If the mustache fits: New Hampshire GOP Speaker Ejects Press Over a Grudge

Memo to Reporters Everywhere:
When Republican anybody tries to toss you out of a public meeting,
1) Please inform him or her that it’s your job to stay and report on goings-on for your public – for THE public – and that you shall not move.
2) Wait politely for the police to come.
3) Get arrested for doing your job.
4) Take plenty of photos and video of the arrests.

Somewhere along the line I signed up to get updates from the New Hampshire Democratic Party

Through them I learned that reporters from a Concord, New Hampshire newspaper were ejected from a public meeting by the state’s House Speaker, Republican William O’Brien.

Word on the net is that O’Brien still carries a grudge against the newspaper for printing a cartoon that likens him to Hitler. The Concord Monitor ran the cartoon in May, the New Hampshire GOP demanded a retraction, and the newspaper refused and opted to stand by their cartoonist.

According to Concord’s Patch, the cartoon was a commentary on an incident on the statehouse floor:
“State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, set off a firestorm last week when he shouted “Sieg Heil” at O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, during discussion of the Voter ID bill. Vaillancourt later apologized on the House floor.”

Concord Monitor cartoon of NH Speaker of the House O'Brien  depicting him with a pirate hat and a hitler mustache with the statement "If the mustache fits..."
cartoon, by Mike Marland

Here is text from a blog post that the Monitor’s editor Felice Belman penned to explain the paper’s decision on the cartoon:
“We make room for lots of different views in the Monitor Opinion pages. We’re not looking only for opinions that the newspaper’s editorial board supports – and we don’t ask that our columnists or letter-writers or our cartoonist agree with the board. In fact, in Tuesday’s edition we published an editorial (written by me) that came to a different conclusion about Vaillancourt: ‘No, Vaillancourt should not have evoked Adolf Hitler in making his case on the House floor. No, O’Brien should not have squelched the comments of a Democratic lawmaker attempting to make his case on pending legislation.’

When Marland submitted the O’Brien cartoon, there was significant discussion here among the senior editors and our publisher about whether to put it into the paper. In the end, we are not Marland’s censors. He is entitled to his view of the speaker, and his views are his own. This cartoon was harsh, no doubt. But it seemed on point, given last week’s circus. In fact, several Monitor letter writers have made a similar point – in words, if not images.

The point of an editorial cartoon is to get your attention and make you think. In that, for sure, Marland has succeeded.”

VIDEO: Concord Monitor Reporters Kept Out of NH Speaker’s Office

I got that video from the Concord Patch. Will they be the next to be barred from O’Brien’s meetings?

If you’re wondering whatever happened to that voter ID bill, the thing passed AFTER the Governor vetoed it.

“On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate and House of New Hampshire overrode Democratic Gov. John Lynch’s veto of Senate Bill 289, which requires photo identification to be presented when voting. The override required a two-thirds majority in each chamber. It cleared the Senate by a margin of 18-5 and the House by 231-112.”

The only roadblock that can now come between the NH GOP and their beloved voter ID bill is Eric Holder.
“Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Department of Justice must “pre-clear” any changes in election laws affecting ten New Hampshire communities.” according to New Hampshire Watchdog.

These veto overrides are not unusual in New Hampshire. The New York Times says that their GOP House and Senate overrode six of 13 vetoes in the end of June, a veto of the House’s redistricting plan was overridden in March. and in the previous legislative session, seven of NH’s Governor’s 13 vetoes were overridden.


Pictured:New Hampshire House Speaker and Republican William O’Brien

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