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Playing chicken: Treating voters like idiots

A guy in a chicken suit squawking his way through a town parade? No, that is not a county fair publicity stunt. It's politics, baby.

Saturday a week ago a state Republican Party staffer in a chicken suit was arrested for disorderly conduct. How dignified.

As Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen passed by, Michael Zona, 23, of Manchester, stepped into the parade, flapped his wings, squawked loudly, and generally interfered with the senator's and governor's efforts to engage the crowd. Londonderry police said he was warned once to stay out of the parade path. The second time, he was arrested.

The Democrats made some hay of the arrest, but they pull the same stunts. Here is a photo of Democratic activists in chicken suits being addressed by a State Police officer in Concord in 2010. On the bullhorn are John Lynch and "I'm on Jeanne's Team!" stickers.

New Hampshire has a long and, well, probably not very proud, history of political activists donning animal suits to make a point. Who can forget Mitt Romney's dolphin stalker? It can be funny. But juvenile antics cross the line when the clucking and strutting invade a politician's personal space or obstruct the public's ability to interact with their elected officials.

In short, if you're going to act like a child on behalf of a political party or candidate, don't be a doofus about it. Have some common sense. Or better yet, grow up and stop treating voters like morons.

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