Mr. Speaker: The Most Astonishing Case of Selective Memory Evah

In an interview with the Nashua Telegraph Speaker O’Brien demonstrates an amazing capacity for, shall we call it, revisionist history.  

Yesterday, in the hearing on Rep. Susan Emerson’s anti bullying bill,  a statement was read from Rep. Emerson, detailing the incident in which she was shouted at for offering amendments to the state budget which would restore services which Rep. Emerson, because of her years of service on the Health and Human Services Committee, thought necessary for the ongoing health and welfare the citizens of NH.

Speaker O’Brien’s response?  He pulls the “emotion card.”  

“She was emotional about it, but not because of anything I said. It pains me to this day to say Rep. Emerson has fabricated all of this,” O’Brien added.

This is, of course, the appropriate response if you a bullying a small woman who wears magnificent hats.

But what about the comments of Rep. Timothy Copeland?  Rep. Copeland spoke about overhearing the Speaker’s encounter with Rep. Emerson.  He says he heard a one-sided yelling match.  Rep. Copeland also testified that the Speaker promised to ensure that Copeland would not be re-elected if Copeland offered an amendment of his own.

Rep. Copeland is a former police investigator and a volunteer firefighter, so playing the emotion card is not an option.  What is the Speaker’s response?  He says it never happened.

O’Brien said the entire story was fabricated and that he never spoke with Copeland after meeting with Emerson.
“I had one conversation with this representative, and it was, ‘Welcome to the House, Rep. Copeland,'” O’Brien said. “I later learned that his liberal agenda was not one in concert with the Republican caucus. Other than that, I’ve never spoken with him.”

Total denial.  Not just a river in Egypt, but present on a daily basis in the NH House.  We have all witnessed or overheard the Speaker’s tantrums.  His account here leaves me breathless.  And I wonder if the Speaker of the New Hampshire House should not be a person with a better grasp on…reality?

21 Responses to Mr. Speaker: The Most Astonishing Case of Selective Memory Evah

  1. hannah January 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Or doesn’t it make any difference since both begin with C?

    • Lucy Weber January 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      Thank you hannah, for catching this.  One should never proofread one’s own work.  I will edit the diary.

  2. Kathy Sullivan 2 January 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    On Planet O’Brien, if you disagree with, or challenge, the Speakuh, you are:
    A liar,
    A thug,
    A liberal, and/or
    A follower of Saul Alinsky

    I may be missing some, hard to keep track. And then, in an amazing case of lack of self-awareness, he will accuse those who criticize him of attempting to demonize him.

    And another thing – note how Rep. Emerson, a woman, is “emotional”. While he, who yelled at and bereated her, is, I guess, a man.      

    • JonnyBBad January 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm #
  3. Ben Belcourt January 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Literally. If he was a character in a book or a movie you would be annoyed because he’s so over the top. He’s a complete clown and a disgrace to the state of New Hampshire. I’m embarrassed that  anybody actually voted for this guy.

  4. Dave O'Brien January 20, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    The incident you described is not an isolated malady but as you aptly suggested a “modes operandi” characteristic of disingenuous and  dishonest personalities.

    It seems to be more than a little bit coincidental that the Speaker backs “Neutron” Gingrich, an individual who is infamous for his fabrications, falsehoods, ommission of facts, and spinning of truth. Maybe it true…birds of a feather do flock together.

    Neutron Gingrich, the guy who believes marriage should be confined to “one man and one women”…or is it “one man and several women” or is it “one man and and three women” or is it one man and a three-some” – heck I can keep up with whatever his latest spin is.

    • Brian K January 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm #
  5. susanthe January 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    to impeach the Speaker for his reprehensible conduct?

    • elwood January 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      for being much less of a jerk. But the House apparently has less institutional self-respect.

  6. Rep. Jim Splaine January 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    “…collective memory,” and just not telling the truth.  We all know that.  

    Anyone reading something about President Richard Nixon and Watergate, or viewing “All The President’s Men,” “Nixon,” or “Blind Ambition” — movies Bill O’Brien might want to catch up on — knows that deceit has payback.

    Right after he was elected Speaker, I wrote that he has quite a temper, and that may well lead to his downfall.  He tries to act calm, especially when the camera is on him, but as Marshall and Matt Quandt of Exeter, and others, have told us, and I’ve seen first-hand in some episodes I’ve had with him, there’s something wrong there.

    I also saw it on display one day when the House Judiciary Committee was voting on House Bill 436 for marriage equality.  As sponsor, he seemed to be looking directly at me as he made some rather disgusting, over-the-top comments venting his obvious anger.  Must have affected his blood pressure, so I hope he calms down.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2 January 21, 2012 at 12:08 am #

      That he is “emotional”?

