2nd District congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia doubts the necessity of the West African military deployment to fight Ebola. In a campaign event with former U.N. ambassador John Bolton at Dartmouth College, Garcia asked, “Is there a stated goal there? Building hospitals and schools — is that hand in hand with our security interests?”
The World Health Organization estimates the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people and is still out of control in three West African nations, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This week, the White House announced the U.S. is sending 3,000 troops to Liberia to help fight the disease. The troops’ mission will be to build treatment centers and train the medical staff to run them.
Pres. Obama explained why the military action is, in fact, hand in hand with our security interests. “If the outbreak is not stopped now,” he said, “we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us,”
“So this is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security — it’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic,” the president continued. “That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.”
Valley News notes Garcia also criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Salem Republican, who is challenging Congresswoman Annie Kuster in the 2nd District, claimed the CDC is “diverting resources to efforts such as studies about helmet safety and health initiatives related to bike paths rather than to developing protocols to address the threat posed by Ebola.”
Her solution is to cut the CDC’s budget. Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern reports Garcia stated her desire to cut the budget for the nation’s health protection agency during a candidate forum in Franklin.
Today’s quiz. Match the quote with the politician who uttered it:
A. ”I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”
B. ”I sat down a few times with [him]. … I respect the guy. He looked me in the eye and he told me the truth. … I feel he’s a very sincere person.”
1. Former Pres. George W. Bush, describing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
2. State Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) describing U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown.
1. A. At a June, 2001 press conference in Slovenia, Pres. George W. Bush described his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, declaring the Russian president to be trustworthy. “I looked the man in the eye. … I was able to get a sense of his soul,” Bush said.
2. B. In a campaign appearance with Scott Brown and Mitt Romney, Rep. Al Baldasaro endorsed Brown, telling WMUR, “I had some issues there in the beginning on the Second Amendment. … I sat down a few times with Scott. Scott looked me in the eye and said, ‘Al, I have no issues on assault weapons. I respect the guy. He looked me in the eye and he told me the truth.” Baldasaro told The Telegraph, “I feel he’s a very sincere person. His wife is a sincere person.”
State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) blames the media for the controversy that followed his comments declaring Congresswoman Ann Kuster is “ugly as sin” and saying she “looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag.”
"The media never ceases to amaze me with its incredible ability, in its lust to gin up a controversy, twist a statement to the point where the original point is lost and demonization sets in," he blogged. “[T]here’s no end to the games the media won’t play in an attempt to follow their Democratic script.”
Vaillancourt’s remarks, first reported by Miscellany Blue, were subsequently covered by national media outlets including Huffington Post, USA Today, CBS News, Time, MSNBC, The Daily Beast and New York Daily News.
Vaillancourt said reporters had asked him if he stands by what he wrote. “Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is more attractive than Ms. Kuster?” he asked. “If the reporters themselves don’t see that, then they should question their own abilities to function.”
While Kuster’s opponent, Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R-Salem), and a spokesperson for the state Republican Party released statements condemning Vaillancourt’s remarks, most of Vaillancourt’s Republican colleagues avoided comment.
Only Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), no stranger to controversy himself, offered public support. "Do I agree with what he said," he asked, "no but he is entitled to his 1st Amendment Rights, get over it. This political correctness is out of hand.”
"Rep Vaillancourt is a tell it like it is Rep," Baldasaro continued in a Facebook message, “he says what he believes in and holds no punches. Tell the Dems to try and stick with the issues and stop trying to find fault in what everyone says.”
State House Rep. Steve Vaillancourt thinks Congresswoman Ann Kuster is ugly. “Let’s be honest,” he blogged. “Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin.”
“How ugly is Annie Kuster?" he continued. "[S]ad to say, but the drag queens [in Montreal] are more attractive than Annie Kuster. … Annie Kuster looks more like a drag queen than most men in drag. Ouch!"
So what prompted this misogynist rant? Vaillancourt acknowledged his language might be “uncomfortable” for some but claimed his invective had “political relevance.”
The Manchester Republican explained he had heard about some polling data (though he couldn’t remember the source) that proved an attractive political candidate can have a seven to ten point advantage over a less attractive candidate. “If looks really matter and if [the 2nd District congressional race between Kuster and Marilinda Garcia] is at all close,” he wrote, “give a decided edge to Marilinda Garcia.”
For what it’s worth, the “polling data” Vaillancourt refers to is a University of Ottawa study published in American Politics Research. The study, which analyzed every 2008 House of Representatives race using student coders and a web-based survey, concluded “an extremely attractive candidate running against an extremely unattractive candidate can expect to obtain an electoral ‘beauty premium’ of more than 7 percent of the vote.”
