Well, the great New Hampshire Phone Jamming Scandal from the 2002 Senate race has ended — and not with a bang, but a whimper.
Last week, the state Democratic and Republican parties came to an out-of-court settlement on the civil, financial side of things. The Republicans are going to fork over $25,000 a year to the Democrats for the next five years, as well as give $5,000 each to two New Hampshire charities.
I’m no lawyer or judge, but I applied what seemed to me to be a couple of halfway decent common-sense solutions to putting a dollar amount on a non-financial loss. Both times, I came up with about $2,000,000. Considering that the criminal part of this scandal sent a couple of GOP heavyweights away to federal prison, I thought that amount was at least in the ballpark.
But the party officials didn’t bother to consult me, and as I don’t belong to either, it’s no skin off my nose.
Maybe the Republicans threatened to file bankruptcy. Maybe the Democrats figured they’d just like to get it over with and have an undisputable moral victory. Maybe they’re going to have an annual PR stunt when they get the checks to remind everyone of the scandal. Maybe someone has incriminating photos of all concerned parties with underage goats and “suggested” they just get this over with. I don’t know.
All I do know is that while the scandal might be over, the stain on New Hampshire politics — and Republicans — ain’t gonna go away so easily with the writing of a few checks.
The message that should be sent loud and clear is this: nobody — NOBODY — dicks around with elections. No jamming of phones, no assing around with ballots, no slashing of tires, no flagrant voter intimidation at the polls, NOTHING. Not in OUR country.
(*Title shamelessly stolen from this fine blogger)