Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Saturday
Oct062012

Weaning Big Bird From Taxpayer Seed

George is infinitely better than B. Bird, but taxpayer money shouldn't be used for either seed or bananas!

Those of us in New Hampshire--at least some of us--know that Mitt Romney was not the first one to broach defunding of Big Bird (a proxy for the subsidy to public television).

I am proud to say that I successfully led the effort to defund Channel 11 last year.  During the debate, someone mentioned (I think it was Grant Bosse) exactly what Mitt Romney did during Wednesday's debate, that although he personally likes Big Bird, a subsidy for public television is not a proper use of taxpayer money.

Romney phrased it very well indeed, noting that he would eliminate all funding for programs not vital enough to force us to borrow money from China to fund them.

From the hysterical reaction from Barack Obama (a day late and a dollar short to be sure) and his fellow travelers on the loony left, you would have thought Romney was suggesting we stop defending the country or providing relief for the most vulnerable in our society.

Public television is hardly vulnerable.  In New Hampshire until last year, UNH was taking two to four million dollars of state aid, money which was supposed to be going for higher education, and giving it to Channel 11.

My legislation to prevent that funding failed (solons didn't want to handcuff how UNH spent its grant), but the message was received and when UNH was cut $50 million, it stopped funding Channel 11 on its own.

Guess what?  Channel 11 survived just as Public Broadcasting would survive if Big Bird's taxpayer seed went away.

From what I heard yesterday (yes, probably on Fox), Big Bird's Daddy, the Children's Television Workshop, has a $400 million profit...not that there's anything wrong with that.  I'm all for free enterprise and companies making a profit, but not at the expense of taxpayers.

I'm not as much a fan of Big Bird of that funny and smart little monkey, but I'm sure Public Television would find a way to keep bringing us Curious George if tax money went away.

It's true, this is only a drop in a very large bucket of federal spending, but Mitt Romney has it exactly right.  This funding is symbolic of what we can no longer afford to do...lest we want to keep borrowing from China and bankrupting our children's children.

I suppose it could be argued that there was a time when federal funds were needed for public television.  When I was growing up back in the 50s in the Burlington, Vermont area, we received only one station clearly (WCAX-TV).  If we were lucky and wiggled the rabbit ears just right (yes, rabbit ears were these wire thingies which sat atop televisions to pull in more distrant signals in the days before dish and cable), we could haul in two New York stations (WPTZ and WRGB...with a children's show sponsored by Freddie Freihopper..."Who wants to squibble/") and WMTW from atop Mt. Washington.

Television options were limited back then, but that is no longer the case when the average viewer can pull in thousands of stations including those which specialize in much of what public television does.  There are several channels--way too many in fact, but that's the glory of competition-- devoted to just history or science or animals, not to mention food preparation or children. You name it, you can find it on cable or the dish, without taxpayer money funding it.

Private enterprise can handle this just fine.  Mitt Romney was exactly right.

Now if we could only get him to come to New Hampshire and convinced Republicans it's time for counties to stop funding the cooperative extension.

But that's another story...for another day.

 

Saturday
Oct062012

Republicans Promote Absentee Voter Fraud

Democrats may be doing it as well, but there is now incontovertible evidence that the New Hampshire Republican Party is urging voters to commit fraud by voting early...by absentee ballot...without the requisite need to vote absentee.

The proof was in my mail box today, a slick piece explaining to Republican voters (one can only presume all of us) how easy it is to vote early.

As I pointed out here last week and Gary Rayno pointed out in his Sunday Union Leader column, this is not Ohio.

As usual, I don't ask you to take my word for what I say.  Here's the exact wording from the GOP flyer, "This is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.  Help Republicans repair, rebuild, recover.  Apply to vote by mail today."  In another location on the flyer, there's a sign with the words "Sorry We're Closed" and  beside it, "Repairing the Democrats's damange to our eonomy won't be easy.  Voting is.  Request your vote-by-mail ballot today!"  The mailer was "paid for by New Hampshire Republican State Committee.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.  www.nhgop.org"

Only when you fill out the forms for an absentee ballot (assuming you read them before you sign) do you learn of the restrictions.  No where in the bold print on the outside of the flyer does it warn voters that they can NOT simply vote absentee because it's "easy".

