Rep Steve Vaillancourt


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.


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.

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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. 


Media Watch--GIR Allows Bruno's Buffoonery

Seldom do I listen to the WGIR morning show (at least not in summer), and after catching an hour of it this morning, I am reminded why.  George Bruno, ambassador to some tiny Latin American country under Clinton, has reduced himself to buffoon status.  Bruno the buffoon.  Mouthing the party line is one thing, but Bruno took the art to ridiculous levels this morning.

The host let Bruno The Buffoon ramble on and on about Mitt Romney’s failure to release his tax returns and other Democratic spinning points.  Even when they were trying to discuss Jackie Cilley’s failure to take the no tax pledge, the ambassador couldn’t resist spinning.  Rather than talk about the race for governor, he managed to bring up the Simpson-Bowles commission recommendations.  And the host let him go on and on.  Even kathythes was never this bad back.

Where is Dan Pierce or Gardner Goldsmith?  It’s time for GIR to locate one of them and can the host who lets Bruno the Buffoon ramble ad infinitum.

Kuster For Pelosi?—Thumbs up to WMUR’s Josh McElveen for asking Democratic Congressional candidate Annie Kuster if she would vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker were she to beat Charlie Bass this November.  Thumbs down to Josh for letting Annie get away without answering the question.  Had she said yes, she probably would have slipped five or ten points in the polls, assuming many people were watching.  Only the most ardent Democrat would want Pelosi back, and despite her claims to seek bipartisan solutions, Annie—truth be told—would belly right up to the Pelosi bar.  Nice try Josh.

More Thumbs Up—I concur with The Nashua Telegraph editorial “Sheriff candidate unworthy of post” making the case in hundreds of words that Frank Szabo should not be the choice of Republicans for Hillsborough County Sheriff.  Oh by the way, should a candidate for sheriff be expected to obey the law?  Apparently not Szabo.  As I drive around Manchester, I note his signs illegally posted on public property.  One can only wonder if he would support deadly force against someone posting such signs—just a joke, just a joke.

            The Union Leader also weighed in against Szabo calling him “unfit to serve”.  I agree and will be voting for Sheriff Hardy.

            Another thumbs up to the Telegraph for reporting about a State Rep’s daughter being charged with stealing signs of her father’s opponent.  The Rep is Jack Flanagan, Republican of Brookline (also a town selectman), one of my least favorite Reps in the House.  Daughter Hillary, age 20, was stealing signs of former Rep Melanie Levesque, one of my favorite Reps a few years back.   Flanagan compounded the crime by complaining about his daughter being dragged into the political process.  Oh really, Jack!  She wouldn’t have been dragged into the process if she weren’t stealing.  Maybe Speaker O’Brien will ask Flanagan to withdraw from the race—just a joke, just a joke.  We all know you can’t get out of a race unless you die or move.

            At the Concord Monitor, reporter Annmarie Timmins is doing great work.  Two weeks ago, she investigated some of our No Show State Reps.  (Other papers should follow the lead as we get closer to the November election).  Tom Katsiantonis, of the No Show Katsiantonis brothers in Manchester, offered a particularly absurd explanation.  He tried to claim that he’s missed more than three out of four votes because someone roll calls all come late in the day after he’s left.  Annmarie wasn’t buying the logic nor should voters of Ward 8.  (Truth in blogging.  I’m running for re-election in Ward 8 and will face Katsiantonis in September should I make it past the primary).

            Reporter Timmins also came through with an in depth story on District 7 State Senate candidate Josh Youssef and his pissing contest (my words, not hers) with House attorney Ed Mosca.  Remember last week I released Youssef’s email attacking Mosca and wondered whether anyone in the media would follow up on it.  Annmarie sure did with a lengthy story Monday.

Pheasant Shooting Paradise—Only by watching C-Span’s coverage of the Republican convention would you have learned yesterday that South Dakota is the best state for pheasant hunting.  The roll call of states is an anachronism but a pleasurable one for many of us.  However, apparently on C-Span presented it without commercial interruptions.

            I kept switching back and forth from Fox to C-Span.  Not only was Fox getting in the usual quota of commercials, the roll call came at the same time as The Five, and Fox apparently considered Bob Beckel’s banter more important than the colorful comments from the floor.  While we were learning about pheasant hunting in South Dakota from C-Span, Beckel was enlightening Fox viewers about how the afternoon roll call meant that all the delegates, for the first time, weren’t drunk when it came to announcing the tallies.  Ah yes, Beckel the font of all wisdom.  

