Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Sorry Ovide, It's a Two-Letter Answer

            Jokingly, when I finally got to see Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas after the big announcement last week, I said, “Thanks for leaving me with not just egg, but an entire omelet on my face.”

            That was of course a reference to my continuing prediction that Gatsas would in fact be the state’s next governor and his decision not to run.

            Ted explains that he reached the decision a week ago Sunday night while signing thousands of honor roll letters for Manchester students.  He apparently decided that he still has a lot of work to finish in Manchester, but why did I get the feeling that he’s already regretting the decision?

            Perhaps because when I told him the filing period wasn’t until June, he didn’t react by affirming, “Oh, no, no, I’ve made my decision.”

            I’m not about to say he’ll change his mind, but I’m more convinced than ever that big bucks will get behind a Republican for Governor whose name isn’t Ovide or Kevin.  In fact, on my second stop of the afternoon (this is NOT from Ted Gatsas but a high powered Republican insider), I was told that at a recent meeting in Portsmouth, a check for five hundred thousand dollars was slid across the table to a potential GOP candidate.

            Lacking the instinct of a reporter, I didn’t ask whom the check was made out to.  I’m not sure my source would have told me, but he or she can always blog in here should he or she so desire.

            Many, many moderate Republicans who could never vote for either Ovide or Kevin Smith are waiting. 

            Yes, I admit to being one of them.

            At the Jim Demers CHAD St. Patty’s Day celebration earlier this week, I tried to quickly sit down and avoid the glad handing, but as Rep Irene Messier’s escprt, I had to follow her, and Ovide asked me, “Now that Ted isn’t running, would you support me?”

            Would I lie?

            Of course not. Hint, hint.  My one word answer contains only two letters.

            That would be capital N, Capital O, "NO"..

            I moved along before Ovide could ask me whom I would now support, but I had an answer ready had he asked it as I was making my way to less than succulent corned beef.

            It would not have been kind, but when have I been known to be kind.

            It would have been three words, “Anybody but you.”

            Don’t get me wrong.  I like Ovide LaMontagne.  From all indications, he is a very very nice man, but he’s far more socially conservative than I am (and probably not even as fiscally conservative as I am).  As passionate as I am for getting government spending under control, I’m equally passionate about government not usurping individual freedoms, whether it be the right of any human being to marry whomever he or she chooses or the right of any human being to smoke any unhealthy substance he or she chooses.

            I really should have asked who’ll be on the receiving end of that $500,000 largesse.

            Will it be someone who doesn’t drag the Republican Party to the far right on social issues?  I hope so because I’m as prepared to vote for the Libertarian candidate as I was last time (if I haven’t admitted it before, I will now—I didn’t vote for John Stephen).

            People like me make a difference.  Any Republican candidate who loses too many people like me will not capture the corner office.  I always like to think—would Irene Messier vote for this guy?  Would Neal Kurk vote for this guy?

            With Ovide, my guess is Neal probably would, but neither Irene nor I would.  Irene may not be as blunt as I am in saying “NO” when asked, but I doubt that many pro choice or pro gay marriage Republicans could vote for either Ovide or Kevin Smith.  I could certainly never vote for Maggie Hassan or Jackie Cilley either, but there may well be another Democrat to enter the field, and there’s always—hopefully there will be—the fall back position of John Babiarz. 

            Warning to Republicans—nominate a far right winger on social issues--and enough of us will flee so that a sure thing (Republican winning the race) will no longer be such a sure thing.

            Sorry Ovide, just telling it like it is.

            Message to His Honor—there’s still time to reconsider.  We love you.  The state needs you.


What, No Smacks For Democrats?

FRIDAY UPDATE-To borrow a word from that great gourmet J.D. (aka Jed) Clampett, those "smacks" were "pitiful". 99 cent a dozen (or is it a ten-pack?) cookies from Market Basket or cheesy bits just don't cut it.  No hog jowls, no possum innards, no pickeled buzzard eggs, not even smacks of the quality Democrats offer on a regular basis without even gloating over their intent to offer smacks.  Pitiful, pitiful, no wonder we can only maintain a quorum in the House with armed guards at the doors who refuse to let the Honorable even leave to take a piss break without a hall pass.  You just can't make this stuff up.

Pitiful, pitiful, simply pitful smacks. 

Speaking of pitiful free food, did anybody (other than me--I can eat about anything--except stuff which was swimming around in its own toilet a few days ago--if I salt it enough) actually manage to eat that tough corned beef served up by Jim Demers for his St. Patty's CHAD dinner?  Even more pitiful than the Clown Prince's least the jokes were funnier this year.


TUESDAY BLOG--In a slip that must be Freudian, Republican leader DJ Bettencourt sent out this missive offering "smacks" to Republican members earlier today.  It all begs the question, which will be more effective rounding up votes, "The whip or the dip?"  As someone who has typed "gay area" when I meant "gray area", I cannot help but sympathize. 


