Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Wednesday
Jan182012

Jasper Can't Avoid His Opposition To Income Tax Amendment

No matter how many times he might succeed in interupting me, with the help of a Speaker who has assumed near total dictatorial powers on the floor of the New Hamsphire House, Hudson Reprsentative Shawn Jasper cannot lie his way out of this one.

In 2005, not only was he among the 17-1 majority of the Ways and Means Committee to vote against the nearly same Constitutional Amendment (there was another committee vote on recommendation with a 7-12 result), the current Deputy Majority Leader spoke on the House floor.  Obviously ashamed of what he said then, he strenously objected to any mention being made of history.  Neither he nor the Speaker, however, can control what is posted here.

I researched the 2005 debate and here are the remarks, including from Weare Rep. Neal Kurk who also opposed a CACR banning an income tax then but supported it today.  Ah yes, when marching orders change, many people change their principles, contrary to Section II of House ethics guidelines which clearly state "Legislatrs should employ independent objective judgement in performing their duties."

Independent objective judgement no longer exists in the House of O'Brien.  By the way, if there's any interest I can post the entire roll call from 2005.  Jasper and Kurk, you'll see, aren't the only ones with egg on collective faces.

 

Rep. Jasper:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I believe that I do represent my constituents and I think that’s why they’ve elected me to this House six times over the last 20 years.  And during those six terms I have always opposed an income tax and I will always oppose an income tax.  I’ve heard people say that it’s a fair tax.  Well, the fact is that because you are a New Hampshire resident, if you work out of state you won’t pay a dime, only New Hampshire residents who live in this state and work in this state pay that tax, to me makes it one of the least fair taxes. 

So why wouldn’t I be in favor of putting this into the constitution and prohibiting it?  We’ve heard a lot of good arguments, I think on both sides so I’m not going to go over those again.  My reasons are a little bit different, and they are that I believe that it is important for us to have this debate each and every session.  I believe that we will, as we have in the past, if it’s not in the constitution because I believe it is very important for our constituents to know how the people in this chamber feel about the issue of taxation.  I was against  Tabor   I spoke against that for essentially the same reason.  I don’t like taxes, I don’t want to increase them, I don’t like spending. I was one of 39 who voted against the budget last time.  But I think it’s important for our constituents, if they care, to be able to pull out the roll call from each session and look and see how we stand on a myriad of issues.  Every time we lock something into the constitution, we take that debate away from our constituents.  We take that record that we should be running on away from our constituents.  The people who are elected here, their vision for what New Hampshire should be, becomes a little bit more clouded because the really important issues on how they feel may, in fact, not be in the public view.  I think we need to have this debate.  I think we need to stand here and go on the record as we did yesterday on the income tax, and on spending and let the people decide then,  otherwise we may end up with a chamber full of people who no one really understands how they vote and when push comes to shove they may not like it.  I stand here proudly against this bill and ask you to join with me in making sure this House continually goes on the record  because I think what happened in 1999 had happened and the governor had signed the income tax into law, this chamber would have been cleaned out the next session and we would have had a lot of new people in here.  I don’t think the people of this state want an income tax.  I think they would have reacted to what we did and I think that is very important for our form of government.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Rep. Giuda:  Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. To the representative from Hudson, would it be reasonable to say that if an income tax was instituted by this chamber, that regardless of whether the voters removed it in its entirety, that the legacy would remain. That the taxation would stay in place regardless of who came in the next term and that that is what we are trying to avoid?

Rep. Jasper:  I absolutely disagree with you.  We put laws on the books all the time and the legislature repeals them or not based on the membership in this House.  I think if we enacted an income tax and this chamber were cleared out, the people coming in here would see that as a clear mandate and that income tax would probably never even have the opportunity to actually go into effect.

Rep. Kurk.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  For those of us who oppose an income tax isn’t the most important reason to vote inexpedient on this, is so that we continue to have a wonderful issue to beat up our opponents?

Rep. Jasper:  That is certainly one way of looking at it and I wouldn’t disagree with you, Rep. Kurk.

 

 Here are the majority and minority reports and the vote from March 9, 2005.  A Yea was a vote to concur with the committee report of killing the bill.

 

House Journal No. 26

 

 

(Deputy Speaker Weyler in the Chair)

The House was called to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

REGULAR CALENDAR (CONT’D)

CACR 13, relating to prohibiting an income tax.  Providing that no tax on personal income shall be levied by the state of New Hampshire.  MAJORITY:  INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.  MINORITY:  OUGHT TO PASS.

