I figured that when New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt sought an audience with Manchester archbishop John McCormack to apologize for calling him a pedophile pimp, it would kind of chill things out between the state GOP and the Catholic Church. But Tea Party hard heads up there in the Granite State seem to have adopted the slogan, “Dis Free or Die.”

Thus, Rep. Timothy Comerford (R-Fremont) has sent an email to all lawmakers calling McCormack “a corrupt scumbag” and describing Church leaders “socialist-globalist leaning potentates.” (Let it be noted that Rep. Comerford is a Catholic who graduated from St. Anselm’s College in 2006.) Then there’s 31-year-old Andrew Manuse, who was sufficiently annoyed by McCormack to bethink himself of introducing a bill to remove the Church’s tax-exempt status.

The vituperation has reached a point where some Party of Lincoln graybeards are suggesting that it may be getting in the way of legislative business and even undermining New Hampshire’s battle to maintain its status as first-in-the-nation presidential primary. “We have always prided ourselves on being thoughtful, considerable [sic] voters who should be trusted with important responsibility of picking presidents,” said one. “But the recent antics in Concord have cast a dark shadow over that assertion.”

Maybe so, but I’d say that in the GOP presidential sweepstakes this year, New Hampshire’s youthful Republican legislators have their fingers on their Party’s pulse.

Update: As for the apology, it took place today as planned, and neither bishop nor parishioner is saying more.

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