Direction for the NH GOP.

This is an editorial from the Concord Monitor Newspaper. I think it is right on the mark. Former Gov. Sununu is going to be the next chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. But rather than focus on candidates as the Monitor suggests, I think the former Governor should focus on issues and rebuilding the party itself. Not only would this be a good direction but a direction that would lead to alternatives to democratic candidates that are likely to make some serious policy and financial mistakes over the next two years.

Some of my thoughts:

Reach out to the other New England states on regional issues. Come up with some interstate cooperation ideas that actually have some substance and will save taxpayers money. I think numerous issues could be done between ME/NH/VT in important projects like economic development, corrections and possibly education. To my knowledge Gov. Lynch and the Democratic leadership hasn't done a single thing in this area.

Consider distance between the NH GOP and the re-election efforts of Sen. Judd Gregg. The incumbent Senator is clearly going to be a strategic, vulnerable target. The NH GOP needs to rebuild, it might be time to recognize that Sen. Gregg is going down, cut these losses with the realization that this political battle has already been lost.

The New Hampshire Young Republicans needs leadership. Especially in the Hanover area. This also might be a valuable source of ideas and fundraising for the party.

Give the voters a reason to be excited about being a Republican. My favorite Republican of all time is Sen. Bob Dole invite him back to New Hampshire: insight, ideas, good discussion and most of all experienced leadership.

Send a message to Executive Councilor Raymond S. Burton: Start acting and voting like a Republican or your out of the party. This includes $38 million dollar jails Grafton County cannot afford.

And without being cynical and negative I'm confident this won't happen. Former Gov. Sununu will build a mathematical, engineered based direction model and this is how it will go. I don't believe Gov. Sununu even likes Sen. Bob Dole; so in effect the numbers, not the people will provide the direction for the NH GOP. I think this is wrong but this is the reality.  I really enjoyed the last page of this month's NH Business Review. "Governor Lynch is the best Republican leader we have had in a long time."

There might be some truth to this.

Concord Monitor Article

"If a New Hampshire political junkie from 1988 had stepped into a time machine and whooshed himself all the way to 2008, he might find the terrain positively alien.

After all, 20 years ago Republicans were in charge of just about everything. They held a huge advantage in state voter registration - and those voters took advantage of the old straight-ticket voting option to elect Republicans up and down the ballot. Republicans held enormous majorities at the State House. They held the state's two congressional seats and both seats in the U.S. Senate. They dominated the Executive Council and had a lock on governor's office.

Today the situation is almost completely reversed. The Democrats have likely overtaken the GOP in voter registration. They control the Legislature, the Executive Council, the governor's office. In Washington, just a single Republican remains as part of the state's congressional delegation.

The time traveler might check his map, wondering if he'd landed in Massachusetts or even Vermont. But if he picked up a newspaper, he would find comfort in this: In late 2008, as in late 1988, the political headlines are strangely dominated by former governor John Sununu. As any political junkie can tell you, that means the show is about to get exciting again. And not a moment too soon!

Far-fetched as it sounds, Sununu has become the sole candidate in the race for chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. Just when it was starting to feel like the state was too small to actually support two robust parties at once, Sununu has pulled himself out of political retirement to bash the Democrats with a style no one else can quite replicate.

If the Republicans are looking for a leader who will make waves - and raise big bucks - they've found their man. If the GOP wants someone who will give the Democrats fits, Sununu's the guy. If after their disappointing performance at the polls last month they want someone to make them feel like it's morning in Republicanland again, they couldn't do better.

But energizing the demoralized true believers is only part of Sununu's new challenge. Convincing residents who proudly chose Barack Obama, John Lynch and Jeanne Shaheen that they should vote GOP in 2010 is a tall order - unlikely to be filled by tired, 1988-style appeals to tax phobia.

Sununu has never exactly leaned on the Monitor for political advice but, should he ask, we might suggest that he and the GOP:

  • Find themselves a credible candidate for governor, and fast. (Perhaps Sununu has a relative looking for work?) Craig Benson's disastrous single term followed by two nearly invisible GOP challengers to Lynch has left the party without a clear, consistent voice of opposition to the State House Democrats.
  • Tone it down a notch or two. Berating Lynch is provocative, but an enormous percentage of New Hampshire voters just endorsed his third term. Insulting him can sound like you're insulting them.
  • Come up with some credible solutions to the state budget mess. Sununu is quick to boast about his own fiscal prowess - from back in the days when the state was flush. Today, Lynch and the Democrats are faced with nothing but miserable choices, and the strain is already showing. If Sununu wants voters to give the Republicans another shot, he'd be smart to engineer something other than carping from the sidelines.
  • Realize that today's voters are not the same people as those in 1988. Many of them either didn't live here then or weren't yet old enough to vote. Find ways to address the issues they care about - the exorbitant cost of higher education, the environment, job loss, health care, energy and more.

The excitement of the 2008 election has been over for more than a month. We've already grown tired of the lull. Welcome back, Governor Sununu. Let the games begin."