Rep Steve Vaillancourt


The Week In Polls--March 6--Angus Mainely Creates Turmoil

            Less than a day after former Maine Governor, Independent Angus King, announced that he would enter the race for Olympia Snowe’s U.S. Senate seat; PPP has released a poll showing him with a five point lead over Democrat Congressman Chellie Pingree and eight points over Republican Secretary of State Charles Summers (36, 31, and 28).

            The deadline for filing petition signatures in Maine is March 15, and there’s no guarantee that Pingree or Summers will be the nominees of the two major parties, but King’s announcement clearly throws a monkey wrench into Maine politics.

            A social liberal and friend of Pingree, King’s entry may in fact end up tilting this seat back in favor of Republicans.

            Meanwhile, a Rasmussen poll out of Nebraska is about the worst possible news Democrats could expect.  After coaxing former Senator Bob Kerrey away from the Big Apple to run for Ben Nelson’s vacant Senate seat, Democrats find that Kerrey trails Bruning, the Republican favorite to capture the seat, by not just a few points…no, not even by simply double digits, but by no less than 22 points (55-33).

            It’s almost enough to drive a Kerrey back to the Apple.

            Obama is right about even with RCP’s composite favorability ranking this week, up 0.7 points at 48.3-47.6, but he’s down three with both Rasmussen (48-51) and Gallup (45-48), and Obama manages to be in favorable territory only due to a highly suspect NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which shows him up five (50-45).

            A fourth poll out of Massachusetts shows Republican Senator Scott Brown substantially ahead of Elizabeth Warren (8 points, 49-41, Western NE University poll).


            With many pundits close to saying that Mitt Romney could all but wrap up the Republican Presidential nomination with a good showing this Super Tuesday (I agree), it might be more fun tonight to grade the pollsters than to watch Romney’s delegates pile up.

            Here’s a three-state guide for those who want to play along.

            There are so many polls out of Ohio, let’s go there first.  ARG has Romney up by the greatest margin, seven points (35-28), but that’s just the tip of a solid iceberg of polling data.  All these numbers compare Romney with Santorum.


            Quinnipiac—Romney up 3, 34-31

PPP—Romney up 1, 37-36

WeAsk America—Romney up 4, 32-28 (with Gingrich way up at 24 and Ron

Paul at 16)???

            Merriman—Romney up 5, 38-33

            Rasmussen—Santorum up 1, 32-31

            Suffolk—Santorum up 4, 37-33

            NBC/Marist—Santorum up 2, 34-32

            I’ll guess Quinnipiac is closest.


            Nearly all polls out of Georgia show The Eft up by 20 or so (ARG has The Eft at 44 with Romney at 24 and Santorum at 19, one point shy of the amount necessary to collect delegates!), but Rasmussen has it at only 10—Gingrich (whoops—I mean The Eft) 37, Romney 27, Santorum 18, Paul 10.

            Nate Silver at is projecting these delegate totals for the night:  Romney 224, Eft 87 (mostly in Georgia and Tennessee),  Santorum 76, Ron Paul 25.


            PPP has Santorum up five (34, 29 for Romney and 28 for Gingrich) in Tennessee, but WeAskAmerica has Romney up 1 with 30 to 29 for both Santorum and The Eft.

            With all the talk about Ohio, Tennessee might in fact be the most fun state to watch around midnight tonight. 

            Gallup has Romney up 10 over Santorum (34-24) in the latest national poll.


            Rasmussen has Republicans back up to plus three in the generic Congressional ballot, 44-41.  That sounds about right to me and should translate into Republicans losing only a handful of seats in Congress.


Media Watch--The IMan's Rush To Judgment

            Apparently, Don Imus, host of the Imus in the Morning Show on Fox Business television and a slew of radio stations, never heard of the Biblical admonition, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

            Imus, who years agp was run off the air on MSNCB and on radio for his comment about “nappy-haired hos” (a reference to a female college basketball team), thinks nothing of throwing Rush Limbaugh under the bus.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Imus, and I never thought he should have been given the heave-ho for his intemperate remarks those many years ago.

