I spend a LOT of time talking about Massachusetts politics, and not too much about New Hamphire politics — to the point where I’ve been accused of being a Masshole. (I’ll cop to occasionally being a no-M version of that word, but I will consider suing ANYONE for slander who alleges I’ve EVER been a resident of Massachusetts at ANY point in my life.) It’s not really a great thing, but I have to admit to it. But in my defense, it’s because that, by and large, we don’t have too many juicy political scandals here in New Hampshire.
There are exceptions, of course. I’m still fuming over the 2002 phone jamming scandal, when Republicans hired a telemarketing agency to flood the Democratic “get-out-the-vote” phone lines on election day. And every four years we hold the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, which in the past gave me the chance to see former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton doing the meet-and-greet on Manchester’s main street (which is Elm Street — “Main Street” is 3rd at best for important commercial sections of the Queen City), where I got to personally snub him.
Part of the reason, I think, why we have such relatively dull politics is size — we barely have a million people, and the city I live in has 10% of the entire state population. Another is that we learned a long time ago how to keep our legislature in line — we only pay them $100/year. Our lawmakers either have to be independently wealthy or have real jobs in addition to their legislative duties, so they don’t have time to get into mischief.
Which explains why we don’t have the equivalent of Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Roxbury), who keeps getting re-elected despite a tremendous litany of financial woes and other ickiness.
Wilkerson, for those who are unfamiliar with her, is one of the most liberal members of the Bay State legislature — and that’s saying a LOT. She’s never met a tax increase she didn’t like, and votes like she believes that no one can ever pay enough to the government.
Which makes her conviction for not filing or paying her taxes even more ironic. She spent a good chunk of at least one term serving “house arrest.”
Wilkerson is also, apparently, either lazy or sloppy. In her last bid for re-election, she neglected to get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and she had to run a “sticker campaign” to (barely) win the Democratic nomination.
Now, she’s in hot water again. (She spends more time in hot water than Paris Hilton’s unmentionables.) It seems that, in addition to not paying her taxes, not paying her mortgage, and not paying for clothes and other items out of her own pocket (billing her campaign for them), she’s not been paying her condo fees, either. She’s been found in default of over $13,000 in those charges, along with a history of bounced checks.
The fun part of this is that the case was heard on June 27th (9 days after a challenger announced that they would run their own write-in campaign against Wilkerson), when Wilkerson didn’t even bother to show up. But instead of the judge issuing a default judgment, as is customary when one side doesn’t even bother to show up, he instead took the matter home with him and sat on it until after Wilkerson won her sticker campaign in the Democratic primary — keeping it off the state books and out of the public eye.
Now, Wilkerson has secured the nomination, so it’s apparently “safe” to let out that once again someone who helps shape the state’s budget can’t handle her own finances, that someone who can’t be bothered to pay her own taxes and bills wants to raise taxes and fees for everyone else.
Our current scandal? Apparently an aide to Congressman Charlie Bass has been trolling liberal blogs that support his Democratic challenger and posing as an independent/liberal-leaning voter, urging voters to give Bass a “break” on some issues and focus their efforts on other races, where the Democrats might have a better chance to win something. Yeah, the dumbass was doing it from his WORK COMPUTER, from Bass’ office at the House, but that’s still pretty damned small potatoes.
No, we don’t have the likes of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, Deval Patrick, or Dianne Wilkerson in New Hampshire. As a blogger, I find that a little depressing — I could use the material.
But as a lifelong resident of New Hampshire, I find myself profoundly grateful, and wondering about putting up a wall along our southern border.