Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Governor Scott Walker Is More Politically Alert's Person Of The Year

             To give you a chance to come up with your own ideas, I posted 32 year in review categories here a few weeks ago.

            It’s time to reveal my choices.  They will be discussed in a bit more detail on this week’s edition of More Politically Alert (which airs on manchestertv23 Wednesday and Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at noon, Tuesday at 11 p.m. and is always available at  I’ll be joined by Hopkinton Democrat Denis Goddard, Canterbury Republican Rep Seth Cohn, and nhinsider blogger Rick Olson.

            Six months ago, I decided that if no one else came forward, I’d go with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for Person of the Year.  So it is.  I imagine I’ll be alone among pundits in this choice.  Angela Merkel scored well with McLaughlin group regulars, but I have a separate category for international person of the year, and she won there.

Everyone obviously has his or her own criteria for Person of the Year.  I don’t buy the Time Magazine approach that it can be something like a computer or…surprise, surprise (not!)… a protestor this year.  To me, that’s the ultimate cop out.  I always opt for one living breathing human being, and I try to base it on the one person who symbolizes what has been happening the past year.

            That’s why I had no trouble picking Massachusetts’ Senator Scott Brown in 2010.  When he won that special election early in the year, it set the tone for what was to come.

            In 2009, I went with Glen Beck, a year before he reached full prominence on the national scene.

            Obama was an easy pick for 2008 (the obvious should never be overlooked in favor of some obscurity).

            French President Sarkozy was my 2007 choice.

            For 2006, I felt Carol Shea Porter symbolized the year of Republican losses, and in 2005, I went with Congressman John Murta who had just come out against the Iraq War.

            My Person of the Year need not be someone I like—certainly Hitler would have been the choice in 1939, but rather someone who best sums up the year.

            Thus, here are the 32 decisions, many split into national and local choices, for 2011.  I took the easy way out (a tie) only once, and that was because I literally couldn’t put The President and The Assassin down all Christmas day.


            1—Person of the Year—Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who brought labor issues to the fore and now faces a recall petition.

            2—International Person of the Year—German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her attempts to bail out Greece and save the Euro.

            3—New Hampshire Person of the Year—Secretary of State William Gardner for once against fighting off attacks against our first in the nation primary.

            4—Sportsperson of the Year—Novak Djokovic.  Until Labor Day, my choice was Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas, but let’s be honest.  No one has ever had a more brilliant year than Djokovic, capped by sensational semifinal and finals win at the U.S. Open.

            5—Biggest Winner—Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper.  After holding power through two minority governments, he led the Conservatives to an absolute majority sweeping the country (except Quebec which ousted the separatist Bloc in favor of the super liberal NDP).

            6—Biggest Winner Locally—Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.  With 72 percent of the vote, he vaulted over a high bar of expectations.

            7—Biggest Loser —Former New Jersey Governor/Senator John Corzine.  Go to jail, creep!

            8—Biggest Loser Locally—Outgoing Manchester Alderman-At-Large Mike Lopez.     Losing to JKL was virtually unthinkable.

            9—Best Non-Fiction Book—TIE--In The Garden of Beasts (Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler’s Berlin) by Erik Larson.

The President and the Assassin (McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century) by Scott Miller.

            10—Best Work of Fiction—Flash and Bones and Spider Bones, both by Kathy Reichs.

            11—Story of The Year Nationally—Congress Fiddles And Diddles As Debt Reaches $15 trillion.

            12—New Hampshire Story of the Year—Lynch Won’t Run Again.

            13—Most Over-Reported Story—Tracy Anthony Didn’t Kill Her Baby (did she?).

            14—Most Under-Reported Story—Afghanistan War Continues—More American Lives Sacrificed and Untold Billions Wasted.

            15—Winning Media Personality—John Stossel, Fox Business and Fox News, a true Libertarian if ever there were one.

            16—Losing Media Personality (can it always be McQuaid?)—Nancy Grace, the Graceless One from Headline News.

            17—Up And Comer Nationally—Congressman Paul Ryan.

            18—Up And Comer Locally—Epsom State Representative Dan McGuire, on both Finance and Fiscal Committee in his first term and co-chair of the House Republican Alliance.

