Flotsam & Jetsam


Do the mathElsewhere in this newspaper, Burt Cohen, the former state senator, mentions the historical oddity that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Paul Hodes, with millions at his disposal, garnered about 37 percent of the vote - two or three percentage points more than the late Granny D, who fought a losing, nearly unfunded battle against Judd Gregg for the same seat in 2004.While ‘04 was a presidential election year, when turnout is usually higher, it is interesting to add a postscript. Granny D finished with 221,011 votes the year she ran. Hodes in ‘10: 167,545.Roll callBy now, we've all heard the story about Stephen Stepanek, the Amherst Republican who was charged with DWI second offense - and failing to turn on his headlights - only days after reclaiming a seat in the New Hampshire House.Of course, the wheels of justice must do their thing before anyone can cast judgment, but if Stepanek is found guilty of the offense, he faces stiffer penalties than he would have in, say, 2004.Why 2004? That was the year that Stepanek and a majority of his fellow state reps voted to increase the penalties for DWI, including the fine the amount of time a driver's license is suspended. And, most notably, when the reps voted to make DWI a class B misdemeanor - it had previously been considered a violation.Read the tea leavesIt's his prerogative, but if John H. Sununu decides to serve another term as chairman of the state Republican Party, he'll have to retract the seemingly case-closed statement he made to The New York Times in September.Asked about the possibility of keeping his post after the election, the former governor told the newspaper: "I came in to clean the vermin out, then I'll leave. I'm done. Done-zo. Finished. Kaput."Doesn't leave too much wiggle room for himself, does he?In case you haven't realized it yet, the world really has been turned upside-down.For proof, look no further than the Man Who May Be Speaker, Bill O'Brien, Republican of Mont Vernon.On a rather breezy broadcast of New Hampshire Public Radio's "The Exchange" earlier this month, O'Brien took a seat as part of a panel that included incoming Senate President Peter Bragdon and former Gov. John H. Sununu.The basic premise of the program: Now that Republicans are back in control, everything is going to be just fine.Then a woman called from a social services agency in the Monadnock Region. Her basic premise: It's all well and good you're talking about budget cuts and balancing budgets, but it would be good to understand that all of these cuts are going to affect real people. Her postscript: Please talk about the services that will remain after all the cutting is accomplished.To which the Man Who May Be Speaker said that he'd always thought "the best form of welfare is a good private sector job."Quote, unquoteWhat the governor said: "In the next two years we can do even better."What the governor meant: "Now that those damn Democrats are out of the way we can really accomplish something."F&J TOTE BOARDRick Santorum: With the ink barely dry on election returns, the former Pennsylvania senator stops in New Hampshire to test the waters for a presidential run.Howard Dean: The former Vermont governor and presidential candidate downplays talk that he may challenge President Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2012.George Pataki: The former New York governor suggests on an ABC webcast that he's considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.Ted Austin: The director of New Hampshire's Division of Parks and Recreation steps down from his post to take a job at Vermont's Okemo Mountain Resort, whose owners also operate the state-owned Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire.Bob Kingsbury: After 16 unsuccessful tries for elected office, the Republican from Laconia finally wins a seat in the New Hampshire House.Shaun Doherty: The Republican state rep from Pelham sponsors a bill designating purple as New Hampshire's state color.It's been making the rounds...• So when will the Republicans' post-electoral landslide ritual of cannibalizing each other begin?• There's no truth to the rumor that John Lynch sent Joel Maiola a bouquet of roses on Nov. 3.• Frank Guinta says he's going to join the congressional tea party caucus when he gets to Washington. All well and good, but for all intents and purposes, there is no tea party in New Hampshire.• A slogan for President Obama's re-election campaign: Yes we could.• Looks like Judd Gregg's job as a former senator will be as Warren Rudman redux when it comes to deficit reduction?
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