Voting by absentee is not at all easy...unless you want to commit fraud!

We are not an early voting state.

There are only four valid reasons for voting absentee, and they all involve an inability to get to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, election day, whether for illness or diability which prevents you from leaving your house; intention to be out of town away from the polling place that day; observing a religious rite; or working at a polling location.

If you vote absentee simply because you want to get it done early, you are breaking the law.

You are committing fraud.

It's truly a shame that at least one of the two major parties is urging its voters to commit fraud.  The Republican flyer goes on and on about how bad the Democrats are (and it has every right to do that), but any organized group that urges voter fraud should be prosecuted, whether its my party or the other one.

For the record, since I started voting in 1972 (for McGovern--I was no fan of the Oval Office crook!), I have voted absentee only once, when I was living in Berlin, Germany in 1992.  Thus, the Republican Party cannot contend that this flyer went out only to those with a history of voting absentee. 

If Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) want people to vote early, they should encourage either a State Rep or a Senator elected in November to sponsor legislation to that effect.  I don't think it's a good idea and apparently most people don't either since such legislation has never passed.  However, rather than conspiring to break the law, the proper means of redress is to change the law.

Sorry to pick on Democrats, but I personally have no proof Democrats are doing the same type of thing.  If they are, it's equally wrong!

Friday
Oct052012

"Thanks Mitt and Put a Sock In It Billy!"

 

Mitt Romney's take-no-prisoners performance in Wednesday night's debate in Mile High environs (which according to Algore cramped the functioning ability of the Demagogue in Chief) made a lot of Republicans happy around the country and our beloved Granite State.
However, I suspect that none were happier than three fellas named Ovide, Charlie, and Frank.  Those are the three Republicans, all trailing in WMUR/Granite State Polls, running near the top of the ticket with Mitt Romney.
They are, of course, Ovide LaMontagne trailing by two points to Maggie Hassan for governor, Charlie Bass trailing by two (36-34) to Annie The Dancer Kuster in the second C.D., and even more significantly incumbent Congressman Frank Guinta, trailing by a whopping 11 points (46-35) to former Congressman Carol Shea Porter in the first C.D.
Romney undoubtedly improved his chances nationwide and in New Hampshire greatly with the debate.  Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com contends that the biggest bump off a debate performance has been three points, but for once I agree with Dick Morris that Romney was so strong that he could see a four or five point bump.
In fact, in Rasmussen polling out today, Romney has pulled ahead in Virginia and Florida and within a point in Ohio.  Another polling outfit has him now ahead in all three states and closing fast in others.
That gets us back to New Hampshire's three happy fellas.
I've always trumpeted the line "To of the ticket matters" and should Romney lose New Hampshire by double digits, the rest of the ticket would undoubtedly be crushded as well.  There are so many undecided voters in the gubernatorial race and second C.D. that it's anybody's race, but at only 35 percent, Guinta appears to be in big trouble (and he doesn't even have a dancing ad to bail him out).  National wise men such as Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato still have both these races as toss-ups even as they are convinced Republicans will maintain firm control in the U.S. House.
Romney at altitude breathed life not only into his own campaign but into those of several other Republicans on the ballot here in New Hampshire.
At the state level, the rash of recent polls can lead to only one conclusion.  The Republican brand name has suffered.  It's not just one thing; it's not just D.J. Bettencourt resigning in disgrace or the tactics of Speaker Billy the Bully who won't even let the Concord Monitor into his press conferences.  It's not just Todd Akin in Missouri or Szabo in Hillsborough County or Rep/ Flanagan's daughter stealing Democratic signs.
It's an unending series of bone-headed moves and statements by Republicans.
They must cease if Ovide, Charlie, and Frank are to prevail.
In fact now that Romney has won the first debate, the number one priority of Republican leaders (here John Sununu should involve himself) should be to take Billy the Bully into a closet with a sock and say, "Hey Bill, for the next five weeks, take this and stuff it into your mouth.  We don't need you eroding our brand name any further when we're all fighting for our political lives."
I kid you not.  I didn't come up with this on my own.  A Republican insider just told me, and no wonder.
With 298 Reps, Billy the Bully couldn't pass right to work or a 60 percent super majority amendment to raise taxes (it would require 240 House votes) yet he comes out with a program to try, try again if re-elected.  It's the definition of insanity--imagining you can do something next year that you couldn't accomplish with 298 Reps and 19 (0f 24 Senators) this year.
So it's time for Ovide, Charlie, and Frank to add another line to their, "Thank you, Mitt Romney."
The new line, I repeat is, "Put a sock in it, Billy."