            Thumbs up to C-Span.  Thumbs down to Fox and the other lame stream commercial outlets.


A Duck Trying To Make Love To A Football

Years ago, when I started doing a weekly television show, I began to jot down interesting quotes I happened upon.

I kept a file of them, and last night as Ann Romney began talking about her father-in-law George (Mitt's father); I remembered that somewhere I have a rather strange quote regarding the former Michigan governor and American Motors chief executive. 

Remember that George Romney was running for President against Richard Nixon in 1968 until he admitted to being "brainwashed" on a trip to Vietnam.  (This must have been when he released ten years of tax returns).

I remember it like it was yesterday.

While Chris Christie was busy promoting himself (and his Sicilian mother) rather than Mitt Romney, I dug into my file of infamous quotes and came up with the George Romney quote.  I even had the source noted on the page.  Theodore White, author of the Making of the President series, quoted the line in his book on the 1968 campaign.

I offer this not to disparage Mitt Romney whom I whole-heartedly support. 

The quote is simply too delicious to pass by.

According to my notes, it was James Rhodes, Republican governor of Ohio at the time, who must have been thinking of the brainwashing episode when he said this about the elder Romney:

"Watching George Romney run for the Presidency was like watching a duck try to make love to a football."

Not that there's anything wrong with that...Is there?

I've also been digging into almanacs to verify some Presidential cabinets which Gore Vidal alludes to in his seven-part series on American history.  (I've been reading Vidal since he passed away a month ago--pretty good stuff; he's spot on with his Cabinet references--check out John Hay for McKinley).

I came up with fodder for a great George Romney trivia question.  Not only was he Michigan Governor, but he also served in a Presidential Cabinet.  Which one and in which department?

Cue the Jeopardy Music.

Yes, it would be Richard Nixon's cabinet in his first term (in his pre-crook days).  The department was Housing and Urban Development.

Let's hope watching Mitch campaign does not evoke memories of his father making like a duck, according to James Rhodes.

By the way, I thought Ann's speech was good but not great as I expected it was going to be.  She went a bit fast at times (maybe she felt hurried as the GOP tried to squeeze two nights into one), but she had some good lines.  She certainly did not deserve to be called a "corporate wife" (Juan Williams on Fox News), but the speech would have been better had she fleshed out her claims about what a great President Mitt will be.  Some of us are willing to take her word for it, but others would certainly prefer some evidence; she certainly could have offered some.

All in all, it was decidedly not like watching a duck make love to a football. 

On second thought, Mr. Rhodes, just what would a duck making love to a football be like?

Here's another quote from my file of tricks.  In stepping away from French politics in 1946, Charles deGaulle proclaimed, "I prefer my legend to power."

Sure, Charles, sure.  As my best friend in high school used to say, "Oh de gall of deGaulle."

I also have a great Nixon quote in which he says women should not even be allowed to vote.  As Jack Paar would say, I kid you not.


The Week In Polls--Aug. 27--TCTC

This week prior to the two political conventions is a perfect time to look at the latest series of polls.  After all, in a few days, artificial bumps, first for Republicans and then for Democrats, are sure to occur.

Before the gavel came down in Tampa to signal the start of the GOP convention, TCTC was the only way to read polls--too close to call.

Note that now that we're ten weeks from the general election, some pollsters (which had been tallying all registered voters) have now begun to do what Rasmussen has done all along, look at likely voters.

For example, in a CNN poll released last week, Obama led Romney by nine points (52-43) among registered voters, but by only two points (49-47) among likely voters.  That's a big difference.

I've checked out averages, both nationwide and in swing states, from both Real Clear Politics and Pollster, and while they are in the same ball park, there are differences.  For example, Pollster has Romney up 0.8 points in Iowa while RCP has Obama up 1.0 point in the same state.  I guess it all depends on which polls you're averaging.  Either way, it's bad news for Obama who was up four or so points in Iowa a few weeks ago.  That seems to be the case all over the map; Obama still leads but by less than a few weeks ago.

