The Milne Transcripts, part 7: No vilification here, nope, no sirree.

This the penultimate entry in my series of posts from Scott Milne’s trainwreck of an interview on the July 25 edition of WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show. Yes, only one more entry after this. Believe me, there could have been more. The hour-long interview is packed with uncomfortable pauses, inarticulate phrasings, abrupt transitions, unanswered questions, and general bumblefuckery. 

Over and over again in his young campaign for Governor, Scott Milne has insisted he will not “vilify” Governor Shumlin. He said so in his campaign-kickoff speech, and immediately followed that promise with words like ultra-progressive, brazen, bullying, radical, headstrong, and “unbridled experimentation.”

No vilification there, none at all.

Milne was apparently nonplussed by the reporting of his speech in this space and at VTDigger, which pointed out the obvious contradiction. Because early on in his Mark Johnson interview, he stuffed this little gem into a discussion of the Shumlin Administration’s competence:

…it’s hard to get into this game without — you know, I want this, this, these are political objective words not meant to be mean-spirited or, and my tone is, you know, I respect most of what Shumlin and his family have accomplished, so it’s not personal at all, but on the one hand you’ve got this guy who’s a very deft, smooth, political guy. On the other hand, if I compare him to the governors going back to Phil Hoff, he’s the mo — he, he, he doesn’t, he doesn’t stack up well against any of them in my opinion.

Got that? Words like radical, brazen, and bullying are “political objective words not meant to be mean-spirited.” Because he respects “most of what Shumlin and his family have accomplished,” but on the other hand, Shumlin is the worst Governor in Milne’s living memory. 

I’d say he’s trying to thread a needle, except there’s no hole. He’s trying to thread a pin.

The rest of the interview was studded with criticisms, not of the Governor, but of the “Shumlin Administration.” Even when the criticism was clearly aimed at the top man in the operation. Take this:

My read on the Shumlin Administration is they run the state like it is a campaign. They’re always readin’ polls, figurin’ out what’s gonna be popular and pretendin’ they’re leadin’ that parade. And I think that’s the opposite of what we need for leadership.

See, you can’t pretend to be talking about the entire Administration by slamming its “leadership.” When you’re talking leadership, you’re talking about the leader — not the team.

At one point, Milne praised Doug Racine as “a man of great integrity.” Later, Johnson asked if he also considered Governor Shumlin “a man of integrity.” Milne squirmed like a fish on the hook.

Uh, Doug Racine, I think, is uh you know, uh, in my limited dealings with Doug Racine, he’s totally comfortable looking you in the eye and telling you he disagrees with you and trying to convince you to agree with him or disagree with you.  My experience with the Shumlin Administration is, that’s not exactly the — uh, and integrity, uh, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say anything about Governor Shumlin’s integrity. I would just say, I think that they run the state like it’s a political campaign, and I would like to see the state run like it’s a, a family where we need to make sure that we’re looking out for our own best interests in the long term.

Woof. Even if you like Scott Milne, even if you plan to vote for him, that’s just painful to read.

It’s a common problem with the nascent Milne campaign: he’s trying to carry out complex rhetorical maneuvers, but he just doesn’t have the skills.

This is the problem when a person who’s successful in another field (usually business; see also Tarrant, Rich) takes a leap into the deep end of politics. A good politician possesses a broad range of skills: crafting a message, interacting with the public, giving speeches, being interviewed, managing a campaign, and a whole lot of stamina. Among other things.

Aside from one losing campaign for a much lower office, Scott Milne is a political newbie. You compound that with a very late entry into the race, and this is what you get.

In the last installment of The Milne Transcripts, I’ll recount some of the worst moments from his interview. I’m serious; there’s worse.  

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