It was a real pigpile in the Statehouse today, as every politician rushed to give their two cents’ on Sen. Norm McAllister. And while Friday’s reaction was shock and surprise and even a smidge of sympathy for Good Ol’ Norm, today it was the ultimate game of Hot Potato, starring McAllister as the spud in question.
But he was more than just a hot potato; he was more like a potato baked in the hot zone of a nuclear reactor, marinated in snake venom, glazed with a hobo-puke reduction and liberally sprinkled with powdered essence of skunk. Such was the unseemly haste with which Our Leaders sought to distance themselves from McAllister and his [alleged] crimes.
There were universal calls for his resignation, as if the presumption of innocence had withered and died under the sheer ick factor of the [alleged] offenses. And, quick as a bunny, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott announced that McAllister would resign within 24 hours.
The news of his coming resignation elicited barely-concealed sighs of relief and metaphorical mopping of brows all around. But there was one small problem: Nobody told Good Ol’ Norm.
At least not until the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami came up with the genius move of, ahem, calling the Senator. And then, oopsie:
McAllister, R-Franklin, reached by phone at his home Monday afternoon, said he was not aware that anyone had reached out to Scott to promise his resignation. McAllister said he plans to meet with his lawyer Tuesday to discuss the matter, but declined to discuss the case any further. He said he has “had better days.”
Yeah, I bet his [alleged] victims have had better days, too.
So what now? I’ll bet the common reaction under the Dome is “Aw, shit,” followed by “Can’t the guy take a hint?” Nobody wants him anywhere near the Statehouse. The Republicans don’t want to have to defend him; they want him out of their caucus and their lives toot-suite. Democratic lawmakers who’ve served with him don’t want to have to look like idiots any more. Leadership doesn’t want a continuing trickle of embarrassing questions about the lack of oversight and transparency in our citizen Legislature. Not to mention the ultimate horror: that new allegations of misbehavior within the Hallowed Halls might emerge.
Indeed, if McAllister is as prolific a serial offender as the prosecution makes him out to be, he almost certainly acted out while on the job. So far, we’ve only had one allegation of improper behavior from within the Statehouse; I suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nobody wants Norm McAllister anywhere near the premises if more stories start to leak out.
I imagine he’ll get some strongly-worded messages if he hasn’t already, perhaps delivered with a two-by-four. And then the resignation will come, full of noble sentiments about Duty To Constituents and Devoting My Time To My Defense And My Family.
And this time, the gale-force sighs of relief won’t be premature.