Mike Michaud for Governor of Maine

I have owned property and paid taxes in Maine for 17 years. My wife was born in Portland, her mother is from The County and her family has operated a potato farm there for over a hundred years. I love this state. I was so proud to cast my first vote here as a full-time resident two years ago. If I was eligible to vote here four years ago, I would have voted for Eliot Cutler. This year, I am glad to be eligible to cast a vote for Governor of Maine for the first time. I’m voting for Mike Michaud.

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Election Night

Tonight, for the first time since I was 17, I don’t have to work on election night. I’m going to watch it on TV like the rest of the real world. Been looking forward to it since last May, when I decided to retire.

I participated this morning. First time I voted in Maine. Was cool. But tonight I won’t be rooting for or against anybody. ALL I care about is watching it take place.

In 1976, I co-anchored election night (with David Sager) on WERS Boston, my college station. Went late. Waiting and waiting for one last state to come in and put Carter over the top. President Ford had the flu, went to bed, not knowing. Carter’s victory speech took place in the middle of the night. We signed off sometime between 3 and 4. We must have done pretty well because The Boston Globe gave us a mention. (Apparently, the Winships were looking for radio coverage overnight and we were about it.)

In 1980, I got assigned to the shift everybody at ABC Radio News hated – except on election night when it was THE shift – 9p5t. I’m not even gonna explain it.

1984, ABC New York, worked the assignment desk. My most vivid memory was a couple of days before the election, assigning stories to Robert Trout. And then going over his copy with him!

1988 Anchoring at WFTQ Worcester, MA.

1992 Doing hourly news on Monitor Radio.

1996 Covering Bob Dole’s headquarters in Washington for Monitor Radio.

2000 Host/Anchor WBZ’s special extended news coverage of the election night that never ended.

2004 Hosting the overnight talk show on WBZ.

2008 Hosting the overnight talk show on WBZ

40 years ago tonight I was clicking around but mostly watching Walter Cronkite. Tonight I’ll be clicking around but mostly watching Brian Williams. Only difference: there’s a lot more things to click around to these days.

I am pure spectator tonight! I’m making popcorn!

George McGovern

News item: George McGovern died today at age 90.

One of the things I most respect Sen. McGovern for is his presidential primary campaign of 1984. Knowing full-well he would be the butt of a lot of cheap jokes, he ran to make sure the actual issues got some attention and to hold to the fire, the feet of his Democratic colleagues, a couple of whom were his very good friends. That is un-selfish service to one’s country.

I also fondly recall in 1977 or ’78, a story came over the wire about a debate on the Senate floor. Two conservative senators had proposed that a minimum amount of income be exempt from federal tax, the first few thousand dollars one had earned. This was the same idea candidate McGovern had proposed in 1972 – to much ridicule, only the amount had now been increased.

McGovern rose to ask a question, which ended something like: “Does the Senator not think this is quite a radical idea?” As the conservative senator defended his proposal, McGovern smiled while those in attendance who understood what had just happened,  laughed.

I remember showing the wire story to a DJ at the station I worked at who was a conservative Republican, active in local politics, and a good friend. He ‘got’ it. He handed it back to me, speechless. Which was quite unusual for him.

On College costs, Vice Presidents and Massachusetts

I was at a college graduation party last night. A few of us were discussing the cost of a college education today and in the future. My wife mentioned our neighbors who have two children. The couple puts away $200 per month per child in a college fund. They’ve been told by some advisor that they should be putting away a thousand dollars per month per child. The oldest of the kids is five. $24,000 per year of their income must go toward a college fund? This couple is in their early thirties. They are still paying off their own college loans!

I remarked that it can’t go on like this. As with any product or service, if you price it too high people stop buying because they have no choice. If you’re not careful, you can price yourself out of business. “What choice will people have?” I was asked. They will have the choice of not going to college. As hard as it is to imagine in a time when a bachelor’s degrees is not enough – you must have a masters, in the future it could be that a degree from a college is not important at all. They don’t ask an actress where she went to college, they ask her to “read these lines.” If she can, she gets the job, degree or not. Could be it will go that way in other fields, most fields. If colleges and universities don’t smarten up in time, that is. Maybe it will go some other way but it cannot continue to go the way it is.

This morning I bumped into a blog article on the same subject. I’m not a fan of the author but he may be right on this one…

The Coming Meltdown In College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Any Better Anytime Soon

http://blogmaverick.com/2012/05/13/the-coming-meltdown-in-college-education-why-the-economy-wont-get-better-any-time-soon/

Recently on my radio show we talked about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his running mate. I stated that it really doesn’t matter who the choice is, it is all about how it is made. It’s all about Romney, not about who gets the nod. Vice presidential candidates and actual vice presidents rarely make any difference whatsoever. Very rarely.

Years ago, I did extensive research on the choice of running mate, and came to the above conclusion. (Maybe I’ll post that research here sometime this summer.) Here’s a piece from Slate about the few times sitting VPs made a difference…

The Eight Times the Vice President Did Something That Mattered

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/05/vice_presidential_history_a_list_of_times_the_veep_did_something_that_mattered_.html

And, speaking of Romney, I’m so tired of those in his party who make fun of my native state that I just tune them out and no longer take them seriously. The former governor himself made fun of his adopted home state in his out of state appearances when he ran four years ago. (I guess we can expect as president, he will go to other countries and make fun of the United States. Oh, I forgot, only Democrats and liberals do that. Well, Republicans, watch out, your boy already has a track record for beating up the homefolk while on the road. The precedent is there.)

I bumped into this article on Slate that says Bay Staters actually have something to brag about. Quite a bit, in fact…

Don’t Mess with Massachusetts

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/05/massachusetts_is_the_best_state_in_the_union_.html

Yes, two of these articles are from Slate. Don’t jump to any conclusions. It’s only the second time I’ve been to the Slate website. First time was some years back, when they were new.

The Republicans

It’s WAY too early to make a prediction on the November election, at least for me. I usually wait until we know who both nominees are and whether any independent or third party candidate is on enough state ballots to make a difference.

With the economy we’ve had, it should be a silly thought to think the president can be re-elected.

But the Republicans are starting to remind me of last September’s Red Sox.

So, without making any prediction yet, here’s where it stands now – It’s the Republicans’ election to lose and, so far, they’re doing a pretty good job of it.