Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Words To Live By From The Mother Of Four Congressmen

            Martha Benjamin Washburn, at least until the arrival of David McCullough’s new book “The Greater Journey—Americans In Paris”, is undoubtedly one of the more obscure figures in American history who did something that (I dare say) no one else has ever done.

            This woman from the Livermore area of Maine was the mother of not two or three but of four sons who all served in the United States Congress, three at the same time.

            We learn this in McCullough’s book in regard to Elihu Benjamin Washburne (he added the e to the end of the name; he was born September 23, 1816)) who served most honorably as American ambassador to France during one of the most frightening times of that nation’s history, the Franco-American War in 1870 and the four month siege of Paris followed by the days of the Paris Commune in 1871 (even bloodier than days of the French Revolution in many ways).

            Of the more than a dozen profiles of Americans who lived and learned in Paris, the Washburne one was most fascinating to me, all the more so because of his mother who is quoted in the book by words I try to live by, words which apparently have no meaning to seven Manchester Reps who promised to vote to sustain Governor John Lynch’s House redistricting veto and then went back on their sacred word.

            From page 275 of McCullough’s book, dig this crazy passage.

            “She was an ardent reader of the newspapers that arrived by post rider and, like her husband, took great interest in public affairs.  Her pride in their children and how far they could go had no limits.  The foundation that is layed in youth lasts through life, she wrote to Elihu after he headed west.”

            And here’s the kicker sentence.

            Mrs. Washburn taught young Elihu to remember that “if a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing”.

            Good for nothing!

            That’s how the Manchester Seven should be remembered.

            However, Elihu Washburne certainly heeded his mother’s words.

            “Because there was not food enough for all the mouth to feed on the farm (11 children were born to the Washburns),” McCullough writes, “Elihu was hired out as a farmhand by the time he was 12.

            He moved to Illinois where he served as Congressman for 16 years before being appointed to the position in Paris by President Ulysses S. Grant.  While all other diplomats left France during the war in 1870, he remained behind to do important work under the most difficult of circumstances. 

            Three of his brothers were elected to Congress, from Maine, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  They all took up the antislavery cause and became early enthusiasts of the Republican Party.

            But it was their mother, the great Martha Benjamin Washburn who uttered those words that too many elected officials (and others) have forgotten today, “If a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing.”

            And now you know the rest of the story.

            But wait, there’s one more Washburne passage from the McCullough book which will add humor to relieve the tension.

            “It happened at about two in the morning of February 6, 1858.  The House had been in session for hours, arguing over slavery, when two representatives, one from the North and one from the South, suddenly began throwing punches.  Others rushed to join the fray, and as reported, ‘Mr. Washburne of Illinois was conspicuous among the Republicans dealing heavy blows.’  Seeing Representative William Barksdale of Mississippi take a swing at Elihu, brother Cadwallader jumped in and grabbed Barksdale by the hair of his head, which proved to be a wig that came off in Cadwallader’s hand.  The astonishment was enough to stop the fight and set everyone laughing.  When Cadwallader returned the wig and Barksdale put it on backward, the merriment grew still greater.  Among their constituents back in the Midwest, esteem for both brothers rose appreciably.”

            A great story but not as great as that one quote from the mother of Elihu and

Cadwallader, “If a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing.”

            Thanks David McCullough, it’s a great book.

            Should I name the seven here again...I trust you can find them from prior blogs or my TV show, The Liberty Express which airs at 10 p.m. Mondays, 11 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 p.m. Thursdays, and noon Sundays on ManchesterTV23 (always available at

Elihu Benjamin Washburne


RIP, Rick...Coming Soon...RIP, Bill

Nate Silver writes, "Santorum is himself fairly young at 53, so he will have plenty of time to build up his brand name and evaluate his options. Still, it could easily be that the 2012 nomination campaign will prove to be the high-water mark of his political career".
My response:

The Buffett Rule--Cheat Till You're Caught!

Did I dream this or could it possibly be true?

The same day that the Demagogue In Chief (aka Barack Obama) was in Florida pusing his version of the Buffett rule, one of the great investor's companies (NetJets) is being sued by the IRS for more than a quarter billion of tax evasion (or was it Jimmie Buffett?).

