Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Tuesday
Nov132012

This Week's Trivia--General Opposition To Bull Fighting

"Sickening."

For this week's trivia question, let's look for a man who was not only a President but also who, as one of the nation's most famous generals, saw and oversaw the death of thousands on the battlefield.  Which President and general, upon seeing only one bull fight in Mexico, commented, "The sight to me was sickening.  I culd not see how human beings could enjoy the sufferings of beasts, and often of men, as they seemed to do on these occasions"?

Was it?

A)  General and President George Washington

B)  General and Presdient William Henry Harrison

C)  General and President Zachary Taylor

D)  General and President Ulysses Grant, or

E)  General and President Dwight David Eisenhower

 

For the answer, refer to page 53 of the great new biography from W. H. Brands, The Man Who Saved The Union, Ulysses Grant in War and Peace.  While serving in the Mexican War, Grant attended a bull fight "not wishing to leave the country without having witnessed the national sport".  That was while politicians and diplomats were wrangling after the United States had won the war (quite the story in itself).  "One visit to the arena was enough," Brands writes.  Grant, known for not holding human life in sacred regard when it came to Civil War battles such as Shiloh, was not fond of bull fighting.

Friday
Nov092012

Correcting And Adding Some Numbers

In reporting some numbers yesterday, I was wrong with Ovide LaMontagne's totals in Manchester.  In fact, he did much worse than I had reported (apparently I added his Ward 1 numbers in twice).  As I always say, we all make mistakes; it's getting them corrected that counts. 
In Manchester, Ovide lost by 5781 votes, 25,778-19,997.  That's 56.3-43.7 percent or a 12.6 percent margin or virtually the same as his statewide margin of 13.4 percent.
Mea culpa.
Speaking of getting numbers correct, Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand has revised downward turnout for the city.  It was not  as originally reported (apparently the charter commission ballots were counted in with overall totals in Ward 3, thus overstating the totals by almost 3000 votes).
The Manchester total was 48,919.  (My final prediction was 48,000 after I had thought 50,000 prior to noting a slight downtick in absentee voting in the city).
Matt also tells me that 10,000 people actually registered at the polls and then voted election day; that's an astounding 20 percent, nearly double the usual ten percent of same day registrants.  It'll be interesting to see if we get similar numbers statewide.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner tells me the statewide number should be close to 730,000; his prediction was 722,000; mine was 700,000 even.
Thus, it will be an all time record for New Hampshire even as the total votes cast nationwide appears to be down eight or ten million votes.
That's easily explained actually.  Team Obama and Team Romney basically ignored 38 states, so we will see turnout there down while it'll most likely be up in states like New Hampshire and other battlegrounds, but let's wait a few more days before taking that assertion to the data bank!
I'll be crunching more numbers (too many more probably) next week.  If you discover any errors, please let me know!

 

