Makin’ bagels with Captain Obvious

Last Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott put in a day behind the counter (and in the kitchen) at the Crazy Russian Girl Bakery in Bennington. It was the latest installment of his ongoing series of publicity stunts, which he calls the Vermont Jobs Tour.

But wait: it’s not just a cheap way to get yourself in the local birdcage liner. “I learn something on every single job,” he says. As an example, he finally figured out the difference between “T” and “t”.

Now we know how often he helps out around the kitchen at home.

While he was there, the distinguished occupier of Vermont’s Bucket of Warm Spit dispensed some deep thoughts about Bennington’s economic woes.

Scott said Bennington has some unique advantages which double as challenges, one being its proximity to New York and Massachusetts. The state as a whole must find a way to compete with New York, which has done a good job of promoting itself, and New Hampshire, which lacks a sales tax, Scott says.

“Would you like some boilerplate with your bagel, sir? We sliced it extra thin today.”

Scott offered the second-hand observation that tourism is a little slow down Bennington way. He noted that some have blamed the Bennington Bypass for routing traffic away from downtown. His suggestion? “Signage actually helps a lot.”

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Here’s the thing. Phil Scott is a statewide officeholder who draws a salary from taxpayer funds. He is a politician with serious aspirations of running for governor. He schedules a visit to Bennington. And he couldn’t be bothered with doing a little research? Learning more about Bennington, putting some thought into it, coming up with some relevant, insightful suggestions?

Signage, my Aunt Fanny.

It’s surprising to me that a guy who makes his living as a road builder wouldn’t mention Bennington’s #1 economic problem: its remoteness in our highway infrastructure. Driving to Bennington from just about anywhere else is a slow crawl on two-lane roads that run through every village and hamlet along the way. The roads between Bennington and Albany are a particular nightmare. That’s an annoyance for tourists and travelers; it’s a deal-breaker for businesses that depend on surface transportation.

Here’s a suggestion for the next stop on his Vermont Jobs Tour. Maybe he could be Governor for a day. He might learn something about political leadership and responsibility, about the necessity to try to find solutions to our problems. Plus, he might discover whether he really wants the job on a full-time basis. Judging by the bland nothings he offered Bennington, his heart might not be in it.

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6 thoughts on “Makin’ bagels with Captain Obvious

  1. Patrick G.

    This whole jobs tour leaves a bad taste. It’s tax payer funded campaigning and he should be required to declare it as such.

    if this is a duty of the LG then we need to abolish the position for lack of things to do.

    Scott’s ideas are very simplistic to boot, but that would seem to be par for the course. Goes along with the “Aw, shucks, he’s a good guy” persona he’s manages to insulate himself with every year.

    Reply
  2. Thomas Joseph

    I think your comments seem to have an edge to them when you speak of Phil Scott. Have you ever met the man? In some respects, I feel those that have a viewership or any following of significance should consider being responsible in their positioning and public commentaries. The harsh critique of our Lt. Gov. defies the genuine, positive and helpful interactions he has had with many Vermonters including me. I’ve had the fortune or misfortune to engage many but two people stand out: Doug Hoffer and Phil Scott for they are engaged, value building relationships with those they represent and get things done. I have no need to worry about their integrity.

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      My problem with Phil Scott is that he has, so far, skated through a political career without having to take any strong stands or exert leadership. His job-for-a-day tour heightens his public profile without having to do anything politically challenging.

      After all this time, we have only a vague notion of his politics or what he would do as governor. I’m glad he’s finally running, because he will have to reveal himself. I’d also like to see him take a stronger leadership position re: the VTGOP. If he’s half the man you think he is, he could do a lot toward rebuilding the party. (And while I don’t agree with the Republicans on much, I do want to see a vibrant debate in the political arena.)

      As for responsibility: hey, this is a blog. This is one guy writing from his own mind and heart. I don’t have a staff or a budget. I try to be responsible to the facts and to my own self.

      Reply
  3. 33o Degrees

    I like your style VPO (definite article indeed!). You exude the gutsiness of laying out a line!! It’s what we admire, out here just slightly W-N-W of the Adirondack gals. When fraternizing with our nations within nations, we sometimes take a polite step backwards, and let them refer to the gals as the Laurentides or Amerin (the Mother who keeps us).

    But back to you! Humor has always lent intrigue to the conversation in the room! It can be shoved into any given room, better than an elephant – don’t you think?! It wines a metaphor into the cause and the clause, and steers the conversation into the heart of any given matter – and according to this excerpt, you could ship that boy north… because he has all the aptitudes of a stereotypical Canook!

    Let me list a few qualifiers: squeaky-clean life experience resume; no controversial edges to be scrutinized or shoved under a bus, should your persona and/or career wander into the limelight; are you cute (?); and do you give others that warm fuzzy glow, when engaged in people’s conversations; can you stand in front of a crowd and exude a collective welcoming handshake and/or speech (?); are you charming – do people want to google you to get to know you better (?); able to support a statement but not able to forge it; comfortable with being the baby brother, because that gives you the “Mom & Dad approval” seal, that your big brother never quite got, for all those “adventures”. There are a lot more qualifiers that lean toward boredom, and as a Canook I can go hard on my kind!

    But back to you! I like your style VPO… because it lets me stand easy, and breathe with just a touch of a sigh and a smile.. because you are kindred spirit! Normally our election years are in sync, but the last elephants – I mean Whigs that we just “politely” shoved out of the “office” on Parliament Hill – added a little codicil to the 4 year game plan. They thought by going early they had the polls working in their favor – too much hand-shaking and proscriptive speeches, to hear what the populous was really thinking. We put a second generation family name back into those halls. He is a politician, who has all the squeaky-clean, charm and appeal to put us back on the “feel good” map. For those of us who have survived the less than perfect conversations, got up from under the bus, and put our girly-girl pants back on… we know life is more interesting, if dished out with a little Celtic black humor.

    However, our millennials are listening and taking lessons from you.. Rock On!!

    signed, aMused 🙂

    Reply

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