Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Jan132012

Final Thoughts (And Charts) On The NH Primary

            Ho hum!

            Lest I sound sacrilegious, that phrase would best describe the New Hampshire primary.  The cake was baked six months ago, and no matter how high the media tried to gin up interest and make this a close race, a baked cake is seldom rebaked.

            Surprises were few and only minimal at that.

            For example, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well Ron Paul did, three or four percent higher than most polls had indicated.  He actually won upwards of 60 towns and numerous city wards, but most of the towns he won were small (Coos County and the Pemi Baker Valley for example) with many fewer votes than the big Rockingham and Hillsborough towns which went big for Romney.

            That was hardly a surprise based on Romney’s strength four years ago.

            I was also slightly surprised that Huntsman did quite so well, but if you look at the places he did best in, there is no surprise, more upscale communities (Hanover, New London, Manchester Ward 1), places which typify what I like to call the yuppification of the Republican Party.

            I was also pleasantly surprised that the two Republicans candidates I could never vote for (Santorum and The Eft) completely struck out, each failing to reach double digits and battling each other for last place (among the contenders) to the extent that the Eft actually overtook Rick The F once the final totals were in from the Secretary of State.

            Union Leader publisher Joseph W. McQuaid, a truth denier and a humanoid whom I disdain perhaps even more than the Eft and Rick the F, came out of this affair not just with egg on his face but with an entire omelet bespoiling his kisser.   Long after the Eft was totally discredited—made to look like a fool by talk host Howie Carr—McQuaid clung to his misguided support of the biggest loser in the state.  Twas fitting—biggest loser sticks by biggest loser.  Howie Carr even marveled at how McQuaid had made such a fool or himself and the paper William Loeb bequeathed him.  It was so amusing that, although I had reached the Radisson on my trip down from Concord (I had agreed to be on Russian and Orlando radio again), I kept the car radio on to hear attack McQuaid and the Eft!  

            All went beyond my fondest expectations.  I was happier than I’ve been in a single since that epic June day in 1999 when I finally evicted a parasite from my home.

            With so few surprises, we should hold pollsters and pundits to unusually high standards this year.  To do that, I’ve put a chart together.  Let’s look at the final results compared to final projections from four pollsters and four pundits who went on the record (New York Times numbers cruncher Nate Silver, the Nashua Telegraph’s Kevin Landrigan, Steve Lombardo of the Huffington Post, and your humble blogger).

            Nate Silver appears to be the biggest winner and I highly recommend a daily dose on his numbers crunching a fivethirtyeight.com.  It would only be accurate for me to say that I probably did second best.  I got the order of finish for the top five right and while I had Dr. Paul and Huntsman with a bit too little and Santorum and the Eft with a bit too much, I feel redemption after Iowa.

            While Kevin Landrigan hit the Romney number and the margin of victory rather well, the fact that he had Huntsman in fifth place knocks down his punditry prowess.  Steve Lombardo of Huffington Post not only had the margin way too high (24 points like UNH), but like ARG, he actually had Huntsman edging Ron Paul for second, so we need to hold that very much against them.  Among pollsters in my sample, probably Suffolk wins the prize although it was releasing a daily tracking poll so it depends which day you use (I choose the final day).

            Ron Paul’s universally better than predicted showing can be explained by a curiously low turnout.  Oh, I know, the lame stream media is telling you that this was a record turnout for a Republican primary.  And in fact, Secretary of State William Gardner's prediction of 250,000 was almost exactly right.   However, with absolutely no race on the Democratic side, nearly all Undeclared voters opted for a Republican ballot.  Had Republicans been voting in record numbers, we would have seen turnout closer to 300,000, and Romney would have won by even more.  Fewer than expected actual Republicans cast ballots, not a good sign for the GOP heading into a fall campaign against Obama.  That certainly isn't the Republican party line, but as always I prefer the truth to any party line.

