Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 6:05 PM
To: Vaillancourt, Steve
Subject: Re: inside story of marriage repeal failure
Seldom have I agree with an editorial so thoroughly as I did this one from today's Nashua Telegraph. While O'Brien deserves much of the blame, we should not ignore the role played by Ed Mosca, the high paid lawyer/lobbyist/gendarme, and Chief of Staff Greg Moore (former policy advisor) whose salary, in a position that didn't even exist under Speaker Norelli, is nearly $85,000 a year. So much for Republicans beng fiscal conservatives. In explicably, lots of taxpayer money is being spent to lobby House members!
BACKGROUND: House Speaker William O’Brien orchestrated a surprise vote to override the governor’s veto of the House redistricting plan this week.
CONCLUSION: Chalk this up as the latest example of the speaker behaving badly – and possibly violating the state constitution to boot.
If anyone needs a fresh example of the blatant disregard for civility and fair play so common in government today, we offer up our speaker of the House of Representatives as Exhibit A.
No stranger to procedural controversy during his first 18 months in leadership, Rep. William O’Brien, of Mont Vernon, did it again Wednesday when he thumbed his nose at House protocol – if not the New Hampshire Constitution – in calling for an unscheduled override vote of Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the House redistricting plan (HB 592).
After fighting back a procedural challenge by outraged Democrats, the House voted to override the governor’s veto by the necessary two-thirds margin, 246-112. On Thursday, the Senate followed suit, 17-7, making the House redistricting plan law.
This is the same plan that deprives Hudson and Pelham of their own seats – they will share 11 under the new law – even though they were deserving of seven and four, respectively, based on their populations.
In calling for the vote, O’Brien appears to have run afoul of the state constitution, which says the governor’s veto message should be printed in the legislative body’s journal prior to an override attempt.
Specifically, Part II, Article 44 of the state constitution states that if the governor vetoes a bill, “he shall return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it.”
In order to get around that, O’Brien halted proceedings Wednesday to call a 30-minute private caucus with House Republicans, during which he distributed a written opinion from House legal counsel Ed Mosca. The opinion concluded that the speaker has the authority to take up the governor’s veto, though the House could choose not to do so by a majority vote.
Upon learning of the speaker’s intent, House Democrats asked for a 15-minute break to caucus on their own, certainly a reasonable request under the circumstances. Of course, their request was denied. Nor were they allowed to see a copy of Mosca’s legal opinion prior to the vote.
And as would be expected in a chamber where they are outnumbered by a 3-1 margin, the Democratic objection to the speaker’s decision failed by a lopsided 255-97 tally.
“I am at a total loss to understand why (O’Brien) continues to break Houses rules, to violate the constitution, to make up his own way of doing things day after day,” House Minority Leader Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, told the Portsmouth Herald after the vote.
Given Norelli knows full well why the speaker does what he does, we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt she was speaking rhetorically.
So is this much ado about nothing? We don’t think so.
By telling reporters and others Monday that he didn’t intend to bring Lynch’s veto forward this week, O’Brien may have deprived some lawmakers the opportunity to participate. Of the 397 House members now serving, 39 were absent for a vote that exceeded the two-thirds margin by eight.
What’s worse, the unannounced vote also denied municipal officials – particularly those in communities like Hudson, Manchester and Pelham that share seats – one last opportunity to persuade their lawmakers to sustain the governor’s veto in hopes of a better deal.
But that no doubt was the speaker’s plan all along, yet another example of an ends-justify-the-means philosophy that is giving our state government a bad name.
Thanks. I thought I was losing my mind for a minute there...just like I thought I had lost it when I recall EVERY MANCHESTER REP PLEDGING TO SUSTAIN THE VETO ON REDISTRICTING. I went to City Hall today and sure enough, that's what they all had pledged...to the Mayor and each other.
From: Webb, James
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 7:45 PM
To: Vaillancourt, Steve
Subject: RE: Speaker lies!
I heard your call for the division and voted with you Steve on the ruling of the chair, as un popular as it was in my section , there is right and there is wrong and you did call for that division I think there may have been some confusion because of the protest but the speaker could of handled better.
James C. Webb SR.
NH State Representative
Rockingham District 5
I've quoted from it in the gay marriage debate on the House floor, the part about the Republican (and not the Democratic) platform being more pro-civil rights in 1948, how Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey had to lead a floor fight to overturn a lukewarm Democratic plank on the subject (the platform committee had voted 70-30 for a less robust plank).
I've used inforamtion from it in other blogs, how California Governor Earl Warren didn't think very highly of his running mate New York Governor Tom Dewey (the last time a major party ticket consisted of two governors).
If you think you know the 1948 election, you're about to learn even more by reading this great new book. The two most interesting points (for me) from this book were the realization of just how poor a candidate Dewey was, how totally unwilling he was to take a stand on any issue, and how right up to the start of the DEMOCRATIC convention, efforts were apace to draft Dwight Eisenhower as Truman's replacement. Ike is quoted as wondeing if he in fact could run as the nominee of BOTH parties! The palbable dislike of Truman by Eleanor Roosevelt and her son is especially revealing (they both came on board at the end--isn't that the way it always is?).
