Rep Steve Vaillancourt


A Rather Boring Day In The NH House; McQuaid Stabs O'Brien Twice!

Anyone who was expecting fireworks on the House floor today (in the wake of Bettencourt and Mead scandals) was sadly disappointing.  This is traditionally one of the most boring days of the year (I’m so bored, I’m writing this with the sound on in the background).  Senate messages, amendments usually involving minor changes to bills, are read and voted upon, usually approved with only a smattering of no votes.

The House adjourned at 11:52 a.m.

At the beginning of the session. Bettencourt's rather lengthy resignation was read along with the resignation of Carroll County Republican Norman Tregenza (apparently he's moving out of the district and thus is required to resign by the Constitution--hey, hey, some people still honor the Constitution).

The two resignations will not be significant today, but they could well be when it comes to voting on Constitutional Amendments next week.  Keep in mind that 60 percent of the elected members is required to pass amendments along to voters.  Last week, the number was 239 (we had 397 members; 397 times 60 percent is 238.2; round up to 239).  The DJ resignation brought the number down to 238, and it appears the Tregenza departure knocks it down to 237 (395 times 60 percent is exactly 237).  This will only matter should it be a close call on amendment votes next week.  I had Tregenza listed as opposing the education funding amendment, so his departure ironically could help get to the required number.

There is very little chance any amendment would pass today.  On early roll call votes, only about 310 of the 395 Reps were there.  Any absence is as good as a no vote when it comes to amendments.  Keep that in mind for next week's final day of the session.  New GOP leader Peter Principle Silva will have his work cut out for him in getting enough people in the hall to get the votes he and O'Brien will need.

Comments on DJ were rife throughout the hall.  One I heard was that as bad as his cheating and lying conduct was, it was even worse that we continued to try to cover-up his misdeeds as late as Friday.  In other words, he wasn't about to come clean at all had not Rep. Giuda insisted. I agree.  As always, the cover-up is worse than the initial misdeed.

In the past two days, the Union Leader has featured two editorials extremely critical of O'Brien.  While neither calls for his resignation, they both approach the issue as they are extremely critical of his leadership style.  Could this be like Richard Nixon deciding to tough it out in 1974 until super conservative Barry Goldwater told him he'd lost his core of support?

I'm just asking.

Here's what the Union Leader (Andrew Cline but presumably with Publisher McQuaid's consent) wrote:

"The Speaker's handling of the House business in the last few months has needlessly angered allies as well as foes.  Provoking the Senate and the governor, both needed to pass critical legislation, was a mistake.  So were his mishandlings of Mead and Bettencourt."

To paraphrase Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar), "Et tu, McQuaid.  Then die (figuratively speaking of course--we wanted want problem from the ubiquitous PC police) OBie, die."

The Union Leader is still trying to recover from being totally scooped by Matt Spolar and the Concord Monitor in Meadgate.  Like a lover scorned, expect the paper to go out of its way to pound the issue since it missed the boat originally.  (How's that for pop psychology?)

O'Brien, of course, will survive for two reasons--the session is ending soon (not soon enough) and his super GOP majority, many of whom fail to see the new role they are playing, that of lambs to the slaughter.

While OBie will survive this term, chances of him being back (as Speaker) next year as closer to zero than the temperature outside in Nome, Alaska in mid-January.


My DJ Reaction--If It's Good Enough For The Monitor, It's Good Enough For This Blog

O'Brien Orders Republican Ship "Full Steam Ahead"
From: Matthew Spolar []
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2012 1:10 PM
To: Vaillancourt, Steve
Subject: Fwd: O'Brien email
Hi Steve -- Did you get this email? If so, drop me a line and tell me what you think. Getting some reactions for tomorrow's paper.