Nationwide, RCP has Obama up 1.2 points (46.8-45.6) while Pollster has Obama up only 0.4 points (46.2-45.8).  However, RCP has Romney closer in the electoral projection--Obama leads 221-181 while Pollster has him up 247-191.  A few weeks ago, Pollster had Obama above the magic 270 number.

Florida appears to be a perfect deadlock, 46.3-46.3 percent.

Obama's lead in Colorado is down to 1.6 points. RCP has him up less than a point (0.6) in Virginia and only 1.4 points in Ohio.  Nevada seems to be fairly safe for Obama; he's up 4.2 points, but his lead has slipped to 1.6 points in Wisconsin.  In New Hampshire, Obama leads by 3.5 points, but I suspect it'll get closer here.

While some pundits are putting North Carolina in the Romney column, he still leads by only a point in the RCP averages.

Not only are Florida, Ohio, and Viginia the big three for the electoral college, but they all feature toss-up Senate races.  Allen and Kaine are not only even in averages in Virgina, but they are dead even in every recent poll it seems.  Nelson has a lead over Mack in Florida, and the numbers are all over the map for Sherrod Brown in Ohio.  Democrat hack outfit PPP had him up 10 points (47-37) last week while Rasmussen has Madell in a 44-44 tie, and just today the Columbia Dispatch weighed in with a 44-44 tie.  So much for PPP!

Todd Akin has gone from ten up to ten down to McAskill in Missouri in the wake of his abortion comments.  Although he continues to claim he won't leave the race, I suspect he'll be out by September 25, and Republicans will field a new candidate to beat the unpopular incumbent.

There are three bits of somewhat surprising good news for Republicans on the Senate front.  Even PPP has Scott Brown up five in Massachusetts. 

I personally never thought incumbent Debbie Stabenow would be in trouble in Michigan, but there's a poll which actually shows her trailing Hoekstra by one today (45-44).  The same poll has Romney pulling even with Obama 47-47 in Michigan, so my guess is it's somewhat of an outliar.

Even more amazing, Rasmussen has wrestling maven Linda McMahon coming from nowhere to go three points up (49-46) on Chris Murphy for the Connecticut seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman.  That certainly wasn't on anyone's radar screeen (Obama leads by only eight in the Nutmeg State).

However, Rasmussen has good news for Democrats today.  For the first time this year, Democrats have pulled even at 42-42 in the generic Congressional ballot race (that will undoubtedly push Democrats ahead in the RCP average; Republicans had a 0.1 point lead prior to the Rasmussen poll).  This doesn't mean Democrats will take control of the U.S. House (they need to be ahead by three points or so to do that), but the news isn't good for the GOP.   Also, for the first time in weeks, Rasmussen had Obama up to a three point lead over Romney today (47-44).  However, Gallup still has a tie, and ABC has Romney up one (47-46).


If you didn't get to see the entire WMUR/UNH poll from two weeks ago, there's some fascinating stuff there.

Democrats actually lead Republicans by four points (39-35) in the generic ballot for State Rep.  That would certainly confirm my earlier prediction that if Republicans manage to hold on to control, it will be by a very narrow margin, certainly not enough to get Bill O'Brien elected Speaker again (I had it 202 for Republicans, 197 for Democrats plus one Independent, Cynthia Dokmo of Amherst).

By more than a two to one margin (28-61), New Hampshire voters do not want gay marriage repealed.  Even if those numbers are slightly off, the margin is so large as to come as terrible new for the O'Briens and other extreme right wingers of the state.

The Constitutional Amendment to ban an income tax gets only 40 percent, far short of the 67 needed for passage--41 percent are opposed to it.

Those four magic words come to mind.  I repeat to my GOP colleagues--


UNH has Ovide LaMontagne beating both Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley by small margins (two and four points) while Kevin Smith loses to both by small margins (two and three points).  However, the highest number for anyone is 35 points which means that, unlike the top of the ticket, there's a great deal of indecision.

I believe pollings shows Ovide and Hassan ahead in the primary 15 days from now.  I sense that's true with Ovide, but the undecided is so large on the Democratic side that I wouldn't rule Cilley out.  I've said it before and I'll say it again--were I a Democrat, I would vote for Jackie Cilley, but the Democratic establishment seems to be rallying around Hassan.  Of course, the last time that happened, they were rallying around Jim Craig who proceeded to get thumped by Carol Shea Porter in the first district c.d. primary.

It's one to watch.