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Editorial: Good news for the GOP, good news for 2nd District voters

There was good news for the Republican Party and good news for the 2nd Congressional District last week: Former House speaker Bill O’Brien pulled the plug on his exploratory campaign for Congress.

This was good for the GOP because while O’Brien might well have won a primary campaign, it was difficult indeed to imagine such a fiery, right-wing lightning rod actually appealing to a broad swath of the region’s voters.

O’Brien, you’ll recall, was the biggest actor on the state’s political stage in 2011 and 2012. As speaker of the New Hampshire House at a time when the Republican majority was enormous, he presided over a term that included deep budget cuts to social welfare programs and the university system; the distracting and destructive revival of the House Redress of Grievances Committee; attacks on the rights of women and students; and a vindictive tone that poisoned the atmosphere at the State House. At one point legislators actually debated an anti-bullying bill inspired by the speaker’s behavior. In recent months, as a potential candidate for higher office, O’Brien has compared the Affordable Care Act to the Fugitive Slave Act in what seemed like the opening shot in a strange and outrageous campaign.

Second District voters, who in recent years have sent to Congress Democrats Annie Kuster and Paul Hodes and Republican Charlie Bass, seemed unlikely to make such a dramatic turn in 2014. If the GOP is to make a serious run at the 2nd District seat next year, there are surely more pragmatic potential candidates out there.

For voters interested in a serious debate about everything from the implementation of the new health care law to the high cost of college education to the slow pace of economic recovery, the coming campaign will be important. An O’Brien-Kuster race would no doubt have been dramatic – fun for journalists, perhaps, but not terrific for voters.

Legacy Comments10

The best way to dispute what someone says is to address what they said. Instead of name calling address the subject. Prove them wrong. Name calling does not cut it, it is a cop out.

I've read this thread over and over and I don't see any name-calling. I do see disagreement - which is normal - and people (me and others) commenting on other people's reasoning and logic - all of which is fair game. But I can find no name-calling. What did I miss?

She won't answer. She can't answer. You didn't miss anything.

I'll give it a shot. Rant, purple prose, blather, and alike are less than becoming to the intellect demonstrated by both sides of this argument. I wonder if those categorizations are necessary to get the point across. Those who have served in the State Political System, know that, New Hampshire still abides by the ultra-polite standard of discourse, long abandoned by Washington and most other states. The use of those words would be rightfully called out of order, unless , of course , one is referring to himself or herself in humble humor. One rule which Mr. O'Brien could not obey among many. That's why he and his Rules Committee set the record for the number of amendments to the House Rules in a single session. I realize this forum is not The State House. Also, I see nothing wrong with invoking Eintstein's short definition of sanity , in reference to Republican's or Democrats, or unworkable policies be they from the right or left. Peace.

Meanwhile..EVERYONE complains about Congress low approval rating...yet in NH...anyone that either was there or is there now..will go back. Whats the definition of insanity again???

Okay, let's try facts rather than blather. 1) Jeanne Shaheen is in her second term in the Senate after defeating 1-term Senator Sununu. 2) Kelly Ayotte is in her first term. 3) Annie Kuster is in her first term winning election over 7-term - with a 2-year hiatus - Congressman Charlie Bass. 4) Carol Shea-Porter is in her third term - with a 2-year hiatus having defeated 1-term Congressman Guinta. That strikes me as a lot of turnover in NH's congressional delegation in recent years. Maybe your beef simply that Democrats are looking likely to return to office. Or are you thinking in the past and unhappy that Judd Gregg served 18 years in the Senate?

Newsflash Gracchus, Shaheen is in her first term. The economy has sucked every year she has been in the senate. Gas prices have been over $3 day she has been in the senate. She voted for ObamaKare without even knowing what was in it and against the wishes of her constituents. Shaheen has also voted for the sequester both of her votes have hurt jobs in NH. Shaheen is known as one of the top liberals in the senate and NH is not a liberal state. Shaheen is a rubber stamp for the democrat leadership and shows no sign for thinking for herself. We need to vote Shaheen out in 2014.

My error, Van. Curiously, your rant only reinforces my point about the short tenure of our current congressional delegation. As to the rest of your post, may I suggest you keep your prose more direct and less purple. This will suffice: "I, Van, do not like Jeanne Shaheen." Everything else is either superfluous or a presentation of a bunch of personal opinion as fact. I mean, c'mon, mister what exactly does "...known as one of the top liberals..." mean? What point does it make or prove. She is also known to look more like Betty Crocker than any other Senator, which is as meaningful as your formulation.

For Gracchus below: It appears that for Van, it is more important to be able to say "Hah! Caught you in a mistake!" than it is to think about or comment on your basic point, which is a good one. It appears that NH is not a good place for congressional representatives to think that their job is assured. As for Van, he seems to believe that an opinion, if deeply enough held and strongly enough believed, is the same as a fact, raising a trove of logical, philosophical and epistemological questions.

With an approval rating barely above single digits, none of them should be re elected.

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