Daily Archives: September 10, 2014

Phil Scott, chicken

Buck-buck-bacawwwww!

Our Lieutenant Governor, who isn’t afraid to steer a race car around a dirt track, is apparently ascairt of little ol’ Dean Corren, his P/D challenger. 

Corren had called for a series of ten debates. Scott’s answer? 

Four. 

Predictable but disappointing. Usually, a light schedule of debates would be okay in the race for Lieutenant Governor. But this year, when the gubernatorial race is effectively over and Scott is supposedly the spearhead of The New VTGOP, this particular campaign has taken on added importance. 

The Scott camp had some weasel words at the ready: 

Scott’s campaign manager, Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, said the three-term incumbent lieutenant governor would rather travel the state listening to voters than champion his own views in exchanges with Corren.

Aww, fucknuts. The voters are being asked to elect Phil Scott to a high office. They don’t need him to tilt his head and nod sagely; they need to know where he, the actual candidate, stands on the issues. Of course he should be listening, as should any politico worth their salt. But the time for listening is the rest of the two-year cycle. Now, in the final eight weeks of campaign season, is the time when you define yourself so the voters can make an informed choice. 

You do want voters to make an informed choice, don’t you? Well, maybe not. 

Corren saw through the bullcrap: 

“It’s a tried-and-true method for the incumbent to avoid debates and attempt to skate in under the radar.”

Yup. And especially true for an incumbent whose entire stock-in-trade is foggy blandness. 

Another thing. Of the four scheduled debates, three are in the state’s northwest quadrant — two in Burlington, one tentatively in Johnson, and one at the Tunbridge Fair, this Friday at 9 on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show.  Nothing in the southern half of the state. Nothing in the Northeast Kingdom.

Phil Scott, Man Of The People, is hiding behind a faulty fig leaf of an excuse, and minimizing the chances that The People will actually learn where he stands on the issues. 

Phil Scott, chicken. 

What the Governor needs to do

Finally, Governor Shumlin has begun campaigning for re-election. For those of us who’ve yearned for the relative brevity of a parliamentary-style campaign, the Governor has delivered the closest thing we’re going to get. 

Given the state of the opposition, this should be more victory lap than competitive contest. But still, there’s a lot he needs to accomplish in order to set the stage for a productive third term. Here’s my short (and probably incomplete) wish list. 

— If he really wants single-payer, this is a crucial election. He’ll need to show skeptical Democrats that he still enjoys broad public support. The bigger his margin of victory, the more agreeable the Legislature will be in 2015. 

— He also needs to stump hard in marginal constituencies and elect as many pro-reform lawmakers as possible. That includes money: he has more than enough, not only to fight this election but for a solid foundation for 2016. He should tell some of his deep-pocketed supporters to give to House and Senate campaigns. Or make some donations himself. 

— He should have a very clear explanation for the failures of Vermont Health Connect and the slowness of his Administration’s response. Honesty is better than defensiveness, even if it hurts. And as I’ve written earlier, he might need to fire some folks to show he’s unhappy with the results so far. 

— He also needs to own up to other Administration failures and explain how things will be different next time around. Again, honesty and engagement are key.Maze_Finish

— He should present a convincing case that single-payer would be simpler than Obamacare, which was a cobbled-together compromise package. (Accompanying cartoon by Jason Yungbluth, provided to theVPO by the estimable Dr. Deb Richter.) 

— He should get strongly behind Dean Corren’s bid for Lieutenant Governort, including a lot of joint appearances. And he should urge the Democratic Party to do whatever it can to help Corren. A vote on single-payer in the Senate may well come down to a tiebreaking vote from the presiding officer. If you favor single-payer, do you want that vote cast by Phil Scott or Dean Corren?

— Turning, finally, from health care reform, the Governor needs to present ideas and show he has the energy to tackle other issues that are actually more pressing in the minds of voters: economic growth, school governance and taxation, and the general tax burden. 

— In gubernatorial debates, he needs to press Scott Milne (and Dan Feliciano, when he’s on hand) on the issues. He shouldn’t try to float above the fray, as if his opponents don’t matter. This is not so much for his own benefit, as for the cause of liberalism. He needs to remind people why they should vote for Democrats and Progressives. Too often, he has invoked conservative talking points to justify his moves to the center. He needs to cut that out. 

I think that covers it. I don’t want to see any prevent defense, and I don’t want even a hint of lofty entitlement. No taking the voters for granted. I want a strong, cogent, and relatable message that upholds the principles of modern liberalism and addresses the needs of Vermonters.

Rank hath its privileges

Well, well. Looks llike there was more to the story of Louis Freeh’s car wreck than we were led to believe. 

The former FBI director was driving on state Route 12 in Barnard on August 25 when his vehicle left the road and smashed into a tree and some shrubs. It’s assumed that he fell asleep at the wheel. State police had said they would not seek charges nor even write a ticket. But look what the Burlington Free Press’ Mike Donoghue dug up

An out-of-control SUV driven by former FBI Director Louis Freeh almost struck head-on three motorists, who were forced to take evasive action to avoid crashing in southern Vermont, according to one of the drivers.

The driver, Van Coleman, gave a written statement to a Windsor County deputy sheriff, who was the first police officer on the scene of the Aug. 25 crash of Freeh’s vehicle. Deputy Sheriff Justin Hoyt said he gave the eyewitness report to state police. 

Donoghue reports that a motorcycle and two cars were forced to “swerve into the left lane when Freeh’s vehicle crossed the center line… and headed at the trio at a high rate of speed.” The witness, Coleman estimated that Freeh was doing at least ten MPH over the speed limit. 

Apparently, Coleman’s account failed to make it up the chain of command. VSP spokesperson Stephanie Dasaro, who issued three news releases that didn’t mention the close calls, said “I did not have that level of detail.” And Public Safety Commissioner told Donoghue “This is the first I have heard about that.” 

Flynn added that he “would ask for an explanation.” 

He’d better. This smells as bad as a week-old fish. If Freeh is not charged or ticketed, the State Police needs to provide a solid, thorough, convincing explanation. Otherwise it’ll look like the Good Old Boys’ Network got the better of justice.