Rep. Steve Vaillancourt for the Majority  of  Ways and Means.  This Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution would enshrine in the state constitution the provision that an income tax may not be adopted in New Hampshire.  The majority of the committee, even many who oppose the implementation of an income tax, do not believe future legislators should be so hamstrung.  Were this to pass, and should 65 percent of citizens and/or legislators at some point in the future determine an income tax would be a good idea, it would be impossible to implement since the amendment would first have to be repealed (by a 60 percent vote of a future House and Senate to put the matter on the ballot and then by two-thirds of citizens voting at the polls).  Thus, this amendment could remove the options of a future substantial majority.  As with past amendments which the committee has considered and defeated, the majority of Ways and Means does not believe our constitution should be used as a referendum or for measures which may not stand the test of time.  Certainly, a CACR should not be used as an opinion poll.  Some published polls show that 35-40 percent of New Hampshire citizens support an income tax, not enough to pass one but certainly enough to block this amendment.  They would certainly be joined by others, like many on the committee, who opposed an income tax but oppose prohibiting one constitutionally.  Thus, while it might be fun to see what percentage this CACR would receive, it would serve no other purpose than to use the basic law of New Hampshire for purposes our forefathers would not condone.  Out of respect to the CACR sponsors, the committee took a vote on reconsideration in light of a potential amendment which stipulated both earned and unearned income would not be taxable.  The precise wording was, “no new tax shall be levied, directly or indirectly, upon a person’s income, from whatever source it is derived.”  The vote on reconsideration failed 7-12 with some members noting that the amendment was even more restrictive than the original CACR.  Vote 17-1.

Rep. Peyton B. Hinkle for the Minority of Ways and Means:  Part Two, Articles 6 and 6-a  of the New Hampshire Constitution identify the specific taxes, fees and tolls that may be used to pay for the public cost of government, but nowhere is taxation of personal income authorized.  CACR 13 is designed to lay to rest the idea of an income tax and clearly declare that it is not to be used as a source of state revenue.  Those testifying in favor of the resolution pointed out that people with portable incomes who are free to locate anywhere in the country would, with the passage of this resolution, be able to move to New Hampshire and know with confidence what taxes they would be responsible for in the future.  These are the same people who invest in businesses in the state and help create jobs.  This resolution would act as an incentive to people to move to New Hampshire and invest their economic resources in the state.  Our present method of taxation provides a more stable revenue stream, whereas an income tax is more prone to rise and fall with the fluctuations in the economy.  States having an income tax, such as Colorado, experience wide swings in revenues.  Past experience has shown that governments have a propensity to tax and spend, and instituting a new tax does not guarantee that other taxes would be eliminated.  Retired people living off their savings would be harmed by an income tax.  Finally, CACR 13 would provide the people the opportunity, once and for all, to resolve the prospect of any new tax being levied on their income.

Reps. Mirski and Itse spoke against and yielded to questions.

Reps. Hirschmann and Camm spoke against.

Reps. Jasper spoke in favor and yielded to questions.

Rep. Vaillancourt spoke in favor.

 

Rep. O’Neil moved recommit to committee.

Reps. Major and Mirski spoke in favor

On a division vote, 101 members having voted in the affirmative and 221 in the negative, the motion to recommit failed.

 

Rep. Mirski  requested a roll call; sufficiently seconded.

The question being adoption of the majority committee report.

YEAS   220   NAYS   103

 

 

 

 

YEAS   220

 

 

 

 

BELKNAP

Allen, Janet

Fitzgerald, James

Heald, Bruce

Millham, Alida

Morrison, Gail

Pilliod, James

Russell, David

Thomas, John

Veazey, John

Whalley, Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

CARROLL

Ahlgren, Christopher

Babson, David Jr

Brown, Carolyn

Buco, Thomas

Chandler, Gene

Knox, J David

Martin, James

Merrow, Harry

Olimpio, J Lisbeth

Patten, Betsey

Philbrick, Donald

 

 

 

 

 

