Daily Archives: August 2, 2014

The Milne Transcripts, part 4: The Great and Terrible Doug Racine

Yet another instlalment in my epic series of posts from Scott Milne’s horrific appearance on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show on July 25. It was his first long-form interview since formally opening his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and it was bad on so many levels… 

One of the many intricate dances Milne was trying to perform was projecting an image of moderation without alienating the GOP base. A difficult task, given that some prominent GOPers are already talking up Dan Feliciano, the Libertarian candidate.

During an attack on the Shumlin Administration’s alleged managerial failings, Milne went off on a tangent about the 2010 campaign. As you may recall, after Jim Douglas bowed out of the race, five Democrats jumped in — and Peter Shumlin eked out a win in the primary, with Doug Racine finishing a close second. Take it away, Mr. Bunny…

I would have loved to have seen a Brian Dubie/Doug Racine governor’s race. I think Doug Racine is an accomplished state public servant, a man of great integrity, and I would have loved that governor’s race. I would have supported Dubie in that, but I thought that would have been a good governor’s race with two very different, um, paths forward for Vermont. But where I would have felt like both people were just being totally candid about what they thought, and not trying to read polls and figure out what they needed to say to get elected.

Got that? Liberal Democrat Doug Racine, man of integrity, “accomplished public servant,” and quality gubernatorial candidate, unlike the unprincipled opportunist who won the nomination, and who shall remain nameless because Milne has declared that his campaign will not “vilify” anyone. (Just as I am not vilifying Scott Milne, a fine businessman who possesses many fine qualities — political skill being conspicuously absent from the list.)

But this remark was preceded by a direct attack on poor management at two agencies: Natural Resources, and Health and Human Services. The latter helmed, of course, by none other than Doug Racine. Just before this, Milne had slammed Governor Shumlin’s so-called “Team of Rivals” cabinet that included some of his adversaries in the 2010 primary. Milne said “I don’t think those were good management choices.”

Okay, so I guess the “accomplished public servant” Doug Racine would be a crackerjack candidate for Governor, but he has no business heading a state agency?

Of course, Milne made it clear that he, personally, wouldn’t have voted for Racine, but still: making Racine the Democratic nominee is putting him in line to run the entire state government, when you think he’s not even capable of running a subset thereof. It’s like saying Sarah Palin was a darn fine candidate but would’ve made a lousy Vice President.

It was a very poor way to make a very weak point. Milne apparently wanted to have something good to say about a prominent Democrat in order to burnish his bipartisan credentials. In the process, though, he managed to compliment and crucify the same person in the space of two paragraphs.

Stay tuned for more installments of The Milne Transcripts, coming soon to this space. But first, I gotta do some weed-whacking. 

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The Milne Transcripts, part 3: The cellphone incident

Note: It’s taken me longer than expected to spin out this series. I finally finished transcribing the whole damn hour last night. From now on, the postings will be more frequent. Promise!

On Friday, July 25, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne appeared on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show for an hour-long interview — his first extensive media appearnce since the official launch of his candidacy. It was, to put it candidly, a trainwreck. Lots of stumbles, abrupt changes of subject, talking points cut off in the middle, bad reasoning, and transparent fabrications.

But the most inexcusable moment came about 15 minutes in. What’s rule #1 if you’re a high-profile figure going into a live media appearance?

Turn off your damn cellphone. Or hand it to your trusty aide.

Naturally, rule #1 was unknown to the newbie candidate. We pick up the action in the middle of a lengthy discourse on the management failings of the Shumlin Administration…

When you look at that, and you sort of do this, you know, they’re sort of branding their, you know, Team of Rivals by bringing all of his primary opponents or most of his primary opponents into running state agencies, I don’t think those were good management choices.  I mean one, n, no, um — [his cellphone has started ringing] no, um, just —

Milne pulls his cellphone out of his pocket, but seems unsure what to do. After a few seconds, Johnson bails him out:

Just tell ’em to call into the program. It’s much easier. 244-1777 is our local number, toll free 877-291-8255, we’ve been talking with Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott MIlne.

That gives Milne a chance to fumble with his phone and finally shut it off. It took him a full 15 seconds. And then came a feeble attempt at humor:

Thanks for turning your phone off, Mark.

He chuckles. Johnson does not.