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November 20, 2008

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.

Anger mismanagement

People who don't remember the reign of King John, governor of New Hampshire (1983-1989) may have been given a shorthand introduction in recent weeks to a reality that most of us have been trying to forget.

John H. Sununu, the former governor and father of the defeated Republican U.S. Senate incumbent John E. Sununu, displayed his inimitable ability to externalize his displeasure with others. And the ex-gov was obviously not pleased as Election Day approached, watching not only his son's Senate seat disappear as the days drew closer to Nov. 4, but the continued dissolution -- and, in some parts, trivialization -- of the Republican Party in New Hampshire and across the U.S.

As noted in the last edition of F&J, John the Father took a rather gratuitous - and entirely fictitious - potshot at the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Interviewed on New London radio station WNTK, he barked, "It's insanity if anyone believes a UNH poll" - a poll that, at the time, had his son's opponent ahead. (As did most other polls, it might be worth noting.)

The ex-gov, apparently feeling the pressure as campaign
realities began to set in, even went so far as to charge that the folks at the Survey Center had never called an election correctly. Of course, that's not even close to true, and, for the record, they did call the Shaheen-Sununu race pretty much on the money.

Now, let's fast-forward to election night, when the ex-gov bellowed that the voters had preferred to choose "platitudes" over substance in choosing people other than those he himself deemed worthy of their support. Darn them.

Obviously on a roll, the ex-gov proceeded to externalize his displeasure with the person nearest at hand who apparently symbolizes the dreaded Democrats (whose  across-the-board sweep in D.C., by the way will likely put a crimp into the ex-gov's lucrative consulting career). In what can only be called the ex-gov's attempt to let out any of his repressed displeasure, he addressed a Nov. 14 meeting of the Seacoast Federated Republican Women and lashed out against Gov. John Lynch, a man he called "the worst governor the state of New Hampshire has ever had." Then, according to a Foster's Daily Democrat reporter, he let loose, saying that Lynch "has no backbone," that he governs with "platitudes and smiles" and that he may not be "smart enough" to solve the state's budget and school-financing problems.

Never mind the breathtaking demonstration of the ex-gov's hubris, let's mull over one simple fact - better than 70 percent of the New Hampshire electorate thinks otherwise and voted for Lynch to serve a third term. Apparently, in King John's parlance, the peasants are revolting.

The simple fact is this: Considering how many there have been in our history, it's pretty difficult to determine who actually is New Hampshire's worst governor ever - just as it is difficult to determine who was the worst White House chief of staff ever to serve.

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