It’s time to grab the State Senate by the ankles, flip it upside down, and give it a damn good shake

Poor, poor Democratic State Senators. They face such a difficult decision.

As VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, they’ll have to choose between their longtime colleague, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, and his Progressive challenger Dean Corren. The usually reliable but somewhat clubby Sen. Dick McCormack:

Then the question is who would you cross party lines for? Phil is a friend I’ve worked with for years, work well with. And Dean, the public financing is very admirable I have tended to agree with him on most issues so for a lot of us I think it creates a real dilemma.

Okay, wait. I’ll admit I don’t have a dog in the tired old Dem/Prog slapfights — I wish they’d each get over themselves — but McCormack thinks that supporting a Progressive and supporting a Republican are equally tough? C’mon now, which party is more closely aligned with yours on policy questions? You’re honestly having trouble choosing between the guy who’s in line with your party’s biggest policy priority (single-payer health care) and whose very campaign highlights your party’s concern with money in politics, and the guy whose party is opposed to single-payer and is uninterested in campaign finance reform?

As a nonaligned liberal, allow me to throw up in my mouth a little.

As for throwing up a lot, let’s turn to Senate Penitent Pro Tem John Campbell, who has already endorsed Scott’s candidacy. His knickers are in a knot over the prospect that a non-Democrat could become the Democratic candidate by winning the nomination on primary write-in votes:

“[To] say ‘oh well I’m  going to really run under this Party but then I’m going to try to take the nomination by getting a bunch of people to write in my name. I just think it’s a flaw in the system.”

Er, John. C’mere.  Closer. Yeah, right there.

[flicks Senatorial nose]

A couple of obvious points. First, if you wanted a Democrat to run for Lieutenant Governor, your party should have gone out and FOUND somebody. It’s your own party’s fault that there’s an appealing blank space on the primary ballot. Second, if Corren doesn’t win the Democratic nomination on write-ins, the most likely winner is Phil Freakin’ Scott.

But I guess that wouldn’t outrage Campbell because Phil Scott is a friend of his. In truth, John Campbell has no principle in play; he has a friendship and, as a very conservative Democrat, a profound aversion to Progressives.

Which gets back to the title of this post. Maybe it’s just me, but it makes no sense that a Senate that’s two-thirds Democratic defers so often to Phil Scott and fails so frequently to support solid liberal legislation.

It makes no sense to me that clubby insiders who value friendship over party — John Campbell and Dick Mazza, come on down! — are allowed to occupy such positions of power in the Senate.

So, after the election, could we please have some new leadership? Get rid of that stale air? Pretty please?

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