The first hundred pages of this book are somewhat difficult to get through (the section about Truman's work as President just after FDR died especially), but after that, it's a rip roaring good read with lots of colorul barbs from journalists (H.L. Menken) and insiders at the time. As a fan of American defense of Berlin, I would have preferred more about General Lucius Clay's role in the airlift, and a bit more on the "pumpkin papers" would have made the case against Alger Hiss even stronger, but these are mere quibbles.
Now that most southern states have voted, expect pollsters to get it right on Republican presidential primaries.
That’s good news indeed for Mitt Romney who has moved to an average ten point lead in Wisconsin and even more than that in Maryland and D.C. for next week. In fact, as I’ve been saying for months, Romney has the nomination all wrapped up. Polls in New York, California and other delegate-rich states affirm that. Santorum is only two points ahead in his native Pennsylvania (he now lives inside the beltway) in the latest Franklin and Marshal poll (30-28 with Paul at 9 and the Eft—make that the Zombie—at 6).
Rasmussen has Romney up ten in Wisconsin (44-34). NBC News/Marist has it down to seven (40-33), but fivethirtyeight lists the margin at 45.4-36.0.
Rasmussen has Romney up 17 in Maryland (45-28 with Eft at 12 and Dr. Paul 7). Santorum isn’t even on the ballot in D.C.
PPP has a 30-30 tie in North Carolina which one would think Santorum should win since he captured most of the South. Santorum is also up 14 points in Nebraska (39-25), but there aren’t many delegates there.
An LA Times poll has Romney up 19 points (42-23) in California. Quinnipiac has him up 23 points (42-19) in Connecticut. SurveyUSA has him up seven points (38-31) in Oregon, and while there’s no recent data out of New York, he was up more than 20 there last time I checked and likely to win almost all the state’s delegates.
Meanwhile, Romney and Santorum will most likely split the delegates in Texas. Give Santorum the edge in Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but Romney will have this wrapped up long before he takes all of Utah’s 40 delegates in June.
The picture of how he’ll do against Obama is less clear. Rasmussen has Obama up one point today (46-45). Obama’s favorability hovers around even. Rasmussen has him down four points today (48-52) and Gallup down three (44-47). Overall, Obama is up less than a point in the Real Clear Politics average, 47.7-47.0.
Republicans are moving to clear leads in the Congressional generic ballot, and it’s not just Rasmussen which has the GOP up five (43-38). McClatchy/Marist has Republicans up four (46-43), and Bloomberg up two (46-44).
Bad news for Republicans in New Hampshire comes from American Research Group which has Obama beating Romney by seven points here (48-41) and Santorum by 11 (48-37). It was the other way around a few months ago. ARG also has Obama up 48-46 in approval here, a total turnaround from two months ago. His handling of the econony is still viewed unfavorabley 44-50 in NH, but not nearly as bad as earlier. We await numbers from UNH, but should current data hold, I’ll have to update my predictions on Republicans holding the New Hampshire House and Senate and maybe even governorship. As always, top of the ticket matters!
U.S. Senate polling is all over the map. Quinnipiac has incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown up ten (46-36) in Ohio, but Rasmussen has Brown tied with Republican Mandel at 43-43, a state Democrats were not expected to lose. Rasmussen has Republican Tommy Thompson four points up in Wisconsin (48-44) at the same time Obama leads Romney by double digits in that state. Quinnipiac has incumbent Democrat Nelson up eight in Florida over Connie Mack (44-36), but Rasmussen has it even. Go figure.
There’s a most interesting development in Connecticut where Joe Lieberman is stepping down. Democrat Murphy leads Republican wrestling maven Linda McMahon by 15 (52-27), but leads former Republican Congressman Shays by only one point (41-40). The problem for Republicans is that McMahon will most likely win the primary (she leads Shays by ten). Too bad! Shays is a good man.
Godless New Hampshire—Gallup is out with a poll showing New Hampshire tied with Vermont for the least religious state in the country. Only 23 percent here say they’re very religious. Mississippi leads with 59 percent and other than Utah (57 percent), all the religious states are in the South—Alabama 56, Louisiana and Arkansas 54, Tennessee 52, North Carolina 50, Georgia 48. No wonder Santorum did so well there.
Not surprisingly, the least religious are in the Northeast or Northwest. After New Hampshire and Vermont come Maine 25, Massachusetts 28, Connecticut 31, New York and Rhode Island 32. Alaska is at 28, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada (most be those transplanted gambling sinners) at 30.
All indications this week point to the Supreme Court striking down at least parts of Obamacare. Rasmussen finds Americans want it struck down by a 50-37 percent margin, but believe it will be struck down b a 54-26 percent margin. The liberal Huffington Post has opposition on average running five points ahead of support.