Friday
Nov092012

Oh Happy Day For The Gay Community Nationwide And In New Hamshire


Election day 2012 may go down in history as the day the gay marriage issue was put to bed once and for all.
Uber conservatives will no longer be able to claim that when people have been allowed to vote, gay marriage always loses.  In fact, it passed in both Maine and Maryland Tuesday, and nationwide exit polls show that gay marriage (not just civil unions) is now favored by a 49-46 margin. 
That numbers grows from year to year, and don 't be surprised to see it up to 60 percent when Americans go to elect a President in 2016.
Anti-gay marriage people are dying out, both literally and figuratively.  Literally...Manchester Ward 4 Republican, one of two Representatives to file legislation to repeal gay marriage last year, died prior to the election.  Figuratively, David Bates, the Salem Republican who has gained a reputation as Homosexual Hunter, decided not to run again in Windham and most likely would not have survived in the primary had he won.
In New Hampshire, an openly gay Executive Councilor (one of five!) was elected by a wide margin.  An openly gay State Senator (1 of 24) was elected by nearly a two to one margin.   An openly gay candidate for State Rep in Manchester Ward 2 won, but it goes beyond that....he's actually married to another man.
I'm not going to name names because even if people have outed themselves, I don't believe in focusing on their sexuality.
At the same time, New Hampshire rejected a homophobic Speaker, Billy the Bully, who to everlasting harm of his part insisted on push gay marriage repeal even during this past campaign.  Yes, he won his own race, but he joins the ranks of back benchers where his venom will be well contained.
That's the point.  The vast majority of voters don't care if someone is gay or not.  The vast majority doesn't believe government should decide just whom you can fall in love with or sleep with.
We've come a long way since people were killed in colonial America just for being gay. 
We've come a long way since gays were part of the Nazi Holocaust (let's never forget the pink triangles).
We've come a long way since blacks and whites were not allowed to marry (it wasn't until 1965 that the Supreme Court decided the issue in the Loving v. Virginia case).
We still have a ways to go, but we in New Hampshire should take pride that we were slightly ahead of the curve on tolerance.
Thanks to Jim Splaine, former Portsmouth Democrat, and all those who worked so hard on an issue that Republicans stood against until the last dog died.
The last bigoted dog is nearly gone, and the GOP continues to oppose this issue at its own peril.
At the risk of ending on a downer note, let me add a personal story.  My support of gay marriage and transgender rights (and equality for all god's children) is well known, and it was used against me in my ward which is the most Republican and the most conservative of all the state's city wards (with the possible exception of Ward 1 in Laconia).  I usually top the ticket for State Rep and finish several hundred votes ahead, but this time I won by only 15 votes (there's a recount next week).  I am absolutely certain I lost Republican support and didn't pick up much Democratic support either (Dems were too busy following like lemmings the recommendations of hacks like Kathy Sullivan).
But I'm not just imagining this.  Even among the joy of this election's aftermath, I'll be haunted by a door-to-door visit to a family in the Brown Ave area (just north of the airport).  I gave the people my flyer; they didn't look happy, and as I was walking away, I heard, "Oh, he's for gay marriage.  We can't vote for him!"
Indeed they couldn't.  Indeed homophobia prevails in certain areas, among certain people.  Indeed, it hurts me, but my proudest accomplishment as I head (perhaps) into my ninth terms is helping Jim Splaine past gay marriage and preventing the bigots in my own party (like Billy the Bully) from repealing it.
We are on the right side of history...just like the abolitionists like Jonathan Hale and Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams (sadly not Franklin Pierce) were on the right side of history in their fight against slavery.  Just like those who fought for women's rights and for the right for inter-racial marriage were on the right side of history.
If that opinion (and I've expressed it openly on many past TV shows) costs me, then so be it.
Oh happy day, New Hampshire. 
Oh happy day, America. 
Sadly, it took a whopping defeat to my own party (yes, I remain among the most fiscally conservative people you'll find anywhere) to bring it about.
Wake up, Grand Old Party, it's later than you think.
CSpan often rebroadcasts programs.  Last night, Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg did an hour with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce talking about the Republican problems (and Barack Obama's refusal to work...even with members of his own party...he's one lazy golf playing dude!).  Check it out if it's rerun.  It's worth an hour of your time.
By the way, The Liberty Express (my show) is no more...but that's another story.
Trivia question--At the polls in Ward 8 Manchester, election day, who was sporting a button, "Skiers for Obama."
Hint--The answer is almost contained within this blog.
Give up.
It was not Kathy The Hack Sullivan, but it was Mr. Kathy Sullivan (also known as John Rist)!
Not that there's anything wrong with such a button...except Golfers For Obama or Lazy Hackers for Obama might have been more appropriate considering the comments from Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg.  You really gotta see it.  CSpan I.

Gay Marriage Victory In Maine, Maryland; Minnesota Votes Down 'Traditional' Amendment (UPDATE)

Posted: 11/07/2012 1:05 am EST Updated: 11/07/2012 3:21 pm EST

 
Gay Marriage Victory

 