From: Vaillancourt, Steve
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:05 PM
To: Matthew Spolar
Subject: RE: O'Brien email

I've been busy all day with the Hillsborough County budget, and since I have no computer at home, I only know what y'all in the media tell me.  I have some--many--thoughts, and will share them not only with you, but with the world.  First congratulations; I was going to do a Media Watch blog on your breaking of deserve an award for that...and I trust we haven't heard the end of it.  "A fish rots from the head down."  Where's the head here?

1)  In a sense, DJ's lies in his personal life don't trouble me nearly as much as the constant stream of lies he told from the House floor which I have pointed out in my blog.  The whopper in his speech about redistricting meeting both state and federal constitutions is printed in the journal, so posterity will know of this biggest of all lies.  Last week, when we began removing things from table (which never should have been tabled), D.J. lied again saying the tabling ploy had succeeded in giving us leverage with the Senate when in fact the tabling only made the matter worse with the Senate.  D.J. had begun to feel he was above the laws which apply to normal people...interestingly, even the Speaker had to take D.J. to task twice (ever so gently of course) for saying things against the rules in his parliamentary inquiries.  The more I think of it, the more I see personal and public lies intersecting....DJ obviously came to believe (perhaps not even consciously, and that would be the real tragedy) that he'd been getting away with so many lies on the House floor, that he'd been able pull to wool over the eyes of members of his super majority so often, that he would be able to get away with personal lies as well.  I'm no psychiatrist but that would tend to explain him recklessly going for broke with such a stupid lie, stupid being defined as one in which you are certain to get caught.   It seems that those who take comfort in lying at will never think about getting caught, so it becomes second nature to them.

2)  If it's a rection to O'Brien you seek, as always I will be honest (and may even work in a German reference so be forewarned).  I do some of my best thinking when I either mow my lawn or ride my bike (along the Lachine Canal).   I was mowing my lawn yesterday and thought of a title for a new blog based on Cold War history of Berlin.   It would be called "The Fechterization of NH Republicans" named after the young East German (Peter Fechter) who in 1962 bled to death at the base of the wall, having been shot by Vopos as American soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie did nothing to help him. New Hampshire Republicans remind me of the American soldiers who knew something terrible was happening but didn't want to rock the boat by helping the young man.  They chose cowardice over action.  Republicans who blindly follow O'Brien are choosing cowardice over what is best for society, the state, and the party today.
When I finished mowing, I went inside and ran the numbers district by district for the November election (a task I'd been setting aside for a long time).  Whether you believe it or not, I came up with exactly 200-200 for next year.  I had not planned this, but I had guessed it would be in that range.  Republican insistence on continuing to display blind loyalty to the tyrant will do irreparable (at least for this year) harm to the party, just like Peter Fechter was allowed to bleed to death at the base of the wall by those who could have helped him but chose not to.  As I tried to tell the late Mike Whalley back in 2006 (prior to the Demcrats assuming control), a tsunami is building.  Republicans don't know what is about to hit them.  Bill O'Brien is like the helmsman on the Titanic....Yes, he sees the iceberg out there; we all see it, but he's almighty and no bit of ice can hurt the almighty ,so full speed ahead!
A more appropriate analogy (albeit a NAZI one, so avert your tender eyes if you are offended by such forewarned) is that Bill O'Brien is like the German leader (no H words, please!) at the gates of Moscow or Stalingrad...we've come this far...sure it's getting cold; sure, we lack winter clothing; sure, we've run out of food; and sure there appear to be a lot of Russians massing out there, but I, your leader, am invincible, so why should I allow you to turn back now.  Full speed ahead.  Victory will be hours if we only redouble our efforts to vanquish the enemy.
Such reckless conduct is truly dangerous in both a political and military leader.  Obvisouly neither DJ nor OB were cut out to be leaders.

3)  If it's about the new leader Peter Silva, I guess I should exercise a bit of self censorship here, but that's never been my style.  Let's just say the Peter Principle should have been applied to this Peter long ago.  He's one of the most incompetent people I could imagine at the helm (iceberg, what iceberg?), and I am convinced Republicans will be wiped out espeically in his own Nashua this year.  Even Shawn His Vileness (whom I despise) would have been an infinitely better choice to lead the flock through these final uneventful (hopefully) days than the Peter principle personified.

