What do you do with a Senator like that?

There's a face only a mother, or someone behind on their rent, could love.

There’s a face only a mother, or someone behind on their rent, could love.

The disgraced and [ALLEGEDLY] disgraceful Norm McAllister continues to, ahem, “serve” the people of Franklin County as one of their two state senators. Some of his constituents are circulating petitions asking him to resign; many people, including Your Obedient Serpent, have called for the Senate to DO SOMETHING in spite of its convenient state of adjournment; and those same people have wondered why Republicans are so curiously circumspect about their [ALLEGEDLY] disgraceful brother in arms.

So I got a call from Joe Benning, Senate Minority Leader, seeking to explain the Senate and VTGOP side of things. He made some very good points, both politically and institutionally.

The political

First of all, he noted, “Everyone in the Republican Party I’ve talked to hopes that he will see that the difficulties before him are too great” for him to continue in office. And although the VTGOP’s efforts have been almost entirely behind the scenes,

It’s not like anyone is sticking their heads in the sand. …I’ve had two conversations with him and let him know my concerns. There are people in the county and state parties who are having ongoing conversations. He’s mulling over those conversations.

Benning hopes that McAllister will realize that he’s politically isolated, and facing a process likely to take “a year or more.” In other words, beyond the 2016 legislative session and well into the campaign. There’s a nightmare scenario for the Republican Party.

More from Benning:

He is examining the court process. The way that works, the defense and prosecution will get together and create a discovery stipulation [a timeline for the process, including projected trial dates]. After that, the process will be clear and Norm will have to face it.

This will take a lot longer than he anticipated. They have not begun the process of deposing witnesses; that takes a while. Motions might be issued; a host of things could happen that would delay the process. There are two complainants; his attorneys might seek to separate the two complaints into two trials. The trial may have to move to another county. From my experience, it will be a year or more before all this is finished.

Clearly, Norm McAllister is a stubborn old cuss with the political sensitivity of a rhino’s hindquarters, and he’s listening to close friends and allies who believe he’s done nothing wrong. Republicans like Benning believe that public pressure is likely to reinforce his mulishness, while a campaign of quiet persusasion will pay off in the end. This may well be true, but it does make the Party appear detached; the longer this goes on, the worse it is for the VTGOP’s image.

The institutional

The Senate is anxious to be rid of this insolent beast no later than the end of the year, because everyone knows what it would be like for Norm McAllister to show up at the Statehouse in January. It’d be a complete circus, with reporters and cameras following his every move and pestering lawmakers with endless questions about the case. “It’s not in anyone’s interest to have this going on during the session,” Benning said.

As for removing McAllister:

Nobody wants to go in that direction, but it’s possible. We’ve researched the issue; it’s never been done, so we’re in new territory.

Some have pointed to the lack of precedent as grounds to simply remove McAllister. That’d be simple, quick, and satisfying; but it would also set a problematic precedent for future cases. Plus, as Benning pointed out, the lack of due process could open the door for McAllister to take his ejection to the courts. So here’s the process fashioned by Senate leadership after consulting the state constitution and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure, which is the official parliamentary rulebook of most state legislatures:

A sitting Senator would have to file a resolution for expulsion. The resolution would be presented to the Senate and referrred to a committee, which might be a standing committee or a special one. The committee would take testimony. In this case, the accused would be provided with notice, there would be time to prepare evidence and witnesses. The committee would make a recommendation, which would go to the Senate for a vote.

Senators, particularly Republican Senators, don’t want things to go that far. They see an expulsion hearing and vote as a degrading process. Of course, no matter how degraded the Senators might feel, it’s nothing compared to that suffered by McAllister’s [ALLEGED] victims. It’s not even comparable to the degradation McAllister’s constituents must feel.

But the point about degradation, relative or not, is that Senators and Republicans are desperately hoping McAllister will see the light on his own. Benning pins his hopes on the harsh reality of the discovery stipulation, which should make it clear that McAllister can’t hold out for a quick conclusion to the legal case.

This slowplay process leaves the good people of Franklin County suffering the indignity of having Norm McAllister as one of their two Senators, and leaves Republicans suffering the damage to their image as they quietly try to convince Good Old Norm to just please, please, PLEASE go away.

11 thoughts on “What do you do with a Senator like that?