Thursday
Nov082012

Democrats Control NH House 223-177

These numbers may be off one or two and of course they are subject to change as upwards of a dozen recounts could be requested, but recounts seldom change results, and from look into all 400 New Hampshire State Representative seats (through data as posted on the Secretary of State's web site), I have Democrats in even firmer control than many people thought yesterday.
It looks like an astounding gain of 121 seats to bring Democrats from 298-102 down in the wake of the 2010 election to a 223-177 edge when the new House forms in December.
Yes, blame it on Ovide. 
Yes, blame it on the outgoing Speaker, aka Billy the Bully.
Blame it on a Republican Party image which was destroyed more than anything else by those two men, a pair of radical conservatives at a time when the state and the country craves moderation.
I know, I know, some of my Republican brethren (there are many fewer of them, at least among the ranks of the elected) might want to blame Mitt Romney, but he lost the state by only five points.
Ovide LaMontagne lost the governor's race by 13.4 percent (if we do the math without minor candidates), 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent. 
He lost by 91,110 votes.
He lost every county in the state, from a margin of 3.2 points in highly Republican Rockingham to 30.2 points in Democratic Cheshire.
Ovide lost every ward in his home city of Manchester and lost the city by seven percent (3354 votes).  In fact, he lost every ward in every city in the state except Laconia Ward 1.
Remember how earlier in the summer, I posted an article entitled Ovide's Less Than Excellent Adventure, harkening back to his 19 point loss to Mean Jeanne Shaheen in 1996, an epoch which marked the beginning of the downfall of the Grand Old Party in New Hampshire.
I never thought I'd be writing this again, but we now face Ovide's Less Than Excellent Adventure Part II.
To quote a line from a Peter, Paul, and Mary folk song, "When will they ever learn?  When will they ever learn?"
When will Republicans ever learn that the road to control of the state is not through right wing fanatics like Ovide LaMontagne or John Stephen or Kevin Smith?
Apparently they won't learn soon because even today I'm hearing that forces in the GOP are lining up behind Stephen or Smith as the 2014 standard bearer, a disaster waiting to happen for sure.  Raybo Buckley doesn't need to work very hard as Democratic chair as long as Republicans stand ready to give the people the likes of Ovide, Kevin, Johnny, and Billy the Bully with the gavel.
Wake up, New Hampshire GOP, it's later than you think.
But...as usual...I digress.
My purpose here was to enumerate county by county losses for Ovide and Billy's GOP.
Again, I may be off by one or two seats, but here's what I come up with.  The biggest losses come, as I had predicted, in Manchester, Nashua, and Strafford County, but that's simply because those are the areas Republicans had the most to lose.  The GOP also lost Grafton County by a three to one margin, even after Paul Mirski and Spec Bowers worked like hell to gerrymander it for GOP control (more on that later). Republicans went from 22 to three State Reps in Nashua, a total so astounding I have to state that it's not a typo.  Republicans went from a 21-14 control of the Manchester delegation down to 25-7 Democratic control.  Yes, Manchester lost two seats due to population decline, but another seat was stolen Billy and Company in their bogus redistricting plan.
By the way, remember the seven Manchester Reps who promised to oppose the Speaker's redistricting plan and then broke their word and voted for it.  Guess how many are left?
Just one.  Leo Pepino died in the summer.  Cathy Cusson-Cail and Connie Soucy decided not to run again, and three more lost yesterday, Mike Ball in Ward 2, the clueless Ross Terrio in Ward 7, and Carlos Gonzalez in Ward 12.  It wasn't even the Democratic sweep which cost Carlos.  He lost to another Republican who had never won before.
So much for the Seven Snakes.
As for the redistricters themselves, get this.  Six of the 12 Republicans who served on that infamous redistricting committee went down to defeat including Paul Mirski, leader of the snake pack, who lost by nearly a two to one margin in Enfield.  Ed Smith, Spec Bowers, Peter Principal Silva, and William Smith all lost; Elaine Swinford had lost in  the primary; and David The Homosexual Hunter Bates had decided not to run again.
Ah yes, as the re-elected President would say...and as Republicans were bellowing in 2010, revenge is indeed sweet!
But I digress again..there's so much to digress about here.
Democrats picked up seats in areas I can never recall them winning before...from Littleton to Londonderry.
Here are the county totals:
County         Democrats           Republicans
Belknap            5                          13
Carroll             5                            10
Coos                7                            3
Cheshire       20                           3
Grafton            20                         7
Hillsborough    66                       56
Merrimack        35                       10
Rockingham     25                      65
Strafford             30                       7
Sullivan             10                      3
Total              223                       177
Along with big gains in Nashua and Manchester, Democrats went from one Rep to 17 in Hillsborough County towns.
About the only major population centers in which Democrats failed to make inroads were the towns between Manchester and Nashua (Goffstown, Bedford, Merrimack, Hudson, and Pelham--and they did in fact pick up single seats in Goffstown, Hudson, and Merrimack) and a huge swatch of Rockingham County (although Democrats picked off two seats in Derry and one in Londonderry, they were blanked in Salem).
Ah yes, Pelham!  Don't get me going on Pelham, a town which deserves four Reps of its own but was raped by Billy the Bully, Mirski, Ed Mosca, and the redistricters, and is now a sad, sad story (sort of like Litchfield was in 2002).
Mosca, you say?  He's the highly paid House legal counsel who, with the departure of O'Brien, will soon be out of a job (at least that job), joining Chief of Staff Greg Moore at the unemployment line (figuratively at least).
What goes around comes around...to bullies especially.
Yes, revenge is sweet, and Republicans can only hope that Democrats in power treat them better than they treated Democrats when they were in power.
Wouldn't it be something if the new back bencher O'B got up to speak and started going off on a tangent, was ruled out of order and asked to sit down and then ---------------fill in the blank.  Let's just say he better not got back to his antics of 2009 and 2010; his antics were much worse than anything he ruled out of order in 2011/12, but then I won't be Speaker.  In fact, I have a recount to endure...or so I'm told, so I may not be back at all.