            As fewer Republicans voted and more Undeclared voters took Republican ballots, Ron Paul’s percentage was driven up.  Had Huntsman not been in the race, Dr. Paul might well have hit 30-33 percent, but that’s speculation.

            Of course, the bad news for Democrats is that 19 percent actually went out to vote against Obama.  Spinners like Debbie Wassermann Schultz (what a vile humanoid she is!) will pretend not to worried, but they should be.  George Bush received a similar low number in the 2004 uncontested Republican primary, and he lost the state in November.

           Here’s the chart.

 

NH Primary--How Pollsters/Pundits Did

Candidate  Actual  Nate         SV       Huff      Kevin   Suffolk      UNH       Ras

Romney      39.4      39          40          42         38         37          41          37

 

Ron Paul    22.8      19         20         18           20         18            17          17

 

Huntsman  17         17         13         19           10         16            11         15

 

Santorum   9          10         12         11            16         11            11         13

 

Gingrich     9          10         11         9              13         9              8            12

 

1 vs. 2          16.6      20         20         24         20         21          24          20

Spread

          Always on the lookout to get an early sense of what the final results will be, I headed to Manchester Ward 2 which I’ve discovered usually mirrors statewide returns about as well as any town or ward you’re likely to find.  Sure enough, Ward 2 came through again.  I’ve put this chart together to compare certain Manchester wards.  Again, surprises are few.  Upscale Ward 1 went more for Romney and Huntsman came in second.  Ron Paul did very well in West Side Ward 10, but the big surprise is that he won West Side Ward 11, lower socio-economically and traditionally thought of as French Catholic territory (thus perhaps explaining Santorum's slightly better showing).  I also included my own Ward 8, right in the middle of upscale and downscale and not surprisingly in the middle of support for Romney although slightly higher than usual.

NH Primary—Manchester2 Is Bellwether

 

Candidate  State     Wd 2    Wd 10  Wd 11  Wd 1       Wd 8        Manch

Romney      39.4      38.3      31.6      30.0      43.6      41.3       37.2     

 

Ron Paul    22.8      22.9      28.8      34.7      16.0      21.1       24.7


Huntsman   17         16.2      10.2      10.0      19.0      13.3       14.4

 

Santorum     9          9.6         12.9      13.7      7.6         10.6      10.1

 

Gingrich       9          11.4      10.2      10.1      12.0      12.2       11.6

 

1 vs. 2          16.6      15.4      2.8         -4.7     24.6      20.2       12.5

Spread

Thursday
Jan122012

"The Liberty Express" Will Be DANGEROUS!

         The final edition of More Politically Alert is in the can.  It aired last night on manchester23tv (rebroadcast Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at noon) and will soon be available on the web (no longer use vimeo.com/channels/mpa--use vimeo.com/channels/libertyx).

            More Politically Alert is my one hour TV show which has aired on Manchester public television off and on (mostly on) since 1998.

            It is no more, but I’m not going anywhere.

            In fact, I’ll be taping the first edition of the new show, The Liberty Express Friday morning.     

            The Liberty Express will air Mondays at 10 p.m., Tuesdays at 11 p.m., and Thursdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at noon.  It’ll be posted on the web at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx.

            Why the change?

            Simple.  Channel 23 devotes Wednesday night to call-in shows, and while I firmly believe in free speech for all, I find it a particularly pernicious TV format.  Except for the Ron Paul special when we had 2500 people watching across the country on the web and 600 people actually tried to call in, callers have been real duds.  It’s almost enough to make one think that Manchester is the armpit of the universe.

            Unlike other shows, I only accept calls on the topic of my choice.  Last night, I offered predictions for 2012 as a topic, and absolutely no one followed format.  One moron called in trying to get his vulgar comments about a certain former housemate of mine on the air; I cut him off. 

            Another supposedly sane caller (at least my call screener vouched for him) called in with the “prediction” that Ron Paul was cheated out of 4000 or so votes and actually won the Iowa caucuses.  As much as I like Ron Paul and as downhearted as I was by the results from Iowa, I try to maintain some connection with reality.  Clearly, Ron Paul did not win Iowa.  Clearly, that was not a prediction, so I did what I’ve had to do too often the past year.  I banned the caller from the show even though there will be no more show.  (Could it be that stupid people were drawn to the show just to see if I would band them?)

