Katy Burns: Our three govs – Hey, it’s not our fault!
If a national organization gave awards for preposterous political analysis, ex-governors John H. Sununu, Craig Benson and Steve Merrill would be gold medalists.
These three amigos – not to be confused with the new trio formed when Kelly Ayotte took to hanging around with John McCain and Lindsey Graham, her new best buds in the Senate – teamed up at a recent political gathering held by the conservative Josiah Bartlett Center.
The gathering was apparently supposed to be a fundraising and awards dinner. But from the descriptions in the Monitor and the Union Leader, it sounded more like a combination wake and self-esteem session for New Hampshire Republicans, who were clearly still stunned by the shellacking they took at the hands of the voters both here and nationally.
They seem to be combining the first two stages of grief – denial and anger – and adding on a third, previously unknown stage: detachment from reality. Which was displayed in spades by the three star speakers.
The most colorful and outspoken was – surprise! – Sununu. Straight on the heels of his stellar performance as a Mitt Romney spokesman (Obama should “learn how to be an American”) in the late presidential contest, Sununu didn’t disappoint. Channeling Romney’s astute political analysis, Sununu declared that President Obama and the Democrats won because they “got out the base of their base,” people who are “dependent to a great extent” on government programs and money.
Yes, it’s those 47 percent again! And all those expensive “gifts” the president insisted on passing out to black people and young women.
Ingrates who take from those who make. Leeches of the body politic who prey on Real People. Hogs who feed at the public trough.
Sununu, of course, is intimately familiar with people who take from the taxpayers. During his own sojourn at the public trough, he did well – until he was forced to resign because of his robust personal use of government assets as chief of staff to George H.W. Bush. His jaunts via government jets to GOP fund-raisers, ski resorts, golf tournaments and even his Boston dentist made headlines. The capstone perhaps was his taking a government limo to New York City for a rare stamp auction.
That led to the firing – excuse me, resignation – of Sununu, an outcome gleefully reported across the nation as “the grounding of Air Sununu.”
But Big John wasn’t there to dwell on the bad old past but to remind us of the awful present. He spoke darkly of large Democratic turnouts in parts of Cleveland, presumably chock full of deeply dependent people – you know, people not like us. Those urban voters, in the words of would-have-been vice president Paul Ryan.
He oddly forgot to mention the large Democratic turnout in New Hampshire, people who, last I looked, were not particularly dependent on government aid. Unless, for example, he’s speaking of all those employees of Nashua’s BAE Systems, nee Sanders Associates, which is, after all, pretty much dependent on contracts from the federal government, as we are reminded whenever the military budget is threatened with cuts.
The assemblage also heard from one-term wonder Benson, probably the most unpopular New Hampshire governor since indignant colonialists chased royal Governor John Wentworth II to Canada in 1775. Benson lamented that he couldn’t spend more time in the job, a lament not shared by the citizens of the lovely Granite State.
Benson added his own two cents’ worth of analysis, parroting Romney’s theory that the Dems buy votes by promising people “stuff.” Mourned Benson, “The Democratic Party . . . takes people’s dreams away, period.”
In his view, the GOP, it seems, was undone because the dastardly Democrats “get people addicted . . . to the fact that maybe they don’t need to go out and make their own future.” That’s it! Dems as drug pushers! How astute.
Merrill, probably the only one of the three who was actually liked by people, was known to dabble in bipartisanship in his day. He actually appointed a Democrat, John Broderick, to the Supreme Court!
But that was then. Now, Merrill said, “I agree with everything John said.” And, he added, the sad truth is that the charisma-challenged Romney and his unfortunate Republican cohorts were undone by “the cult of the personality.”
So there we have it. It was the winning personalities of the winning Democrats, particularly the charming Barack Obama and Maggie Hassan. It was all those “gifts” the Dems, from the White House on down, were passing out like candy on Halloween, until people were addicted.
And above all, it was those others – you know, the folks who are not like us – who foiled real Americans by doing something utterly un-American: Flocking in huge numbers to the nation’s polling places.
Well, you know what? When the GOP loses as badly as it did in a state like New Hampshire – not a state brimming over with needy dark-hued “others” but a rich, overwhelmingly white state with a well-educated and involved populace – it takes a lot of reality denial to say with a straight face that it’s all the fault of a gullible, greedy under-class beguiled by a passel of pretty faces.
I’ll give the last word to someone calling himself “Shy Guy,” who sent me his acute analysis of the governors’ wisdom:
“Benson, Merrill, Sununu: Three stooges revisited. Talk about the base of the base!”
(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)