At tonight’s Union Leader-WMUR-TV Debate, Charlie Bass referenced a November 2006 Nashua Telegraph column written by Jennifer Horn, in which she praised Charlie as a “man of integrity”. She said she was sad for her children, sad for New Hampshire, and sad for the country that Bass had been defeated. As you are aware, Horn has spent much of this 2010 campaign running a negative campaign against Charlie Bass.
But Charlie’s record hasn’t changed at all since she wrote this column in November 2006. He’s been out of office. The only thing that has changed is that Jen Horn is running for Congress. Her column is attached and pasted below for your convenience.
New Hampshire has lost by booting Bass
Published: Sunday, November 12, 2006
As I write this, it is election night, and the results are in: I fear New Hampshire has lost much more than its residents may realize.
At first, it seemed we were simply losing a Republican congressman in exchange for a Democrat. But as election eve wore on and the end drew near, it became clear we were losing much more.
When Congressman Charlie Bass conceded his race Tuesday evening, he began his speech by talking about gratitude.
Gratitude. The man who lost the race was grateful.
He said he was grateful for the privilege of serving, grateful for the opportunity to do for others. He said he did not feel that even one minute of time spent in service to his constituents had been wasted.
Bass is a man of great integrity, and he stood tall in his defeat, backed by his family and dozens of supporters who had remained faithful to him through the years, and promised to continue to serve the people and the state he loves.
Listening to him speak about service, honor and integrity, I was reminded of elections past, when I was a young woman, filled with optimism and enthusiasm.
He reminded me of the ideals that have always guided my political beliefs; that service to community and country is an honor, that every voice must be heard for a democracy to remain strong and that integrity is measured more surely by loss than by success.
I have become jaded and discouraged by the process recently. We have lost our political way, not just here in New Hampshire, but across this great nation.
Politics has become all about 30-second sound bites, negative advertising and opponent bashing. It seems to be driven by power and influence, and has become more about the elected than about the electorate.
We seem to have forgotten that the opportunity to serve community and country is an honor, a privilege granted by your neighbors, not a right, and not a position to be purchased by the biggest spender.
I worry about how this will affect my children and their understanding of democracy. It seems there has never been an election in their lifetime that did not ultimately degrade into mudslinging and name-calling.
They have already seen more than their fair share of negative ads that air during our Sunday evening family time. My oldest reads the paper daily and frequently asks questions with surprising depth about wars and elections and the downtrodden of our world.
At the innocent age of 14, he has already become cynical, suspicious of politicians and questioning the motives of all who run for office.
As I listened to Bass speak eloquently about the honor of public service, with tears brimming and his family standing tight around him, I could not help but wish that my children were with me in that room to hear his words.
Gratitude. Honor. Privilege.
These are the words Bass used Tuesday night in describing his feelings about representing the good people of New Hampshire for 12 years in Congress.
As I listened to him, I thought of a few other words: integrity, respect, sincerity.
These also are words I want my children to understand, concepts I would like them to embrace in the way they live their lives, ideals I would like them to associate with service and democracy.
There are few politicians left like Bass, politicians whose service embodies these ideas, and I think that is sad.
Sad for my children, sad for New Hampshire and sad for the country I love.
When confronted with political defeat, the first thing Bass felt was gratitude.
He may have lost the race, but I think we have lost much more.