            19—Down And Outer Nationally—Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

            20—Down And Outer Locally—Former NH House Speaker Terri Norelli.

            21—Biggest Outrage Nationally—Solyndra Scandal—Crony Capitalism Run Amok.

            22—Biggest Outrange Locally—Speaker Bill O’Brien’s quick gavel on SB198.  In violation of all House rules and tradition, Speaker O’Brien not merely denied a duly requested parliamentary inquiry, but he declared victory for the ayes before the nays were even heard.  Don’t take my word for it.   Listen to the steaming audio feed.  It was absolutely outrageous, worse than anything Speaker Norelli ever tried to pull!

            23—Happiest Moment For Me Nationally—Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed.

            24—Happiest Moment For Me Locally—No More Tax Dollars For Channel 11. Boo hoo!

            25—Funniest Something Nationally—Herman Cain’s head spinning as he tried to answer the Libya question.  I still laugh at that, long after Anthony Wiener’s wiener and Harry Reid’s begonias have become passé.

            26—Funniest Something Locally—I give up.  There’s no sense of humor in these hallowed halls of Concord this year…help me out here.  Something must have been worth a laugh.  How about when His Vileness, Hudson Rep Shawn Jasper charged that I was speaking too loudly, so I whispered into the microphone.  Mildly amusing, I suppose.

            27—Smack Down of the Year Nationally —DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz vs. Republican African American Florida Congressman Alan West.

            28—Smack Down of the Year Locally—House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt vs. The Bishop (pedophile pimp comment).

            29—Biggest Surprise Nationally—No More Trips Into Space.

            30—Biggest Surprise Locally –Photo ID For Voting Fails To Become Law, but we should have known.  Whatever Bill Gardner doesn’t want, New Hampshire doesn’t get.

            31—The Just Go Away Award (someone you’d like to never see or hear from again)—Donald Trump.  Fat chance of him ever going away, but I’ll resort to Plan B.  Just turn the channel whenever he surfaces (a good reason to avoid Greta the Stammerer).

            32—We Wanna See More Award (someone you want to hear more from)—Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.


Preview Of Coming Attractions--The Best Is Yet To Come

I'll be out of computer range for the next few days, but the final week of the year will feature some special entries (mostly already completed, at least in my mind) on this blog.

  • Best and worst of 2011, including Person of the Year, Sportsperson of the Year, and Story of the Year.  The 32 categories were previously posted in case you want to play along.
  • 12 for 2012--My predictions for 2012, along with a review of how I did on 11 for 2011.
  • Media Watch--A look at how the media (Union Leader, Monitor, and Telegraph mainly) have covered the redistricing process including what I consider a rather scandalous attempt by Kevin Landrigan to conure up controversy without any valid evidence.  He contends that Republican House leaders are deliberately trying to get so-called RINOs (my term, not his) defeated.  Totally untrue.  Read his column last Sunday.  I'll spend more time than I'd really like to debunking it.
  • The Eft bastardizes history again, this time on the issue of judges and his attempt to invoke Jefferson as a reason to get tough on the courts.  Yes, this would be the same Jefferson who, on a personal whim, abused his power and tried to have a Supreme Court Justice (Chase) impeached and then abused his power again, speaking out, trying to have Aaron Burr convicted of treason...he was found not guilty of all counts (your weekend assignment--read Fallen'll open your eyes about how bad Jefferson was at times, how unJeffersonian he was!).  These were not Jefferson's proudest moments yet the Eft considers him a paragon of dealing with the judiciary.  Yet another reason to discount the Eft and his version of history.
  • The polls heading into Iowa.
  • The story of how More Politically Alert will morph into The Liberty Express and On The Road starting in mid-January.  I've got to spend Christmas Day beginning the process of reviewing 50-100 hours of filming from places like Berlin (and Poland), Amsterdam, New York (the Central Park zoo), Montreal, and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, (maybe even Dachau).

