Here’s the way an official with the National Republican Congressional Committee described a vote by U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster last week: “You know Annie Kuster has gone off the deep end when she puts Obama’s government shutdown ahead of nuclear weapons security and funding for nuclear emergencies. When rogue regimes like Iran continue to build nuclear weapons programs, Annie Kuster’s vote against funding America’s nuclear weapons programs is putting America’s security at risk.”
And in a nearly identical press release, here’s the way the NRCC described U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter: “In a shocking display of ignorance today, Carol Shea-Porter put her commitment to President Obama’s government shutdown over securing America’s nuclear weapons and preventing nuclear nonproliferation.”
Here’s the way a state Democratic Party spokesman greeted the entry of Republican Dan Innis into the 1st District congressional race: “New Hampshire Republican primary voters will choose between a disgraced former congressman and Tea Party extremist in Frank Guinta, or a corporate puppet more concerned with Wall Street profits than working families in Dan Innis. . . . The truth is that Granite Staters can’t trust Dan Innis. He desperately wants to be a D.C. insider and will say anything to get there.”
Here’s the way the Republican State Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Horn characterized Kuster, Shea-Porter and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s support for the Affordable Care Act: “They continue to remind voters that they lack the courage and integrity required to stand up to the Obama administration and do what is right New Hampshire.”
And here’s the way a Democratic spokesman responded to Horn’s recent comments on the federal government shutdown: “It is impossible to take anything Jennifer Horn says about funding the federal government with a straight face until she pays the $90,000 she owes in back taxes.”
Here are the words Republican Senate candidate Jim Rubens used to describe incumbent Shaheen as he announced his bid: “career politician and party rubber-stamp.” And here are the words a state Democratic Party spokesman used to describe Rubens: “out of touch with reality.”
If voters are sick of American politics, it’s possible that overheated rhetoric like this might just play a part. Do these partisan players really expect New Hampshire voters to believe that Kuster, the congresswoman from the 2nd District, is soft on Iran? That Innis, a candidate most voters have never heard of, favors Wall Street over New Hampshire families? That Shea-Porter, the 1st District congresswoman, doesn’t care about securing nuclear weapons? That our congressional delegation lacks integrity?
The 2014 election is still a year away. No doubt there are political candidates who are scoundrels, and good candidates who have made bad votes. Once voters tune into the political races – months and months and months from now – it’s possible they’ll grow to love some candidates and loathe some others. But it’s early. If the political theater is this overwrought here in 2013, we can only imagine the long, unappealing year ahead.