Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) — who is facing a strong challenge from bold progressive Annie Kuster — will do anything to distract from his votes to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits by supporting the radical Simpson-Bowles plan or his support from the even more radical Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare.
A few weeks ago, Kuster jokingly referred to the late former New Hampshire governor Mel Thomson as a “worm.” Bass has tried to exploit this off-hand comment, holding a press conference with Thomson’s two sons praising him for eliminating the state’s income tax.
But by focusing solely on the income tax issue, Bass is ignoring the radicalism that Thomson represented. Here are some of the worst things that Thomson did as governor:
- Defended Apartheid: Thomson actually flew to South Africa and praised the Apartheid system there. He even called the black township of Soweto — the site of bloody massacres — as “just wonderful.” His trip to South Africa earned the rebuke of fourteen of New Hampshire’s top religious leaders.
- Attacked Gay Rights: Thomson threatened the veto the entire budget of the University of New Hampshire after some gay students performed a play there.
- Advocated For Nuclear Insanity: Thomson actually wanted to give the National Guard nuclear weapons. He was so opposed to the anti-nuclear movement that he dressed in military fatigues and personally had over 1,400 anti-nuke protesters arrested during a demonstration in Seabrook, New Hampshire.
As Kuster said, Thomson “represented a radical shift in our state’s politics and was the beginning of the end for Republican moderates in the state of New Hampshire.” If Bass wants to proudly defend the legacy of a pro-Apartheid and vociferously anti-gay governor simply because he wants the rich to avoid having to pay an income tax, that’s his prerogative. But the voters should keep his priorities in mind.