            The Liberty Express will be much like More Politically Alert except that it will be taped (usually on Monday prior to it airing that night) and thus there will be no calls.  I spend untold hours preparing material for a show and it’s really not pleasant to be distracted by callers attempting to spout some totally irrelevant nonsense.

            Plus, in recent weeks, the hosts of the show prior to mine and after mine had begun to heckle me—I kid you not—just watch last night’s show, and you’ll discover such boorish tactics by someone who is actually an elected official.

           Since my New Years resolution is to avoid boorish boobs, I will no longer have to come in contact with the 8 and 10 p.m. hosts who apparently worship at the altar of statism and have no concept of what liberty really means.

           That’s their right; everyone has a right to voice his or her insipid ideas, but by being on live at 9 p.m., I actually had to listen to some comments while I was in the studio (I don't get cable; I can't even watch own show let alone their).

           The Liberty Express will be devoted to, as the name implies, concepts of liberty.  I’ve dusted off my Top Ten List of Political Quotes for the initial show and have thrown in a little Thomas Paine to get us going in the right track as well.

           I'll continue to look at polls with a By The Numbers segment.  Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down; Heard on the Grapevine; Brother Can You Spare A Quote; The Reading Room; Media Watch—they’ll still be there. We'll continue to review votes from the State House (and point out which Reps are not present to vote--the famous No-Shows).

           Here’s my new theme—in 2012 with the country facing such a crisis, it’s no longer enough to simply be More Politically Alert.  We must all hop on board The Liberty Express.

           I’ll be your conductor (usually without guests), but since only a half hour is allowed for taping, the second half hour each week will be devoted to travelogue segments I’ve built up over the years.

           For example, the first week, we’ll journey to Potsdam, Germany and the castles of Frederick the Great.  In fact, I’ll provide an extended history lesson of this most fascinating of 18th century enlightened despot.  He's especially on my mind these days since, after finishing the new biography of Catherine The Great, I’ve delved into a biography of Old Fritz.  It’s amazing how much I got right when I filmed this segment back in 1990, just after Frederick had been “reburied” along with his greyhound dogs on the grounds of Sand Souci, a signal of the rebirth of Prussian militarism some said (but I pooh-poohed).

            Great stuff.

            In week two, we’ll journey to a Russian Air Force base north of Berlin.  (I actually spent the weekend as a guest of a Russian pilot who might well have been ordered to bomb us had the Cold War heated up; it didn't--Gott sei Dank).

            Unless something comes along to warrant immediate attention, I hope to get to a half hour of last summer’s B-52s concert from Montreal in week three (Rock Lobster, Planet Claire, and Love Shack at least).

            I don’t have a million of them, but I have more than a hundred, including filming at the Berlin Wall while it was still physically there but restrictions had been lifted and people were hacking away at it (December, 1989), accompanied by my thoughts from the book I was reading at the time, Peter Weyden’s massive Wall, the Inside Story of Divided Berlin.

            There will also be new segments.  This summer, I’m planning to film a half hour on Ethan Allen by going to Fort Ticonderoga in New York, his burial place in Burlington, Vermont, and the place in Montreal where he was captured by the British in September, 1776 (leading to his confinement on unspeakably horrible British prison ships).

            To me, this segment will provide a better public service than taking calls from a motley assortment of morons. 

             I kid you not; they truly are morons. 

             "You just can't make this stuff" (a line I'll try to use at least once a week on every show).

            Not that there’s anything wrong with being a moron.  Is there? 

            As to the final episode of More Politically Alert, I offer my 12 predictions for 2012, my best and worst of 2011, and New Years resolutions (all posted here earlier), but I spend the first half hour talking about my personal experiences the week of the primary, from serving as an analyst on Russian--and Orlando, Florida--radio to running into Pennsylvanians who asked if they could accompany me to Ward 2 to watch the results come in (as my bellwether ward, it once again proved the perfect barometer for statewide results).  

