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Sep 18, 2014 11:30 AM

Out of State Special Interests

We’ve survived the recent round of primary elections. The outcomes provided little in the way of surprise to most anyone save for Lawrence Lessig of the MayDay PAC. Lessig is a professor at Harvard who has worked to reduce legal restrictions on copyrights and trademarks. More recently he’s been active in promoting a Constitutional Convention. This year he initiated the NH Rebellion, a group that took some long walks to bring attention to the need for campaign finance reform. In May he launched the MayDay PAC, which was to be used to help elect candidates to Congress that would pass campaign finance reform.

MayDay PAC picked Senate candidate Jim Rubens to support in the recent primary. Like all single-issue organizations, this was all about campaign finance reform. I understood the initial strategy: vote for Rubens to oust Brown from the primary. I didn’t think it was apt to be successful, but I understood it. That Rubens had repellent views on women and wants to finish building a wall at the southern border didn’t matter to MayDay. It didn’t seem to occur to them that those OTHER views could be problematic.

Then Lessig made the fatal mistake of giving over $100,000 to the Stark 360 PAC. Stark 360 is a PAC created by rabid Republitarian Aaron Day of the Free State Project. On a state level, they’ve lobbied against campaign finance reform. Stark 360 ran some cheesy anti-Scott Brown ads, and had people at the polls with handouts telling folks not to vote for Brown. They were paid to be there, and under questioning, proved completely unable to explain why one should vote for Rubens. Stark 360 also seems to have diverted some of that MayDay cash into ads for Andrew Hemingway and Marilinda Garcia. Stark 360 didn’t have any money till Lessig came along to share his largesse. Many of the folks who donated to Lessig were furious. Giving money to folks who fight against your cause in the naïve hope that they’ll promote your candidate (Stark 360’s website never mentioned Rubens) is not a winning strategy. Rubens lost big. The only reason the liberty crowd supported Rubens was because of guns. They think Scott Brown is wussy on guns – and they oppose campaign finance reform. Lessig has been very cranky about all the criticism he’s recieved, and still doesn’t seem to grasp where and how he went wrong.

Every candidate gets a ton of questionnaires from special interest groups. The rule of thumb has always been, if you want to be on the record with this group fill out the questionnaire. If not – don’t. When I ran for the NH House in 2002, I only filled out a few. Over a decade later there are many, many more questionnaires. Ron Paul’s “Campaign for Liberty” group has a questionnaire. Their website is full of the usual florid libertarian rhetoric about our glorious tradition of freedom and resistance to oppression. They point out that their Constitution is NOT a living document, and it seems likely they’d just as soon eliminate a number of those pesky amendments, notably the 19th. Their questionnaire is comprised of seven questions. Ron and the Liberty boys oppose any gun regulations, Obamacare, Common Core, and any tax and fee increases. The questionnaire is online, along with the results. It amused me that only two Carroll County candidates (both Democrats!) have answered the survey. Ron Paul supporter Ed Comeau is conspicuously absent, along with the rest of the local liberty crowd.

Another so-called liberty group, liberty.com also has a candidate questionnaire. They’re an offshoot band of Paullowers, and their questionnaire is considerably longer and requires more than yes or no answers. “How should we fight a war on terror?” “Should the US maintain its standing army?” You get the idea. These are issues that will not be decided by the NH state legislature. Free State Project participants (and NH House candidates) Max Abramson of Seabrook and Shem Kellogg of Plaistow have both filled these out. Abramson would like for the US to pull out of all overseas bases and put those troops on the Mexican border. Freedom and liberty only extends so far, it seems. The liberty crowd is quite concerned about immigrants from south of the border. The liberty crowd is comprised, almost entirely, of pale people.

Max Abramson also proudly announces that he’s signed “every taxpayer pledge known to man.” As I’ve said before, signing pledges means never having to think for one’s self. Shem Kellogg’s answer to “What corrective actions could we take right now to improve the economy?” is “you and I could opt out of the state’s system whenever possible.” Ponder that for a few minutes. Then run through the list all of the countries that have successful libertarian economic systems.

It’s never a good idea to elect people who hate government to be the government.

NH badly needs some folks with vision to serve in our state government, not regressives desperate to return to a fictionalized version of the past. We have some very real problems looming, and we’ve done nothing to plan for them. Electing folks whose real concern is getting the US out of the UN and MOAR GUNZ isn’t helpful.

NH is not a big government state. It never has been. The Free Staters come with the intent of taking over and dismantling our state. They are woefully and deliberately ignorant of our state history and traditions. No different, really, than any other out of state special interest group that comes in thinking they know what is best for us.

© 2014 sbruce

Published as an op-ed in the September 19 edition of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper


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