"Hitler Did Something Right"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 11 2011 12:47 PM

"Hitler Did Something Right"

This might be the first time a state legislator has been quoted saying those words, although he challenges the wording . And he's a World War II veteran, which... I was about to write "which mitigates it somewhat," but probably not. The state legislator is 91-year-old Republican Martin Hardy of New Hampshire.

Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health program, that "the world is too populated" and there are "too many defective people," according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. Asked what he meant, she said Harty clarified, "You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions - the defective people society would be better off without."

Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. Harty told the Monitor the world population has increased dramatically, and "it's a very dangerous situation if it doubles again." Asked about people who are mentally ill, he asked, apparently referring to a lack of financial resources, "Can we afford to bring them through?"

Harty said nature has a way of "getting rid of stupid people," and "now we're saving everyone who gets born."


The important thing to remember here is how New Hampshire's state legislature elections work. They are certainly not as efficient as something Adolf Eichmann would have designed.* The lower house has 400 members, who are elected in districts where the top vote-getters all get tickets to Concord.** In 2010, Harty was elected in a GOP surge that captured District 3 of Stafford County. Five incumbent Democrats were swept out, but Harty was swept in with 4,200 votes, or 644 more than the highest-polling Democrat. This was happening as Republicans gained 132 seats . New Hampshire represented 18.3% of all of the GOP's national gains in state legislative elections.

So Harty's a bit of a fluke, one that voters didn't examine, and one that Democrats didn't expect to deal with. He's still got a vote, though, which is why local Democrats want him to resign .


**For comparison, the California Assembly has 80 members who represent around 37,000,000 people -- one member for every 462,000 people. The New Hampshire House has one member for every 3,311 people.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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