            And it’s by sheer coincidence that I get to watch the Imus show.  Although I didn’t follow Neil Cavuto’s advice and demand Fox Business Channel, my satellite dish company insists on giving it to me free to sample this month.

            Thus, it was with great expectations that I tuned in Imus Monday morning to hear what the IMan would say about Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comments last week.

            If one would have expected a bit of sympathy from the IMan, one would have been wrong.

            Imus jumped all over Limbaugh even after Rush had issued an apology (not terribly sincere in my opinion) to Ms. Fluke.  Not only does Limbaugh deserve to lose his sponsors, nine at last check, but according to the IMan, Rush should be taken off the air until he apologizes face to face to Ms. Fluke.

            As I recall, that in fact was part of the IMan’s rehabilitation process, a personal apology to the “nappy-headed hos”.

            Again, don’t get me wrong.

            Limbaugh said something stupid, very stupid.  He hurt the Republican brand in the process and distracted national attention from more important mater. Beyond that, even after Limbaugh apologized again Monday, he was telling his radio audience that he knew Ms. Fluke was dedicated to left wing causes, an attempt to further demonize the victim.

            Rush Limbaugh should not have said what he did.  Advertisers have a right to remove spots from his show, but what Limbaugh did was less vile that what left wingers like Bill Maher have done (using the “c” word for Sarah Palin, for example).

            Limbaugh’s sin apparently is that, unlike Maher or other provacateurs like Chris Matthews or Keith Oberman, tens of millions of people actually listen to his show.  When Rush sticks his foot in his mouth, we all know about it.

            Should he be taken off the air?

            No, not more than the IMan should have been taken off until he completed his penance.  I’ll never forget hearing Senator Orrin Hatch talk about what an apology must consist of in order to be deemed genuine.  As I recall, one of the stipulations is that it be offered in private between the offender and the victim.  In other words, the person apologizing should not make a big deal out of it, hoping to reap a sympathy backlash.

            In other words, the public should never have known how the IMan bent over backwards, meeting with the “nappy-haired Hos” and if Rush truly feels what he said was wrong, he should apologize to Ms. Fluke without any of us—including the IMan—ever knowing about it.

            If there were any justice in the world, the IMan would be inundated with hundreds of rocks and notations, “Cast away, you hypocrite.”

            After watching the IMan for a few days (not to mention being subjected to untold hours of infomercials), you can be sure I won’t be demanding Fox Business News.


Will George Will Succumb To Dick's Derangement Syndrome?

           Sad to report, one of my favorite pundits, George Will, has been diagnosed with a rare disease known as Dick’s Derangement Syndrome.

            Early indications of the malady appeared in late January when the ABC pundit and columnist said he was rooting for the Giants over the Patriots in the Super Bowl because Massachusetts is more left wing than New York.

            All doubt of the seriousness of Will’s illness was erased late last week when he penned a column suggesting that Republicans do the insane, give up on the Presidency and concentrate of taking the United States Senate and holding the House.

            Dick’s Derangement Syndrome is named after the foot fetishist Dick Morris who has developed a history of saying just plain silly things in order to appear relevant, to justify his constant appearance on various television shows.

            Morris seems to rotate between O’Reilly, Hannity, and van Susteren on Fox News on almost a nightly basis, and in order to justify his salary, he constantly has to come up with new “insight”.

            The fact that most Morris insight has proven to be bogus is what led pundits (yes, that would be I) to name this dreaded malady after him.

            That George Will, who only has to appear once a week—Sunday morning on ABC—would somehow contract this syndrome is truly shocking.

            One would not think that Will needs to make things up to appear cutting edge, but his attempt to get Republicans to give up on the Presidential race can been as nothing short of derangement.

            Even as Quinnipiac reports that 50 percent believe Obama should not be re-elected (as opposed to 45 percent who think he should), Will would have Republicans just cede the race to him.           

            Even as Republicans continue to lead in most generic ballot numbers, Will would give the top of the ticket to Obama.

            Even in the midst of a brutal Republican primary, Mitt Romney trails Obama by only a few points (and actually leads in some polls on given days); but Will would give up the ghost.