No, I'm pretty sure it a Buffett named Warren.

Yes, the company being sued  by the IRS (after years of shilly shallying by the great investor) is a subsiary of Berkshire Hathway, Warren Buffett's shining star, and it's not just for small change.

You just can't make this stuff up.

When the lame stream media refers to the Buffett Rule from now on, it won't be about taxing the rich more; it'll be about uber rich like Buffet doing as much as possible to cheat on their taxes!

Hypocrisy, thy name is Buffett!  No one, including the Anointed One, should ever take this clown seriously again.

By the way, the Anointed One decided last week to attack Social Darwinism.  Just like I've alwyas been a Darwinist, I've always been a student of Social Darwinism, going back to my days studying history at Plymouth State, and I contend with no lack of pride that being a Social Darwinist is a good thing, a very good thing indeed!  It's the social Darwinist spirit, the entrepreneurial spirit, that made Warren The Tax Cheater Buffett such a wealthy man!  Unlike the spirit of Socialism which seems to animate Barack Obama, Social Darwinism is as American American as cheating on your taxes.  (Just kidding...or am I?).


"Liberty Express" Revels In Flowers, Baseball, Absenteeism

As promised last week, the April flower fields of Holland are featured in the second half hour of this week's "Liberty Express" which airs Monday at 10 p.m., Tuesday at 11 p.m., Wednesday at 9 p.m., and Sunday at noon on ManchesterTV23 (always available at

This segment was filmed more than 20 years ago, but I dare say, the flowers probably look about the same today.  If you ever plan to visit Amsterdam (my third favorite city in the world behind Montreal and Berlin), this is the time of year to do it.  Flower fields are in bloom at Kuekenhof (25 kilometers southwest of the city), and April 30 is Queens Day, a celebration unlike anything else in the world--you really should partake of it once in a lifetime.

As I film flowers ("If you've seen one flower, you've seen them all"?), I relate a bit of history of the royal Dutch family.  To prevent boredom, the spiders and weasels from last week continue to run in the bottom of the screen.

Snake and Weasel exterminator needed--send resume to Liberty Express.

The first half of the show is less political than usual (although I manage to list a dozen Manchester Reps who have an absolutely abysmal attendance record--you don't have to thank me) because I'm hooked on baseball these days, especially after I heard that for the first time since 19-- both the Red Sox and Yankees have opened with 0-3 records.

Trivia--fill in the blank.  (I was a sophomore in high school).

Yes, that would be 1966, the year the Orioles swept the Dodgers in four straight in the World well I remember watching it.

Here's another great trivia question--The Orioles won the final two games of that series 1-0 on solo home runs in each game.  Who hit them?

Having just finished reading Phil Pepe's outstanding account of  “1961* (a memorable year in my life; my brother was born and we moved from Shoreham to Vergennes, Vt.—I was in fifth grade), the year Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle battled for the home run championship and Babe Ruth's record*, I also share a few highlights from the book, including the story Whitey Ford striking out Willie Mays in the 1961 All Star game using a spit ball.

What?  Whitey Ford a cheater?  Just ask Jim Boutin, author of “Ball Four” which I also read from during the show.

Apparently so.

The answer is Frank Robinson (of course) and Paul Blair.

Oh yes, I also run a clip of the GSA rappers stealing taxpayer money on their junket, but that's old hat by now, having hit the lame stream media like Grant took Richmond.

I also read David McCullough’s excellent "The Greater Journey--Americans In Paris" and offer a quote from the mother of Elihu Washburne (the American ambassador to France during the brutal Franco-Prussian War).  It's something seven Manchester Reps will especially dislike, something about losing all honor when you break your word.

Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle pose with Babe Ruth's widow during their record-setting 1961 season. (AP Images/File Photo)


VETO WATCH--Tax Money For Religious Schools (HB1607)

            Let’s begin a new series here called Veto Watch.  For each entry, we’ll take a bill passed by the New Hampshire House and attempt to determine whether in fact it will ever become law.  For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume that the New Hampshire Senate defers to the House’s wishes and passes the bill, something not all certain as we learned last week with the bill challenges voters at the polls.

            First up is House Bill 1607, titled “establishing an education tax credit”.

