Well, NH Constitution Article 10 does provide for a Revolution, doesn’t it? Was HB617 the flashpoint? Part 1

by Skip

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

June 2, 1784

Well, Article 10 is meant to be used by the Citizens when Government is judged to be oppresive and tyrannical – but it seems like it is fitting what is going on in the NH House.  We’ve written extensively about HB617 which will raise the gas tax on NH Citizens big time.  Our beef is not that Democrats initiated this but that Republicans, from the Party of Low Taxes / Limited Government, voted to support Higher Taxes that will support Bigger Government.  And TWO of the Republican Leadership team in the NH House voted for it: David Hess and Shawn Jasper.

Rightfully so, both have been taking heat – especially Shawn Jasper.  The grassroots House members are LIVID – and Jasper just keeps pouring gas on himself in fanning the flames.  How do I know?  Man, have I gotten emails.  Let’s review a few of them, shall we (warning – this may get longish):

First indication that something was wrong actually came from the Republican House Leadership (abridged, reformatted):

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett):  “Our roads and bridges do need attention, but this is the wrong bill at the wrong time. Our working families can’t afford another tax increase of any kind. Our economy is still fragile and taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of New Hampshire consumers is not the solution to the problem. In addition, before we start imposing massive tax increases we need to make sure we are complying with all the laws and the Constitution to assure that all highway fund monies are actually going to fix our highways. ”

House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford): “Raising this tax hurts the hard working and lower income families in our state who are already struggling to make ends meet. Now is not the time to raise this tax and make our citizens choose between a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas. Nor should we be making our state’s employers choose between investing in new equipment or creating new jobs while seeing their fuel costs sky rocket. We should focus on finding new and innovative ways to address the problem and not place the burden on our already overburdened taxpayers.”

Quickly followed by the official Presser from the NH GOP Chairman Jennifer Horn (abridged, reformatted):

“During these difficult economic times, the last thing we should do is impose the House Democrat Leadership’s devastating $1 billion gas tax hike on New Hampshire’s working families. Not only is this bad policy, but Democrats have clearly misled Granite Staters about the actual motives behind this legislation. Democrats believe that their gas tax hike is ‘a gift that keeps on giving’ that should not be “spent all in one place.” They view their tax hike as tool that can be used to scam New Hampshire motorists into funding their plans to grow government.  “Now is the time for Governor Hassan to stop hiding from her constituents and pledge to veto this disastrous legislation if it reaches her desk. Her unwillingness to take a stand on this devastating tax increase raises serious questions about her ability to lead and to keep her campaign promise to preserve New Hampshire’s low tax environment.”

Yeah – Tom Sawyer time – we just saw the whitewash brush all up and downConsistency – not in the lexicon of the Republicans?  Blaming it entirely on the Democrats is not cool – and not right.  Blame needs to be laid, not at the feet, but on the heads of the Republicans that helped pass this – including the Leadership that is supposed to lead by example especially when two of the major planks of the Platform are violated by them.  Those in these leadership positions also deserve a tongue lashing at the minimum – sure, the population at large may just steam at a freaking big tax tossed at them by scheming Democrats and all too willing Republicans – how does that further the policies of the latter?  This is exactly the same problem of bad cops on a force – a code of silence only condones that bad behavior.  The Republicans expect that a cover up like this would be countenanced by those that watch in horror as what they had promised to their constituents was run roughshod by the Good Old Boys (and one Old Gal)?

Well, match, gas – FIRE!  and this did not go over well and I heard about the loud grumbling which is turning into a roar- especially when Shawn Jasper decided to excoriate Bill O’Brien, last session’s Speaker of the House over Bill’s amendment to HB617.  From what I gather, this was political payback: either a moderate squish that felt a need for a payback for last session, or a slap by the Old Guard Establishment against the grassroots – or both.  Incoming in response to the above Pressers:

Equally newsworthy is Shawn Jasper speaking against Bill OBrien who tried to offer a commonsense amendment. Gene Chandler told me Jasper was pro gas tax. WHAT? As part of our leadership, Jasper is against a leading plank of our platform. A “unified” party? I think not. This needs to be addressed.

And off the races (or is that to the stocks, or the burning stake)?  Certainly, *I* didn’t like hearing this:

Yeah.  Consistency of action. Discipline of message.  Thank you, Republicans, for giving the State a $1 BILLION dollar tax hike.

 Limited Government? Smaller Government? Less taxes?   Mere words.   Again, WHAT is the difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party in the eyes of the voters? Nothing that an extra $1Billion out of the State’s residents can’t unite, eh? Compromise – what a wonderful thing!  Well, they BOTH now tax us up the wazoo, but the Democrats give us stuff, sometimes (even with strings attached). Republicans?

Another person emailed me on Jasper’s speech:

Jasper’s speaking against Bills amendment was reprehensible. It was almost a personal vendetta against Bill.

My thoughts were confirmed.  Nice to see, not the stiletto, but a broad sword swung; and the Republican Establishment comes after us for speaking out (“Wayne Mac Donald ..”People who blog are those who are “ruining” the party“)?  In public, IN THE STATE HOUSE HALL OF REPs?  And WE are at fault??  Policy discussions, policy arguments even.  I take it that the NH GOP Leadership is now in the mold (and you can take that word anyway you want) of the Jim Foley School of Presenting Reports?  Which, pretty much is “We in Leadership determine things” combined with a healthy dose of “Do what we say and not what we do“.

These jokers wanna screw with the Platform and Republican branding (pfft, if there is any left), then they have invited “a discussion”?  And then all hell started to break!

Next edition up tomorrow!

Sidenote: Speaking of Jim Foley, what I wrote here?  Consider it prescient to this situation.  Think of it – a mere two months later, the same situation all over again.  Is there a reason why the phrase “the Stupid Party” exists?

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