I will not resist getting into New Hampshire topics on Twitter. I’m not sure why I said that Meldrim—that’s Meldrim Thomson, Jr—was the governor recently; he was governor in the seventies. I’m pretty sure (I need to fact check this with my folks) I chilled out with his grandson at some kind of Bob Dole campaign barbecue in 1995 or 1996; I may have even shook his hand, but I could be confusing him with Steve Merrill, who was the tremendously boring governor at the time.
Like Sununu, Meldrim was a Republican, and perhaps the high-water mark of New Hampshire conservatism. Under his administration, New Hampshire abolished most of its taxes and re-instituted the death penalty. He was an ally of William Loeb, the incredibly conservative publisher of the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, at the peak of Loeb’s power, when he was penning front page editorials that made Ed Muskie cry and drop out of presidential campaigns and harassed the children of his political enemies.
Here are some of Meldrim’s high points:
- Suggesting nuclear weapons for the state National Guard.
- During the 1977 anti-nuclear demonstrations in Seabrook, dressing in military fatigues and being carried in by helicopter to personally order the arrest of 1,400 protesters.
- Personally arrested speeders from his official car.
- Calling out the state National Guard when two 1960s radicals Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman spoke at the University of New Hampshire, and having the student leader who invited them arrested.
- After visiting South Africa in 1978, praising the white-minority government and defended its apartheid policy.
- Openly threatening to veto all funding for the University of New Hampshire after the Gay Students Organization held a dance and performed a play on campus.
You get the idea. On the plus side, Meldrim did hate people from Massachusetts, even arresting Massachusetts government officials who crossed the border hoping to track their citizens as they bought tax-free booze from New Hampshire’s state-owned liquor stores. He also started a fight with Maine known as the Lobster War (natch) that involved nautical arrests in a battle over fishery rights. Meldrim cited a 1740 order from King George II of England.
Other New Hampshire Governors who could possibly be elves: Vesta Roy (1982-3), Robert Blood (1941-5), Lane Dwinnel (1951-5), William Badger (1834-6)