If it was a comment on the new deputy you sought, here's a nice little story. I recall when I had DJ and O'Brien on my TV show just after the past election, back in the days when some of us hoped that government could be reined in without resorting to totalitarian means.   I always ask guests if there is anything they would prefer I not bring up during the course of our interview....You're way ahead of me....O'Brien didn't want to talk about the one thing I trust Ray Buckley and Kathy Sullivan and their ilk (not that there's anything wrong with ilk) will pound home day after day now... Stepanek's DWI.  Don't get me wrong.  We all do things we wish we hadn't done; I had a DWI 25 or so years ago, and I believe I learned from it; I've discussed it on my show, but it appears O'Brien just wanted it to go's not going away...and I still have the vision in my mind of this recent DWI person jumping up to the floor asking for a piece of my flesh two weeks would expect more compassion for someone who has shown very little remorse for his own transgressions.  But now he's Peter Principle's Deputy.
You just can't make this stuff up....nor would I want to try.

Enough?  Peace!

The Week In Polls--May 25--Abortion Support Slips

            As Barack Obama’s favorability remains right at neutral and as Mitt Romney has pulled close enough to call the race a dead heat, it seems we are settling into what is going to be a long slog before any meaningful trends are available on the polling front.

            So much so that perhaps we should look elsewhere for numbers this week.       

            Gallup fills the bill with numbers which show tolerance for abortion nearing a record low, and Rasmussen shows support for a guilty verdict in the Travon Martin/Zimmerman case fading fast.

            The abortion numbers may be the biggest story of the week.  50 percent now describe themselves as pro life and only 41 percent pro choice.  The numbers were fairly even a year ago, and pro choicers have historically held an edge.

            No more.

            Republicans are 72-22 on the pro life side; Independents 47-41; and only Democrats are now in a majority for pro choice (34-58).  This is one of the rare cases I might say no opinion if asked the question; it remains a tough call.

            Not so the Travon Martin case.  Rasmussen now finds 40 percent believe George Zimmerman acted in self defense (up 25 points since right after the incident in Florida); 24 percent think he’s guilty; 36 percent are undecided.  Only 33 percent expect he will be convicted. 

            Should the United States now withdraw all troops and forces from Western Europe?  (How many even know we still have substantial forces there?)  51 percent say yes; 29 percent say no.  I say we should have withdrawn decades ago, but that’s no surprise.

            With talk increasing among Democratic pols that Obama might dump Joe Biden for Hillary (it would be a boffo idea), Gallup finds Biden is only slightly unpopular, minus 3 at 42-45.  It’s 73-17 among Democrats; 37-47 with Independents; and 15-72 with Republicans, and the amazing thing is the numbers have barely changed for months and months.

            Obama was up a bit earlier in the week in the Real Clear Politics average.  Today it’s back to only plus 0.2 (48.0-47.8), but the Huffington Pollster average has him down 1.7 points (46.9-48.6).

            Even more frustrating is that both sites have different averages for every state and for most Senate races.  I checked it out this week, and it’s simply frustrating to see averages not in synch.  Of course it all depends on which polls you use in your averages.

            Even more bizarre, Huffington has Obama with enough states to carry the Electoral College with 280 votes while RCP has him only at 227.  Even with that, Romney is closer in the national RCP average (down only 0.8 at 45.6-44.8) while RCP has Romney down 1.6 (45.4-43.8) and closing.

            This probably tells verifies what we’ve long known, that national numbers precede state totals.  We should expect to see Romney doing better in state polls in coming days.  For example, he’s been down double digits in Iowa, but expect to see improvement there, and he’s already closed the margin to 2.4 points in Wisconsin (47.8-45.4).  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seems safely ahead in his recall race, by six points or more with Democrats seeming to have thrown in the towel; they never should have begun this quest; the forces at play could hurt Obama in November.