            Even as Obama seems totally incapable of stopping the gasoline price from hitting four dollars (or five—who’s counting?) a gallon by election day…

            Even as the economy shows only signs of weak improvement and may yet slip back into recession prior to the election…

            Even as Obama clearly has broken his promise to avoid increasing deficit spending as railed against George Bush for doing…

            Even as all of this would make any wise pundit suggest that there’s at least a 50/50 chance that the Demagogue in Chief will not be re-elected, George Will not only writes that Republicans should simply hand that election over to the community organizer, but then he goes on ABC to defend his lack of wisdom.

            That’s what happens when a pundit is struck with his malady—for which there is no known cure—of Dick’s Derangement Syndrome.

            Sad, sad, sad, but true, true, true.

            Ah yes George Will, we’ll always remember you back in the days when you were sane and sentient.  We can only hope the disease is not contagious; we pray George hasn’t been in contact with Karl Rove or Charles Krauthammer…or even O’Reilly.  Having lost Morris long ago to the syndrome which bears his name and now seeing George Will wither away, we can’t afford to lose even one more “wise man”.


The (W)right Choice For Burlington, Vermont

            Not only is Presidential primary voting in Vermont today, but Burlington is picking a new mayor, and my cousin Kurt Wright (our mothers were sisters--you'd have a better chance of winning megabucks than of ever guessing their names) just might pull it off.

            He’ll always be Kurt to me since that’s what I called him growing up.  Along with his brother Eddie and sister Sharman, Kurt used to play Jeopardy for hours, games I had made up specially for the three of them (Kurt was always fond of political categories, Eddie of cooking).

            But I digress…

            As might be imagined, Kurt is a Republican, and he came just shy of springing an upset three years ago in the socialist stronghold of Burlington.  In fact, he led after the first two rounds of instant runoff voting, but never reached 50 percent.  This is his third (and final, if he loses, he says) run for mayor.  He's been President of the City Council and apprently is much more likeable than his New Hampshire cousin (how's that for self-deprecating humor?). 

           Kurt would be only the second Republican Mayor of Bernie Sanderville in the past 50 years.  According to the Burlington Free Press,  Progressives have held the seat for 13 of the past 14 terms since Sanders first won in 1981.      

Burlington has gotten rid of the bizarre instant runoff system.  Now, with three candidates running, voters will have to go back to the polls if no one reaches a 40 percent threshold.

            Kurt is running against Democrat Miro Weinberger and a long shot independent Wanda Hines.  The guy who beat Kurt last time, Progressive Bob Kiss, was involved in a scandal—apparently $17 million of city funds were improperly spent on Burlington Telecom without public disclosure.

            My cousin was a leader in bringing that issue forth, and we can kiss Kiss goodbye.  He’s not running again.

            The Free Press says records for early voting have been set; it’s the most expensive mayor’s race in Vermont history--$100,000 for Kiss; $40,000 for Kurt, $2000 for Hines.

             For some reason, there are 35,000 people on the voter checklist—that seems high for a city of 42,000 people an increase of 10,000 from six years ago, mostly in the college wards (UVM and other colleges dominate the Burlington scene).

            That’s probably bad news for my cousin who, as a State Representative, was one of the few Republicans to vote to override the Republican governor’s veto of gay marriage a few years back.

            In a city like Burlington, that can’t hurt.

            As you watch the Super Tuesday results come in (the big question in Vermont seems to be whether Romney can get to 50 percent, the threshold of taking all the state’s delegates), think of Kurt, the Wright choice for Burlington.   


How NH Could (Easily) Determine Presidency

The closer it appears the November election will be (and I'm still thinking Romney wins by somewhat less than a squeaker), the more it appears that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes could mean the difference just as they were in 2000 when, despite the contest over Florida, Bush won the Presidency by virtue of Ralph Nader's giving him New Hampshire.

Go to the Real Clear Politics "Battle for the White House" map and the first thing you'll note is that 175 electoral votes are likely for Obama.  He leads for 52 more votes for a total of 227.  158 votes are close to a sure thing for Republicans with another 22 leaning Republican for a total of 181.