Fellow House Republicans,


With potentially three long session days ahead of us, I wanted to make sure we were able to get through our work as comfortably as possible.  As such, the Majority Office will have smacks and other light refreshments available for members. We will hold some food in reserve for members who might have blood sugar issues.


Feel free to stop by the Majority Office is you need a breather and a snack. I can usually make it from the Majority Office to the Hall in time for roll call votes.


I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.


All the best,




The Week In Polls--March 13--Obama Hits New Low With CBS

UPDATE--In a real shocker, Rasmussen has Republican Connie Mack leading Democratic incumbent Nelson in Florida by seven points (43-36).  It'll likely be closer than that, but this shows that Nelson is indeed vulnerable in the baseball vs. space race.

            Anybody who would wager more than a plug nickel on tonight’s results in Alabama and Mississippi is either a brave man or an out and out fool.

            Unlike the Super Tuesday states, there’s not a lot of polling data.  From what there is, the best guess is that Newt Gingrich has a slight edge in Alabama with Mitt Romney surprisingly favored in Mississippi with Rick Santorum third in both states.

   projects Gingrich at 32.5 with Romney at 32.0 and Santorum at 28.1 in Alabama; in Mississippi, it’s Romney at 33.7, Gingrich 33.1, and Santorum 25.9.

            American Research Group has Romney up two in Mississippi (34-32 with Santorum way down at 22) and Gingrich up three in Alabama (43-31 with Santorum down at 24.  Rasmussen has Romney up by as much as eight in Mississippi, but PPP has Gingrich up 2.

            Maybe we should just slow cook a corned beef roast (it sure beats cheesy grits) and wait for Hawaii results to come in—Romney is the clear favorite there with Ron Paul pushing for second.

            With a split in delegates today the most likely result, a look ahead to future states is the best news Romney has.  Rasmussen has him 20 points ahead of Santorum (43-23 with Gingrich at 15) in delegate-rich California. That could be game, set, and match.

            Rasmussen also has Romney up two (32-30 with Gingrich at 19) in Texas of all places.

            The Chicago Tribune has Romney up four (35-31) in Illinois, the next state which will really matter.

            Like Mississippi and Alabama, Louisiana looks like a three-way race with a new poll giving Santorum a slight edge with Romney second (25-21 with 20 for Gingrich).

            There’s good news for Santorum out of his home state of Pennsylvania where PPP has him up 18 points (43-25), and he’s expected to win relatively big in Wisconsin.  He but that won’t be enough to offset huge Romney wins in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut later on.     

            Far more interesting is the Obama slide.  He’s hit an all time low in a CBS Poll (41-47) out this week, down nine points in just a month.  He’s also down to 46 in an ABC poll, but he’s back close to even in the more time sensitive Rasmussen (49-51) and Gallup polls (47-46).  Overall, RCP has Obama falling into negative territory by 1.2 points (46.6-47.8) and Huffington Pollster average is even worse news for the Anointed One—he’s down 2.2 points (48.7-46.5).

            Rasmussen gives Republican a big boost in the weekly tracking of the generic Congressional ballot, my favorite indicator.  The GOP is back to a six point led (44-38), a range which would indicate no gains for Democrats in November elections.

            You can make whatever kind of argument you wish in an Obama/Romney match-up these days.  Rasmussen had Romney up five points over the weekend but it’s back to dead even (45-45) today.  ABC News has Romney beating Obama 49-47, but a Pew poll has Obama up by 12 over Romney (54-42).

             It's been a while since we’ve looked at ratings for Congressional leaders, and although Speaker John Boehner has slipped to a new low 32-50 for a net negative of 18, he’s still far better off than Nancy Pelosi (29-61 for a negative of 31).  Republican Senate leader—these are Rasmussen numbers—fares best of all, only down 16 points (27-43) while Democrat Harry Reid is the least popular of all with only 24 percent favoring him (55 percent oppose for a negative of 31 points).

            There doesn’t appear to be any new data for U.S. Senate races out this week although even Democrat stalwarts appear to be turning against Elizabeth Warren downgrading her chances to knock out Scott Brown.

            I’m awaiting data from New Mexico and Montana especially; both states where Republicans could make gains to hit and then exceed my magic number of a gain of seven for a 54-46 advantage.

            We also await new New Hampshire numbers.  Hey, Andy Smith, why not poll Bill O’Brien’s positives?

            I’m just asking and waiting for that corn beef to cook (I really hate grits, whether cheesy or not).

            Tip—Fox Business News will have the best results starting at 8.  Regular Fox isn’t even going with full-fledged results until 11 p.m.  Gun to my head prediction—expect Santorum to beat expectations in Mississippi and Alabama, but it’s just a guess.

            Three cheers for Neil Cavuto and actual numbers (as opposed to a scroll of percentages).