            As for now, Romney has pulled slightly ahead in Florida and North Carolina, but trails in other swing states including being down by as much as five in Ohio (according to Huffington) and 3.6 (RCP) and by as much as five in Virginia as well.

            It looks like Romney can write off Nevada (+8.2 for Obama) and New Mexico (+8.8) in the Southwest, and focus on Colorado where most polls have it a dead heat and Arizona where he’s up by only a point or so.  Obama might as well write off Missouri and Indiana.

            On the Senate race front, only Massachusetts (Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren) and Virginia (Allen vs. Kaine) within virtually dead even with Republicans up less than a point in both states.

            As predicted here earlier, Democrat incumbents Tester in Montana (down 4.6) and McCaskill (down 3.5) in Missouri appear on the way out.  Republican Jeff Flake has moved to a big lead in the open Arizona seat, but Democrat Heinrich leads Wilson by five or so in the open New Mexico seat.

            Independent King is way, way ahead in Maine. 

            My best guess is now a gain of six for the GOP and a 53-47 lead next year (assuming King caucuses with the Democrats).

            My upset specials have always been Ohio and Florida.  Republican Connie Mack seems to be closing in a bit on Nelson in Florida, but Democrat Sherrod Brown continues to hold a lead of five or six points in Ohio.  I still wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both fall to Republicans, depending on top of the ticket strength, but don’t bet the house on either.

            Go with 53-47.

            And if you really want to be frustrated, click on several states comparing RCP to pollster…contrasting would be a better word than comparing.

            Rasmussen still has Republicans up four in the generic congressional ballot although the average is somewhat less than that.  Expect Democratic gains in the U.S. House to be in the handful range, nothing more, come November.

            The New Hampshire House is looking like a completely different story.  An astute odds maker now should give just slightly less than even odds of Democrats taking control…200-200 is possible.  Obama’s lead is six points over Romney in the state; the race for governor appears tied; and Bill O’Brien continues to drag the Grand Ol Party down every chance he gets.


Our Keene Correspondent Checks In

Rep. Steve Lindsey, D-Keene, checks in with an interesting report today.  I particularly like Mike Marland's "Clark Gable Day" comment.  All I can say to left wing idealogues (not that there's anything wrong with that!) like Arnie Arnesen is that you can easily check the numbers...Stalin killed many millions more than did Hitler (and is it not a good liberal tenet that each life counts the same?); of course, Stalin also had a better p.r. team...or as they say, he lived to write the history, and he who writes the history wins over the weak-minded like Ms. Arnesen...she really should read a little history before she decides to sound off again!  If the hammer and sickle fits, wear it...if the twisted cross fits, wear it.  Better yet, why don't we all simply make a bound to fight tyranny wherever we find it...starting right on the floor of Bill O'Brien's House.

To all,

    This morning, on Dan Mitchell's talkshow on WKBK.  Arnie Arnesen was on.  I called in.   I asked about the infamous "If the Mustache Fits" Mike Marland cartoon.  Arnesen was off to the races commenting on the cartoon and how inappropriate imagery like Heil Sieg was.   Mitchell countered that the Right also uses imagery of Stalin for the left, morphing images of Obama and all.  But Arnie felt this Hitler ties were worse as they are more widely known.

     Mike Marland, who lives in the Monadnock Region and listens to the show, called in.  After hearing of the two hosts concerns and information proffered, Mike said it was a "Clark Gable Day."  Whatz that mean, said Mitchell.   ....  "Frankly... I don't give a damn" said Marland  ... A reference to the memorable lines of Gone with the Wind.

    Marland also said he was busy at work this week, pumping out a line of cartoons that will further comment on our doings.

---Steve Lindsey
Keene, NH

If Only I Could Draw, We'd Have A Severed Nose Cartoon

            Did you ever wish you were blessed with a particular talent, for at least a few hours or so?

