Our Esteemed Leaders seem to be in the process of backpedaling away from a reform measure on the grounds that the problem hasn’t caused widespread mayhem just yet. In this case, it’s our antiquated way of deciding a gubernatorial election when no single candidate wins a majority. The problem slithered out of the dank recesses of Vermont history when Governor Shumlin barely eked out a plurality win over Scott Milne, and Milne refused to concede. Technically, we didn’t have a governor-elect until a couple hours before his inauguration.
Reminds me of my previous post about vaccines. Well, it’s a common theme in the Legislature. I call it Grandfather’s Lightbulb Syndrome, after the classic joke:
“How many Vermonters does it take to change a light bulb?”
“Change it? That was my grandfather’s light bulb!”
To which I would add, “And nobody’s fallen down the staircase yet!”
Several possible changes to our system have been proposed; all are simple, and any one would prevent future occurrences of a losing candidate fighting on or, worst case, a losing candidate actually winning election in the Legislature. Hey, it’s happened before.
So what will lawmakers do about it? Sad to say, my money’s on Jack Diddly Squat. Because on issue after issue, they respond to potential problems by saying, “Why lock the barn door? We haven’t lost any horses yet.”
Think I’m too cynical? Take a look at this.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations said Wednesday she’s not so sure Vermont should amend its constitution to limit the legislature’s role in selecting statewide officeholders.
“We are more seriously looking at whether we need to have a change,” Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) said.
Well, Senator, what exactly would convince you that we need to have a change? An actual Constitutional crisis instead of a near-miss?
That’s bad enough, but there’s also this:
After the hearing, White said she remained “confused” about her own position.
“Part of me says it’s fine just the way it is,” she said. “It seems to work. People are elected.”
White’s committee has now held three hearings on the issue. And she’s “confused”? Jeezus H. Christ.
Don’t blame me, Senator, when your horse gets stolen or someone falls down the staircase.