Okay, who replaced John Campbell with a pod person?

The Political Reporter is a flocking creature. It tends to congregate in large numbers where there’s a commotion or a generous food supply — or, sometimes, for no apparent reason.

On Friday, the flock gathered at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the gun bill — the reduced version of S. 31, Now Expanded Background-Check Free!   (Correction: it’s now S.141 for those keeping score at home.)

It wasn’t the most important thing going on that day. I’d be hard-pressed to put it in the top five, actually; supporters and opponents are all het up about the bill, but I’m not. As a gun control measure it’s a teeny tiny baby step. As a potential threat to Second Amendment rights, it’s… well, it’s not. The Domino Theory was discredited way back in Vietnam.

So I was elsewhere on Friday afternoon. More on that later.

The only thing that was interesting about it, to me, was captured by the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami: 

Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, D-Windsor, an original sponsor of S.31, pushed [Committee chair Dick] Sears hard to advance a bill. He spent considerable time in the Judiciary Committee, often seated near Sears, monitoring its progress.

“I think his behavior has been fascinating,” Sears said.

His attention was bothersome to Sears, and prompted the veteran lawmaker, who is known to express his displeasure at times, to offer Campbell total control earlier this week.

“There was one point where I asked him if he really wanted to chair the committee,” Sears said.

John Campbell, recently seen taking a restful nap. (Not exactly as illustrated.)

John Campbell, recently seen taking a restful nap. (Not exactly as illustrated.)

This is highly unusual, to put it mildly. I haven’t checked the record in detail, but I’d say this is unprecedented in Campbell’s frequently undercooked tenure as Pro Tem.

First, I don’t recall him ever being inspired about a piece of legislation. Serene detachment has been the order of the day. (I recall a time when I was watching Senate debate from the balcony. Campbell sat at his desk leafing through a woodworking catalog, paying no attention to the debate. It was inspiring.) It’s rare, like a snow day in Hell, for Campbell to show real passion for an issue.

Second, this is rather a blatant violation of Senate comity. I daresay it’s not unusual for a Pro Tem to pull the levers behind the scenes (it’s pretty unusual for Campbell, but not for your average Pro Tem), but it’s downright bizarre for a Pro Tem to publicly show up a committee chair. Sears’s reaction was actually rather diplomatic. Well, diplomatic for Sears, who guards his turf like the alpha male he thinks he is. Although there’s no truth, as far as I know, to the rumor that he tinkles a little on the Judiciary Committee doorjambs every morning.

Third, Campbell’s even making noise about openly opposing Gov. Shumlin.

“The governor made it very clear how he feels about this bill. He doesn’t support it,” Campbell said. “The governor is very powerful and the administration is very powerful. As such, I guess I had to step up my involvement.”

Superman: “As such, I guess, I had to stop the runaway train.”

So it’s weird doings on the gun bill. Campbell’s normal posture, when an issue gets divisive, is to stay the hell out of the way. There have been many occasions during his tenure when a bit of leadership — or arm-twisting — would have broken a logjam and avoided unnecessary strife. In moments like these, John Campbell usually stays out of the way.

I don’t get the sudden onslaught of passion for a bill that simply doesn’t do that much. Makes me wonder if that’s the Real John Campbell or an alien-crafted facsimile.

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9 thoughts on “Okay, who replaced John Campbell with a pod person?

  1. g2-4defad001ff5faec21d31d0bd81192f6

    “The Domino Theory was discredited way back in Vietnam.”

    Really, John?

    Was it discredited in the state of Washington, when immediately following the passage of I-594, its proponents called a press conference to announce that they were just getting started?

    Was it discredited in Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook Commission just called for even MORE gun control, including serial numbers on shell casings?

    Was it discredited in New York State, when the SAFE Act was added in the dead of night by cowards behind closed doors and Safe Act The Next Generation is said to be in the pipeline?

    From the Bloomberg-Montpelier Times-Argus:

    “I think these are really important measures that are definitely going to keep guns out of the wrong hands. In terms of background checks, we still want that to happen. We knew that this was going to take a long time,” (Anorexic Annie of Gun$enseVT) said.

    Personal expreience, as well as history, proves that gun control advocates are like the fat kid at the birthday party, going back time and again for more cake until they are stopped.

    Despite the best efforts of liberal commentators such as yourself to blow sunshine up our collective asses, gun owners are, as a rule, neither stupid, paranoid, or blind.

