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.
Home is where the constituents are
Perhaps this should serve as a word of warning to other potential presidential candidates as the presidential primary season gets under way (yes, it's only 2010, but you know the drill).
Last month, the president of the student body at Louisiana State University sent a letter to newspapers in New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio pleading with Bobby Jindal to come on home.
Wrote J Hudson in a letter titled, "Attention Gov. Jindal" and printed in The Keene Sentinel:
"Gov. Bobby Jindal is spending more time in your state than the one he was elected to represent," wrote student J Hudson. "I read almost daily about his trips to other states, which makes me believe that he is more interested in running for president than running the state of Louisiana."
Added Hudson: "On behalf of the students whose hopes for a brighter future will soon be crushed, I beg you to return to Louisiana and fix your state's serious problems. You've neglected your constituents long enough."
The times they are a-changin'
OK, the conservative House Republican Alliance wants to flex its muscles in the new legislative session. And why not?
But judging from their agenda, they have some strange ideas about what needs to be "fixed" in New Hampshire.
Consider their list of 33 changes in state law that the alliance members said they would push once the session begins in January.
Some are rehashes of old proposals. For instance, the alliance wants to permit the purchase of prescription drugs outside the country and allow residents to purchase health insurance from anywhere in the United States - as long as those policies are written in English.
Other proposals are obvious - although their chance of passage remains dubious. They include repealing the marriage equality law, allowing, "zoning deregulation," exemption of New Hampshire firearms from federal laws and specifically kicking out two marital masters and a judge (what's up with that?), along with Education Commissioner Virginia Barry.
Speaking of education, the alliance also wants to provide tax breaks to those who choose (yes, choose) to home-school their kids or send them to private school.
All in all, the alliance members claim, their proposals "will restore prosperity, re-establish New Hampshire as a state that attracts newcomers and encourages its citizens to live their lives without government interference," in the words of Rep. Pamela Tucker, a Greenland Republican and alliance co-chair.
Still, that claim of rejecting "government interference" might catch your eye. Setting aside the whole debate over whether the "government" should be in the business of defining marriage between two adults, the alliance is very much in favor of "tort reform," meaning the members want to pass laws that would limit the rights of citizens to file suit if they've suffered harm. Doesn't sound like "government" getting out of the way there.
And then there's the proposal that all voters be required to show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Besides making things a little more complicated at town meeting, it doesn't quite sound like the New Hampshire way.
But you never know.
There was a virtual parade - OK, more of a short chorus line - of Republican governors during the waning weeks of New Hampshire's election campaign.
Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi's Haley Barbour, and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal - to name the biggest names - dutifully dipped their respective toes in the Granite State's political waters, ostensibly to stump for Republican candidates. (But, being good New Hampshirites, we know the real reason, don't we?)
Anyway, it is kinda interesting, isn't it, while Pawlenty - the man who seems to have the most serious White House ambitions at this point - worked for some other New Hampshire candidates, Barbour and Jindal swooped in during the waning days of the campaign to stump for only one candidate - John Stephen.
Perhaps - perhaps - they figured the other Republicans didn't need their help. Or perhaps they weren't asked to help out the others.
Or perhaps they figured it couldn't hurt if they somehow managed to help a man win election as governor of the first primary state. Especially a man who was written off as a political goner only a couple of months earlier.
But it is worth noting that a former governor - namely Mitt Romney of the commonwealth of Massachusetts - has been spreading his political and personal capital rather more graciously by seemingly stumping in New Hampshire for any Republican who asks.
Bill Clinton: The former president comes to New Hampshire to stump for John Lynch - a sign of desperation or a show of force?
Elliot Lasky: The Nashua optometrist and husband of Democratic state Sen. Bette Lasky is caught in the act of stealing an opponent's political signs - and photographed by a Republican lawmaker while
Sarah Palin: Once again, she skips a visit to New Hampshire, this time choosing to skip Tea Party Express's last pre-election rally, this one at the State House in Concord.
Faith and Freedom Coalition: The organization headed by Ralph Reed sends out a mailing in South Carolina attacking the Democratic candidate for governor, only to run a photo of New Hampshire's John Lynch instead.
Scott Brown: The man who beat Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley visits New Hampshire to stump for a former AG, Kelly Ayotte.
It's been making the rounds...
• When the Portsmouth Herald withholds endorsements of both Terie Norelli and Martha Fuller Clark, you know the paper has comfortably settled into the Murdoch era.
• Does anyone alive remember a time when the Union Leader didn't make an endorsement in the 1st Congressional District - especially when one of the candidates is a former Republican mayor of Manchester?
• Guess John Stephen was following the money when he shipped himself to NYC a couple weeks back to sit at the knee of Rudy Giuliani while he watched the former America's mayor raise some cash for him.
• The Local Government Center may have only been grazed by the bullet, but they're going to find some new laws aimed right at it in the coming months.
• How many pharmacists do you know who voted for John "Keep the Difference" Stephen?