Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Tuesday
Mar062012

The (W)right Choice For Burlington, Vermont

            Not only is Presidential primary voting in Vermont today, but Burlington is picking a new mayor, and my cousin Kurt Wright (our mothers were sisters--you'd have a better chance of winning megabucks than of ever guessing their names) just might pull it off.

            He’ll always be Kurt to me since that’s what I called him growing up.  Along with his brother Eddie and sister Sharman, Kurt used to play Jeopardy for hours, games I had made up specially for the three of them (Kurt was always fond of political categories, Eddie of cooking).

            But I digress…

            As might be imagined, Kurt is a Republican, and he came just shy of springing an upset three years ago in the socialist stronghold of Burlington.  In fact, he led after the first two rounds of instant runoff voting, but never reached 50 percent.  This is his third (and final, if he loses, he says) run for mayor.  He's been President of the City Council and apprently is much more likeable than his New Hampshire cousin (how's that for self-deprecating humor?). 

           Kurt would be only the second Republican Mayor of Bernie Sanderville in the past 50 years.  According to the Burlington Free Press,  Progressives have held the seat for 13 of the past 14 terms since Sanders first won in 1981.      

Burlington has gotten rid of the bizarre instant runoff system.  Now, with three candidates running, voters will have to go back to the polls if no one reaches a 40 percent threshold.

            Kurt is running against Democrat Miro Weinberger and a long shot independent Wanda Hines.  The guy who beat Kurt last time, Progressive Bob Kiss, was involved in a scandal—apparently $17 million of city funds were improperly spent on Burlington Telecom without public disclosure.

            My cousin was a leader in bringing that issue forth, and we can kiss Kiss goodbye.  He’s not running again.

            The Free Press says records for early voting have been set; it’s the most expensive mayor’s race in Vermont history--$100,000 for Kiss; $40,000 for Kurt, $2000 for Hines.

             For some reason, there are 35,000 people on the voter checklist—that seems high for a city of 42,000 people an increase of 10,000 from six years ago, mostly in the college wards (UVM and other colleges dominate the Burlington scene).

            That’s probably bad news for my cousin who, as a State Representative, was one of the few Republicans to vote to override the Republican governor’s veto of gay marriage a few years back.

            In a city like Burlington, that can’t hurt.

            As you watch the Super Tuesday results come in (the big question in Vermont seems to be whether Romney can get to 50 percent, the threshold of taking all the state’s delegates), think of Kurt, the Wright choice for Burlington.   

Friday
Mar022012

How NH Could (Easily) Determine Presidency

The closer it appears the November election will be (and I'm still thinking Romney wins by somewhat less than a squeaker), the more it appears that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes could mean the difference just as they were in 2000 when, despite the contest over Florida, Bush won the Presidency by virtue of Ralph Nader's giving him New Hampshire.

Go to the Real Clear Politics "Battle for the White House" map and the first thing you'll note is that 175 electoral votes are likely for Obama.  He leads for 52 more votes for a total of 227.  158 votes are close to a sure thing for Republicans with another 22 leaning Republican for a total of 181.

I won't bother to go into all these states since they are you're typical red and blue states.  The only quibble might be that Obama could pick off one (of five) electoral votes in Nebraska, one of only two states not to award its votes as a block (in fact Obama took one vote by winning a congressional district in Nebraska in 2008).  Republicans might have an outside shot of stealing New Jersey's 14 electoral votes (with Jewish alienation and a combination of other factors), but most likely if Romney carries New Jersey, he'll have won by a huge margin and wouldn't need the state.

RCP also gives New Mexico (5 votes) to Obama and I continue to believe a Marco Rubio vice presidential candidacy could put this state into play, but for the sake of argument, let's agree that we start with a base of --

Obama 227

Romney 181.

Real Clear Politics and most other "experts" list these ten toss-up states.

Colorado 9, Florida 29, Iowa 6, Missouri 10, Nevada 6. New Hampshire 4, North Carolina 15, Ohio 18, Pennsylvania 20, and Virginia 13.

Missouri should be fairly safe for Republicans as should Pennsylvania for Obama.

