Sunday, February 17, 2013

Duckworth vs Ayotte: New Hampshire Can Do Better

By some estimates, one in five veterans have received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Have you? 
I do not have PTSD, but if I watch part of a movie like “The Hurt Locker” or when I spend time around Blackhawk helicopters, I will close my eyes that night and live an entire day in Iraq, flying my missions. I remember the smell and the feel and the heat and everything about it. Then I wake up in Illinois, and I’m exhausted.

--Tammy Duckworth, The New York Times Sunday Magazine

Reading the interview with Tammy Duckworth, the Congresswoman from Illinois, Mad Dog had to reflect upon who we have representing us from New Hampshire. Senator Shaheen and Representative Shea-Porter are solid citizens, but then there is that other United States Senator, the Tea Party darling, Kelly Ayotte.

Ms. Duckworth flew a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq and lost both her legs, below the knees. She speaks frankly about her experience and does not trade on it as if it were some "back story" to use the  Washington speak phrase. In fact, she is famous for having remarked she felt as the politicians trooped in to be photographed with people like her at Walter Reed  as if she were a part of a "petting zoo," providing photo ops for some politicians.
 But she also says Paul Wolfowitz, the Republican neo conservative, came by at nights and on weekends, and Bob Dole, the Republican Senator, sat on the floor with her and told her stories about his war wounds. She surprises you.  She does not sound as if she is saying things for effect. She sounds, to use another Washington word, "authentic," which is to say you never get the feeling she is playing you.

That is exactly not the feeling I have from Senator Ayotte. She has endorsed every right wing extremist the Republican Party has placed beside her, from Sheriff Arpaio, the Arizona Gestapo wannabe of Maricopa County, the man who marches prisoners, before they are convicted of anything, down the street in pink underwear.  When asked about her endorsement of Arpaio, she chose her words carefully and said she admired his work.  And Ayotte should know better: She was a prosecutor. 

If New Hampshire Democrats have one priority over the next two years, it ought to be tracking Ms. Ayotte, recording what she says and noting with whom she is jumping into political bed, and then making every effort to roust out this Tea Party extremist.  She has that sweet face and she is very careful about what she says. She has learned the Washington game well, a quick study, which makes her a rising star among Republicans.

But she is the legacy of the  wave of irrational disgruntlement which swept Tea Party candidates like Frank Guinta into Congress in 2010.  We are stuck with her until 2016. 

But then, we need to incise that pus pocket and drain that wound.

Somewhere, in New Hampshire, we have to find our own Tammy Duckworth. 

Here is the link to Rep. Duckworth's interview in the Times:


  1. Mad Dog,
    What a contrast..Tammy Duckworth who speaks her own mind and refuses to be used as a token spokeswoman for another person's cause-who champions the men she served with as much as the women and refuses to milk the loss of her legs in combat. Vs. Kelly Ayotte who never misses an opportunity to lend her face and her babbling to whatever right wing flavor of the day cause needs it's token tea party female. One just never knows where she'll pop up next... It does say something about the Republicans when they need Kelly to help provide a cause with political gravitas. It's most unfortunate the " draining of the pus pocket" has to wait till 2016-hopefully the Democrats put forth a contender stronger than Paul Hodes next time....

  2. Maud,

    Whew! And here I thought I was the only Ayotte detractor in New Hampshire. Even the local Hampton Dems are muted about her. Whenever I start to rant and rave about her I get looks like I've kicked a puppy.
    She's a Tea Party moll, just hangs around looking pretty but the company she keeps says it all.

    Mad Dog