Publisher's Note: Truthiness
By Jody Reese
Few would claim that politics is about truth. But political campaigns are a whole new level of truthiness. Most might even agree that the enemy of truth is a political campaign. And the competitive nature of this year’s races in New Hampshire makes truth ever harder to locate.
This year’s truthiness (satirically defined as something you know is right, but have no actual evidence to support) can be broken down into three general categories.
• You’re a jerk: While this is perhaps a true statement about all the candidates, this election cycle seems to be particularly high in mud- throwing. In the Congressional 1st District, where incumbent Carol Shea-Porter (D) is facing off against former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R), Shea-Porter has accused Guinta of hiding the source of a $500,000 bank account, or “slush fund,” as it has been called. Guinta accuses Shea-Porter of taking money from lobbyists, something she has claimed she wouldn’t do. In the Congressional 2nd District, Annie Kuster (D) accused former Congressman Charlie Bass of reaping profits from a company he helped while in office. And in the U.S. Senate race, Paul Hodes (D) has accused Kelly Ayotte (R) of plotting her run while still serving as the state’s attorney general and letting those ambitions influence her prosecution of convicted cop-killer Michael Addison. All these accusations are more political opportunism than truth.
• You support the failed policies of the Bush years: Obviously this is the claim made by Democrats this cycle. Though there is some truth to the claim that the Bush Administration let the debt grow because of its wars and encouraged light regulation that helped create the housing bubble, it also pushed through the bank bailouts with bipartisan support, likely saving our economic system. The administration, like everyone, didn’t know what would happen when a big bank failed. After being criticized for saving Bear Sterns, they let Lehman Brothers fail and the result was financial panic.
• You support the failed policies of the Obama years: Obviously this is the claim made by Republicans this cycle. While it’s true the stimulus bill didn’t create the number of jobs promised, it’s hard to call it a failure. We can’t know how bad things would have gotten without it. A huge portion of the money went to states to keep teachers and police on the payroll who would have been laid off. Then there is ObamaCare, the plan Republicans backed until President Barack Obama passed it.
All the noise and truthiness surrounding the election can make it tough to choose, especially if you’re an independent. It might even make it hard to go vote. And while I like to joke that voting is for suckers, the real suckers are the ones who don’t vote and have no say in our system. So roll up your sleeves and pick someone who doesn’t make you wince.
Good Economic News: New Hampshire reported a second straight decline in joblessness with unemployment falling to 5.5 percent in September from a high of 7.7 percent in January. Franklin got a boost with the announcement that it will be home to an electric converter station that will create temporarily 1,200 construction jobs in 2013.