            No, I don’t mean something as esoteric as the ability to hit a major league fast ball 400 feet over the fences or to throw a 95 mile an hour fast ball even…although that might be nice to dream about.

            I was thinking of more mundane things like the ability to draw.

            Once in a while, I come up with a great idea for a political cartoon; I even imagine how it would look on paper, but ultimately I am faced with a small problem...

            I can’t draw.

            Being a cartoonist would be a hoot; I’ve got plenty of ideas for cartoons which might be acceptable to enough people to make a go of it.

            However, I repeat…I can’t draw.

            I can write (some would dispute that); I can talk (some would dispute that), but I can neither sing nor draw, not even enough to try.

            Actually it was prior to the controversy over Monitor cartoonist Mike Marland's rather tame Bill O’Brien cartoons (the ones with the silly facial hair and even sillier hats) that I that up this idea.

            Remember the old saying, “Don't cut your nose off to spite your face”?

            I’m sure most of our mothers warned us not to do that, but it’s precisely what O’Brien’s leadership in the House has done this spring.  In an attempt to force (bully) through legislation that the Senate clearly will not accept, Team O’Brien has ventured out several on several limbs, attaching its right wing extremist ideas to otherwise sound legislation such as the extension of business tax credits.

            The Senate, more often than not--and as could easily have been predicted--simply decided to let the bills die altogether.

            That’s what happens when you insist on bullying the other body.

            That's what happened last fall when O'Brien cost the state $3 million by attaching a marital masters amendment to an HHS bill trying to force the session back into session.  How'd that one work out?  Not so well, a fact all must admit, even my fellow low-minded Republicans who now insist on calling me names (RINO indeed, my HRA score is higher than most Republican leaders, you ignorant blobs of humanity).  Rather than face the truth, they would destoy the messenger.

             Stop cutting your nose off to spite your face!

             You lose not only what you hoped to get in your wildest dreams, but you also lose what you could have had had you not been such a bully.  Such reckless behavior is a poor way to governor, and I suspect voters will figure that out.

            In other words, he who refuses to compromise loses all.

            In other words, a severed nose is small consolation.

            But notice that I’ve aleready wasted several hundred words explaining the concept when a simple cartoon would have sufficed.  One with more graphic skills than I could simply draw a bunch of faces with severed noses.  There would of course be a ring through each nose with verbiage denoting the legislation which was lost as the noses were cut off from the faces.


            A great political cartoon.

            I offer the idea here for anyone out there who might want to “borrow” it.  In fact, as I was mentioning it today during the taping of my TV show for next week, my producer quickly googled a cartoon of a severed nose…so the idea is apparently not my alone. 

            Rest assured, every great idea has been thought of before.  It’s merely how one adopts the ideas that sets one apart from the masses.

            After the moustache kerfuffle this week, I thought of another face spiting nose cutting idea.  Majority Leader D. J. Bettencourt is so righteously indignant at the Monitor that he refuses to speak with any Monitor reporter, and apparently in the lemming mentality typical of House leadership these days, some three dozen Republicans have taken a similar pledge to “punish” the Monitor.


            Pure poppycock!


            These Republicans, with their inane threat to the Monitor, re only punishing themselves and their constituents.  They are evincing yet another example of cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face.  If stories run without the Republican side of the story, these so-called leaders will have no one to blame but themselves.

            My first post-college boss in the dreaded private sector, a printer/publisher back in 1974, was certainly not the first to come up with the line but it was the first time I’ve heard it, “Don’t get in a pissing contest with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

            Having got in a pissing contests with a Catholic bishop (“the pedophile pimp” comment), the Republican leaders apparently has a new goal in mind—getting in a pissing contest with those who buy ink by the barrel.

            Been there, done that (remember the vile Tom Fahey); hey Deej, it doesn’t work.

            All you do is once again supply fodder for another cartoon, this one with your severed nose lopped off your poor face.

            If only I could draw!