'People above politics."Remember? Those words from former governor Meldrim Thomson comprise arguably the best remembered slogan in New Hampshire political history.
I personally witnessed Mel Thomson, a Republican, ill and in severe pain, force himself up from his seat to shake hands with then recently elected Democrat Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. He did it because he was a gentleman, but he also did it to show respect for the governor and for the people who elected her in a fair election a few months before.
That was yesterday.
Today we hear news that Charles McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, and Allen Raymond, a GOP consultant, pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from their involvement in the jamming of telephones on Election Day, Nov. 5, 2002. Democrats' computer-generated calls to get out the vote were blocked and thus voters did not receive the intended message due to illegal action by some in the Republican Party.
At their plea hearings in U.S. District Court, McGee and Raymond admitted they spoke to an "unidentified official with a national political organization" about the illegality. As sad and deplorable as those actions were, regrettably, Republican Party officials in New Hampshire and Washington have decided to put "politics above people" and delay this much needed and urgent investigation of the facts.
Where is the outrage of elected officials and party leaders?
This is a far cry from the party of Lincoln that proudly and correctly stood on principle to outlaw slavery. It is a far cry from the party of great and principled statesmen like Mel Thomson, Norris Cotton, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt. What a contrast between those great Republicans and current party leaders, who refuse to speak out against this despicable action by pathetic political hacks.
James Tobin, President Bush's 2004 New England campaign chairman and the Northeast political director of the Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002, said, "These allegations date back to years and have absolutely nothing to do with the present campaign."
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Mr. Tobin, these allegations have everything to do with the present campaign because the people must feel confident that the 2002 election fraud will not be repeated. The best way to restore confidence is for all those involved to tell the truth now.
Both parties have a right to expect a fair election result even if it is not always a favorable one. Tobin also said, "It is disappointing, indeed, to see the opposition party (Democrats) manipulate the court system in a blatant attempt to influence the election."
What a mind-numbing hypocritical answer that is! Who is trying to influence elections, Mr. Tobin? Please do not insult us further.
New Hampshire Democrat Party Chair Kathy Sullivan said, "The public should know Tobin's role in this, along with the roles of any other high-level GOP officials."
Kathy and I have not agreed very often, but she is absolutely correct. We need the truth now to restore confidence in the coming election. She has a right to be angry. Can you imagine the Republican outrage if the Democrats had been guilty of similar conduct? Does a party that refuses to tell the truth before Election Day deserve our vote on election day?
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