A funny thing happened on the way to the country club...GOP gets slammed in NH. - Granite Grok

A funny thing happened on the way to the country club…GOP gets slammed in NH.

Holly Ramer writes in today’s Concord Monitor
New Hampshire Democrats emerged from today’s elections more powerful than they’ve been in 94 years with a landslide in the governor’s race, upsets in both congressional races and strong gains in the Legislature.
Tom Fahey and Riley Yates  write in the Union Leader

Democrats took control of the New Hampshire House in yesterday’s elections, holding a 213-153 majority with votes for 34 seats still being counted early this morning.

Long considered the state’s beleaguered minority party, Democrats now find themselves in control of the governor’s office, state Senate and House as well as the Executive Council.

The aforementioned Concord Monitor piece quotes the Republican Party state chairman:

"To be honest with you, this probably is a historic moment," said state GOP Chairman Wayne Semprini. "But everything is cyclical."
Semprini said Democrats did a great job of tying Republicans to President Bush and the war in Iraq.

"I’m not sure that we did anything wrong. I think we just got drowned out by all the national issues," he said. "On the local level, we see a love-fest for Governor Lynch."

He’s not sure they "did anything wrong?!" And therein lies the problem…

One thing’s for certain, the GOP at the state level here in NH is completely destroyed. And it didn’t just happen yesterday. No, the "Grand ‘Ole Party" has become a caricature of its former self since the departure of the last dominant Republican governor, Steve Merrill, a decade ago. Quickly exiting the stage without grooming a successor has left the NH Repubs rudderless ever since.

Add to the mix a large number of R.I.N.O.’s (Republicans In Name Only) and a rich Republican able to purchase the governor’s title for a single term (Craig Benson) while alienating both legislative branches controlled by his fellow party members- and the stage was set. Instead of working to solve the state’s education funding mess once and for all while they controlled the entire state government, the GOP set to fighting against one another. Meanwhile, the Dems laid low, grooming their guy, the present governor Lynch- or, as I call him, Governor Do-Nuthin’. Once he got in the door, he ruffled few feathers and watched the Republicans continue to tear each other up.

And what did the local GOP reps do? They worked their rear ends off in the primary to oust the conservative state senator who wore out his welcome… and then sat back, not wishing to make too many waves, hoping that the voters would do what they’ve done for the last 100 years- elect Republicans. I guess it didn’t work out too well.

Maybe if they would have been promoting and advocating REAL solutions based on their platform of smaller government and strong family values, that great mass of "undecideds" and "independents" would have had reason to cast a Republican ballot. But no, they’ve tried to play it "safe"- don’t take on a "popular" Democratic governor, never highlighting the differences between them and the liberal party and its standardbearers. And now, these self-important politicians are on the outside looking in.

"And," they say, "It’s all Bush’s fault." That’s what makes it all so easy for the country-clubbers- a ready made scapegoat. Of course, these are the same characters who have been completely AWOL when it has been time to rise in defense of Republican principles and, yes, defending George W. Bush, our president. Here is what I wrote back at the beginning of October about one of the NH GOP "leaders", Tom Rath:

As President Bush gets assailed from all quarters on every step he takes on anything, his popularity plummets. As this happens, the Republican party, guilty by association, gets caught in the crossfire. As I’ve said before, I’m no Republican rumpswab by any means, but to allow the Democrats, hostage to the hard left wing, victory and a majority in the government would be a disaster for the war. (Don’t forget- the Dems war "plans" are the same as the terrorists- they want us to exit the battlefield in defeat.)

And where’s Tom been while all this has been going on? Has "Mr. NH Bigtime GOP Man" been pounding the pavement, spilling ink, or giving big speeches in defense of our Republican president? Of course not. That might be too undiplomatic…
Of the federal government, Rath said: "There’s a feeling that this great big thing doesn’t work very well." He said Republicans need to win back voters who feel they gave "the keys to the car" to their party only to have it driven "into the back of the garage."
Way to go, Tom! With friends like Rath, who needs enemies? Oh, but whenever President Bush has come here to NH, Tom Rath was there, glommed onto him like a barnacle.
And Tom truly does represent the present "establishment" of the NH GOP. It’s unfortunate that our Congressman, Jeb Bradley had to get taken out along with everybody else, because he has been one of the few notable exceptions in this sorry mess.
WHat does the future hold for the Granite State? "I’m not sure we did anything wrong," says the GOP Chair. Recognizing you have a problem is usually step one on the road to recovery. It might be a long time before this first step is taken. Hopefully it won’t be forever…