Monday, March 15, 2010
My post last week entitled "What is the Cheshire GOP Thinking?!," criticizing the invitation of Rick Santorum as a Lincoln Day Dinner speaker, was published as an online letter in the Keene Sentinel. Of the immediate responses, this one from someone calling themself "notta" was the most intriguing:
"I sincerely hope that Thom Simmons will NOT be running as a Republican.
I'll do everything I can to alert his voters as to who he is and what he stands for.
Thom should be running as a fiscal conservative Democrat--not a socally liberal Republican.
And Olympia Snowe is NOT a successful Republican. She's a disgrace to what we stand for. "
And there you have it. The voice of Republican Activism in New Hampshire.
Anti-Marriage Equality Town Meeting crusades (failing, thankfully, all around the state). Support for extremist, unsuccessful party spokesmen like Santorum coupled with disdain for traditional Yankee Moderates like Snowe. The extreme, the shrill, the hateful, the ignorant, the phobic, the mean-spirited, all in one ugly tangled bunch of worms. Well, it's time to cut the Gordian Knot, methinks.
Let me make clear that I am not afraid of the response I received. I never counted on the support of social conservatives in the first place. And secondly, the support of social conservatives, while possibly controlling in a Primary in a shrinking Republican Party, is insignificant at best and counter-productive at worst in a general election in Cheshire County.
And so, the time is come.
Yes, I am running for State Representative in Cheshire-4 (Chesterfield, Hinsdale, and Winchester) in 2010.
And yes, I am running as a Democrat.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Today I received an email from the Cheshire County GOP, advertising their Lincoln Day Dinner on April 30, featuring, of all people.....ex-US Senator Rick Santorum.
Yes, that Santorum - the one who lost his re-election bid 59% - 41%, the largest defeat for an incumbant US Senator in over 30 years. The one who insisted that Weapons of Mass destruction had been found in Iraq. Who sponsored an amendment to require the teaching of creationism in public schools. The one who denies the existence of any 'privacy rights' in the US Constitution, even between married persons, and has criticized the Griswold vs Connecticut ruling, which invalidated a state law prohibting birth control.
All this, in Cheshire County, which is quite arguably the most socially liberal county in the state of New Hampshire. A County where Democrats lead the Republicans in the Statehouse delegation by a margin of 19-5. A County where John Kerry pulled 59% of the vote, and Barack Obama pulled 54%.
Enrollment? Here are the figures for Cheshire County as of January 8, 2008:
UNDECLARED ("Independent") 24,078 (45%)
DEMOCRAT: 16,655 (31 %)
REPUBLICAN: 13,249 (24 %)
Of the 23 Towns in Cheshire County, Independents constitute the plurality in 21 of them. (In Dublin there were 11 more Republicans than Independents; in Keene, Democrats have a plurality).
In other words, if Republicans are to win elections in Cheshire County, they will only do so by winning over the 'undeclared' or independent voters, NOT by appealing to a shrinking, shrill Republican "base." The more the GOP is seen as an extreme fringe of right-wing loonies, the quicker their relegation to the role of insignificance, at least in Cheshire.
What is the message that the Cheshire GOP is sending to these voters when Rick Santorum is the headliner at their Lincoln Day Dinner? And how different would that message be if someone like successful New England Republican Senator Olympia Snowe had been invited instead!
For those of us seeking to run for office in Cheshire County as Republicans...could a more disastrous choice for dinner speaker have been chosen?