            This terrible piece of legislation (in my opinion of course) passed the House by a 173-127 vote on March 29, and that in itself should be enough to know that this bill will never become law.  No amount of intimidation or coercion by a Speaker known for his boorish tactics can save this travesty.

            Note that only 300 people were present for the vote, quite typical of House attendance recently, so poor that week after week, the Speaker has taken it upon himself to install armed police at the door to prevent Reps from leaving lest we fall below a quorum.  This tactic, of course, merely penalizes those who are living up to their oath and showing up.  The 100 or so absent Reps cannot be trapped into the Hall by the Speaker since they never bother to show up.

            Since two-thirds is required to override a veto, and since nearly all Democrats stick together on a veto vote, we can determine that depending on attendance, 25-30 Republican votes will be needed to sustain a veto from Governor Lynch.

            Currently there are 294 Republicans, 104 Democrats, and two vacant seats.

            House Bill 173 would take rob money from taxpayers and send up to religious institutions for tuition, but of course since that is unconstitutional (in not one but two sections of our founding document), Republican sponsors of this bill have entered into a gigantic money laundering scheme to try to make it legal.

            The bill calls for businesses to give scholarships to private schools, but the businesses would receive tax credits for the scholarships thus lowering their taxes thus raising the taxes everyone else must pay.

            No Mafia Don has ever conjured a more ingenious plan to launder money yet Republicans, who claim to be the party of less taxation, have tried to pass this scheme over and over again.

            I’ve always voted against it, and enough Republicans have always joined me to stop it from ever getting out of the House.  This time it got out of the House, but notice the margin was only 57.7 percent (far short of the 66.7 percent needed to override a veto).

            As significantly, 49 Republicans joined 78 Democrats (all but one, Keene’s Kris Roberts) in opposing the bill.  Former Finance Chair Neal Kurk, R-Weare, even spoke against it on the House floor.  No one would ever accuse Rep. Kurk of lacking the courage to defy O’Brien and leadership (it’s amazing he hasn’t been thrown of the Finance Committee yet).

            Rep. Kurk rightly pointed out how this would increase taxes for the rest of us, but the majority of Republicans (122), in their unquenched lust to provide tax money for religious education, just wouldn’t listen to Rep. Kurk.

            Assuming this bill gets through the Senate, it is certain to be vetoed by Governor Lynch, and it appears to have more than enough Republicans to sustain the veto (only two are among  the weak-minded and weak-souled Manchester Reps…some dare call them weasels…who were coerced into breaking their pledge to stand together on the redistricting override).

            Those two would be Kathleen Cusson-Cail and Ross Terrio, both from word seven.  Since their word means nothing to them, they could undoubtedly be cowed into voting for an override, but that would still leave 47 Republicans (plus those among the 96 who were absent for the vote).

            Manchester Republicans were 9-6 in favor of this bad bill; Manchester Democrats were 8-0 against it; no fewer than 12 of 35 Manchester Reps were absent for the vote!  (If you think that’s bad, consider this.  For another vote the same day, 17 (nearly half) were absent as Manchester continues its tradition of having the worst attendance in the state.

You just can’t make this stuff up.  (Hey, maybe it’s just that the Speaker chose to steal two seats away from Manchester in his redistricting plan)

By county, are the 49 Republicans who dared oppose this sure-to-be-vetoed bill which in effect would be a new tax on all New Hampshire citizens!

Belknap—Luther, Millham, Chair Swinford.

Carroll—Knox, Stephen Schmidt.

            Cheshire—Byrnes, Charles Moore, Robert Moore.


            Grafton—Bullis, Simard.

            Hillsborough—Finance Division Chairs Kurk and Belvin, Buxton, Cail, Chair Daniels, Erickson, Graham, Barry, Belanger, James Coffey, LeBrun, Messier, Michael Reed, Proulx, Terrio, Vaillancourt, Whitehead, and Willette.

            Merrimack—Kidder, Lockwood, Palfrey.

            Rockingham—Abrami, Allen, Azarian, Copeland, Elliott, Fesh, Headd, James Sullivan, Janvrin, Katsakiores, Larry Perkins, Sytek, Webb, and Ward.

            Strafford—Julie Brown, Munck.


Next time--we'll look at two abortiion bills and the odds of them surviving nearly certain vetoes.