Live Free or Stupid

New Hampshire has moronic legislators that challenge any state in the nation:

A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire made a startling comment Tuesday during a debate on a bill that would reduce the penalties for simple assault, claiming that “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”

The remark by state Rep. Mark Warden (R) was caught on tape during a meeting of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He was speaking in support of a bill his fellow lawmakers on the committee overwhelmingly voted to kill.

“Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law?” he said. “I’d say no. People are always free to leave.”

Give him credit, here’s one New Englander that could win election from Idaho to South Carolina.

74 comments on this post.
  1. Morbo:

    Amazingly, it was significantly more moronic before the 2012 election.

  2. Clark:

    And legislators from Indiana to Arizona are furrowing their collective brows, looking for a way to rise to the challenge.

  3. robotswillstealyourjobs:

    It’s like they get dumber and meaner by the year.

  4. somethingblue:

    … claiming that “a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.”

    Roughly half, I would guess.

  5. RepubAnon:

    This explains people who make less than 6-figure salaries that still vote for Republicans

  6. Mister Harvest:


  7. sharculese:

    Doesn’t New Hampshire just have more legislators than any state in the Union for some stupid reason?

  8. Oscar Goldman:

    “This explains people who make less than 6-figure salaries that still vote for Republicans.”

    Do people with low incomes have a propensity to commit domestic violence?

  9. Warren Terra:

    Given that the idea apparently is that people should remain trapped in abusive relationships, shouldn’t the title of the post really be Live Free Or Not?

  10. efgoldman:

    Our beloved neighbors to the North have always had a strain of WingNutter crazy. The were led in the old days by Wiliam Loeb, owner/publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, and his pet governor, Meldrim Thompson.

  11. Warren Terra:

    This American Life covered this to some degree, shortly before the election.

  12. thebewilderness:

    I guess that explains why the Republicans oppose the Violence Against Women Act. It would interfere with the abusers enjoyment.

  13. BigHank53:

    Yep, and they’re real proud of it, too. On the bright side, they don’t get paid. There’s a mileage allowance, and the state legislator’s plate on your car lets you skip the tollbooths…as long as you’re on state business.

    Since you only have to convince a few hundred people to vote for you, campaign costs tend to be low. Shaking hands all day Saturday at the local recycling center (most of NH doesn’t have municipal trash pickup) is a time-honored tradition by now.

  14. BigHank53:

    This is nothing. In 1995 the Merrimack school board (complete with a stealth hard-right Christian candidate) got rid of the school’s single out teacher, banned books that mentioned homosexuality, and had their eye on the science department. The loons were promptly voted the hell out the next year.

    In the seventies Mel Thompson wanted the NH National Guard to have nukes.

    In the eighties the selectmen in Milford tried to bar the local Unitarian Church from collecting spare change for Unicef.

  15. cpinva:

    i had read about this earlier, on Crooks & Liars, i think. what’s truly mind boggling, is that he seemed truly surprised that anyone might not agree with this bit of folk wisdom. this idiot has been re-elected, so it’s not like his constituents had no clue what they were getting. this leads me to conclude that at least 51% of his constituents are themselves barking mad.

  16. thebewilderness:

    That may be so, but none of that makes this nothing.

  17. cpinva:

    idaho will certainly not allow itself to fall behind NH!

    not going to let that silly supremacy clause get in the way of “the most important issue facing his constituents.” given that idaho is nearly pure, transparent white, will they have to import minorities to shoot?

  18. sharculese:

    Actual awareness of what DV is about is less widespread than we’d like to believe. I’m not at all shocked that a dude like this could go through life without someone challenging his idea that if you really don’t like it, you can always leave.

    It’s depressing, but totally believable.

  19. STH:

    Yeah, I think there’s still a contingent that thinks it’s couples fighting each other and we should stay out of it. That it’s somehow just a relationship with a lot of arguments or drama, not one being terrorized by the other.

  20. STH:

    I meant one person in the relationship being terrorized by the other.

