Hello, and thanks for visiting The Vermont Political Observer. This is the 100th post in The VPO’s brief history. And the last two days have been two of the biggest days ever for pageviews and unique visitors. I appreciate that very much; the only inducement I can offer is the quality of my writing and insights, and it means a lot to me that so many people have found The VPO worthy of their time.
I am aware, from some of the comments received, that many readers are discovering my work for the first time, and are a bit puzzled by some aspects of it. So let me reintroduce myself and explain what’s going on around here.
I’ve worked in the media most of my life, primarily radio with some professional writing. I’ve won awards for my work in both fields, and I’ve published a book that’s entirely nonpolitical, Roads Less Traveled: Visionary New England Lives. Should be available at bookstores in VT and NH, and through my own website. (The radio work was almost entirely in other states.)
I started writing political commentary in late 2011 as a member of the Green Mountain Daily team. GMD is a group blog with a liberal/Democratic bent. I’m still on the team; my posts are under the pen name “jvwalt.” But after much consideration, I launched The VPO as an outlet of my own. At times, I was overwhelming GMD with my stuff, which I thought was unfair to the group nature of the enterprise.
My writing in both places is a mix of my journalistic experience and my political viewpoint, which is decidedly liberal but not dogmatically so. I often disappoint fellow liberals by taking a contrary position on an issue or openly criticizing Democrats and Progressives when I think they deserve it. And there’s a deliberately iconoclastic edge; if journalism is described as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, then my role is to afflict politicos who have an exaggerated sense of self-importance or self-worth.
Put another way, I’ve described my function like this: 60% commentator and analyst, 30% liberal firebrand, and 10% poo-flinging monkey. So if you see some brown stuff flying around here, don’t be surprised. One aspect of that 10% is my occasional habit of giving nicknames to people. One of these days, I should list their origins and meanings. (Example from GMD days: I dubbed conservative activist Tayt Brooks “International Man of Mystery” because when he was busy spending Lenore Broughton’s fortune at Vermonters First, he rebuffed virtually all inquiries from reporters.)
That said, I do welcome contrary views. The VPO’s Comments section is moderated, which means I must approve a comment before it’s posted; but that’s just to keep out the trolls. I have yet to reject a comment because of its content.
Regarding the picture at the top of the page: It is Warren G. Harding, our 29th President (but #1 in your hearts, or at least in the hearts of his numerous lady friends). The photo was taken late in his life, while he was President, and seems to hearken back to his pre-political days as a newspaper editor. It’s clearly staged; there’s no paper in the typewriter, and I bet he had secretaries slash lady friends to do his typing for him. But the image of a hard-bitten old-fashioned ink-stained wretch was appealing to me. (My Twitter avatar (@thevpo1) is a picture of George Reeves as Clark Kent, yet another fake reporter. Hmm.)
My hope is that you will continue to find The VPO worth your time. And if you think this site is worthwhile or a particular post deserves attention, I hope you’ll mention it to friends and colleagues. The only reward I get for this work is the knowledge that people appreciate my writing, and aren’t we all searching for validation of our existences?
Stay tuned. At least, I hope you will.