Jeff Feingold is
Editor of NH Business Review's print and
on-line editions. He has
been a business journalist for more than 25 years, and recognized
by the Small Business Administration as National
Small Business Journalist of the Year.
The nearly breathtaking rise and apparently impending fall of Jack Kimball, chairman of the state Republican Party, is something for the New Hampshire political history books.
For weeks now, we've heard about the party's financial troubles, its electoral troubles (another special election loss for a House seat, this one in Strafford County), its staffing troubles (the all-to-public firing of Executive Director Will Wrobleski) and PR troubles in general.
And then there are what essentially amount to bills of impeachment against Kimball in the form of editorials in the
Union Leader and Foster's Daily Democrat.
For his part, Kimball has remained steadfast, although others might use the word obstinate.
He actually didn't do himself any favors after reading a negative Foster's editorial about his reign when he wrote a rather defensive response that contained the paragraph:
"We represent those that agree with the preamble to the Declaration of Independence: We actively support the rule of law, setting it firmly on the bedrock foundations of our state and federal constitutions, as plainly written and intended by our forebears. We believe in the inherent, sovereign right of the electorate to rule the government, not the other way around; and that the government was contracted to protect our lives, our liberties and our property, not micromanage them."
The implication, if you're having trouble reading between the lines, is that only people who agree with Kimball, or at least back him, subscribe to the basic principles set forth in the Declaration.
As Foster's replied to Kimball's reply:
"It is an insult to imply that either Democrats or independents want a dictatorship or oligarchy."
The chairman, the newspaper wrote, "needs to stop seeing evil around every corner and the need to have his guns - political and real - at the ready."
To which it added, in case Kimball didn't get the point: "John H. Sununu, where are you when the GOP needs you?"
Recent world order
In case the governor specifically and state Democrats in general haven't picked up on it, they're in the minority in New Hampshire government for now, and at least through 2012.
Reminders of that reality come in all shapes and sizes, including the Executive Council's recent nuclear diss of longtime former Executive Councilor Bernie Streeter, a lifelong Republican who had the audacity to support John Lynch for governor (along with tens of thousands,
at times even a majority, of other Republicans, it might be noted).
The Executive Council, on which there are none, not one, zippo, zero, nada Democrats,
is once again flexing its muscles, this time on the governor's nomination of Christopher Clement to take over as commissioner of the Department of Transpiration.
Ostensibly, the argument is over the widening of Interstate 93, which Clement hinted could be slowed down or left unfinished in order to find new funding.
But the reality is that the council is simply in no mood to rubber-stamp any of John Lynch's nominations. And it's doubtful that mood will be changing anytime soon.
Nothing more than feelings
Here's a question:
When House Speaker Bill O'Brien famously launched his fatwa on young voters earlier this year with his now famously dismissive line, "They don't have life experience and they just vote their feelings," does that also apply to the recent straw poll conducted earlier this month by the New Hampshire Young Republicans?
For the record, Texas Congressman Ron Paul took 45 percent of the vote, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with 35 percent.
But if they were just voting "their feelings," it doesn't mean much, does it?
Frank Guinta: The 1st District congressman feels the wrath of constituents at forums in his district, where they take him to task for his votes and the performance of D.C. in general.
Gene Chandler: The chairman of the House Public Works Committee turns up the heat on the state DOT and its plan to cut back on snow plowing this winter because of budget cuts.
Kelly Ayotte: The state's junior U.S. senator shines a spotlight on the continued failure to fund operation of the completed and unopen federal prison in Berlin.
Chuck Douglas: The Concord attorney and Republican activist endorses Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president.
Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator and candidate for the GOP presidential nomination again seems to fail to make waves as he wraps up yet another visit to New Hampshire.
Tim Pawlenty: The former governor of Minnesota is the first to call it quits in the GOP presidential race after placing third in an Iowa straw poll.
Mike Brunelle: The former state representative and Democratic Party director,
who was at the center of a storm on whether he could serve in the House while serving as a party official,
officially resigns from the Legislature to take a job in Pennsylvania.
It's been making the rounds...
• Does Governor Lynch really think he has a chance of winning the veto shootout over the firearms "self-defense" bill?
• It's interesting to note that Kelly Ayotte, who campaigned for her U.S. Senate seat by proclaiming that government doesn't create jobs, is pushing really hard to secure funding for the yet-to-open-and-hire-people federal prison in Berlin.
• This is how tumultuous the GOP presidential race remains: Even ex-New York Gov. George Pataki thinks he has a chance.
• The more you think about it, you can picture a scenario in which state Republicans lose more than 50 House seats in '12. And that's likely low-balling.
• Remember the days when the New Hampshire Republican Party could only be described as a well-oiled machine?