             As it turned out, these Pennsylvanians, whom I'd met at the Radisson while making an anti-Eft comment, were Ron Paul supporters, and they convinced me to go to the Ron Pal “victory” speech.  I wouldn’t have gone without them, and I’m sure glad I did.  As I explain on the show, I was filled with a feeling of joy, a sense that I’m not alone in believing that we must wake up before we lose all our freedoms for which our forefathers sacrificed so much.

            "Dangerous" is the word Joe McQuaid and other Neanderthals like to call Dr. Paul.  If you saw the speech Tuesday night, maybe you heard someone yell “dangerous” from the crowd just before Dr. Paul mentioned that word.

            That was I. 

            Samuel Adams was dangerous.

            John Adams was dangerous.

            Thomas Paine was dangerous.

            The ideas of Thomas Jefferson were dangerous.           

            And yes, George Washington, who warned us of the dangers of entangling foreign alliances, was dangerous.  You won’t hear Joe McQuaid or the vile Dick Morris call those founders dangerous, but they were far more dangerous than Ron Paul is.

            Only through the efforts of “dangerous” people have we become a great and free people.

            Only through the efforts of those who dare to risk the label of “dangerous” will we continue to be free.

            Hopefully The Liberty Express will be a much more DANGEROUS show than More Politically Alert ever was.  If the show is deemed dangerous, it will be a success.  (Former 16-term Manchester Alderman Billshin once called me the most dangerous person in Mancheter, probably because I spoke the truth in calling him a hack.  Being called dangerous is high praise indeed.  Thanks Bill--you're still a hack, albeit an out of office hack, the only person who actually has his picture hung in aldermanic chambers).

Thursday
Jan122012

Gatsas Gambling Plan Resurfaces

Due to the decision by House Speaker Bill O'Brien to continue to kick the gambling discussion down the road and not allow the House to vote on it, the Gatsas plan has resurfaced.

For those unfamiliar with the long and sordid history of gambling legislation, they take bascially two forms, named after one current senator (Lou D'Allensandro) and one former senator, the President (and current Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas).

The D'Allesandro plan, which the one before the House yesterday mimics, maximizes profit for a small number of out of state interests (Millenium) and minimizes state control, thus allowing for so many possibilities for corruption that Governor John Lych has promised a veto.

The Gatsas plan maximizes state profits and state control.

Since Ted Gatsas is not longer a senator, obviously he cannot bring his plan back to the House, but it appears the work is being done by the same represenative who last year authored of a new version of the Gatsas plan last year and detailed it for the Finance Committee.

Yes, that would be I.

After the House punted yesterday allegedly because of Constitutional questions about the plan before it, I slept on it and decided to have the Gatsas plan drafted again to present to Dan Itse's study commitee whenever it meets.  Today was declared a snow day, so no House business is being conducted, thus providing more time to dot the i's and cross the t's on the Gatsas gambling alternative.

No Mr. Speaker, you don't have to thank me.

No, Governor Lynch, you don't have to thank me.

Obviously before I had this plan drawn up, I ran the idea by its original author.  That would be Ted Gatsas who did not object, and even went so far as to say that the governor might be able to support this.

"If not this governor, Your Honor," I replied, "then perhaps the next Governor!"

If theres any doubt as to what I meant by that, check out my predictions for 2012, especially the one regarding the corner office.

Ah yes, from Senate President to Mayor to Governor just at the time when a new gambling plan will be ready for a signature.

You just can't make this stuff up...nor whey would you need to.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

To:  Dan Itse, Chairman, Constituional Review Comittee

From:  Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hills. 15

 Jan. 12, 2012

Since the House postponed action on the gambling bill yesterday, apparently out of concerns over Constitutionality, I have dug out the old Gatsas plan.  I'm confident this is far more Constitutional--it came to Finance under my name last year (acutally 2010--we're into a two years ago phrasing now it seems). 