The science is questionable. Last year, Harvard political scientist Ryan Enos rebutted similar studies. “No, good looks don’t win elections,” he wrote. “Here’s a thought experiment: try to think of one Democrat you know who voted for Mitt Romney because he was so good looking. Have you thought of anyone yet?” he asked.
What’s not questionable is the incendiary nature of Vaillancourt’s remarks. One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said Vaillancourt’s comments "appear to have been brought on by Kuster’s failure to conform to Steve’s standards of female beauty" and are yet another example of the Republican war on women.
"That he lives his life as the judge of some constant internal beauty pageant is disturbing," she wrote. "That he feels obligated to comment publicly on this topic shows the kind of misogyny we’ve come to expect from the party of the war on women. That he thinks somehow that looks have anything to do with intellect or job performance shows a level of disconnect that is absolutely stunning. He should be forced to resign.”
A featured article on the New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition website describes their latest conspiracy theory. Some in the liberty community, they write, believe the Ebola outbreak is a deliberate attempt by “global elites” to kill 90% of the world’s population:
Some of those in the liberty community feel that these pandemics are a deliberate attempt to reduce the population in one fell swoop, whereas perpetual war, created famines and water shortages, cutbacks based on the climate hoax, and the creation of diseases such as AIDS and the H1N1 virus didn’t turn out to be the epidemics the global elites had hoped for. […]
Some people we interviewed feel this is being done ON PURPOSE, as the global elites would love 90% of us to be DEAD, and the CDC is just doing its job. They believe that this plan is laid out in the Georgia Guidestones, an anonymously erected new world order monument that cites its dedication to one world government, a single global language, and the reduction of the population to just 500 million in total.
As the 2014 campaign heats up, Democrats are highlighting the association between Republican candidates and the Free State Project, the controversial group attempting to persuade 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire en masse.
A searing letter to the editor in today’s Hampton Union from the chairman of the Hampton Democratic Committee accused Free Staters of teaming up with former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and “trying to destroy our government.” A vote for a Republican state representative candidate, warned Dick Desrosiers, is a vote for Bill O’Brien and a Free Stater agenda.
State Senate candidate Lee Nyquist, who is challenging incumbent Andy Sanborn in District 9, recently sent out a mailer linking his opponent to the Free State Project and chairman Aaron Day. The piece highlighted votes by Sanborn that Nyquist claims would have weakened the state’s public schools.
Day, who also leads the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and the Stark360 super PAC, has raised the political profile of the group with his outspoken support for Republican “pro-liberty” candidates.
And some Republicans, including former state party chair Fergus Cullen, have publicly acknowledged the toxicity of that Free Stater connection. “I just don’t think, in a competitive district, an informed electorate is going to elect someone running on a Free State platform,” Cullen told the Concord Monitor.
Sanborn, the target of Nyquist’s mailer, is a New Hampshire native who describes himself as a “liberty candidate.” He was the New Hampshire co-chair for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and has been endorsed by the RLCNH and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance.
Nevertheless, the Bedford Republican’s pro-liberty credentials were called into question earlier this year when reports surfaced that he had threatened a constituent who sought his support for legalizing marijuana. Hilary Sargent had the story:
New Hampshire State Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) doesn’t want to legalize pot. And if you e-mail him suggesting he consider it, he just might threaten you.
Or that’s what happened to one constituent when he sent Sanborn a polite and thoughtful e-mail detailing the reasons the senator might consider supporting marijuana legalization. […]
Upon receiving the e-mail, the senator, who touts his beliefs in “personal freedom” and “personal liberty” in campaign videos, appeared to have figured out that the sender was a college freshman and the recent recipient of a scholarship.
Sanborn then lashed out, responding with a thinly veiled threat of what might happen were he to contact the organization that awarded the scholarship.
“Many candidates will talk about civility and compromise during this election cycle, and I think these features are important," writes Executive Council candidate Bob Burns, "but not at the expense of accountability or principle.”
For example, when Portsmouth Herald reporter Elizabeth Dinan reported on a "pimp accused of withholding heroin to control women," the Republican candidate for the District 4 seat held by Chris Pappas replied with this principled response: ”Wow did he learn this strategy from the NHDems?”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte has accused the president of declaring war on ISIS to help Democrats in the midterm election and said she fears he will abandon the effort after November.
In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Ayotte said, “I’m very fearful as we look at the current military strategy that it is surrounding the November elections and that he won’t have the resolve to follow through with what needs to be done in a sustained effort to destroy ISIS.”
"Are you suggesting that after the November election and acting tough and talking tough, that he is going to pull back from confronting ISIS?" asked Wallace.
"I’m very concerned about that, Chris, and his resolve in this regard," she replied.
