Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 09:56AM
For such a veteran reporter as John DiStaso, the ignorance he displays in his Granite Status column in Thursday's Union Leader must be considered nothing less than stunning.
Always one to lap up slop fed to him by leaders of either political party, DiStaso displays total lack of government and the political situation--not to mention history--by asserting that when the New Hampshire meets on organization day December 5, it will "just a formality".
That may or may not be the case, but for a high paid reporter to say so with such certainty is absolutely mind boggling.
DiStaso then goes on the list O'Brien's supporters, mostly the usual suspects, as if he's being paid by the Speaker to do his bidding.
The reporter correctly reports that Republican will caucus on November 15 and Democrats on November 17 to choose their candidates for Speaker. However, he asserts, with no factual basis, that the real action will take place when the Republican meet, assuming both O'Brien and challenger Lee Quandt of Exeter win their elections.
That statement assumes that Republicans will be in control, no sure thing as any astute observer of the scene should feel compelled to at least note. Numbers cruncher William Tucker, admittedly a Democrat, yesterday placed the odds at 50/50 of Democrats taking control of the House. My own work, as posted here yesterday, is virtually identical, and no one could accuse me of being a Democrat.
But let's say that Republican maintain control. Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen Republicans (likely to be elected) who will never vote for Bill O'Brien for Speaker. That's just a start; I suspect the number is closer to three dozen. Thus if Democrats win as few as 165 seats they will be able to throw all their support behind a candidate other than O'Brien and deny him the gavel. You don't have to delve too deeply into history to find the last time that happened, 2004 when all Democrats and only a few Republicans elected Doug Scamman Speaker (of course, we'll never really know who voted for whom since it was by secret ballot).
It's a mere quibble to state that DiStaso most likely has the wrong name for "Paul" Silva as an O'Brien supporter. I can only assume he means Peter Silva, the Republican leader who took over when D.J. Bettencourt left in disgrace. Yes, that would be the same Peter Silva who earlier in the year, as a Rick Perry supporter, said he could never support Mitt Romney for President.
Peter, Paul, who's counting. We all make mistakes (I certainly do here, but I try to correct them...just ask Josh McElveen...that's EE).
DiStaso's big mistake, an unforgivable one at that, is his insistence that all will be decided when Republicans meet and the rest will be "just a formality".
Gary Rayno Gets It--Congratulations to DiStaso's lower paid Union Leader colleague Gary Rayno for pointing out in his Sunday column how you just can't vote early in New Hampshire for any old reason. As noted in a posting here last week, absentee voting is severely limited by law, a fact both parties seem to be ignoring as they try to mine early votes. Rayno mentioned a reason I hadn't noted, religious need. If November 6 is a holiday in your religion, you may legally vote absentee. I trust that will not apply to many people, but it's a good catch by Rayno.
I'll post historical percentages of absentee voters in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, think this over. Do you think there's any difference between the percentage of those voting absentee in a Presidential versus a non-Presidential year (in other words, 2008 vs. 2010). Answer to come...