Looking back at the week in news

Those who ignore primary lesson do so at own peril

The real winner of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday might be Dan Weeks, the sometimes Telegraph columnist and head of the New Hampshire group Open Democracy. He didn’t get a single vote that we know of, but he saw his pet issue – curtailing the corrosive role of money in politics – take center stage in the messages delivered by Sen. Bernie Sanders and, perhaps to a lesser degree, Donald Trump.

Part of the reason people said they voted for those two candidates – who each won their respective primary – was that neither was beholden to the current campaign finance system. Trump’s campaign is largely self-financed, while Sanders has eschewed super PACs in favor of using small donors to fund his presidential run.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to come out of the primary is that politicians of every stripe who choose to ignore the underlying reasons behind the voter disgust that sent those two candidates to victory do so at their own peril.

Voters in Granite State can still think for themselves

As University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala pointed out on New Hampshire Public Radio on election night, the big losers of the New Hampshire primary were all of those prominent Democrats who watched Hillary Clinton get whacked at the polls after they had endorsed the former secretary of state.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan, Rep. Ann Kuster and just about every other Democrat who has ever held office in the state for more than five minutes lined up behind Clinton’s White House bid.

The problem was, a lot of the people they were supposed to be "leading" chose not to follow.

That’s how it is in New Hampshire sometimes. We may not much mirror the rest of the country in all of the "right" demographic areas, but we have this going for us: We pay close attention and then, when the time comes to vote, we make up our own minds and don’t much fancy being told how to vote by those we elect.

The other 49 governors must love the one from Maine

Paul LePage, the governor of Maine, has excelled at making every other governor in the country look good by comparison, but he topped even himself with his latest move.

LePage decided that he will be the de facto commissioner of the state’s department of education.

He recently withdrew his nominee to the position – the deputy education commissioner who’s been serving as interim commissioner – and announced to a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday that "I will be the commissioner."

We’re sure superintendents, teachers and parents are rejoicing at that news.

The problem is, both the governor’s office and the education commissioner are full-time jobs.

But that should be no problem for LePage, who seems to operate in his own alternate reality.

This is the same governor, after all, who refused to attend a 2014 conference on opioid abuse with the other New England governors and opposed making naloxone more widely available to addicts, reasoning that the anti-overdose drug would deter people from getting treatment.

Limiting ourselves to just one, the problem with
LePage is he thinks small. If you’re going to appoint yourself to something, at least make it something interesting, like the head of the liquor or lottery commissions or the Department of Transporation. That way, at least, you can drink, gamble and drive around in big trucks and cool machinery – though preferably not at the same time.