October 19, 2008
Sen. John Sununu is the most politically independent Republican in the U.S. Senate with the exception of Sen. John McCain. The two have well-earned reputations in Washington for opposing their party's leadership, including their President, often and vigorously when they feel called by principle to do so.
This being the case, Jeanne Shaheen has cynically decided to run not against John Sununu, but against President Bush. Her ads and mailings constantly portray Sununu and Bush as political clones, which is laughable. One ad quotes President Bush saying, "John Sununu was with me from the beginning."
Sununu has responded by touting his actual record of standing against the administration on issues ranging from the USA Patriot Act and the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to the budget-busting farm and energy bills. But Shaheen's sound bites have been more effective than Sununu's necessarily lengthier responses. So he's dropped a sound bite of his own.
In a new ad, Sununu replays a video of Jeanne Shaheen saying, "I'll stand with President Bush..."
Sununu has thus brilliantly shown the shallowness of Shaheen's baseless allegation. It's the record that counts, not some one-time sound bite taken out of context.
Shaheen's record, of course, is one of agreement with President Bush on some issues and disagreement on others. So is Sununu's.
When you look at his actual record instead of listening to Shaheen's grossly misleading ads, you see that John Sununu is an impressively independent Republican. He stands for New Hampshire first, last and always. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a guaranteed vote for President Bush or for his party.
Sununu's record of principled independence -- based on his firm committment to fiscal discipline and individual liberty -- speaks well of his character and political courage. On more than one occasion he risked his own political career to stand against his party when he believed the party was wrong. Has Jeanne Shaheen ever done anything like that? Not even close.
Shaheen's attacks on Sununu, by contrast, reveal a willingness to cloud and distort, to win election by deception rather than merit. New Hampshire must not allow that to happen.