This is not your father’s GOP: The Frank Szabo saga

Yesterday, when I wrote about Hillsborough County sheriff candidate Frank Szabo, I had no way of knowing that his campaign was almost over.

After all, in today’s GOP, his campaign promise to arrest anyone “involved” with an abortion and charge them with murder was not particularly newsworthy or extreme. In fact, he was subsequently endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire as someone who “understands the importance of the county sheriff role.”

Then he took his Tenther-inspired Sheriff is King philosophy to its logical conclusion and told WMUR that, if elected, he would not rule out the use of deadly force to prevent an abortion from taking place.

That crossed the line. The state Republican Party condemned his comments. The RLCNH rescinded its endorsement. Free Staters took to Blue Hampshire to distance themselves from his remarks. Even state House Speaker Bill O’Brien joined the public flogging (but oh so gently):

Mr. Szabo’s comments make it clear that he does not understand the constitutional role of sheriff in New Hampshire. Moreover, no elected official is given the latitude to take the law into his or her own hands and decide he or she knows better than the Legislature and governor what should be enforceable laws. It is our hope that Mr. Szabo will withdraw from this race and think long and hard about grounding himself in constitutional law and principles before considering political office in the future.

Wonkette’s Jesse Taylor interpreted O’Brien’s measured response:

The best part is that O’Brien won’t say that the crazy roving murderer has no place in the GOP; just that he would like the crazy roving murderer to maybe read an eighth-grade civics textbook before taking another crack at walking around with the power to arrest people (and also shoot them). It is heartening that the New Hampshire GOP is willing to let people redeem themselves before writing them off entirely.