U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen arrives for a campaign stop at the Firefly American Bistro in Manchester, N.H. on Sept. 29, 2014.
Brian Snyder/Reuters

In New Hampshire, dead men tell some tales

New Hampshire Republicans, still hoping to take down Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), published an op-ed in a local newspaper this morning written by former state House Speaker Marshall Cobleigh (R). The piece isn’t quite as interesting as its author.
 
Even by 2014 standards, the Republican’s op-ed seems oddly detached from current events, referencing “skyrocketing gasoline prices,” a moratorium that no longer exists, and a House GOP lawmaker who’s no longer in the House. But given how frequently Republican criticisms bear no real resemblance to reality, this alone would hardly be noteworthy.
 
Dave Weigel, however, notes a more glaring problem: the author of the op-ed has been dead for several years.
What’s the matter with the column? Probably that Marshall Cobleigh has been dead for five years. In February 2009, the former speaker of New Hampshire’s often-Republican state House was felled by congestive heart failure. This op-ed is a reprint of a column Cobleigh wrote in July 2008, when Shaheen was running her first successful Senate campaign. Buzz Dietterle, the FDD’s opinion page editor, says that the New Hampshire GOP submitted the column (which originally ran in the conservative Union Leader). […]
 
“Shaheen, like a stopped clock, is often correct once or twice a day,” acknowledges the late Cobleigh in his column. He should hope so. R.I.P.
Now, there’s nothing necessarily controversial with recycling material, but Cobleigh isn’t in a position to criticize Shaheen’s performance in the Senate since he hasn’t, you know, actually been alive for the last five years.
 
Republicans couldn’t find an actual, living person to write a similar op-ed? New Hampshire isn’t a big state, but it’s not that small.
 
But Cobleigh’s mortal status adds a macabre twist to an attack piece that doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway.
 
I’m trying to imagine the conversation at New Hampshire Republican Party HQ.
 
“The five-year-old piece from the deceased says gas prices are skyrocketing.”
 
“So?”
 
“Well, gas prices are actually falling fast.”
 
“Just run it anyway.”
 
“Should we edit it to be more up to date and accurate?”
 
“[Hearty collective laughter.]”

The fact remains that gas prices, in our version of reality, continue to fall.
The average price of U.S. retail gasoline dropped 18 cents in the past two weeks to the lowest level in nearly four years, driven by a steep drop in oil prices, according to the latest Lundberg survey released on Sunday. Prices fell 18 cents to an average of $3.08 per gallon for regular grade gasoline, according to the fortnightly survey conducted on Oct. 24, the lowest price since Dec. 2010.
A couple of years ago, congressional Republicans were absolutely certain President Obama was driving up gas prices on purpose. Now, as prices at the pump drop, Republicans are either changing the subject of literally recycling old talking points that no longer make any sense at all.
 

Energy Policy, Jeanne Shaheen and New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, dead men tell some tales