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Dingbats, bipartisan: In a big house, there are a few

There are 424 members of New Hampshire's General Court, 400 of them in its House. That leads to one of the largest such bodies in the free world, which keeps representatives relatively close to the people they serve. Most of them serve admirably and diligently.

With that large a number, however, it can also lead to the occasional dingbat being elected and let loose to fly around the ornate Representatives Hall. Unless someone secures a broom, and finds a way to open a window to shoo them out, such dingbats' flights of fancy can be very distracting.

Such a flight occurred this month. The individual in question took to the social media world to announce that the Boston Marathon bombing was an inside job, performed by government "black ops" agents.

Someone with such an opinion is unlikely to do the sensible thing and step aside, although that would be appropriate. Otherwise, the voters in the representative's particular community will just have to remember, next election, to do the right thing. We have already marked it in our calendar to remind them.

In the meantime, though, could the major political parties please stipulate that such oddities can and do occur on both sides of the aisle? The immediate high-dudgeon demands for everyone in the particular party, up to and including U.S. senators and Presidents, to denounce the offending dingbat and call for its removal and public drubbing are wearing a bit thin.

If the offender is a party or legislative bigwig, of course, the reaction may need to be different.

But dingbats can, and do, crop up occasionally in the rank-and-file on either side of the aisle. It seems to us to be in both parties' interest to minimize the attention paid. Otherwise, the public's perception of both is going to erode.

Eric Church
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