  1. Michelle

    John, I’m usually a big fan of snark, but the caption on the picture is not terribly respectful towards his victims.

      1. Michelle

        Seems odd, given how well you have been covering this topic. I’m a former advocate for victims and I’ve been sharing your posts. Do you only accept feedback from Sen. Benning?

  2. newzjunqie

    No disrespect to anyones sensibilities or a smackdown here. I just do not see the pic as offensive and misses the point, that the victims had few choices. The snark appears to be directed solely at the victimization itself on behalf of the victimized. And in actuality exposes the creepiness at the heart of what the man is already admitted to one of the victims and is on record. And I must say I and many others including women must have been thoroughly disgusted at being victimized by such a repulsive looking creep.

    Fully aware of the insidiousness of the gender paradigm and all of the ugly and often subtle ways women have been and still are victimized so this is not coming from a man defending a man and I’m also a woman. Personally attempt to slow the trigger of judgement as it is easy to lose those who need to become conscious and the importance of the real issue becomes lost. Plus it merely makes the slimeballs who are often callous and cruel find seemingly legitimate ways to verbally victimize.

    They then simply use every gender related comment at the slightest infraction–real or percieved–as validation and reinforcement of their supposed victimization, head underground, laugh it off and label us all as feminazis. I simply do not wish to be a party to the mentality while recognizing that there are males who have been victimized by women but the double standard we as women face they too face. There is often little justice as males are percieved as weaklings for reporting abuse or for their painful injustices. Call me blind re justice.

  3. Michelle

    “This was a different perspective on the issue that was worth offering.”

    I agree, the post was informative and Joe’s insights valuable. So why cheapen it with a caption that -even sarcastically – suggests that Norm’s victims felt any love toward that face? What they likely feel is fear, trauma and disgust. I see you’re dug in on this and enjoying your seat in the bully pulpit. My plea is for the snark to hold his victims harmless.

    Oh, and my comment about Benning wasn’t refering to this post specifically. He seems to have you on speed dial. You planning a revival of The Odd Couple?

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Not gonna keep fighting the caption war. As for Sen. Benning, he’s one of the state’s top Republicans, he’s a regular commenter here, and his contributions are welcome. But how often have I really given him a platform? This time, and the Latin motto thing (which was six months ago). Otherwise, he doesn’t figure in this space any more than other prominent politicos, and he takes his share of lumps.

      1. Cc

        I think you make great points so often, but the caption is directing a punchline at the victim. It’s punching down, not upwards, and does insinuate at best the victim was complicit in their own abuse. If it had said ‘a face not even a mother could love, or anyone else for that matter’ it would have delivered the same message without being directed towards the victim. While that obviously wasn’t your intention, Michelle’s point is entirely valid that there is now a strange dichotomy between that and the rest of your thoughtful, poignant, and sensitive pieces on this scandal.

  4. newzjungie

    Following the story in multiple forums. This thread and the VPR story showed that there are those working behind the scenes quietly as their very own crazy uncle the sick perv channels an 800 lb gorilla and hostages them and the party while bringing the party to ruin at a time when they have a solid chance to rehab their ever diminishing image, unite and have a measure of success.

    But he seems to be waiting to cut a deal with prosecution and return. If so apparently clueless to the fact that he cannot return he is too damaged which is his own undoing and simply refuses to face himself and is obviously avoiding the mirror or this would not be an issue. Plus those with a conscience could not continue to do business with this waste of skin.

    This is the right approach to get him to hand over the matches before he lights the flammables he has soaked their platform with. Looking at the entirety of the mess he has them in a chokehold against a wall. And he is demonstrating his predatory victimization sickness for all to see by turning the control-freak on his fellow lawmakers and constituents. Logic revealed in his own comments and actions are headshakers.

    News analysis reported on this thread re the issue has debunked all of our lawmakers mythology. The reasons, excuses complete with tortuous explanations & posturing show extremely misplaced priorities to say the very least. And the need for a solid ethics review is being demonstrated real-time and yes — the feared committee needs to be assembled yesterday. The cool reception was very telling. Looks like they are afflicted with the first-stone syndrome and cannot look an ethics committee in the eye for some strange reason.

    Hopefully his real friends will be able to show mr myopic it’s on the wall.


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