I would appreciate the opportunity to present the alternative to your committee when you meet.  Of course, I can always have it drafted as a floor amendment, but it is not my style to spring surprises.

I had never intended to do this, but now that we have time and now that there seems to be a focus on Constitutioanlity, it seems to me the Gatsas plan is the only answer.

Many thanks.

Thursday
Jan122012

Guest Commentry--NH Loves Ron Paul

Since I always have more than enough things to say to fill this space, seldom do I feature guest commentators.  However, my friend Emily Sandblade, a fellow libertarian and Ron Paul supporter, has written something I feel is especially timely to share with everyone, espcially because a new CBS poll shows Dr. Paul in a statisical dead heat with Barack Obama.  In fact, all a slew of new polling data, Dr. Paul runs better than any other GOP candidate other than Mitt Romney.  CBS has Obama at 46, Dr. Paul at 45.  At the same time, Obama beats Santorum by four (47-43) and beats Perry and Huntsman by seven apiece (49-42 and 48-41), and he beats the Eft by eight (49-41).  So much for the idea that Dr. Paul can't win.  CBS has Romney beating Obama 47-45.  All other comparative polling data shows the same thing--it's either Romney, Dr. Paul, or Obama!

This will come as terrible news to Dick Morris, Joe McQuaid, and others who masquerade as all knowing pundit but who really are little more than snake oil salesmen for outmoded philosophies which have led this country to the brink of ruin.

Pity poor Joe McQuaid, the biggest loser Tuesday.  After The Eft, McQuaid's hand-picked candidate, came in last (among the top five, that is), Dr. Paul rubbed it in a bit by thanking the Union Leader for NOT endorsing him.  Like a bloodied boxer on the canvas but refusing to admit defeat, McQuad and/or Drew Cline couldn't resist the urge to take another gratuitous swipe at Dr. Paul today.  If they possessed ven a shred of political acumen, they could realize and admit that for Barack Obama to be defeated come November, Mitt Romney and Republican will have to embrace at least some of Dr. Paul's ideas.  But now, they would rather support a pseudo-conservative like the Eft who was kayoed by talk show host Howie Carr Tuesday--how can Gigrich claim he'd beat Obama in a debate, when he completely fell apart against Howie, our car companion?

You just can't make this stuff up, but there I go again...rambling on when this was supposed to be an introduction to a guest column (unedited).  It's an extraordinarily insightful analysis, the kind of thing I'd have been proud to have written (actually the kind of thing I was about to write myself but in much more diplomatic terms!).
===============================================
By Emily Sandblade


Ron Paul comes in second in New Hampshire primaries

Yes, primaries.  Plural.  As in Republican and Democratic.

There's no real surprise that Dr. Paul garnered a credible second-
place finish in the Republican primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday. 
But he also came in as the second-place finisher in the Democratic
primary as well.

As expected, Barack Obama was the clear winner, garnering 49480
votes, about 81 % of the total cast.  Ron Paul received 2273 write-in
votes or 4%, while the next runner-up Romney received 1808 votes. 
Remarkably, almost a full 10% of the Democratic primary vote went to
Republicans.  The converse cannot be said about the Republicans,
where only a tenth of a percent wrote in a Democrat.

The stunning performance by Ron Paul in the Democratic primary is due
to a combination of New Hampshire state election laws and the
adaptations that voters have made to deal with them.

New Hampshire law prohibits any registered voter from changing
parties - including from "Undeclared" to Republican or Democrat - for
a range of approximately three months before a presidential or state
primary through the day before the primary election.  On election
day, that changes.  According to state law, a person can choose to re-
register in another party to vote in that party's primary if the
party's rules permit it.  Clearly, both the major parties have
decided that while they don't mind having Undeclared voters
participate in their primaries, they certainly do mind having party
crossover.

