Foster’s Editorial: How about honest debate instead of political vitriol

Sunday, November 20, 2011

At first blush, we were tempted to sign on board for House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli’s lambasting last week of some GOP-sponsored bills working their way through the Legislature.

Foster’s Sunday Citizen has also been critical of some Republican-gone-astray efforts. We have faulted the leadership in the New Hampshire Legislature for pursuing bills not directly related to creating jobs and leveling the state budget, which was out of whack when Norelli led the New Hampshire House.

But as is often the case with the Democratically beloved Norelli, she went off the deep end.
Take for example the issue of gay marriage. Foster’s was willing to side with civil unions. Redefining marriage to suit someone’s definition of modern-day norms and make it something it is not went too far, however.

But instead of recognizing honest debate over efforts to return to the age-old definition of marriage, Norelli maligned that HB 437 would “take away marriage rights from thousands of loving New Hampshire couples.”

Foster’s would rather not see the Legislature reopen the debate. What’s done is done. Move on. But to ignore the importance the issue has to opponents is arrogant and condescending.

But her disgust didn’t end there. She went on to criticize efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, as if it were the Holy Grail of family health care.

Public funding of abortions — direct or indirect — is a legitimate public issue. Foster’s supports the right of a woman to choose, but strongly opposes forcing the cost of an abortion on taxpayers through public funding.

This makes Planned Parenthood the subject of fair debate. PPN argues that it keeps public funds far from paying for abortions. Yet, it is public funding that helps keep PPN afloat otherwise. It can well be argued public funds indirectly support PPN’s abortion services. The point is made by PPN’s refusal to make abortions a separate business enterprise.

No one would be making a flap out of funding PPN were it not for abortion services, which may be Norelli’s real issue and goal— publicly funded abortions.

Then there is the outright hypocrisy of arguing that GOP legislation has cost jobs. She forgets it was the Democratic triumvirate of the House, Senate and governor who all but drove the payday loan industry and the jobs it provided out of the Granite State.

Perhaps she should propose a state law that requires a jobs analysis before any legislation can be passed — by either party that may be in the majority.

Again, agree or disagree, the topic is one of fair debate — or redebate in this case.

It is truly sad that Norelli’s tenor is similar to one adopted by the state Democratic machine as a whole.

Readers of our editorials are well familiar with this newspaper’s disdain for the circus-like press releases regularly churned out the state Democratic press office.

It is depressing that the age of civility promised by President Obama during his election campaign has given way to childish rants and disrespect for honest discussion.

New Hampshire voters deserve better — be they Democrat, Republican or those independently minded.