  21. Erik Loomis:

    Jimmy the Idiot Thompson Gunner.

  22. sharculese:

    It’s sometimes that. It’s also sometimes that people recognize that there’s violence, but assume that because the abused partner doesn’t leave, s/he doesn’t really object to it.

    There’s all sorts of reasons people invent for not intervening in these situations.

  23. RedStateGal:

    Okay, people. Clearly the Congressman allowed himself to be caught in a media soundbite. That said, is it possible that more people would call the police to help calm down their husband (or wife – women abuse quite often), if they knew they didn’t HAVE to file charges that go on their spouse’s permanent record thus depriving their children because their mate will no longer be able to earn a living?
    I have known people who say, yeah, I’d call so he could get hauled away for a night or two if I didn’t know that there was a lot of mandatory jail time and charges involved.

  24. Data Tutashkhia:

    Surely a functional handgun is the best solution to any dysfunctional relationship.

  25. ajay:

    In the seventies Mel Thompson wanted the NH National Guard to have nukes.

    Jesus. Link?

  26. ajay:

    I mean, not to doubt the statement – I believe you, but I’d like to know more…

  27. The Dark Avenger:


    This has been another SATASQ.

  28. Malaclypse:

    Nonsense. You need at least six handguns, plus some sniper rifles for range.

  29. cpinva:

    funny thing about “media sound bites”, they tend to be a more honest representation of the person’s actual thought process, than pre-digested speeches are.

    “Okay, people. Clearly the Congressman allowed himself to be caught in a media soundbite.”

    many more of them would call the police, were they still conscious and able to do so, which is a vastly different thing, from “enjoying being in an abusive relationship”.

    “I have known people who say, yeah, I’d call so he could get hauled away for a night or two if I didn’t know that there was a lot of mandatory jail time and charges involved.”

    so please, this isn’t even close to a defensible comment.

  30. cpinva:

    roland’s stupider, younger brother.

  31. BigHank53:

    Profile from People magazine, 1977. Long, but it’s all in there: the UN, witchcraft, etc. Thankfully the state had no money back then, so the only thing he could shoot off was his mouth.

  32. Dr.KennethNoisewater:


  33. Dr.KennethNoisewater:

    Women abuse quite often? What are you doing to stop this? I don’t want men being abused anymore than you do. Clearly, if anything, DV laws should be strengthened to stop women from beating men, dontcha think?

    Also, do you have a figure to back this up?

  34. BigHank53:

    He’s a clown, but he’s only one member of a 400+ seat assembly. A weight on the wrong side of the scale, sure, but his individual power to fuck with people is not that big.

    The Rockingham county prosecutor, in an fluff interview with Nashua Magazine, casually let it drop that he didn’t believe that rape could occur without a willing victim. (Apparently he thought women were equipped with ratcheting steel safety latches. Or maybe teeth.) This was in the early nineties, believe it or not. That idiot did a lot more damage to a lot more people than a single dolt in the legislature.

  35. Shakezula:

    Oh no, a troll has escaped from TPM. (By which I mean, the trolls there are so lame they’re almost as funny as the resident spoof trolls.)

  36. chris:

    Depends on who’s holding it. Seems to me it would have at least a 50% chance of making things worse.

  37. chris:

    a lot of people like being in abusive relationships

    The only explanation I can come up with is that he’s heard of BDSM, but really, really doesn’t understand it. Sadly, this is very plausible.

  38. Shakezula:

    Wow, the place hasn’t been overrun by the Angry Penii Brigade. Maybe the alert system is broken.

  39. TribalistMeathead:

    Third-largest legislative body in the world.

    And as Hank said, they’re very proud of the fact that their legislators are mostly college students and retired adults.

  40. Shakezula:

    I read about about this last night and thought it was going to end in a very feeble joke about 50 Shades of Drab. But since that would have been somewhat understandable and not flesh-crawl unpleasant, it was of course not the case.

    Say what you will about the GOP, their capacity to produce variations on the theme of unpleasant bullshit is limitless.