Friday
Oct052012

Trivia Time--And You Can't Please Everybody

 

As part of his announcement letter for New Hampshire House Speaker today, Republican Lee Quandt, of Exeter, promised that he would not remove any Representative from a committee or seat assignment for disagreeing with him.
Thus, the question.  Name at least four Representatives who were removed due to Bill O'Brien's bullying tactics this term.  If you don't like the phrasing of the question, that's your problem, not mine.
Hint--You should have a head start of two by looking at who is running for Speakler and who posts this humble blog.
By the way--Lest you think that I score political points by writing this and doing a TV show, consdier this.
I'm at the library.  A very large man (he could even be termed a slob) keeps staring at me.  Finally he says, "Are you the TV guy?"
"I do have a TV show," I replied humbly.
"Are you the State Rep?" he followed up.
"Yes," I replied honestly.
"Oh, I get you confused with somebody else," he stated.
"Oh, he must be a handsome guy," I deadpanned.
"He's better looking than you," slob responded.  "I hate you."
I suppose I should have told the slob to stand in line, but truth be told, I was more blatant than that, telling the slob exactly what he could go do to himself.
He slithered out of the building as I went to post these entries.
Trivia Answer
Along with Lee and me would be Susan Emerson and Gary Hopper, the Weare Rep who was removed as Fish and Game Committee Chair due his anti right to work stance.  Disagreement over the budget led to Quandt's ouster from Finance.  Sue Emerson was removed out of personal pettiness by Billy the Bully.
As for me, the official reason given in a letter from Billy was lack of collegiality.  However, the real reason was my unwillingness to do whatever the Speaker told me, the insistence on speaking and writing what I felt.  Now it can be revealed--and the press is free to pick up on this--that the collegiality argument was simply a canard.  I ran into Finance Committee Chair in the hallway last week.  He assured me that he didn't want me removed from Finance, that he in fact spoke out in my behalf.  No other member of Finance found me lacking in collegiatlity either, so either the Speaker is once again a proven liar or his Finance Chair is lying.  I'll put my money on O'Brien as the liar..
Bye, bye, Billy the Bully, gott sei Dank!
Ooh Tish, that's German.  Are we allowed to use German?!

Friday
Oct052012

Absentee/Sample Ballots Are Ready

Every New Hampshire city, town, and ward should now have absentee and sample ballot in possession.
Manchester City Hall has them, and Secretary of State Bil Gardner's office assures me they have all gone out.
Absentee ballots are usually mailed out the same day (or a day after) being received.
Sample ballots are used by some candidates in planning their campaigns.
Along with the races for all offices (including federal, state, and county), the ballot contains three questions.
Two Constitutional Amendments will require a two-thirds majority for passage.  The first amendment would ban an income tax in New Hampshire; the second, which very few voters are likely to completely understand, deals with court rules.
The third question is one which goes to the voters every ten years.  It requires only a simple majority and has failed by only a percent or two the last two decades.  "Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the constitution."  That's it, simply.  I will vote no.  This would be a very expensive and time consuming process; the ConCon as it's called could do nothing beyond what State Reps and Senators can do already.  Of course, any provision accepted by the ConCon would still have to go to voters in a future election and be approved by two-thirds.  Again, I will vote no, but it should be close.