So, Our Man Mahatma was up in Newport on Wednesday, hangin’ out at the Agway and talkin’ politics with the folks. And there to capture the excitement was a camera from the Newport Dispatch, an online-only news website.
Simple, short video, a few Q&A’s; one of which concerned rising property taxes. And while Milne did not take an actual position, he did hint at the vague outlines of a position. Which, for him, constitutes news. Take it away, Mahatma:
“I think there’s a need to rapidly address a solution for not having taxes increase any more while we figure out how to restructure things. That’s gonna be one of the fundamental principles of our campaign, something we’ll be talking a lot more about over the next two weeks. So I’d ask you to stay tuned. You’ll be happy with what we’re going to be talking about.”
Sounds like he’d call for a freeze on property taxes while he and the Legislature work out a longer-term solution. It sounds unworkable to me; there’d be a pretty rough immediate impact on school budgets and the transfer payments needed to ensure equal funding across the state. But hey, it’s an idea from Scott Milne. And that’s news.
But then he kinda blows it by promising an actual policy in “the next two weeks.”
Oh, c’mon now. When he outlined his two-stage campaign — attack Shumlin in August, unroll his positions in September — it seemed way too late to introduce a Milne Plan to the voters. Now he’s promising a Plan by the end of the month. Only a few weeks before the election.
Meanwhile, Milne continues to cede the conservative spotlight to Libertarian Dan Feliciano, who once again held a news conference yesterday where he once again got more attention than he deserves. The funny thing is, Feliciano pulled a Milne: he criticized Shumlin on state spending, but refused to say how he’d cut the budget.
Scott Milne has allowed Dan Feliciano to become a big problem. Not as a viable contender, but as a third “real” candidate in the race, likely to be included in gubernatorial debates.
If those debates were simply Milne vs. Shumlin, then Milne would have room to attack and establish his own positions. With Feliciano sharing the stage, there’ll be a lot less room to maneuver. Milne will be the Man In The Middle, and he’ll almost certainly look wishy-washy by contrast to the tight-fisted Feliciano and the self-proclaimed “progressive” Shumlin. He’d have to be a very strong, forceful presence to stand out in that situation. And to date, Milne has shown no ability whatsoever to be strong or forceful.