  41. Major Kong:

    It does happen. I don’t know the statistics on how often it does.

    One of my co-workers had a spouse who was pretty much bipolar. She would periodically try to hit him over the head with whatever heavy object was handy. Sometimes successfully.

  42. That Other Mike:

    Fourth largest, and only of English-speaking countries.

  43. JL:

    As discussed above, each NH state representative only represents about 3300 people. Not 3300 registered voters, or 3300 adults. 3300 people. You might be right about the guy’s constituents (though other people have made good points about public attitudes toward DV), but the number of reactionary constituents needed to keep putting the guy in power is probably a few hundred.

  44. rea:

    The job of the police is to deal with crime, not be relationship counsellors. If you don’t think your spouse has done something justifying being treated as a criminal, don’t waste the time of the police–they have crime to deal with. If your spouse has done something justifying you calling the police, then off to jail with him or her.

  45. BigHank53:

    If he beats her to death, he’ll be charged with manslaughter and most likely plead down to a sentence under a decade. If she shoots him, on the other hand, that’ll be premeditated murder: twenty-five to life.

    Not something the NRA talks up.

  46. JL:

    The troll probably doesn’t have a cite, but according to the CDC, 29% of straight guys and 37.3% of bisexual guys experience intimate partner violence in their lives, and almost 80% of the abused bi guys report only female perpetrators.

    The rates are higher for women across the sexual orientation spectrum. If you want to be incredibly depressed both in general and by the status of bisexual women in this country, go read that report.

  47. BigHank53:

    Let ‘em do it. Then force them to enforce the “able-bodied” part with an actual physical exam. I don’t think it would be too much to ask to have militia members range-tested yearly, either. If they can’t hit a pie plate at 100 yards 90% of the time they don’t have any business with an AR-15. Or any other rifle, really.

  48. Speak Truth:


    There are lots of really good reasons why VAW act is a bad piece of legislation. Have you actually *read* the Senate version that is expected to pass?

    Much of it looks “nanny” and unconstitutional. The terms are vague and undefined and it duplicates laws already handled by the states. Bottom line is it’s a judicial nighmare when one is charged under this soon-to-be statute.

    Passing this bill makes one question what the proper roles of the federal and state goverments are.

  49. Malaclypse:

    Ah, the freedom to stand athwart history yelling “States’ Rights!”

  50. Hogan:

    Bottom line is it’s a judicial nighmare when one is charged under this soon-to-be statute.

    Speaking from experience there?

  51. Origami Isopod:

    Your comment makes me question whether I want to make pancakes for breakfast tomorrow.

  52. Origami Isopod:

    He’s a clown, but he’s only one member of a 400+ seat assembly.

    What Thebewilderness is saying is that, while this assclown may not be particularly powerful in and of himself, promoting the already widespread idea that victims of DV bring it on themselves isn’t “nothing.” (And, yeah, I know it wasn’t your intention to imply such.)

  53. Origami Isopod:

    A great many people don’t understand how domestic abusers work, how rape culture works, etc. etc. They aren’t interested in reading up on feminist thought because they take their ideas about what feminism is from a misogynist mainstream culture, maybe also from Rush Limbaugh or their megachurch and so they reject it out of hand. Also, the basics of sociology clash hard against the mythos of individuality in this country.

    Conservatives aren’t the only people who have trouble with these concepts.

  54. Cody:

    The terms are vague and undefined

    Much of it looks “nanny” and unconstitutional.

    Yes… vague and undefined. That doesn’t sound like something you would do.

  55. Manta:

    Even starting from his premise that a lot of people like to be in an abusive relationship, why on earth a woman that actually likes to be treated badly would call the police to stop the mistreatment?

  56. BigHank53:

    Ah, right. I only saw the one end of the argument…my apologies.

  57. sharculese:

    Much of it looks “nanny” and unconstitutional. The terms are vague and undefined and it duplicates laws already handled by the states. Bottom line is it’s a judicial nighmare when one is charged under this soon-to-be statute.