CHESHIRE

Allen, Peter

Butcher, Suzanne

Butynski, William

Chase, William

Espiefs, Peter

Hogancamp, Deborah

Mitchell, Bonnie

Parkhurst, Henry

Pelkey, Stephen

Plifka, Stanley Jr

Pratt, John

Richardson, Barbara

Roberts, Kris

Robertson, Timothy

Sawyer, Sheldon

Tilton, Anna

Weed, Charles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOS

Buzzell, Bernard

King, Frederick

Mears, Edgar

Merrick, Scott

Remick, William

Richardson, Herbert

Stohl, Eric

Theberge, Robert

Tholl, John Jr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAFTON

Almy, Susan

Benn, Bernard

Bleyler, Ruth

Cooney, Mary

Gionet, Edmond

Hammond, Lee

Harding, A Laurie

McLeod, Martha

Mulholland, Catherine

Naro, Debra

Nordgren, Sharon

Sokol, Hilda

Solomon, Peter

Ward, John

Williams, Burton

 

 

 

 

 

HILLSBOROUGH

Beaulieu, Jane

Bergin, Peter

Brassard, Paul

Brundige, Robert

Calawa, Leon Jr

Carlson, Donald

Chabot, Robert

Chase, Claudia

Christensen, D L  Chris

Clayton, William

Clemons, Jane

Cote, David

Cote, Peter

Craig, James

Daniuk, Caitlin

DeVries, Betsi

Dokmo, Cynthia

Drisko, Richard

Egbers, Fran

Emerton, Larry

Essex, David

Foster, Linda

Garrity, Patrick

Goley, Jeffrey

Gorman, Mary

Graham, John

Hall, Betty

Harvey, Suzanne

Holden, Randolph

Infantine, William

Irwin, Anne-Marie

Jasper, Shawn

Jean, Claudette

Johnson, Paula

Kopka, Angeline

Kurk, Neal

Lasky, Bette

Lefebvre, Roland

Matarazzo, Anthony Sr

Messier, Irene

Movsesian, Lori

O'Connell, Timothy

Pappas, Christopher

Pilotte, Maurice

Rosenwald, Cindy

Ross, Lawrence

Rowe, Robert

Ryder, Donald

Schulze, Joan

Smith, David

Sullivan, Francis

Sullivan, Peter

Vaillancourt, Steve

Wheeler, Robert

 

 

 

 

 

 

MERRIMACK

Blanchard, Elizabeth

Bouchard, Candace

Brueggemann, Donald

Clarke, Claire

Currier, David

DeJoie, John

DeStefano, Stephen

French, Barbara

Gile, Mary

Hager, Elizabeth

Hamm, Christine

Hess, David

Kidder, David

Lockwood, Priscilla

MacKay, James

Maxfield, Roy

McMahon, Patricia

Oliver, James

Osborne, Jessie

Owen, Derek

Potter, Frances

Reardon, Tara

Rush, Deanna

Ryan, Jim

Shurtleff, Stephen

Tilton, Joy

Tupper, Frank

Wallner, Mary Jane

Walz, Mary Beth

Whiting, Herbert

Williams, Robert

 

 

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM

Abbott, Dennis

Belanger, Ronald

Bishop, Franklin

Blanchard, MaryAnn

Buxton, Donald

Cali-Pitts, Jacqueline

Carson, Sharon

Casey, Kimberley

Charron, Gene

Cooney, Richard

Dalrymple, Janeen

DiFruscia, Anthony

Dowd, John

Flockhart, Eileen

Forsing, Robert

Francoeur, Sheila

Gould, Kenneth

Griffin, Mary

Headd, James

Ingram, Russell

Katsakiores, Phyllis

Langley, Jane

Major, Norman

Mason, April

McKinney, Betsy

Moody, Marcia

Nowe, Ronald

Pantelakos, Laura

Parker, Benjamin

Robertson, Carl

Sanders, Elisabeth

Splaine, James

Stone, Joseph

Waterhouse, Kevin

Weare, E Albert

Wells, Roger

Zolla, William

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STRAFFORD

Berube, Roger

Bickford, David

Brown, Jennifer

Brown, Julie

Callaghan, Frank

Cataldo, Sam

Chaplin, Duncan

Creteau, Irene

Domingo, Baldwin

Dunlap, Patricia

Grassie, Anne

Heon, Richard

Hilliard, Dana

Johnson, Nancy

Kaen, Naida

Keans, Sandra

Knowles, William

Rollo, Michael

Rous, Emma

Schmidt, Peter

Smith, Marjorie

Spang, Judith

Taylor, Kathleen

Wall, Janet

 

 

 

 

SULLIVAN

Cloutier, John

Converse, Larry

Donovan, Thomas

Ferland, Brenda

Franklin, Peter

Gale, Harry

Houde-Quimby, Charlotte

Irish, Christopher

Jillette, Arthur Jr

Phinizy, James

Prichard, Stephen

Rodeschin, Beverly

 

