A heartbreaking tale of innocence defiled

Pity poor Paul Dame, freshman Republican lawmaker, whose blissful ignorance was suddenly and violently stripped away as he was forced to the disheartening realization that politicians sometimes do political things.

Well, that’s the charitable interpretation of his opinion piece, entitled “Stop the Blame Game,” posted on VTDigger this week. The uncharitable view is to see it as a cynical attempt to seize the high road and ignore reality in the process.

Dane is reacting to an opinion piece written by Rep. Tim Jerman, vice chair of the Vermont Democratic Party, which accused the Republicans of putting their “negativity machine… in full gear,” and “trashing the… achievements of the 2015 Vermont Legislature.”

Dame is indignant over Jerman’s “partisan and inflammatory” essay that lowers itself to “partisan name-calling” instead of working together to meet the challenges facing Vermont.

Shocking, I know, that a top Democrat would try to attack Republicans. Mr. Dame is either the freshest babe in the legislative woods, or he’s being deliberately mendacious. Because if you take a gander at recent statements from the Vermont Republican Party, you see a consistent pattern of partisan attack.

Dame effectively accuses Jerman of poisoning the well of bipartisan cooperation. Truth is, the Republicans have been pissing in that well for months and months. And somehow Dame is surprised — nay, shocked — that Jerman might actually decide to respond in kind.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a stroll down the Memory Lane of VTGOP press releases.

On June 25, the party posted an essay by Rep. Heidi Scheuermann headlined “Vermont Needs New Leadership,” in which she accused Democratic leaders of “knowingly overestimat[ing] economic growth and ta revenues,” and characterized Democratic claims of balanced budgets as “simply not true.” How much more partisan can you get than accusing your opponents of lying as a matter of routine policy?

On June 19, the Republicans issued the latest in a series of cut-and-paste attacks on the “Shumlin-Shap Smith Economic Policies of the Past,” slamming their “failed policies and lack of fiscal discipline.” Sounds right friendly to me.

When Governor Shumlin announced he would not seek re-election in early June, VTGOP Executive Director Jeff Bartley issued a nasty poison-pen letter that sarcastically “praised” Shumlin for finally making a decision that’s best for Vermont. As I wrote at the time, it would have been a great opportunity to be just a bit diplomatic, but Bartley couldn’t resist descending to his bottom-of-the-barrel tactics. Way to build bipartisan spirit there, Jeffy.

On June 5, the VTGOP crossposted an essay by the putatively nonpartisan Bruce Lisman. I guess they couldn’t resist his iteration of their toxic talking points — the administration is guilty of “incompetence” and “mismanagement” for which “the people will pay.”

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. The Republicans have consistently and gleefully fired all their available popguns at the Democrats. And somehow Paul Dame is shocked and dismayed when Tim Jerman gets tired of it all and fires a volley of his own.

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12 thoughts on “A heartbreaking tale of innocence defiled

  1. brucepost

    If you mentioned this and I missed it, forgive me, but both TJ and Dame are from the same legislative district.

    Reply
  2. Walter Carpenter

    “And somehow Dame is surprised — nay, shocked — that Jerman might actually decide to respond in kind.” I am sure that Rep. Dame’s commentary was part of the overall strategy

    Reply
  3. Eddie Garcia

    Well, let me just say this: (if you LET me just say this):
    I know Paul, and I’ve never seen him say, “Suck it, pal” in response to a civil question civilly asked, I’ve never seen him complain to Facebook because somebody posted a copy of a fundraising mass email he sent out, and as far as I know, he’s never called me a bully and an extremist behind my back.
    Which is more than I can say for, you know, the person he defeated for the seat – I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I tell you that that was the most important electoral victory, in my view, that my gangs of bullies and extremists scored in that election.

    Reply
  4. Deborah Billado

    First let me say that this commentary paper is not one that I follow or would spend my time on. With that being said I would like to say that I know Paul Dame and he is one of the most honest and sincere political people I know. He does not smile and appear to be your friend in order to get your vote and then run to Montpelier and vote to tax you to death or erode your rights. It is very clear to me that there are those who are threatened by his level of honesty and integrity. In the end just as last fall those who do not work in the best interest of the hardworking taxpayer will no longer represent us.
    everyone should look for the Ethan Allen report card that gets published on how your representatives are voting against your best interest in favor of special interests. Keep up the good work Paul Dame.

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      He may well be a prince of a fellow, but he is still, as you say, a “political person.” His commentary was a transparently political (and disingenuous) exercise in the pot calling the kettle black.

      Reply
      1. Diane Tardif

        Well Said!
        It could also be the truth. As a resident of Essex Jct. and property owner who’s taxes keep going up by a lot I think is time for our State Reps to listen. I attended several FREE Pancake Breakfasts last Spring knowing that our Reps from Essex Jct., Essex and Essex/ Westford would be there to listen and explain what is going on in Montpelier. ALL REPS (DEM & REP) were invited only Paul Dame, Linda Myers and Bob Bancroft (REPUBLICAN) attended.
        I voted for Paul Dame because I knew he would listen and he did.
        I
        will vote for Paul Dame again in 2016.

  5. Brett gaskill

    What this indignant twit conveniently leaves out of his petty drivel, is the fact that all the commentaries he sites are DEAD ON ACCURATE in their criticisms of the Shumlin/Smith/Jerman wrecking ball.

    Reply
  6. Kay Trudell

    Paul Dame is a real gentleman, as well as being thoughtful and intelligent. I wish we had more politicians like him.

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Gee, it sure is funny that a whole bunch of people who usually don’t read this blog are all rushing to Paul Dame’s defense. It’s almost like a coordinated activity.

      Reply
      1. Kay Trudell

        Rather than John’s thin-skinned explanation above, here is a more likely one. Paul is a resident of Vermont, a small state. We are all his friends and neighbors. We know the man personally. My words were and are my own, and no one told me what to say. Also, it isn’t like the left and liberals never co-ordinate similar media activity. And anyway, what does it matter? What difference does it make?

      2. John S. Walters Post author

        Makes no difference at all, and I’m not all that concerned. I just think it’s funny when a bunch of new readers all jump in at the same time. Have at it, Dame Patrol!

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