For Republicans to have any chance at all, Romney will need to win back Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

I think he will.

That would bring the total to--

Obama 247

Romney 248

Five states would then still be in play--Iowa 6, Nevada 6, Ohio 18, Colorado 9, and New Hampshire 4.

While the three southwestern states could be real struggles, let's say Obama wins all three (and Iowa)..  That would give him 268 electoral votes.

Romney would get up to 266 by carrying Ohio.

Thus, with New Hampshire's four electoral votes in the balance, it's

Obama 268

Romney 266.

270 wins the day, so whoever wins New Hampshire wins the Presidency.

Actually this isn't a far-fetched scenario at all in a close election.  You could switch Pennsylvania and Ohio around (with Romney carrying PA and Obama OH), and it would still come down to NH--only in this case Romney would have 268 and Obama 266 with only NH remaining.

Obviously dozens of other scenarios could play out, but don't for a minute think that New Hampshire, despite our paltry four electoral votes, won't be the focus of much attention--if the strategists on both sides see a close contest in October.

Of course if Romney were to win 270-268, that one Congressional district in Nebraska would be even bigger than New Hampshire.  That one electoral vote would give Obama a 269-269 tie and send the election to the House of Representatives where, with each state getting one vote, Romney would most likely ultimately prevail, but oh what fun it would be, especially if Obama were to win the popular vote.

To test out the various scenarios, go to the americanresearchgroup.com web site; that's Dick Bennett's polling site.  There's an electoral vote calculator there.  Every time you change a state, the numbers will change at the bottom.  For those with time on their hands, it could be great fun.  Here's how it would look.

AL (9) RepDem   ME (2) RepDem   NC (15) RepDem
AK (3) RepDem   -CD1 (1) RepDem ND (3) RepDem
AZ (11) RepDem   -CD2 (1) RepDem OH (18) RepDem
AR (6) RepDem MD (10) RepDem OK (7) RepDem
CA (55) RepDem MA (11) RepDem OR (7) RepDem
CO (9) RepDem MI (16) RepDem PA (20) RepDem
CT (7) RepDem MN (10) RepDem RI (4) RepDem
DE (3) RepDem MS (6) RepDem SC (9) RepDem
DC (3) RepDem MO (10) RepDem SD (3) RepDem
FL (29) RepDem MT (3) RepDem TN (11) RepDem
GA (16) RepDem NE (2) RepDem TX (38) RepDem
HI (4) RepDem   -CD1 (1) RepDem UT (6) RepDem
ID (4) RepDem   -CD2 (1) RepDem VT (3) RepDem
IL (20) RepDem   -CD3 (1) RepDem VA (13) RepDem
IN (11) RepDem NV (6) RepDem WA (12) RepDem
IA (6) RepDem NH (4) RepDem WV (5) RepDem
KS (6) RepDem NJ (14) RepDem WI (10) RepDem
KY (8) RepDem NM (5) RepDem WY (3) RepDem
LA (8) RepDem NY (29) RepDem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rep Dem  

Thursday
Mar012012

Hitler Learns The Truth About Santa

A friend of mine who enjoys this blog (I am convinced he enjoys it more when I go after Republicans than Democrats!) and who is aware of my fascination for German history (yes including...especially...the Third Reich part) emailed me yesterday suggesting that for a laugh I google--

Hitler and Santa Claus--

I did and two four minute segments from You Tube provide many, many laughs.

Those who've seen movies like The Bunker and The Final Days, in which Der Fuhrer goes from calm to irate in mere seconds--will especially appreciate this spoof.

Actually, Hitler's belief in a German comeback in April, 1945, his raging about Steiner with secret reserves to turn the tide, makes about as much sense as his belief in Santa Claus.

Google Hitler and Santa (Hitler and Stalin may come up at first, but just wait).  A clearn version alludes to Alvin and The Chipmunks. 

There's an even funnier x-rated version (if you can't abide the f word, beware).   At one point, Hiitler (with the truth about Santa finally revealed) pronounces (in German of course...the entire thing is in German), "Mrs. Santa had to be even more frigid than Eva Braun."

There's also a two minute version of Hitler speaking to Santa who, for some reason, has put him on the naughty list.

