The Scott Milne campaign has a number of albatrosses around its neck.There’s the newbie candidate’s inept performances on the stump and in debates. There’s his apparent allergy to fundraising. There was, of course, his late start. There’s the devastated, improverished infrastructure of the Vermont Republican Party. (Tickets Still Available for the Congressman Peter King fundraiser tonight!) (Please buy a ticket!) (Pretty please?) There’s the fact that he still hasn’t managed to articulate actual positions on the issues.
And on top of all that, there’s his remarkably incoherent political positioning. Because, you see, Scott Milne is trying to be all things to all people. He’s simultaneously opening his big-tent flap to conservatives, moderates, and even liberals.
He’s trying to present himself as a thoughful, moderate leader who will consider all points of view, including the most progressive. He’s depicting Governor Shumlin as a bad manager; his pitch to liberals is, “If you replace Shumlin, state government will work better and you’ll see more of your policy dreams come true.”
It’s an impossible balancing act to maintain. And Scott Milne is definitely not the man for the job.
Look at his runaround on the GMO labeling bill during this week’s debate.
First, he said the GMO bill was “a good example of the radical, progressive management of a bill by this Administration.” Then he said he wouldn’t repeal it. Then he couldn’t say whether he would have vetoed it if he’d been Governor. And finally, he returned to the theme of “managing the bill,” saying that if Shumlin hadn’t been so ham-fisted about it, the bill could have been passed “in a much more business-friendly way.”
To sum up: the bill itself isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it could even be a positive. But Shumlin’s “management of the bill,” whatever the hell that means, was the problem.
If only Scott Milne had been Governor, we would have gotten the same outcome with completely different results. The liberals would have gotten their way, but we would have remained somehow “business-friendly.” Or something like that.
My theory also explains his odd stance on health care reform. Vermont Health Connect was a radical, progressive program — but single-payer health care is NOT necessarily radical. It could turn out to be the best option. Milne ain’t saying.
What he is trying to say to us liberals is, Shumlin’s made a mess of Vermont Health Connect. Elect me, and I’ll make it work so smoothly that it’ll pave the way to single-payer. Maybe.
On issue after issue, Scott Milne is trying to appeal to everybody at the same time. On school funding, he wants to cut costs but he also wants to retain local control. He wants a freeze on the statewide property tax, but he apparently doesn’t want schools to suffer any cuts. And he’s unwilling to even hint at a new school-funding plan. Because he doesn’t want to lose a single vote.
Many issues are simply too “complicated,” and all he promises is to work with the Democratic Legislature on the details. To conservatives, the message is: I’ll hold the line. To liberals, it’s I’ll let you have your way a lot of the time. Somehow he’s not convincing any of us.
Most telling of all is his stance on legalizing marijuana, which sounds like it came from a chronic doper:
“It is a bad idea but if I get a bill, I’ll sign it.”
In the words of the candidate himself, Holy Shamoley.
I realize the man thinks he is “Gandhi-like,” but even the original Mahatma couldn’t have pulled this off.