    I would ask you to explain this but we both know you don’t know anything about the courts or the Constitution.

    But congratulations for once again demeaning that historic document by once again treating it as a wish list for all your petty desires.

  58. sharculese:

    I don’t think anyone here denies that men are abused by women (and I’ve been posting alongside Dr. Kenneth long enough to know she doesn’t), but RedStateGal looks like she’s going with the common abusers lobby tactic of trying to make it look like the rates are equal, and the only response to that is ‘yeah, whatever.’

  59. Origami Isopod:



  60. Djur:

    Oh, my favorite version of this is that now that there’s fairly wide social understanding and acceptance of kink/BDSM, you have people who will wave away major red-flag (aggressive, abusive, controlling) behavior by a friend’s partner by saying “hey, maybe that’s just a lifestyle thing that s/he’s into”.

    I’ve seen that happen a few times now (and been the ‘beneficiary’ of it as well, unfortunately).

  61. Djur:

    Luckily, the VAWA helps male victims of abuse too, despite the name. I don’t understand why the fact that women abuse men too is supposed to invalidate efforts to stop abuse. Abuse by women doesn’t somehow balance out abuse by men, even if it did happen at the same rate (which it doesn’t).

  62. Djur:

    Because getting the cops involved in your angry hate foreplay is so hottt. Obviously.

  63. Cool Bev:

    Since we’re talking about NH, “Meldrin the Headless Thompson Governor”

    Hattip to Bolo, my brother.

  64. Anna in PDX:

    Yes, this.

  65. cpinva:

    seriously, i want to know more about those “ratcheting steel safety latches”, i think there’s a market for them.

  66. cpinva:

    logically, it doesn’t,

    “I don’t understand why the fact that women abuse men too is supposed to invalidate efforts to stop abuse.”

    it is of the same class as “both sides do it”, and “laws won’t stop people from (insert your favorite illegal act here), so we shouldn’t even try”, rightwingnutopia conservatism 101. taking this to its logical progression, we should have anarchy, because, well, laws don’t stop people from doing horrible things to each other, so why waste time/money having/enforcing them?

  67. thebewilderness:

    Of course I have read it!
    Violence against women is the greatest human rights crisis in history.
    It’s too effing hard for the states to do anything about it so lets prevent the feds from doing anything about it is absurd.
    If it isn’t the proper role of the federal government to address an enormous human rights crisis that citizens are suffering from every day then what the hell do you imagine their “proper role” to be?
    Go back to blaming the homicide victim, like this d00d?

  68. Manta:

    What do you think a good alternative would be? Getting involved in other people private life?

  69. Saturday salmagundi:

    [...] fidelium is screaming as loud as it can. But it seems no one in a funny hat is listening.• The New Hampshire state legislature is still too big.• “Will The GOP Broaden Its Appeal? A 30-Year History” There is nothing new under the [...]

  70. Sgaile-beairt:

    once heard a story from a former merrimack tollbooth worker, seems some state lege’s kid thought that driving around, and around, and around, and around, the tollways for free, was an AWESOME way to spend a late friday night….way to stick it to the proles!! the toll booths were radioing back and forth to each other taking bets on when so & so’s car wld come thru next….laughing their asses off at this scion of privilege, southrn NH style….

  71. Sgaile-beairt:

    according to someone in the newspaper business loeb actually lived in MA, was just as much a fraud as Glenn beck etc….

  72. reynard61:

    Live Free or Die Abused

  73. reynard61:

    Actually: “He (Thompson) has publicly mourned U.S. failure to invade China during the war in Korea, and has asked that the New Hampshire National Guard be trained in the use of nuclear weapons.”

    IIRC, it wasn’t all that unusual for at least a few ANG pilots (mainly those who flew interceptors that carried the nuclear-tipped AIR-2A Genie missile or the AIM-26 Super Falcon missile)to be *trained* in SIOP protocols. That didn’t mean that the State would get actual *custody* of any nukes.

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