 

 

 

NAYS   103

 

 

 

 

BELKNAP

Boyce, Laurie

Rosen, Ralph

Tilton, Franklin

Wendelboe, Fran

 

 

 

 

CARROLL

Dickinson, Howard

McConkey, Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHESHIRE

Emerson, Susan

Hunt, John

 

 

 

 

 

 

COOS

None

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAFTON

Alger, John

Barker, Robert

Eaton, Stephanie

Giuda, Robert

Ingbretson, Paul

Maybeck, Margie

Mirski, Paul

Sorg, Gregory

 

 

 

 

HILLSBOROUGH

Aboshar, Jeffrey

Adams, Jarvis IV

Allan, Nelson

Baines, Stephen

Balboni, Michael

Barry, J Gail

Batula, Peter

Bergeron, Jean-Guy

Biundo, Michael

Boehm, Ralph

Buhlman, David

Carew, James

Clark, Mark

Coughlin, Pamela

Crane, Elenore Casey

Dyer, Donald

Elliott, Nancy

Francoeur, Bea

Gibson, John

Golding, William

Gonzalez, Carlos

Goyette, Peter Jr

Haley, Robert

Hansen, Ryan

Hawkins, Ken

Hellwig, Steve

Hinkle, Peyton

Hirschmann, Keith

L'Heureux, Robert

McRae, Karen

Mead, Robert

Mooney, Maureen

O'Brien, William

Ober, Lynne

Price, Pamela

Reeves, Sandra

Renzullo, Andrew

Slocum, Lee

Souza, Kathleen

Stepanek, Stephen

Tahir, Saghir

Ulery, Jordan

Villeneuve, Maurice

Wheeler, James

 

 

 

 

MERRIMACK

Anderson, Eric

Danforth, James

Field, William

Kennedy, Richard

Klose, John

Langlais, Thomas

Marple, Richard

Soltani, Tony

 

 

 

 

ROCKINGHAM

Allen, Mary

Asselin, Michael

Bettencourt, David

Bicknell, Elbert

Cady, Harriet

Camm, Kevin

Coburn, James

Dodge, Robert

Dumaine, Dudley

Flanders, John Sr

Garrity, James

Gilbert, Karl

Gillick, Thomas

Hopfgarten, Paul

Hughes, Daniel

Introne, Robert

Itse, Daniel

Johnson, Robert

Johnson, Rogers

Katsakiores, George

Kobel, Rudolph

McMahon, Charles

O'Neil, Michael

Putnam, Ed II

Quandt, Marshall Lee

Quandt, Matthew

Smith, Paul

Stiles, Nancy

Welch, David

Wiley, Robert

Winchell, George

 

 

 

 

 

STRAFFORD

Easson, Timothy

Hofemann, Roland

Hollinger, Jeffrey

Newton, Clifford

 

 

 

 

SULLIVAN

None

 

 

 

and the majority committee report was adopted.

Wednesday
Jan182012

Redistricting Plan Must Maintain Integrity Of Cities

            In a noble attempt to accomplish the thankless task of redistricting 400 New Hampshire House seats without ending up in court, House leadership has pursued a course which ironically will lead to more, rather than fewer, legal challenges.

            Leadership has bought into the lawyers’ contention that cities deserve no special treatment, that wards in fact be treated just like towns and therefore can be split apart and joined with surrounding towns to create legislative districts.

            While that analysis may be technically correct, it ignores more than a century of tradition that, if at all possible, cities be kept intact and not torn asunder in various combinations which towns of competing interests.

            Certainly leadership is wise enough to realize that history and tradition play a large role in legal proceedings, and I suspect the state will lose if cities join together to challenge this redistricting plan.

            That is not a threat on my part.  I would prefer that the problem be ironed out so that a court challenge will not be necessary, but from what I read in the media, Concord has already threatened legal action.

            In a sense, Concord is treated even more egregiously than Manchester in the plan passed now before us.  At least each Manchester ward is allotted two reps of its own prior to two of our wards (8 and 9) being placed with Litchfield in a floterial district. 

In the case of Concord, one of its wards (with more than 4000 people) is totally denied a representative and is placed with Hopkinton, a strategy clearly in violation of the Constitutional amendment passed in 2006.

            Although Manchester does in fact border Litchfield in an area where ward 8 extends south of the airport, the city has very little in common with this beautiful farming community. 

