Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Tuesday
Apr102012

An Executive Council Plan Off Steroids

My first reaction when I saw the Senate's plan for executive council redistricting was that it looked like my plan on steroids.  Now, an amended plan, which I just learned about from President Peter Bragdon, looks more and more like my plan...without the steroids.

The Senate plan called for major surgery on Councilor Ray Burton's Grafton County territory, much more than what I had done.  The new plan apparently restores the towns around Plymouth to Councilor Burton, but still takes away areas around Lebanon and Hanover.

I anxiously wait to see what the tradeoff means for District 3 (Dan St. Hilaire's district), but I assume that district will remain extremely Democratic.

In fact, Valley News reporter John Gregg quoted me accurately a few days ago when he noted, "State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican active in redistricting (but no longer active on the Finance Committee...whoops...I added that, not Gregg), said he had proposed a plan similar to the Senate's but never got support from House leaders.  He said the Senate proposal creates more compact districts and makes more sense because the Lebanon-Hanover area is more in line as communities of interest (politically leaning, I meant) with Concord than they are with the North Country.  He also acknowledged that politics were at play in the Republican-dominated Legislature (would I lie?), as they are in almost any redistricting plan."

Here's the kicker with Gregg again quoting me accurately, "Here's the honest truth (is there such a thing as a dishonest truth?)--it creates four Republican districts.  It doesn't just protect Wheeler (David Wheeler, Councilor in the current district which includes Nashua and Keene).  It protects whichever Republican is going to run for the Wieczorek seat," Vaillancourt said who also noted that the reconfigured District 5 seat with such towns as Concord, Lebanon, Hanover, and Keene "creates one district that no Democrat could ever lose."

I should have added the usual caveat...no Democrat could ever lose unless he were caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl!

Good job, John Gregg!

Just wait till you see the new Senate plan, aka my plan off steroids. 

The House is expected to capitulate tomorrow to the Senate's Congressional redistricting plan, aka the one Bass and Guinta agreed upon.  I will argue against it noting that these Congressional districts belong not to Bass and Guinta but to the people of New Hampshire, just like Scott Brown argued that it wasn't Ted Kennedy's Senate district but rather the district for the people of Massachusetts.  We can only wonder whether the Tyrant in the Chair will rule such logic out of order.  He prefers more boring rhetoric.  Hey, what's O'Brien going to do--remove me from the Finance Committee?  Have me thrown in jail?  Shot dead at the podium?

Tuesday
Apr102012

Words To Live By From The Mother Of Four Congressmen

            Martha Benjamin Washburn, at least until the arrival of David McCullough’s new book “The Greater Journey—Americans In Paris”, is undoubtedly one of the more obscure figures in American history who did something that (I dare say) no one else has ever done.

            This woman from the Livermore area of Maine was the mother of not two or three but of four sons who all served in the United States Congress, three at the same time.

            We learn this in McCullough’s book in regard to Elihu Benjamin Washburne (he added the e to the end of the name; he was born September 23, 1816)) who served most honorably as American ambassador to France during one of the most frightening times of that nation’s history, the Franco-American War in 1870 and the four month siege of Paris followed by the days of the Paris Commune in 1871 (even bloodier than days of the French Revolution in many ways).

            Of the more than a dozen profiles of Americans who lived and learned in Paris, the Washburne one was most fascinating to me, all the more so because of his mother who is quoted in the book by words I try to live by, words which apparently have no meaning to seven Manchester Reps who promised to vote to sustain Governor John Lynch’s House redistricting veto and then went back on their sacred word.

            From page 275 of McCullough’s book, dig this crazy passage.

            “She was an ardent reader of the newspapers that arrived by post rider and, like her husband, took great interest in public affairs.  Her pride in their children and how far they could go had no limits.  The foundation that is layed in youth lasts through life, she wrote to Elihu after he headed west.”

            And here’s the kicker sentence.

            Mrs. Washburn taught young Elihu to remember that “if a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing”.

            Good for nothing!

            That’s how the Manchester Seven should be remembered.

            However, Elihu Washburne certainly heeded his mother’s words.

            “Because there was not food enough for all the mouth to feed on the farm (11 children were born to the Washburns),” McCullough writes, “Elihu was hired out as a farmhand by the time he was 12.

            He moved to Illinois where he served as Congressman for 16 years before being appointed to the position in Paris by President Ulysses S. Grant.  While all other diplomats left France during the war in 1870, he remained behind to do important work under the most difficult of circumstances. 

            Three of his brothers were elected to Congress, from Maine, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  They all took up the antislavery cause and became early enthusiasts of the Republican Party.

            But it was their mother, the great Martha Benjamin Washburn who uttered those words that too many elected officials (and others) have forgotten today, “If a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing.”

            And now you know the rest of the story.

            But wait, there’s one more Washburne passage from the McCullough book which will add humor to relieve the tension.

            “It happened at about two in the morning of February 6, 1858.  The House had been in session for hours, arguing over slavery, when two representatives, one from the North and one from the South, suddenly began throwing punches.  Others rushed to join the fray, and as reported, ‘Mr. Washburne of Illinois was conspicuous among the Republicans dealing heavy blows.’  Seeing Representative William Barksdale of Mississippi take a swing at Elihu, brother Cadwallader jumped in and grabbed Barksdale by the hair of his head, which proved to be a wig that came off in Cadwallader’s hand.  The astonishment was enough to stop the fight and set everyone laughing.  When Cadwallader returned the wig and Barksdale put it on backward, the merriment grew still greater.  Among their constituents back in the Midwest, esteem for both brothers rose appreciably.”

