Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Aug312012

Give Romney An A; Rubio An A+

From the Grand Bibliotheque

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Four years ago, I distinctly remember Barack Obama`s acceptance speech from Colorado.  I had just arrived in Montreal, so listened on radio as I sat in my car eating delicious tomatoes fresh from my brother`s garden.

Creature of habit that I am, I`m in Montreal again.  And I have lots of tomatoes again.

I was, however, in the United States for of Mitt Romney`s acceptance speech last night.  In fact, I arrived at the border just as Romey finished what was the shortest acceptance speech in memory

I was passing through Shelburne trying to figure out what Clint Eastwood was talking about--I guess you had to be watching TV to get it.  The radio announcer kept pointing out Eastwood was talking to Obama in an empty chair.  Eastwood sounded rather incoherent on radio, but the line about Joe Biden being "a grin with a body behind it" was the best of the week. 

By the time I got to Burlington, Marco Rubio was on delivering what to me was the best speech of the convention.

I missed a bit of Romney`s speech because, if you can believe it, the ABC Radio network interrupted him right in mid-sentence to cut to its 11 p.m. newscast and the Burlington, Vermont station (WVMT) mysteriously went off the air.  WBZ`s signal was coming in as a back-up, and I even managed to find a Vermont public radio station.

You will recall that I was a big supporter of Marco Rubio for Vice President.  No surprise then that I found his speech the best of the entire convention, and A plus, right up there with Artur Davis, the African American who nominated Barack Obama four years ago and since has turned Republican. 

I would give Romney a solid A, but I wasn`t surprised at how good his speech was.  When you have millions of dollars to spend on a campaign, it`s not all that tough to come up with a great speech.  The delivery was also good.

Ann Romney would get an A- from me, Chris Christie a C.  I missed Paul Ryan`s speech (I was talking with my brother), but from the clips I heard (from the Jerry Doyle show), it was a real winner as well.

The one poll that was quoted last night appeared to give Romney a six point bump from the convention, from trailing by four with Reuters to up by two.

Stay tuned...but not to WVMT or ABC Radio.

 

Friday
Aug312012

Ruling Liberals Could Finish Last In Quebec

From the Grand Bibliotheque

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Even as Democrats in the U.S. open their convention in North Carolina Tuesday, Quebecers will be going to the polls to elect what this weekend appears to be a separatist government.  In Canada, an election occurs 35 days after it is called, none of these endless campaigns as we have in the U.S.  However, there`s always the chance that if the election doesn`t produce a clear-cut winner, another one could be called almost immediately. 

Both the French and English media are hinting that it will take a miracle for Liberals, led by Jean Charest and rife with corruption, to remain in power.  In fact, Liberals will most likely finish third, and talk here in that some English Quebecers plan to vote "strategically" for the Coalition Aventir Quebec (CAQ).  That means that voters in some ridings (districts) will vote for the CAQ candidate simply to prevent the Party Quebecois (separatist) candidate from winning.

Such is life in places with parliamentary governments and multi-parties.

The latest polls who the PQ at 32 percent, the CAQ at 28, and the Liberals trailing with 26 percent.  Predictions from pundits run the gamut from an outright PQ win the some type of minority government being required.  No one is predicting a Liberal win.

This is all very strange.  Pauline Marois, the PQ leader, boldly proclaims that the election is not about forming a new government but rather about forming a new country.  However, polls show support for separation from Canada (it`s called sovreignty here) is close to an all time low; it`s only at 29 percent.  Thus, even if Marois and the PQ win, they will most likely have little success tearing Quebec out of Canada.

Marois is promising to raise royalty fees on mining companies from 16 to 30 percent.

Charest`s government has been plagued not only by corruption but by strikes and protest marches from students upset with steep tuition increases.

WJAD, the English radio station I listen to, seems to be pushing for the Liberals.  I heard that Marois refused to appear on the station, and word was that CAQ Leader Francois Legault was so bad that he should stop giving interviews in English.  The Montreal Gazette, however, reports that Legault did better than expected in round-robin debates.

With the focus on the Quebec election Tuesday, talk of the U.S. election is pushed off the front pages and to the back of the newscasts.

Rightly so.

Thursday
Aug302012

Free Press Goes Tabloid

From the Bixby Memorial Library, Vergennes, Vermont

I'm into Gore Vidal these days (since his death) and am astounded to report that this dictionary has no Gore Vidal books, not even Burr or Lincoln.  How can this be.  It only has three Kurt Vonnegut books (Cat's Cradle, Slautherhouse Five, and Welcome to the Monkey House).  On the other hand, it is well stocked with John Irving books.