I won't bother to go into all these states since they are you're typical red and blue states.  The only quibble might be that Obama could pick off one (of five) electoral votes in Nebraska, one of only two states not to award its votes as a block (in fact Obama took one vote by winning a congressional district in Nebraska in 2008).  Republicans might have an outside shot of stealing New Jersey's 14 electoral votes (with Jewish alienation and a combination of other factors), but most likely if Romney carries New Jersey, he'll have won by a huge margin and wouldn't need the state.

RCP also gives New Mexico (5 votes) to Obama and I continue to believe a Marco Rubio vice presidential candidacy could put this state into play, but for the sake of argument, let's agree that we start with a base of --

Obama 227

Romney 181.

Real Clear Politics and most other "experts" list these ten toss-up states.

Colorado 9, Florida 29, Iowa 6, Missouri 10, Nevada 6. New Hampshire 4, North Carolina 15, Ohio 18, Pennsylvania 20, and Virginia 13.

Missouri should be fairly safe for Republicans as should Pennsylvania for Obama.

For Republicans to have any chance at all, Romney will need to win back Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

I think he will.

That would bring the total to--

Obama 247

Romney 248

Five states would then still be in play--Iowa 6, Nevada 6, Ohio 18, Colorado 9, and New Hampshire 4.

While the three southwestern states could be real struggles, let's say Obama wins all three (and Iowa)..  That would give him 268 electoral votes.

Romney would get up to 266 by carrying Ohio.

Thus, with New Hampshire's four electoral votes in the balance, it's

Obama 268

Romney 266.

270 wins the day, so whoever wins New Hampshire wins the Presidency.

Actually this isn't a far-fetched scenario at all in a close election.  You could switch Pennsylvania and Ohio around (with Romney carrying PA and Obama OH), and it would still come down to NH--only in this case Romney would have 268 and Obama 266 with only NH remaining.

Obviously dozens of other scenarios could play out, but don't for a minute think that New Hampshire, despite our paltry four electoral votes, won't be the focus of much attention--if the strategists on both sides see a close contest in October.

Of course if Romney were to win 270-268, that one Congressional district in Nebraska would be even bigger than New Hampshire.  That one electoral vote would give Obama a 269-269 tie and send the election to the House of Representatives where, with each state getting one vote, Romney would most likely ultimately prevail, but oh what fun it would be, especially if Obama were to win the popular vote.

To test out the various scenarios, go to the web site; that's Dick Bennett's polling site.  There's an electoral vote calculator there.  Every time you change a state, the numbers will change at the bottom.  For those with time on their hands, it could be great fun.  Here's how it would look.

AL (9) RepDem   ME (2) RepDem   NC (15) RepDem
AK (3) RepDem   -CD1 (1) RepDem ND (3) RepDem
AZ (11) RepDem   -CD2 (1) RepDem OH (18) RepDem
AR (6) RepDem MD (10) RepDem OK (7) RepDem
CA (55) RepDem MA (11) RepDem OR (7) RepDem
CO (9) RepDem MI (16) RepDem PA (20) RepDem
CT (7) RepDem MN (10) RepDem RI (4) RepDem
DE (3) RepDem MS (6) RepDem SC (9) RepDem
DC (3) RepDem MO (10) RepDem SD (3) RepDem
FL (29) RepDem MT (3) RepDem TN (11) RepDem
GA (16) RepDem NE (2) RepDem TX (38) RepDem
HI (4) RepDem   -CD1 (1) RepDem UT (6) RepDem
ID (4) RepDem   -CD2 (1) RepDem VT (3) RepDem
IL (20) RepDem   -CD3 (1) RepDem VA (13) RepDem
IN (11) RepDem NV (6) RepDem WA (12) RepDem
IA (6) RepDem NH (4) RepDem WV (5) RepDem
KS (6) RepDem NJ (14) RepDem WI (10) RepDem
KY (8) RepDem NM (5) RepDem WY (3) RepDem
LA (8) RepDem NY (29) RepDem











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