    Who are we supposed to believe, you or our own lying eyes?

    The camel has its nose under the tent.

    We intend to stomp it – with the good, sturdy winter boots of the people of Vermont.

    And as for Michael Bloomberg’s employee John Campbell?

    Stand by.

    Reply
  2. Eddie Cutler

    This is easy to understand. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg Famed N.Y.C. X mayor who is famed for his big gulp and Illegal stop and frisk laws has said he will be spending millions of dollars on getting gun control passes in all the states nationwide. Vermont with its 230 year history of non violence is a thorn in his side. We have a very high firearms ownership with almost no violent crime. The rest of the country is now looking at the good and honest people of Vermont and have realized we must be doing something right. This has led to many states passing pro gun laws. Those states are now seeing there crime rates drop. Chicago is a great example. Since the supreme court has ruled that their firearms ban was unconstitutional people have been getting concealed handgun permits and are now able to defend themselves. This has led to a 60 year low in violent crime there. I believe Senator Campbell is listening to this out of state billionaire instead of his constituents.
    Ed Cutler

    Reply
    1. newzjunqie

      And, authoritarian control-freak Campbell, as evidenced by the language used to address the rally, a former police officer himself, was in full support of the full-freighted version of the bill … including background checks:
      “Vermont senate leader misfires with gun control pitch at massive gun rally”
      By Bruce Parker / January 28, 2015
      http://watchdog.org/195954/anti-gun-control-rally/

      Reply
  3. chuck gregory

    John, you’re spot on with the impact of this bill. Nationally, 90 percent of gun homicides are committed with guns that were sold, left unsecured, pawned, lent or given to somebody else by the original purchaser.

    A bill with real impact would respect Vermonters’ rights to owning a gun– but forbid them from ever letting it pass into another person’s hands without facing full responsibility for its future misuse in its lifetime.

    Vermont gun owners should be responsible for their weapon the same way King Arthur was responsible for Excalibur.

    Reply
      1. chuck gregory

        Based on 68.75% of all homicides being gun deaths (from 1990-97 homicide data, https://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/hgbanfs.htm), and the average intentional homicide rate per year for the decade 2000-2010 in the US as 15,547 (List of countries by intentional homicide rate by decade – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), 10,688 persons per year were murdered by firearms use.

        A 1997 U.S. Justice Department survey (Gun Control – Just Facts) of 14,285 state prison inmates found that among those inmates who carried a firearm during the offense for which they were sent to jail revealed where they got the weapon:
        0.7% at a gun show
        3.8% at a pawn shop
        8.3% new purchase
        39.2% from an illegal source
        39.6% from family or friends.

        In other words, in the matter of gun homicides, the original purchaser of the weapon was on average responsible for only 887 deaths, while people who lent, sold, gifted, pawned or “lost” their weapon because it was unsecured were responsible for about 9,800 deaths or roughly 91% of all gun homicides.

        While the Constitution protects our right to bear arms, it does not confer or protect a right to treat them like just another appliance. There will be no greater form of gun safety than 250,000,000 owners who realize that the gun they buy is their permanent responsibility and their only way of terminating their obligation is to destroy that weapon.

  4. chloramine

    Sen. Campbell did previously get all worked up about a piece of legislation. It was an agriculture committee housekeeping bill that contained an important provision that would have allowed the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the disposal of formaldehyde-containing foot baths used on a few large farms in northern Vermont. The language was and still is needed, as it is irrational to allow formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, to be disposed of in manure pits instead of handled as a hazardous substance, which is how it arrives at the farm. Instead it is land applied, with a coincidence of a lot of people getting sick around the fields where the formaldehyde-containing manure is spread. So what was in the bill that was so important to Sen. Campbell? Banning pig crates — a totally worthy subject except that pig crates are not used at any farm in Vermont.

    No pig crate ban, no bill, so formaldehyde is still allowed to be disposed of in manure pits and land applied.

    Reply
  5. newzjunqie

    Follow the funny-money, and ahem, Linda Waite-Simpson. B’bye belligerent Dickie “I’m Not Afraid Of You” Sears.

    B’bye John “Addle-brain” Campbell who in a time of budgetary crisis (brought on by our addlebrain guv) needs a larger staff to do his work so he can have more time to f’k off.

    None of the aforementioned are worthy of VTers or to serve as lawmakers, and time to get rid of these arrogant self-satisfied suckups.

    Reply

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