Driving through scenic Portsmouth several days before the election, one can spot a large 4×8 Romney-Ryan sign with the words ‘flip flopper’ scrawled across it in spray paint. It’s an epithet Democrats have long tried to tie to the Republican presidential nominee but haven’t been able to make stick. Why? Because when Romney has changed his position, he has addressed it openly and honestly, as a human being who changed his mind over time and reflection as opposed to a slippery politician.
New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial nominee Maggie Hassan can’t say the same. Her many shifts in position serve only her election more likely, and go against the very core of her long-held ideological profile. For seismic shifts of this nature to be believable or palatable to a general electorate, the politician in question needs to address them head-on, not hope voters won’t notice. Hassan has pursued the latter strategy.
A politician shifting her position on an issue to please a particular audience is nothing new. One totally flip-flopping on past support of a number of specific policy proposals, however, is something that even the most shameless in the political class tend to avoid.
However, Hassan clearly has no shame.
In an October 30th debate with Republican Ovide Lamontagne, Hassan claimed she would veto an income tax, an LLC tax, a campgrounds tax and a car registration surcharge – all taxes she has openly and enthusiastically supported in the past.
To the record: In 2002, Sen. Hassan said she would support the right kind of income tax. In 2009, to help fund a massive increase in total government taxation and spending, including the creation of the campground tax (applying the rooms and meals tax to campgrounds), the creation of the motor vehicle registration surcharge (nearly doubling the cost of registering a vehicle for most drivers), and voted to create the small business LLC income tax without a public hearing.
She was for them before she was against them.
Television cameras and fact-checkers didn’t stop Hassan’s flip-flopping in the final debate last Thursday, aired on WMUR-TV. After reversing a previous position on casinos, she gave an answer on seatbelt vs. helmet laws that amounted to pulling a policy 180 in the span of about 30 seconds. Even her opponent had to stop and clarify her answer that seatbelt laws were a matter of “public safety” and helmet laws somehow weren’t.
Don’t be so surprised, Ovide, after all she has a record of promoting a seatbelt law but is in the clear to pander on helmets since they never came up during her time in office.
The NH Union Leader published an editorial on Sunday titled “Maggie for governor: Of Massachusetts,” that read in part, “Maggie Hassan might be an outstanding governor – of Massachusetts. There, her political views are mainstream. Here in New Hampshire, she is a liberal trying to win over voters whose beliefs she neither shares nor understands.” Add that to the fact that notorious Massachusetts flip-flopper John Kerry campaigned for her in the state on Monday, and she’s backed by the same radical pro-abortion groups as her Bay State counterpart Elizabeth Warren.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Sometimes we have to take politicians at their word about what they would do if elected; in this case we have the benefit of a record to examine. Maggie Hassan has raised taxes on the voters of New Hampshire before and she will do it again – to give her that chance would be insane.
Shawn Millerick is the Editor in Chief of NH Journal.