"The possibility that Ayotte might have been scaremongering to boost Republican candidates’ prospects a month from now was not raised,” Wonkette’s Doktor Zoom wrote, “because only a terrible cynic would accuse a great patriot like Kelly Ayotte of such base motives.”
Marilinda Garcia continues to evade questions regarding her position on a controversial “personhood” amendment that would prohibit abortion by defining a fertilized egg as a “pre-born” human being endowed with the rights of a citizen.
In an interview with John DiStaso and Jack Heath on WGIR radio, Garcia was asked if she agreed with the language added to the state Republican Party platform that declares support for “the pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
On her 2012 campaign web site, Garcia described her position opposing abortion by using almost identical language: “Believing that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life and clarifying the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections as applicable to unborn children.”
Rather than clarify her position, Garcia expressed her disapproval of the delegates’ action — and criticised Democrats for noticing. “My response to that was I just didn’t think it was necessarily a constructive addition to the platform, in any particular way,” Garcia told DiStaso, “but naturally the Democratic Party chose to seize on that, and again, try to make it something bigger than it is.”
Tea Party Express, which claims to be the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, has endorsed Marilinda Garcia in New Hampshire’s 2nd District congressional race.
“We are encouraged by Marilinda’s fighting spirit and adherence to conservative values,” said Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich. “She will become a formidable force in Congress and a bold, conservative leader for years to come.”
Four Granite Staters, identified as “local Tea Party leaders,” signed on in support: state Senate candidate and homeschooling advocate Doris Hohensee, Coalition for New Hampshire Taxpayers chair Ed Naile, Free State Project chair Aaron Day and Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire founder Tim Condon.
There is dissension on the right. Tea Party Express made headlines three years ago when local Tea Party activists, led by Andrew Hemingway, protested a Granite State appearance by eventual Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the group’s “Reclaiming America” bus tour.
New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition leader Jane Aitken recently blasted the group when it was reported they might be endorsing Scott Brown in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Jeanne Shaheen.
"We all remember what happened last time when a so-called tea party from out of state interfered in our elections," Aitkin wrote on the NHTPC website. “Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express claimed the ‘tea party’ endorsed Senator Ayotte when WE DID NOTHING OF THE KIND.”
"Contact Tea Party Express, and Sal Russo in particular, and tell them to keep their establishment GOP group and bus OUT OF NH and to mind their own damned business," Aitken wrote. "What is it going to take to keep these impostors out of NH’s elections, a lawsuit?"
In a 2012 speech on the floor of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Marilinda Garcia said marriage is "an institution that makes no sense" for same-sex couples because they cannot "unite biologically." Marriage equality, she warned, "will have devastating long-term effects.”
Garcia, the Republican nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, told her House colleagues that "marriage exists to solve a problem. That problem," she said, "is a societal problem that arises from sex between men and women but not from sex between partners of the same gender. That problem is what to do about its generativity."
"A man and a woman who unite biologically may or may not have children depending on factors beyond their control," Garcia continued, "but the point is that a same sex couple cannot thus unite, therefore the state has no interest in regulating their relationship."
"The symbolic message of inclusion for same-sex couples in an institution that makes no sense for them would be coupled with another message," she explained, "that marriage is about the desires of adults rather than the interest of children."
Garcia was speaking in support of House Bill 437, legislation that would have repealed same-sex marriage. In its place, the law would have allowed any two unmarried adults to form a so-called civil union — including family members. The new civil unions would have been exempt from protection under the state’s discrimination laws.
From the House podium, Garcia related the story of Maria and Linda, two “loving, committed, emotionally- attached and supportive women” who raised her mother and for whom Garcia was named.
Why should these “women who shared their adult lives not enjoy all of the alleged rights that a man and a woman as a married couple can?” Garcia asked. “For me, it’s simple. It’s purely based on biology,” she said. “They can raise a child but they are biologically incapable of producing a child together.”
"Nobody argues that gay people marrying will cause marriage and society to crumble tomorrow," Garcia concluded. "What we’re arguing is that the continual weakening of the institution of marriage will have devastating long-term effects. And we’re right, because we’re already witnessing that."
Lee Quandt, the former Republican state representative from Exeter, warns that a number of extremists and Free Staters from the Bill O’Brien era are plotting their return:
On the state rep races some are predicting a 265 republican to democrat majority with, you got it, the famous “Bill the Bully O’Brien” as speaker once again. If you remember the last time he was speaker in two short years he turned the legislature into a cult and by doing that brought down the whole republican agenda and we lost the house.
Many of the same people who the voters rejected during the last election, let’s call them Billy bots because they couldn’t think for themselves, are running again. That includes a number of Free Staters who are still hell bent on taking control of NH and frustrated they can’t. We have Free Staters and Free State backers running in Exeter who are trying to keep a low profile knowing, like Exeter, many communities will not vote for them.