The Reading Room--"River of Darkness" Explores The Amazon

River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon

The Reading Room, in which we take a look at newly released books, is an occasional feature of this blog and of More Politically Alert which continues to air on manchestertv23 Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 p.m., Sundays at noon, and Tuesdays at 11 p.m. (always availalbe at

One of the great joys in life is walking into a library (or bookstore); coming upon a book you never knew existed, about a subject you know very little; checking out the book and within minutes of opening the book becoming absolutely captivated, not to mention a much more educated person.

Such was my experience last week when I discovered Buddy Levy's "River of Darkness--Francisco Orellana's Legendary Voyage of Death and Discovery Down the Amazon".  From the shelves, it shouted, "Take me.  Take me.  You'll be glad you did."  I resisted the temptation to pick up the book but, then went back and got it.

Gott sei Dank. 

Of course I knew about the Spanish Conquistadors and the rape of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru, but I had never heard about this voyage of discovery by one of the lesser known Conquistadors down the mighty Amazon River.

The book is only 250 pages so you can probably navigate it in a weekend, and I highly recommned it.

"River of Darkness" succeeds on so many levels.  It's a great adventure story.  How this band of 50 men survived, beset by thousands of natives as they continued on down the river, is truly remarkable.

However, lest we feel sorry for Orellana and company, Levy makes it clear that these men were stealing food and supplies from the Indians for their very survival.  While Orellana comes across as a much nicer man than Pizarro or Cortes, we must never forget that these Spaniards were after gold and riches; discovery was not their primary goal.

The book is replete with a short history of previous Conquistador assaults on the native Americans. 

In fact, we learn that Orellana broke away from a party of 300, led by one of Pizarro's brothers, who had set out to find El Dorado and the cinamon empire.  Navigating the Amazon, they decided, was their only chance to get out alive.

Geography then takes over.  Before we finish the book, we learn of internal fights among the greedy Spanish to dominate South Ameirca.

The irony is that after surviving against incredible odds and reaching the Atlantic, Orellana returns to Spain and outfits a new trip to the Amazon which winds up an utter failure and leads to his death on the banks of the river which, for a very brief period of time, bore his name.

Do yourself a favor.  This holiday season (or any time) take a trip down the Amazon with Buddy Levy as your guide.  You'll get to meet cannibals, women Amazonian warriors, dwarfs and giants, blood thirsty Spanish, some more kind-hearted Spanish, but most of all, the star of this story is the river itself and its mighty environs.

What a great read, enough to make me want to go back and explore Levy's previous books, one on Cortes conquering the Aztecs, another on a North American adventurer named David Crockett.

That's another joy in life.  One great book leads to the discovery of other great books.

Have a Merry Christmas (or holiday) season whether you're reading, feasting, or enjoying time with loved ones.

Foget about politics for a few days.



McQuaid Has Debate Pairings Wrong

Union Leader Joseph W. McQuaid continues to block receipt of anything from this blog.  Maybe everyone who reads this should send it along to him at   In fact, what a great Christmas present it would be for someone to forward everything which appears here along to W.

McQuaid, in an attempt to emulate his former boss Loeb, is determined to pound away day after day with Newt Gingrich (pardon me...with Eft) editorials.  The more W. promote the Eft, the farther the Eft sinks in the polls.  How could this be? 

Two reasons--McQuaid is no Loeb and the Eft (the phony conservative) is nothing compared to the real conservatives Loeb used to push.

Today, McQuaid jumps on the Eft bandwagon by urging Mitt Romney to accept a one on one debate in an attempt to see which one can really handle the heat.

There are two problems with this approach.  All legitimate candidates should be invited to any real debate, but even if that's not done, probably the top two candidates should be invited, and the Eft would be disqualified from Iowa (and most likely from New Hampshire) were that the criteria.

Ron Paul, according to the Real Clear Politics averages, is six and a half points ahead of the Eft in Iowa.  It's Dr. Paul 23.8, Romney 20.3, Eft 17.3, Perry 11.8. 

Thus, McQuaid should be suggesting an hour and a half slugfest between Romney and Dr. Paul.  That would be a debate worth the price of admission.  Certainly in the expanded format, Dr. Paul could talk about how Kermit Roosevelt led the CIA invasion of Iran in 1953 to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh.