So many New Hampshire voters have adopted the strategy of registering
as Undeclared voters.  On election day, they walk into the polls,
declare a party, mark their ballots and on the way out the door, they
re-register as Undeclared voters.  Thus they always retain the choice
of which primary to vote in.  Over 40% of New Hampshire voters are
Undeclareds, and it's pretty clear that a significant proportion of
those simply want to retain their capability to decide which primary
they wish to vote in.

So what does this have to do with Ron Paul coming in second in the
Democratic primary?  Simple.  About half of those who are not
Undeclared voters are registered Democrats.  And apparently some of
them wanted to vote for Ron Paul, and could not.  So these voters,
deprived of the chance to vote for the person that they really wanted
to vote for wrote in Ron Paul's name.

This spontaneous and unplanned action on the part of thousands of
people scattered across the state has some stunning implications:

1.Barack Obama can't hold on to his own constituents.  It appears
that Ron Paul has enough appeal to some of the disaffected in
Democrat ranks that the argument that he's not electable is baseless.

2.Because most people don't (and won't) bother to write in any
candidate on their ballots, it's likely that Democrat Ron Paul voters
in the primary will translate to more committed Paul voters -
relative to Obama voters - in the general election next November. 

3.Obama clearly has no appeal for the vast majority of Republicans,
who appear to be far more likely to support whichever nominee their
party selects.

Bottom line:  This election's results tell far more of a story about
electability than anyone guessed.

Tuesday
Jan102012

Lynch's Revenues Would Have Killed Us

            In the rush to get away for the New Year, we never did look at six month revenue figures, and they’re not particularly good.

            December revenues were $4 million ahead of estimates, but that’s only because $9.2 million of Medicaid enhancement monies, expected last month, were late.

            In other words, we would have been shy about $5 million for the month.

            For the six months, we are $41.8 million short, and that’s just about the amount we’re off ($36.9 million) in that Medicaid enhancement fund, monies which are not expected to be made up.

            The good news then is that Ways and Means Committees were very close to hitting the mark precisely.

            Think about it.

            Had we used the rosy scenario from lame duck Governor John Lynch, whose approval rating continues in the 60s, we’d be running more than a quarter billion dollars in the red (more like $300,000,000), just as we were two years ago when Lynch and Democrats were in control of revenue estimates.

            Only one grade can apply to this governor when it comes to revenue estimates.  Yes, that would be an F!

            How can one man continue to be so far off the mark year after year?

            That’s more than a rhetorical question.

            How can it be?

            Clearly, it’s because the governor is not in the business of looking at realistic numbers but rather of picking numbers out of thin air so that he can justify more and more spending.

            Citizens of the state can breathe a sigh of relief that Republicans didn’t let Lynch get away with it this time.

            Lynch has never taken budgeting responsibly, and he has managed to fool most of the public most of the time.

            At the six month mark, revenues total $810.2 million.  $852.0 were expected.  The shortfall is “only” 4.9 percent, but imagine how bad it would be had the legislature allowed Lynch’s numbers to stand!

            On the positive side, business taxes for the year are up 4.8 percent, rooms and meals monies are up 3 percent, and real estate transfer monies are up 4 percent.

            On the down side, tobacco revenues are off 7 percent (so much for that tax decrease—blame that not on Lynch but on Speaker Bill O’Brien and Republicans), liquor transfers are 2.9 percent off, and lottery monies are 12.8 percent off (so much for those special commission incentives for those who sell lottery tickets).  Interest and dividends revenues, which mostly come in later, could potentially be another real problem.  We're currently off only $5.8 million ($17.0 million versus $22.8 million planned), but that's 25.4 percent and will most likely be felt more come spring. 

             Gasoline tax monies are nearly on plan, and highway funds overall are actually up $4.4 million, but that's mostly a function of earlier payments received. 

            The point is that the situation isn’t all that bad (of course, we have that unexpected $30 plus million we owe the federal government for past abused). 

            The point is we’d really be in trouble had Lynch gotten his way at budget time.

            I kid you not.