 

Thursday
Nov082012

Holy Gerrymandering Batman! Democrats Won State Senate Vote By 5%, But Trail 13-11

Although Republicans cling to a 13-11 seat edge in the New Hampshire Senate after Democrats gained six seats, an analysis of the overall vote cast is most intriguing.
Talk about winning the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, if my quick math is correct, more voters were cast for Democrats than Republicans in the 24 State Senate races.
In fact, Republican President Peter Bragdon was not even opposed in District 11.  Even if we add in his 18,644 votes (as opposed to none for Democrats there), Democrats held exactly a two point edge in overall votes cast for Senate (51.0-49.0 percent).  Check my math if you will, but I come up with 325,044 votes for the 23 Democratic candidates and 312,422 for the 24 Republicans.
If you take district 11 out of the mixture, the Democratic advantage swells to five points in the 23 contested districts (52.5-47.5 percent).  The total would be 325,044 for Democrats; 293,778 for Republicans.
How could this be?
Easy.
The same way a candidate could conceivably win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote.
During redistricting earlier this year, Republicans were able to "stack and pack".  That's the term used in redistricting.  It's also know as gerrymandering. 
Democrats won certain district by tremendous margins while Republicans won the close ones.  For example, David Pierce beat Joe Osgood 17,719-9940 in District 5 (Lebanon-Hanover-Cleremont); Sylvia Larsen won District 15 (Concord) by nearly 11,000 votes (19,383-8379); Martha Fuller Clark carried District 21 (Portsmouth/Durham) by more than 11,000 votes (19,740-8674).
That's a lot of votes which were "wasted", which would have been better placed in districts where Democrats just barely lost.  But don't think it was done by coincidence.  Republicans controlled the Senate 19-5 and the House 298-102 when redistricting was done, and you can be sure they deliberately "stacked and packed".  They did so brilliantly.
In fact, as Democrats have held the corner office and taken what appears to be a 223-177 lead in the New Hampshire House, it could easily be argued that only Senate redistricters stopped Democrats from taking total control.  President Peter Bragdon and Republicans statewide owe a debt of gratitude to Chief of Staff and numbers crunching expert Jay Flanders. 
Give the man a raise!
As for the close races, take these three.  In District 9, Republican Andy Sanborn topped Lee Nyquist by 253 votes, 50.4-49.6 percent (15,478-15225, recount requested).
Republican David Boutin hung on in District 16 (Manchester North/Hooksett) by only 396 votes against Kathleen "Still Looking for Parked Cars To Crash Into" Kelley, (50.7-49.3 percent, 13,876-13,480 votes).
And most significantly, remember how I mentioned earlier in the year how District 6 became much more Republican when it lost Somersworth and was replaced by towns including highly Republican Alton.  Well, Republican Sam Cataldo won the district by 633 votes, 51.3-48.7 percent over Richard Leonard (12,760-12,127). 
Guess what?  Cataldo carried Alton 1965-1172.  That's 793 votes, more than he won overall.  Without redistricting, Cataldo (it was Fenton Groen's district at the time) most likely would not have won.
Without the gerrymandered districts (perfectly legal), Democrats most likely would have lead 14-10, not trailed 13-11 in Senate districts.
Just the facts, maam, just the facts.
It goes on and one, but I trust you get the gist.  If you don't take my word for it (and of course you do), you can run the numbers yourself; they're all up on the Secretary of State's web site.  In fact, verification would be nice!