      • Rep. Jim Splaine January 21, 2012 at 12:48 am #

        You and I are emotional — at times anyway!  Being passionate about issues brings emotion.  

        I would say it’s something else, but I’m not a doctor, I just watch them on TV.  

  7. Putney Swope January 21, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    They did however go into more detail than the Telegraph about changing Rep. Copeland’s seat location.

    • TimothyHorrigan January 21, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      Even that aspect of the story doesn’t make sense.  O’Bill says he had to move Rep, Copeland because Lynne Blankenbeker needed an aisle seat because she is in leadership.  The problem is, she already HAD an aisle seat… and she is just the vice-chair of one of the least prestigious committees.  All the Speaker did was move her from one aisle seat to another.  And there are still some aisle seats held by people who have no leadership jobs.

      • StraffordDem January 21, 2012 at 8:40 am #

        was his ability to pile lie upon lie, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  The truth never mattered, he was aided and abetted by establishment pros who knew how to encourage while maintaining deniability.  And the press, for the most part, rolled over.  

        He was a useful idiot.

        Sound familiar?

        • Chaz Proulx January 21, 2012 at 9:13 am #

          Sums it up very well. Like I’ve said so many times–words fail dealing with this guy.

          But I remember as a very young child hearing about McCarthy in glowing terms. The Union Leader built him up and sadly an awful lot of NH readers ( which was just about everyone) bought it.

  8. Hampshire Ite January 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    O’Brien is not fit to hold office as a school board treasurer, least of all the speaker of the house of New Hampshire. Not only does he intemperately attack his opponents — and then lie about his unhinged behavior — he is unwilling to engage with a broader public who might disagree.

    Protesters at the State House? Bar the doors. Anyone seen how many interviews he’s given the Concord Monitor recently? (I’ll answer: not  a single one.) So he is not just an arguably deranged bully, but he is also a coward. He does not have the strength of character to argue with someone he has no power over.

    I’ve thought a lot recently about the tactics employed by Newt Gingrich in the 80s and 90s as he brought the GOP back to prominence in the U.S. House. Part of his argument was rhetorical. That is, you had to use language that drew stark, black-and-white contrasts. Liberals are sometimes hesitant to do that. I think an effective strategy for this election year — at least as a test — might be to use much more forceful, direct and colorful language when dealing with O’Brien and his ilk.

    He is nuts. The people he has surrounded himself with (well, with a few exceptions) are nuts. He is not representing New Hampshire, and his tenure has been unjust and immoral.

    Full stop.

    • cyndychase January 25, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Bullying is always a power play.  Bullies never bully those of equal or greater power, only those they see as having less power than they do. Under all the “sound and fury” they are really cowards.

  9. Dave O'Brien January 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    Challenge them on every issue, large or small. Question them on every statement and every assertion.

    One thing that has become abundantly clear over the last few years is the temerity GOP politicians exhibit when lecturing others about “family values” or “morals.”

    What does it say about someone who is publicly opposed to a woman right to make her own decisions about her reproductive rights yet privately took advantage of “choice?”

    What does it say about someone who is publicly opposed to collective bargaining rights yet for years earned a living working on behalf of organized labor?  

    What does it say about those politicians that want to disenfranchise ability of the students, the elderly, and poor to vote (through artificial residency rules) when their own history strongly points to fraudulent representations of where they live?

    What does it say about someone who freely denigrates another’s suitability to fight in a war zone (because of sexual orientation) when there are strong indications that he or she has never actually participated in combat?

    What a collection whack-jobs!


  10. DianeR January 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Are Bettencourt’s pants on fire?

  11. Hampshire Ite January 25, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Susan Emerson’s account of her browbeating by Speaker Bill O’Brien has been a matter of public record for months.

    Only now, with a bipartisan bill aimed squarely at his behavior, is O’Brien responding to her account.

    He is not responding with an apology.

    He is not responding by wondering if some of his words were perhaps taken the wrong way.

    He is not responding by calling for greater civility or dialogue in the house.

    He is responding with a complete denial. What’s more, he’s responding in a way that plays on the oldest, lamest cliche’s of the “emotional woman.”

    It is quite clear that no Republican has anything to gain from criticizing the speaker — and quite a lot to lose by doing so.

    So why do they keep speaking up? Why do they keep saying the same things? Why does the speaker’s behavior in the House continually reinforce one’s conception of him as a short-tempered lunatic?

    The conclusion is simple.

    Speaker O’Brien is lying.

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