” anyone?). So you can imagine the slant.

But was there a more subliminal message at work?

Let’s start with the very first sentence, “We must say we admire the chutzpah of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” “Chutzpah” – interesting choice of words. In fact, it’s extremely interesting, considering that it hasn’t appeared in that particular Manchester, N.H.-based newspaper in at least the last year. Never, of course, is a much longer time, so who knows?

So when the editorial essentially goes after Bloomberg for not being from around these parts, that “chutzpah” line sure stands out.

And so does the last line:

“Our advice to Mayor Mike: take a big gulp and go away. Neither Kelly Ayotte nor Granite Staters will be intimidated by the likes of you.”

Phoning it in

Funny how things come full circle, or close to it, in the world of politics.

Consider for a moment the latest outrage over the NSA’s OCD-like data/phone call fixation. Politicians of varying stripes have been shocked – shocked! – about the existence of the program. A program, incidentally, they had been brief about.

But enough of that. Return with us now to those thrilling days of 2008, when Congress actually had a chance to put a stop, or at least place a sizable roadblock, in the way of the telecom metadata gathering project. That was the year Congress voted to give retroactive immunity from lawsuits to Verizon and every other telecom company that turned over customers’ records in what were at the time referred to as warrantless searches.

Funny thing about that: the only member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation (in fact, one of the few members of Congress) to vote against the telecom immunity bill was the 1st District congresswoman, Ms. Carol Shea-Porter. Support for the bill was bipartisan, with Senators Gregg and Sununu and Congressman Paul Hodes voting in the affirmative, as they say.

At the time, it’s interesting to note, the idea of the federal government grabbing up telephone call info by the bagful wasn’t such an unpopular thing. In fact, the opposite was true, and Carol S-P was the subject of a well-oiled attack machine, emanating for the most part from true-blue Republican circles. Such as the “essay” that appeared on the Bedford Republican Committee website at the time, “Carol Shea Porter cares not for national security”:

“She grandstands, using liberal hot button phrases like ‘fear-mongering’ and ‘scare tactics’ insisting ‘nothing terrible is going to happen’ in her effort to score political points. No one can guarantee that no more terrorist attacks will occur. In fact, the odds are that eventually another one will occur. But, it is surveillance laws like (Protect America Act) that have helped keep us safe for the past seven years and Carol Shea-Porter seems intent on tearing those safeguards down all for the sake of political maneuvering.”

How times have changed in the realm of gasbaggery.

Among the missing

“Why Republicans should support immigration reform” was the title of an op-ed that appeared earlier this month in various New Hampshire newspapers. A pretty compelling argument for its point of view. And it was written by five – count ‘em 5 – former chairs of the New Hampshire GOP: Steve Duprey, John Stabile, Wayne Semprini, Fergus Cullen and Wayne MacDonald.

Impressive list, but there’s another impression you might take away from this. Two missing names: Jack Kimball and Jennifer Horn, a former an current GOP chair, respectively. Did they just not get the memo asking ‘em to pitch in?

F&J tote board:

George Lambert: The Litchfield state rep – who describes himself as a “socially liberal and fiscally conservative Republican” – says he’s thinking about running for governor in 2014. Let’s see how that works out in a GOP primary.

Chuck Morse: The name of the state senator from Salem begins popping up on various people’s lists of potential GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Rob Portman: The Ohio Republican senator becomes just the latest GOP luminary/potential presidential contender to drop in on NH.

Charlie Bass: In a conference call with Jeanne Shaheen, the former 2nd District congressman comes out in opposition to the federal Defense of Marriage Act – something he supported when running for re-election in 2012.

Andy Sanborn: The GOP senator from Bedford gets into some hot water with a tweet in which he called Governor Hassan “Haggie.” Says he was “all thumbs” and mistyped.”

It’s been making the rounds …

 • That special House election in Claremont sure got Dem chair Ray Buckley all fired up – he actually claimed the Dem was the result of being outspent. By a party whose chair and treasurer are barely on speaking terms?

 • Next time you hear the argument that NH can’t take trust the federal government to live up to its Medicaid promises, just remember how the state managed to balance its budget for the better part of a decade. It was called Mediscam, in case your memory’s not as good as it used to be.

 • Memo to the General Court: The next time a class of third-graders (or whatever) wants to sponsor an Official State Inanimate Object bill as a classroom lesson, PLEASE just say no.

 • Yes, there’s a U.S. Senate race next year, in case you haven’t noticed. And besides Jeb Bradley and Jim Rubens and one Mr. Brown, no other takers?

Categories: Flotsam & Jetsam