My Turn: Blame O’Brien for GOP losses
Most of my Republican friends are wondering why we received such a shellacking during the November election. We lost more than 120 seats in the New Hampshire House and held onto the state Senate by one vote. We lost the governor’s race and both congressional seats.
Straight-ticket voting is no longer allowed in New Hampshire, so President Obama’s coattails, if any, had little to do with the anti-Republican vote. It was a protest vote. New Hampshire voters have no tolerance for absurdity, and they are educated and informed. They are engaged in their government.
Former House speaker Bill O’Brien, a newcomer from the Massachusetts Democratic scene turned libertarian/anarchist was, for two long years, the face of the Republican Party. He and his Free-Stater cohorts wreaked havoc in the New Hampshire State House. Debate was cut off, criticism was labeled “treason” and any notice of civility was trampled.
The rules were optional and the Constitution was a mere suggestion. This was the daily news that the New Hampshire voters read and heard, every day, for two years. Not one of the longtime New Hampshire Republican operatives stood up to say, “That is not the New Hampshire Republican Party.” Most just hid from the public debate stirred up by O’Brien shenanigans.
We paid for it in spades. We well deserved it. O’Brien called the tune, and the Republicans simply danced to his fiddle. People of the state protested against anything Republican. When that occurs, sometimes the baby is thrown out with the bath water.
We lost some excellent public servants like Reps. Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta along with dozens of intelligent, honest and engaging representatives and public officials at all levels of government. O’Brien and his gang of Free-Staters take the initial blame. The rest of us take the ultimate blame for standing by and allowing him to do what he did and tarnishing the good name of the Republican Party of New Hampshire and the great state we call home.
(Tony Soltani is a former state representative from Epsom.)