Concord, NH - It was a tough day for Republicans on the editorial pages of four of New Hampshire's largest newspapers. Republican leadership in the state House of Representatives along with the GOP's 2012 presidential wannabes were taken to task for their support of a wide variety of out of touch and reckless policy positions.
Excerpts from today's blistering editorials are below.
Don't get us wrong. We're not in favor of paying lawmakers to stop by the State House before going shopping or otherwise abusing the system. And reasonable measures to reduce mileage, like then-Speaker Terie Norelli's request that lawmakers restrict trips to essential travel in August, should be made. But efforts to cut costs shouldn't disenfranchise constituents of lawmakers who live far from Concord and don't have the means to travel scores or hundreds of miles when gas is $3.65 cents per gallon.
O'Brien's edict does permit reimbursement for members of statutory and study committees attending meetings and hearings. And who picks those members? The speaker. And whom does he choose? Supporters and people who won't disagree with him. On Aug. 12, O'Brien named 35 members to study committees, including those overseeing medical malpractice, business regulations, a plan to privatize the corrections system and the Financial Resources Mortgage Ponzi scheme. Not one was a Democrat.
This is what we've been able to find out so far. Perry in recent years wrote a book in which he compared Social Security to a giant Ponzi scheme and called for scrapping the program. He doesn't believe that climate change is caused by human agency, and he harbors strong suspicions that the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, are disloyal to America. The governor earlier this month hosted a day-long prayer meeting that attracted 20,000 evangelicals to a football stadium in Houston, at which he said, "As a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for (God's) forgiveness." He uses hollow-point bullets in his handgun to dispatch coyotes while jogging (is that overkill?). And his signature line combines "adios" with the diminutive form of one of the very few words in the English language that will get a Major League baseball player summarily dismissed from a game by an umpire.
When Republican leaders were insisting on allowing a $30-$75 surcharge on registering motor vehicles to expire June 30 - a temporary fee that raised roughly $45 million a year, primarily for highway maintenance - they were warned by then-Transportation Commissioner George Campbell that the department would only have enough money to plow half as many miles of road as in previous years.
Instead, the Republican-led Legislature made the conscious decision to end the surcharge on the grounds that not doing so would have broken members' campaign promise to voters not to raise taxes or fees in the next two-year budget.
That's all well and good. But balancing budgets is much more than a mathematical exercise in making a set of numbers in one column match a set of numbers in another. Many of those numbers correspond to real services that have a real impact in people's daily lives.
And when you start fiddling with public safety, you do so at your own risk.
Consistent with their pattern of mischaracterizing things they don't agree with, Republican leaders in Concord this week blasted Governor John Lynch for conducting a "Gun Confiscation Tour."
At no time in their months of pushing for change have the proponents offered a material basis for new law. Given the nature of the subject - deadly force - one would expect a few specifics. Not seeing any such substance, responsible legislators should let the governor's sensible veto stand.