            However, it’s worse than that.  In many instances, the interests of Manchester and Litchfield are totally opposite.  In the school funding plan passed this year (actually a repeal of last year’s plan), Manchester lost more than $30 million, and Litchfield was one of the communities leading the charge to make changes.

            Any good representative could never adequately balance the interests of both Manchester and Litchfield when voting on such issues.

            In fact, the balancing act is difficult enough for a State Senator who represents both areas.  Just ask former Senator Betsi DeVries or current Senator Tom DeBlois.

            With each senator representing approximately 55,000 people, Senate districts must be large and contain disparate elements.

            However, the beauty of the New Hampshire House with its 400 members is that each member should be able to represent a small number of people (3291 ideally) whose interests are similar.

            When leadership bought into the legal argument that the integrity of cities is a low priority in creating districts, it went against traditions which have served this state well through the years.  Thus even if legal questions were not involved, I would feel compelled to oppose this plan.

            Manchester already loses two Representatives since our population has not kept pace with the rest of the state.  In fact, in the last 40 years, Manchester has lost nearly a third of its legislative delegation, down from 48 representatives down to the 33 we deserve today.  Math drives that process, and we can’t argue with it.

            However, Manchester stands to lose two more Representatives if the committee’s plan becomes law. 

            We can and do argue with that.

            For municipal purposes, all cities in the state have eliminated voting by parties.  You won’t see a Democrat or Republican on any of our ballots.  As elected officials, we have to work together for the benefit of all.  Compromise is not only a good thing; it is essential.

            I suggest that rather than risk going to court, leadership accept the spirit of compromise and come up with a redistricting plan which does not join cities, especially large cities, with small towns which have competing interests.

            Officials in Manchester did what the state asked us to do earlier this year.  They realigned the 12 wards so that they are approximately equal in population.  The understanding in accomplishing that task was that similarly populated wards could be grouped together in sensible legislative districts.  We never imagined we would be combined with Litchfield nor, I trust, did the voters, who passed the Constitutional amendment in 2006, ever imagine that such a thing would occur as a result. 

            Plans already exist to maintain the integrity of Manchester and Concord.  We’ve all seen them.  All House leadership need do is amend the approved plan, and we’ll all be happy.

Tuesday
Jan172012

Check Out vimeo.com/channels/libertyx

 
  • The first edition of "The Liberty Express" has been posted on vimeo.com.

    For those who used to follow "More Politically Alert" on the web site, the address has changed.

    It's now vimeo.com/channels/libertyx

    All the old editions of "More Politically Alert" will still be available, but you'll have to type in the new address--vimeo.com/channels/libertyx

    The show will air on manchestertv23 Sundays at noon, Mondays at 10 p.m., Tuesdays at 11 p.m., and Thursdays at 9 p.m.

    The second half of each show will be devoted to travel footage.  This week, we visit Potsdam, Germany and the palaces of Frederick the Great (Sanssouci, The Neues Palais) for a bit of a history lesson on the the oxymoronic "enlightened despot".

     

    Tuesday
    Jan172012

    My Two Favorites Head For The Super Bowl

    Have I told you lately that I spent more years than I care to remember as a play by play football announcer?

    Yes.

    Of course.

    Well, have I ever told you that nearly 50 years ago, the New York Giants were my team?  Having grown up in the Burlington, Vermont area, I didn't get the Patriots but sure enough, Channel 3 Burlington used to carry the Giants back in the days when Y.A. Tittle was quarterback and Frank Gifford a running back.  In fact, many is the Sunday afternoon, I'd enjoy mother's meatloaf and cottage cake (is that a Vermont thing?) as the Giants--for the most part--lost again.  Even when Fran Tarketnon took over from YA, it didn't help much.  (Tucker Frederickson just never lived up to his potential).

    Thus while I can honestly say I "hate" the Jets and their loud mouth loser of a coach, I still kinda like the Giants, Eli, and Tom Coughlin and was amazed by their whomping of Green Bay Sunday despite the best efforts of the officiatng crew to help the Pack--that most certainly was a fumble in the first quarter; that most certainly was not a helmet to helmet in the fourth, but never mind.

    Make no mistake, I prefer the Pats these days, but I'm fully expecting my two favroite teams to meet once again in the Super Bowl.

    The detruction of Denver, coupled with elimination of Pittsburg then New Orleans and finally the Pack, should boost the spirits of any Pats fan.  Can there be any doubt that Rob Gronkowski has had the best year ever by a tight end?