Tom Lehrer Boards The Liberty Express


  • I never realized it until I googled his image, but 1960s comic singer Tom Lehrer in his older years looks quite a bit like Alan Colmes.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    He doesn't realize it of course, but Tom Lehrer will board the Liberty Express for the entire second half hour of this week's show (The Liberty Express airs on Manchester TV23 Monday at 10, Tuesday at 11, Wednesday at 9, and Sunday at noon, and is always available on

    If you've never heard Tom Lehrer, be prepared for a treat.  I've had three of his albums (yes, the old waxed, grooved thingies) for 40 years or, but last year, a half hour DVD, filmed in 1967 in Oslo, Norway, came into my possession.  I've played a few clips on my former show More Politically Alert, but this week, I decided to run them all together.

    Lehrer's songs are short, so even with his introductions, we get in 11 in 28 minutes.

    Musically, the versions are not as good as the audio versions; in fact, Lehrer seems to forget the words at least once, but the ingenious rhyme scheme, the utter irreverence that was a hallmark of a generation, remians in all its glory.

    Sunday night, as I was rummaging through old videos to show this week, I settled on my visit to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin, Germany.  With spring in glorious bloom when I taped the show Monday, I decided to ditch the trip to the land of the depressed (there's always another week coming) and settled on Lehrer.

    Vatican Rag, most likely my favorite song, is last.  Catholics need not be offended; actually Catholics are so easily offended, they'll probably rail at this, but they've been railing for nearly half a century.  "First you get down on your knees, fiddle with your rosaries, bow your head with great respect, and genuflect, genuflect, genuflect....Make a cross on your abdomen, when in Rome, do like a Roman."

    I love it.  Hey if the Majority Leader can get away without consequences after calling the bishop of Manchester a "pedophile pimp", certainty we can take two minutes of The Vatican Rag.  "Get in line in that processional, step into the small confessional, there the guy who's got religion'll tell you if your sin's original...two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate."

    They don't write lyrics like that any more.

    In equally poor taste in "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"..."It's not against any religion to want to dispose of a pigeon...we'll murder them all amidst laughter and merriment except for the few we take home to experiment."

    We also have:  National Brotherhood Week ("and everybody hates the Jews"...Lehrer could get away with that presumably because he's Jewish?); MLF Lullaby; So Long Mom, I'm Off to Drop The Bomb; Pollution; The Masochism Tango; Send The Marines; Who's Next (about Israel getting the bomb, especially apt again 50 a half century later as Iraq tries to get the bomb)..."We'll try to stay serene and calm...when Alabama gets the bomb"; When Your Are Old And Gray; and of course, Wernher von Braun.

    Apparently, Lehrer never knew his concerts in Trondheim, Bergen, and Oslo, Norway were being filmed.  "I had assumed that the tape of the broadcast had disappeared during the years since then in 2007 it was exhumed and the separate songs put on You Tube.  No one had asked me for permission to do this, but after seeing the performance for the first time in 40 years, I decided not to raise any objection to this exposure," Lehrer explains on the album (DVD) notes.

    Hopefully, he won't object to the trip aboard The Liberty Express.  The one song I really wanted to see was not there--The Folk Song Army, Lehrer's salute to those courageous singers who go out on a limb to take a stand for things no one else would dare do, things like peace, motherhood, brotherly love, and apply pie.

    Yes indeed, Tom Lehrer was an equal opportunity attacker.  His darts hit (and continue to hit) both the left and the right.

    It's truly a fun-filled and spirited blast from the past.

    As always, you don't have to thank me.

    I've also located the classic song he wrote, putting all the elements to music, and will run it some other time.   


    We'll Stand Pat On Congressional Districts

    By a bipartisan vote of 14-1 (Robert Rowe, R-Amherst was the lone dissenter), the New Hampshire House redistricting committee Monday afternoon rebuffed a 7-3 vote by its sumbcommittee last week, and accepted a Congressional rediscticting plan which bascially does nothing.

    All the plan does is move Waterville Valley (population 247) and Sargent's Location (population 3) from District 2 to 1, thus creating an overall deviation of 2 people of .00015192 percent--we haven't seen percentages that low since Florida in 2000. 

    It'll be 658,234 people in district one; 658,236 people in district two.  The feds should like that, n'est-ce pas?

    I suggested that we leave Sargent's Location alone since it's in Coos County as is the rest of Distrcit 2 (and thus would make reporting votes an easier task), but in a obsessive compulsive mania, the committee opted for the three extra people to be moved.

    A plan pushed by Republican leadership, moving the town of Merrimack into District 2 and several Merrimack County towns along with Atkinston into District 1, never came up for a vote.

    Go figure.

    By doing as close to nothing as possible, the plan keeps District 1 (Frank Guinta) more Republican but will certainly jeopardize Charlie Bass (or any Republican running) as District 2 becomes more and more Democratic with population shifts.

    The two Congressmen could not agree on changes, so the House committee bascially said, "To Hell with you both.  We're not getting involved in this."

    That's a win for Guinta unless the Senate does something, and word was released that no plans are in the works there.