            A great story but not as great as that one quote from the mother of Elihu and

Cadwallader, “If a man’s word is not good, he is good for nothing.”

            Thanks David McCullough, it’s a great book.

            Should I name the seven here again...I trust you can find them from prior blogs or my TV show, The Liberty Express which airs at 10 p.m. Mondays, 11 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 p.m. Thursdays, and noon Sundays on ManchesterTV23 (always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertys).

Elihu Benjamin Washburne

Tuesday
Apr102012

RIP, Rick...Coming Soon...RIP, Bill

Nate Silver writes, "Santorum is himself fairly young at 53, so he will have plenty of time to build up his brand name and evaluate his options. Still, it could easily be that the 2012 nomination campaign will prove to be the high-water mark of his political career".
My response:
Tuesday
Apr102012

The Buffett Rule--Cheat Till You're Caught!

Did I dream this or could it possibly be true?

The same day that the Demagogue In Chief (aka Barack Obama) was in Florida pusing his version of the Buffett rule, one of the great investor's companies (NetJets) is being sued by the IRS for more than a quarter billion of tax evasion (or was it Jimmie Buffett?).

No, I'm pretty sure it a Buffett named Warren.

Yes, the company being sued  by the IRS (after years of shilly shallying by the great investor) is a subsiary of Berkshire Hathway, Warren Buffett's shining star, and it's not just for small change.

You just can't make this stuff up.

When the lame stream media refers to the Buffett Rule from now on, it won't be about taxing the rich more; it'll be about uber rich like Buffet doing as much as possible to cheat on their taxes!

Hypocrisy, thy name is Buffett!  No one, including the Anointed One, should ever take this clown seriously again.

By the way, the Anointed One decided last week to attack Social Darwinism.  Just like I've alwyas been a Darwinist, I've always been a student of Social Darwinism, going back to my days studying history at Plymouth State, and I contend with no lack of pride that being a Social Darwinist is a good thing, a very good thing indeed!  It's the social Darwinist spirit, the entrepreneurial spirit, that made Warren The Tax Cheater Buffett such a wealthy man!  Unlike the spirit of Socialism which seems to animate Barack Obama, Social Darwinism is as American as...well...as American as cheating on your taxes.  (Just kidding...or am I?).

Monday
Apr092012

"Liberty Express" Revels In Flowers, Baseball, Absenteeism

As promised last week, the April flower fields of Holland are featured in the second half hour of this week's "Liberty Express" which airs Monday at 10 p.m., Tuesday at 11 p.m., Wednesday at 9 p.m., and Sunday at noon on ManchesterTV23 (always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx).

This segment was filmed more than 20 years ago, but I dare say, the flowers probably look about the same today.  If you ever plan to visit Amsterdam (my third favorite city in the world behind Montreal and Berlin), this is the time of year to do it.  Flower fields are in bloom at Kuekenhof (25 kilometers southwest of the city), and April 30 is Queens Day, a celebration unlike anything else in the world--you really should partake of it once in a lifetime.

As I film flowers ("If you've seen one flower, you've seen them all"?), I relate a bit of history of the royal Dutch family.  To prevent boredom, the spiders and weasels from last week continue to run in the bottom of the screen.

Snake and Weasel exterminator needed--send resume to Liberty Express.

The first half of the show is less political than usual (although I manage to list a dozen Manchester Reps who have an absolutely abysmal attendance record--you don't have to thank me) because I'm hooked on baseball these days, especially after I heard that for the first time since 19-- both the Red Sox and Yankees have opened with 0-3 records.

Trivia--fill in the blank.  (I was a sophomore in high school).

Yes, that would be 1966, the year the Orioles swept the Dodgers in four straight in the World Series...how well I remember watching it.

Here's another great trivia question--The Orioles won the final two games of that series 1-0 on solo home runs in each game.  Who hit them?

Having just finished reading Phil Pepe's outstanding account of  “1961* (a memorable year in my life; my brother was born and we moved from Shoreham to Vergennes, Vt.—I was in fifth grade), the year Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle battled for the home run championship and Babe Ruth's record*, I also share a few highlights from the book, including the story Whitey Ford striking out Willie Mays in the 1961 All Star game using a spit ball.

What?  Whitey Ford a cheater?  Just ask Jim Boutin, author of “Ball Four” which I also read from during the show.

Apparently so.

The answer is Frank Robinson (of course) and Paul Blair.

Oh yes, I also run a clip of the GSA rappers stealing taxpayer money on their junket, but that's old hat by now, having hit the lame stream media like Grant took Richmond.

I also read David McCullough’s excellent "The Greater Journey--Americans In Paris" and offer a quote from the mother of Elihu Washburne (the American ambassador to France during the brutal Franco-Prussian War).  It's something seven Manchester Reps will especially dislike, something about losing all honor when you break your word.

Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle pose with Babe Ruth's widow during their record-setting 1961 season. (AP Images/File Photo)