Of course McQuad, who can't handle this blog, certainly couldn't handle the truth about American imperialism which has led to the blowback we face today., even prior to release of ARG's poll today which shows Dr. Paul and Romney one-two in Iowa, has Dr. Paul favored to win Iowa by a 40-38 percent margin over Romney with the Eft given only a 13 percent chance, hardly the position of someone who should be in a mano a mano debate.

But the Eft shouldn't be elevated to such status here in New Hampshire either.  According to 538, Romney is way ahead in New Hampshire and is given a 74 percent chance to win the primary here.  However, Dr. Paul has pulled into second and is given a 12 percent chance to win here to 11 percent for the Eft.

The projections for New Hampshire are Romney 36.5, Dr. Paul 19.8, and the Eft 19.1.

Contrary to all sense of reason, however, publisher McQuaid continues to insist that the Eft and not Dr. Paul should be debating Romney one on one.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Of course this is the same publisher McQuaid who allowed Rep Laurie Sanborn a prime op-ed space to tout her candidate--yes that would be the Eft--a few days ago.  One would expect a State Senator, perhaps the husband of Laurie, would be given equal space in the Union Leader.  But then, Senator Andy Sanborn, unlike his wife, is a Ron Paul supporter.

While you all dash this blog off to, why not send along a question about when Senator Sanborn's op-ed piece for Dr. Paul is going to appear.

Here's something else McQuaid will refuse to tell his readers.  In the latest RCP averages in pairing against Obama, the Eft isn't even third.  Romney does best, Dr. Paul second best, and John Hunstman third best.  The Eft loses by nearly nine points.  McQuaid certainly doesn't want that truth to get out.

Yes indeed, William Loeb has rolled over in his grave so often that he's nearly back to the Union Leader building.  Beware W, Loeb'll get you yet.


Civics 101 Requires A Committee of Conference

            Weren’t we all required to take Civics (American government) back in high school?

            I know I was.  It was in ninth grade.

            One of the first things we learned is something that President Obama, Democrats, Wall Street Journal editorial writers, and yes—even Karl Rove—seem to have forgotten today.

            The United States Congress, like legislative bodies in all but one state (Nebraska), is bicameral.  That means that it is composed of two co-equal bodies, neither of which can pass a law, no matter how lopsided the vote in that body, and bully the other body into accepting it.

            When the two bodies disagree, the system allows for a process to iron out differences.  It’s called a committee of conference in which selected members from each body get together and iron out differences.

            In other words, they compromise.

            One body does not simply succumb to the other yet that is precisely what President Obama, Democrats, and mysterious fellow travelers among Republicans are suggesting happen with the payroll “tax” standoff today.

            It’s absurd to even think that the House should simply accept the Senate-passed plan.

            The idea flies in the face of everything we learned in high school.

            It flies in the face of tradition.

            It amounts basically to a bullying tactic by the Senate and the President.

            Legislating should never devolve into a game of bullying as Harry Reid would have it.

            It also flies in the face of what we do in the New Hampshire legislature.

            If the House or Senate disagrees with the other body on a given bill, three courses of action are available.  Either kill the bill completely; accept changes made by the other body; or go to a committee of conference.

            Unless changes are minor or technical in nature, we almost always opt for the committee of conference solution, and differences are almost always ironed out with a solution acceptable to both bodies. 

            It’s not always a pleasant or an easy process.  It's often time consuming, but hey, that’s the nature of legislating.  Sausage is made; the job usually gets done, especially when there’s an absolute need that we arrive at a compromise, on matters such a budget for example.

            Only the lazy would insist that the United States House accept the Senate plan and delay the necessary work of ironing out details until some time next year.

            Pundits who say Democrats are winning this public relations battle certainly cannot be right.

            The lazy should never win.       

            Those who would defy tradition and resort to bullying should never win.

            Let’s get a committee of conference together now and reach an agreement as our founding fathers at the federal level and in 49 states intended.

            It’s really a basic lesson in Civics 101.  Certainly Karl Rove of all people, not to mention Charles the Wise (Krauthammer), should grasp that as a given.