That's how I check out a library.

Then it's on to the newspaper section, and even more shocking the Burlington Free Press, Vermont's premier paper and a member of the Gannett family, has gone to tabloid size.  That's the half-size sheet that many weekly papers and a few dailies like the New York Daily News use.  Most, major dailies have stuck with the broadsheet format (like the Union Leader, New York Times, Monitor, etc).  I was flabbergasted that a paper like the Free Press would go tabloid (not in style of reporting, but in size).

It means that a picture of Ann Romney addressing the Republican convention occupied an entire half page of a page inside the paper.  It means that only three or four stories are possible on a given page.

Traditionalist that I am, I am not amused.

The first paper I ever worked for, the weekly Plymouth Record, went tabloid when I was there back in the 70s.  Many weeklies have gone that same route, but a major daily?  I suppose it's something one gets used to, and then I'm not a Vermonter any more (unless you buy the line once a Vermonter, always a Vermonter).

The woman who served as librarian when I was in high school (Verna Everts) turned 100 last time I was here.  I assume she's gone to that great reading room in the sky by now. 

Zeit fliegt.

Thursday
Aug302012

Obama Advertises In Vermont--And Other Observations From The Green Mountain State

From the Bixby Memorial Library in Vergennes, Vermont, smallest city in the USA and recently feature in the Boston Globe.  This is a gem of a library (I fondly remember researching a James Thurber term paper here back in 1968); and computer use is on a first-come, first serve basis.

In visiting my brother for a few days, I got to watch the TV station I grew up with, Channel 3, WCAX-
TV, Burlington.  In less than an hour, I noted three of the Obama commercials featuring Bill Clinton.  Since The Anointed One is 30 or so points ahead in the Green Mountain state, the commercials obviously aren't intended to sway Vermont.  The station also reaches across Lake Champlain into New York state (no, need to advertise there) and into southern Quebec.

Hm, I thought.  Then I remembered that I used to get Channel 3 back when I lived in Plymouth, NH.  I assume the station still reaches into western and northern New Hampshire, and it's a good indication of just how vital New Hampshire could be that Team Obama is advertising on Channel 3 even though it is reaching only a fraction of the New Hampshire populace.

No, I didn't see any Romney commercials on the station.

Vermont still elects its Attorney General and there was a hotly contested race on the Democratic side earlier this week.  Channel 3 reported that turnout was only about 40,000; it was more than 100,000 two years ago.  Go figure.

Vermont and New Hampshire are the only two states still with two year terms for Governor.  Democat Shumlin was elected here by a slim margin two years ago, but he's up 30 points or more now.  As I recall, once you get elected in Vermont, you remain in office until you die.  Note Senators Leahy and Bernie The Socialist Sanders.  When I was a kid, Senator George Aiken was the man.  He didn'd spend anything on his campaigh.  He also formulated the ideal solution for the Vietnam War--declare victory and come home.  Hey, we should try that in Afghanistan.

The Paul Ryan speech was on last night, but my brother and I talked over it.  He doesn't vote, but I got the sense that he would be a Democrat.  In fact, as we talked I began to wonder why I ever changed to become a Republican.  I agree with him (and Demcrats) on everything from gay marriage to marijuana legalization to Roe v. Wade to excess police powers.  Were it not for Democrats big tax and spend policies, I'd be happier in that party.

But then we walked up to the farmers market on the common with its monument to Commodore McDonough, hero of the War of 1812, a silly war if ever there was one.  (My high school mascot was commodores).

Eggs and corn were $6 a dozen; I suppose it could be the price one pays for freshness, but I suspect it's equally due to Obama policies ruining the American dollar.  My brother and I jokes that we shouldn't worry.  Ink and paper are cheap and as long as we can buy them, we can always print more dollars.

End of the pro-Democratic argument.

Whoops--someone wants to use the computer.  I'm off to Montreal for the Fetish Festival.  The provincial election is hot there now; they vote Tuesday.

Wednesday
Aug292012

Mitt Romney's Death Wish

As I listened to the roll call of states at the Republican convention yesterday, I was amazed at how everyone was being ignored by the GOP tallying crew except Mitt Romney.

In the past, at least as I recall, the state would report its vote and then the party person at the mike would repeat the totals for all candidates. 

Clearly, this wasn't happening yesterday.  I'm not your run of the mill conspiracy theorist, but hey, when Romney received less votes in certain states (especially Nevada) and the lady at the mike still mentioned only Romney, something was rotten in the Tampa (if not in Denmark).