Check out the many Utube postings.  Apparenetly this schtick has been around since 2008, and for those who haven't yet discovered it, you're in for a real treat.

You don't have to thank me...I thank Bill.

 

Thursday
Mar012012

In Praise Of Nate Silver...And A New Feature

After touting Nate Silver and the fivethirtyeight.com web site for months, I've decided to post some comments on that site.  I registered today and added my thoughts on the United States Senate races in light of Silver's outstanding analysis of what is likely to happen in Maine in view of Olympia Snowe's decision not to seek re-election.

Conservatives who aren't overly fond of the New York Times need not fear fivethirtyeight.com even though it's now run by that paper.  It's fair and insightful.

Nate Silver is outstanding.  He'll probably provide more inside numbers than the average political junkie might want, but that's ok.  I also recall a full chapter being devoted to him in a book I was reading recently...it may have been The Declaration of Independents, a look at the new movers and shakers on the political scene.

BULLETIN--BULLETIN--BULLETIN

As of today, I'm offering a new feature on this blog. 

While many people weigh in with brief comments on articles posted here, I'm going to begin giving you more of a chance to elaborate.  I'll be using Guest Commentaries from time to time in the future.  Simply send a commentary to me at steve.vaillancourt@leg.state.nh.us.  Anonymity (pen names) will be allowed albeit not encouraged.  If I find what you have to offer interesting (even if I disagree with you), I might post it, and rather than you commenting on what I write, I'll comment on what you write. 

I can't wait to hear from the long lost Ernie Gore...if he's still around.

Keep in mind that I'm also have a long-standing offer to put you on a list of people who automatically receive anything I write (except for the comments to fivethirtyeigtht.com....you'll have to go there for those morsels).  Just express your interest at the my email address.

Check out fivethirtyeight.com.

You'll be glad you did. 

Thursday
Mar012012

February Revenues Only One Percent Off

            Congratulations to House and Senate Ways and Means Committees.

            Even as the governor and legislative leadership appear at odds over what to do with last year’s official surplus of $17.7 million, February revenues are in pretty much as expected. 

            It’s a light revenue month, and final numbers tomorrow should show the state took in only a million dollars (1.2 percent) less than $81.6 million expected, basically within range of what might be termed a "rounding error".

            That’s actually pretty good news considering business taxes were off $3.4 million (or 29.3 percent shy of the $11.6 million projected).

            Tobacco taxes were $15.0 million, $0.9 million or 6.3 percent ahead of plan, meaning Governor Lynch will have a harder time contending that the ten cent per pack cut will hurt the bottom line as much as he claim.

             Even liquor revenues are in slightly ahead of plan.

             Rooms and meals and real estate transfer tax exceeded plan, but lottery was a loser once again, generating only $4.5 million, $1.2 million or 21 percent short of the projected $5.7 million.

            Real estate transfer monies were $0.9 million or 19 percent ahead of plan.  Rooms and meals came in at $17.3 million, 11.6 percent ahead of the planned $17.3 million, but keep in mind that $1.2 million must be removed from that total as the usual end of month accounting procedure, so the final numbers will show only $0.6 million to the plus side.

            Insurance taxes, due to a refund at the start of the month, came in $0.6 million short of plan.

            Since February is such a light month for business taxes, it would be overstating the problem to read too much into the high percentage shortfall.  March and April will tell the tale there.

            These numbers will make it difficult for Governor Lynch to defend his contention that there’s a built-in $14 million deficit in the legislative plan.

            Considering that Medicaid monies, which missed the mark in a previous month, are now expected to be in late but according to plan, revenues are running $15 million ahead of plan and due to the continual progress in rooms and meals and real estate transfer monies, we could well finish $30 million ahead of plan (barring no unexpected downside news on the business tax or interest and dividends front ).

            The legislature wants to put the $17.7 million 2011 surplus in the rainy day fund which, currently at $9.3 million, is way shy of the surplus maintained by a single county, Hillsborough (around $16 million in surplus on an $85 million budget).

            You just can’t make this stuff up.

            February revenues will do little to settle the arguments one way or the other.