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Friday, August 15, 2014

Confusing principle with ideology

Telegraph Editorial

It seems that Executive Council candidate David Wheeler and Senate candidate Bob Smith agree in at least one area: There is too much bipartisan cooperation in Washington, and there needs to be more heel-digging and absolutism.

Wheeler, a Milford Republican seeking to regain the Executive Council seat he held for a term before losing it to Councilor Debora Pignatelli in 2012, is running for his party’s nomination against Steve Hattamer, a surgeon from Hollis. ...

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It seems that Executive Council candidate David Wheeler and Senate candidate Bob Smith agree in at least one area: There is too much bipartisan cooperation in Washington, and there needs to be more heel-digging and absolutism.

Wheeler, a Milford Republican seeking to regain the Executive Council seat he held for a term before losing it to Councilor Debora Pignatelli in 2012, is running for his party’s nomination against Steve Hattamer, a surgeon from Hollis.

In a recent fundraising email, Wheeler criticized Hattamer for supporting Democratic candidates in the past.

“The last thing we need are more politicians who play both sides of the coin, rather than standing on principle. That’s the disease we have right now in Washington and we can see where that has gotten us,” Wheeler wrote.

Smith was pushing a similar viewpoint when he met with The Telegraph’s editorial board recently and bemoaned elected officials who compromise their principles. If anything, he said, there’s too much compromise between the parties.

“I think it boils down to the fact that some people would say the parties don’t get together and therefore nothing gets done. I don’t agree with that,” Smith said. “I think the frustration is because people understand there’s no difference between the two parties.”

Smith said he is willing to compromise with Democrats on issues, “as long as they’re right.”

In other words, as long as they agree with him.

Wheeler and Smith are practitioners of a divisiveness and demonization that is driving this country down the road to ruin.

It’s a mindset characterized by a philosophy that says the means are always justifiable, so long as the ends are served and the right party gets elected. It’s the same philosophy that drove White House operations during the Richard Nixon administration.

There is no bar so low that candidates can’t shimmy under it.

Take, for instance, recent websites that purport to be “news” sites about Reps. Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

“Let’s examine Congresswoman Annie Kuster’s record to see if she’s lived up to her promise to fight for New Hampshire, or if she’s gone Washington,” says the introduction to the “North Country Update.”

As you might expect from something created by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington, it concludes Kuster has abandoned New Hampshire.

“Manchester Update,” the Shea-Porter “news” site, purports to examine whether Shea-Porter has seen the evil of her liberal ways and concludes, predictably, that she hasn’t.

Posing as a fake news site is, as we said when the NRCC created a fake Shea-Porter website earlier this year, “the kind of thing, frankly, we might have expected of some immature junior high school hackers with bad haircuts.”

Democrats are not much better. They routinely fire up the fear machine and send out shameless fundraising emails declaring “all hope is lost.”

If all hope is lost, it’s because the parties can’t get together on issues like immigration, energy, tax reform, education, transportation funding and the federal debt, among other unresolved matters that await the House and Senate when they get back from their five-week recess.

And the reason they can’t get those things done isn’t because there’s too much compromise.

It’s because both sides routinely confuse blind ideology with principle.