Key point: "The almost universal reaction among Republicans and Democrats to the news that Bragdon would take the job and retain his leadership in the Senate was something along the lines, of “He can’t do that, can he?”"
WMUR's Politics Scoop Analysis: Bragdon, LGC question whether there are ’rules’ in NH politics
Published 7:07 PM EDT Aug 13, 2013
CONCORD, N.H. —On Tuesday, officials at the embattled Local Government Center announced one of boldest power plays New Hampshire has seen in years. Fighting with state regulators in the state’s Supreme Court, they decided to hire a key figure for all of those groups funding to head up their organization, state Senate President Peter Bragdon, a Milford Republican.
In so doing they are testing an often whispered, but rarely tested rule of New Hampshire politics: There aren’t really rules, just the perception that there are rules.
The almost universal reaction among Republicans and Democrats to the news that Bragdon would take the job and retain his leadership in the Senate was something along the lines, of “He can’t do that, can he?”
Well why couldn’t he? The state, like the nation, has seen the decline of institutions. Institutions, such as the media, rotary clubs, unions, civic-minded business groups and the League of Women Voters have all lost their membership, clout and ability to enforce unwritten rules of conduct.
Replacing these institutions are partisan groups who spill out talking points that is all just noise to the average voter or even those involved in politics. Those still involved with once established institutions like editorial pages or even civic groups find their voice is often just part of the noise and as individuals pursuing an agenda.
As long as Bragdon has the support of 12 other members of the New Hampshire Senate, he can basically retain his position and do or say anything, including violate minor laws.
This doesn’t mean that Bragdon isn’t going to have to answer a myriad of questions about his two positions. He will. There are conflicts all over the place. He says he will recuse himself from voting where there is a conflict, but the power the Senate president holds isn’t just about the votes and he knows that.
In fact, this is precisely why the LGC wanted him to lead the organization. Insiders there say Bragdon is largely tasked with two goals in his new role. First, his job is to work with Secretary of State Bill Gardner to free the group of all its troubles with the state. If he can do that, then his second goal is to find a way forward for the organization.
The first goal is interesting, however, because it uniquely puts Bragdon in direct contract with the one political rule enforcer in the state: Gardner.
So to all of those wondering if Bragdon can really do this, the answer is really simple: If Gardner says he can then he can, if not then Bragdon is going to do whatever pleases Gardner.
Read more: http://www.wmur.com/political-scoop/analysis-bragdon-lgc-question-whether-there-are-rules-in-nh-politics/-/16254890/21455760/-/p2xgbsz/-/index.html#ixzz2bxNFjTp6