Ron Paul had more delegates in Nevada, also Iowa.  However, Republican leaders seemed to be going out of their way to anger his supporters by not repeating the tallies.

This is strange, I thought, so I began flipping around the dial and learned (NOT from Fox News, hardly fair and balanced) that there were other problems with Romney and Ron Paul supporters.  As it turns out, New Hampshire's own John Sununu, as Chair of the Rules Committee, was right in the middle of the controversy as was RNC Chair Rance Prebius whom I dislike almost as much as Debbie Wasshername. 

As I said all winter, I'm a big Ron Paul supporter but I find Mitt Romney acceptable.  I also noted that Ron Paul's five or ten percent of the Republican vote could prove critical when it comes to the general election.  Some Libertarian-minded people are already planning to vote for Gary Johnson, but I suspected most of us would stick with Romney.

After yesterday, I'm not so sure.  Piss off Ron Paul supporters at your own peril, Republicans. 

He should have been given a speaking spot at the convention--without the threat of being edited.  Hey if I could turn the sound down and go back to reading Gore Vidal while Rich Santorum spoke (I truly despise him!), those who dislike Ron Paul could have dealt with ten minutes or so of Ron Paul in a similar manner.

Then I hear that the convention has adopted some type of rules which will make it more difficult for candidates like Ron Paul to accrue delegates in the future.

Anybody have details?  Seth Cohn perhaps? 

Hey, let's try googling and posting at the bottom here.  This story isn't widely reported, especially from the slanted so-called conservative media (think Fox) which strives mightily to convince its public that everything is hunky dory in GOP land. 

It's not!

This is going to be a close election.  Mitt Romney can ill afford to alienate any group of voters.  It's almost as if the Republicans in Tampa this week are going out of their way to alienate not just some voters, but me! 

If this is a death wish Mitt, you just might get your wish.

There can be no doubt that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the Presidency in 2000.  He took 19,000 votes in New Hampshire; Bush won the state by 7000. 

That could happen again this year.  Take 19,000 New Hampshire votes from Mitt Romney and give them to Gary Johnson and we might just see Barack Obama re-elected. 

This is all so unnecessary, kind of like NH House Speaker Bill O'Brien who had such large majorities that he didn't need to bend the rules, but he insisted on bending them anyway.  Beware of the backlash, Mr. Prebius, beware, beware!

 

Ron Paul Delegates Walk Off RNC Floor in Protest

Ron Paul-supporting delegates have accused the Republican establishment of changing the rules of the seating process in order to avoid embarassment for Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Their arguments are not without merit.

The Ron Paul faction did not go out quietly, cheering loudly whenever Ron Paul delegates were announced and yelling out the running tally of Paul votes every time the convention announcer failed to do so.

While Maine--and the broader Ron Paul movement--lost this symbolic battle, some delegates say that Republicans  have made a bad mistake alienating the Ron Paul vote by picking this fight.

"The party's fractured. This was completely unneccessary, and it's ridiculous," said Ron Paul supporter and Oklahoma delegate Steve Dixon.

Approximately 2 minutes.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller and Tracy Oppenheimer.

Go to http://reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

Ron Paul Delegates Lose First Two RNC Fights

Tampa - The Ron Paul delegates lost their first two major fights of the Republican National Convention. 

Their efforts to seat the disputed Maine delegation failed on a voice vote when the Report of the Committee on Credentials was accepted. Boos rained down on the floor immediately after its passage. Chants of "Seat them now" and "point of order!"erupted from all over the arena while Mitt Romney delegates attempted to chant "USA!" The entire convention morphed into a cauldron of dueling chants and noise that continued into Zori Fonalledas' presention of the Report of the Commitee on Permanent Organization. 

Gaveling several times, RNC Chairman Reince Prebius pleaded with delegates to show respect to Fonalledas.

A calm lasted briefly until John Sununu came to the podium to present the Report of the Committee on Rules. Paul delegates throughout the hall told Reason that they were unhappy with several of the proposed changes, particularly Rule 12 and Rule 16. 

Rule 12, they said, offered the party the ability to changes rules after the passage of them at the convention.

"These rules allow the RNC to change the rules without our approval," said Luis LaRott, 31, of Houston and a Ron Paul delegate. 

The other rule many of them were unhappy with, Rule 16, restructures the way delegates are distributed at caucuses and primaries. Paul delegates were concerned with the changes that would eliminate the ability of the states to choose delegates. 

These two votes caused a major uproar on the floor but Prebius ignored calls from Paul delegates, many that had spent months studying parliamentary procedures, that challenged the rules.