    While I have nothing against Tim Tebow praying to any god he chooses, the kid is simply not going to make it as an NFL quarterback.  I'd be surprised if he's back as a starter next year.  So would John Elway apparently.

    Dig out the cottage cake recipe (I think it calls for vinegar), it's Giants over Niners and Pats over Ravens Sunday.

    Tuesday
    Jan172012

    The Week In Polls--Jan. 17--Ron Paul Neck and Neck With Obama

    THE EFT (or an EFT).      

          Even as Fox News touts its new poll showing Mitt Romney within a point of Barack Obama in a head-to-head match-up for the fall, here’s what you won’t hear on Fox News (and certainly not from the consummate hack Dick Morris).

                Ron Paul is within two points of Obama, no, not with a Fox Poll (they didn’t even run that scenario).  CNN/Opinion Research from Monday has Ron Paul losing to Obama only 48-46; at the same time Obama beats the Eft by nine (52-43) and Santorum by six (51-45).  Romney actually wins the CNN match-up 48-47 over Obama, but as with every other poll I can find, it’s Ron Paul who runs second best among Republican hopefuls.

                The Fox Poll has the Eft losing to the Anointed One by a staggering 14 points (52-38) and Santorum losing by a nearly as staggering 12 points (50-38).

                PPP actually has Ron Paul doing just as well as Romney against Obama, both lose by five points (49-44 for Romney and 47-42 for Paul, actually a better number since more Obama is held to fewer points) while Obama beats Gingrich by seven (49-42), Santorum by eight (50-42) and Perry by 11 (51-40).

                ABC News has Romney beating Obama 48-46 with Gingrich losing by 12 (52-40), Santorum by 11 (52-41), and Ron Paul by only seven (49-42).

                For The Eft to claim that only he can beat Obama is pure insanity.

                Clearly, it needs to be either Romney or Ron Paul.

                Unlike prior to the New Hampshire when Romney was mired in the 25 percent range in nationwide Republican polling, he’s pulled way ahead this week, even hitting 40 in the Fox News Poll (Santorum second with 15, Eft 14, Dr. Paul 13, and Perry 6).  ABC News has Romney up more than two to one—Romney 36, Dr. Paul and The Eft tied for second at 16, Santorum 13, and Perry 9.  Gallup has an even bigger margin for Romney, 34-15 over The Eft with Santorum at 15, Dr. Paul 14, and Perry at 6.

               

                Two South Carolina polls out Tuesday have Romney up by double digits again.  Monmouth has him leading The Eft 33-22 with Santorum at 14 and Dr. Paul 12.  Rasmussen has Romney leading Gingrich 35-21 with Dr. Paul and Huntsman tied for third at 16 and Perry at 5.

                Only ARG has a real horse race in South Carolina with Romney at 29, Gingrich 25, Dr. Paul at 20, and Perry actually ahead of Santorum 9-7.  A third place finish for Dr. Paul in South Carolina is thus not out of the question.         

    As always, truth in blogging-- I’m a diehard Ron Paul supporter.

    Nate Silver from fivethirtyeight.com (excellent in New Hampshire forecasting) projects Romney to win South Carolina with 36.2 percent to 22.2 for The Eft and 16.2 for Dr. Paul.  He’s 91 percent certain Obama will win Saturday and 94 percent sure he’ll win in Flordia (Romney 45.4, Gingrich 25.9, Santorum 12.2 is the current projection).

                Someone asked me what The Eft is.  As I reported earlier, it’s a great Scrabble word (I actually encountered it yesterday doing a crossword puzzle).  It’s a baby salamander or newt, and I used it to show my utter disdain for this real live Newt who has become a master of demagoguery and deceit and little else.

                If South Carolina doesn’t kill off The Eft (figuratively speaking of course), Florida looks certain to do the trick.  Sunshine State News has Romney up 26 points over The Eft there 46-20 with Santorum at 12 and Dr. Paul 9 (he’s not contesting this winner take all state).

                As predicted here last week, Obama’s favorability is heading south again.  It’s now -2.8 points (46.0-48.8).

                Rasmussen has Republicans holding to a six point lead in this week’s generic Congressional ballot (44-38).

                There’s more bad news for Democrats out of Nebraska.  Even with Bob Kerrey running for the open Senate seat, he loses—by 11 points (51-40) to Bruning and by eight points (47-39) to Stenberg.  Kiss that seat good bye.