Milne for Senate?

Curious item landed in my inbox this morning: an email from Scott Milne.

Well, not a personal email — it was a blast message to his mailing list, entitled:

Scott Milne challenges Pat Leahy to get money out of politics.

The message slams Leahy for holding a fundraising event over the weekend, at which attendees were (according to Milne) charged “$5,000 for face time with Vermont’s senior Senator.” Milne compares this unfavorably with Leahy’s predecessor, St. George Aiken, who “spent $17.09 on his entire last campaign for the Senate in 1968 [and] spent a total $4,423.03 for all six of his U.S. Senate campaigns combined.”

Well, in 1968 Aiken occupied both the Republican and Democratic slots on the ballot, and managed to win re-election with, ahem, 99.9 percent of the vote, which makes me think he wasted seventeen bucks. The bulk of his career took place when the GOP absolutely ruled the roost in Vermont. But I can just hear Milne say, “Leahy is as bulletproof as Aiken; why raise money at all?” To which Leahy would reasonably reply, “In politics, you never know.” Especially since conservative groups have begun to spend money on Vermont elections. It’s only prudent for Leahy to build up a warchest.

But the biggest question raised by Milne’s email is simply, Why? Why is he attacking Pat Leahy?

If this were any politician not named Scott Milne, the answer would be obvious: he’s going to run for U.S. Senate. In Milne’s case, it might simply mean he got out of bed this morning and decided to write a letter.

But it’s intriguing, especially since his email challenges Leahy “to run a $100 campaign and to demand outside money stay out of Vermont in the 2016 Senate race.” To put it another way, “Please tie both hands behind your back and I’ll challenge you to a fight.”

There is a fundamental problem with Milne’s attempt to position Leahy as a supporter of the status quo: Pat Leahy would like nothing more than to get money out of politics. He has been a champion of a Constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling. In the meantime, though, he has to play a very rough game by the existing rules.

Milne is asking Leahy to unilaterally disarm on the eve of battle. He knows Leahy will do no such thing. (He won’t ask Phil Scott to follow Aiken’s example in running for governor.) But if he can present himself as Vermont’s own David going up against Senator Goliath? That’s not a bad way to frame a candidacy. It’s not a winning argument, but anyone challenging our very senior Senator won’t have a lot of arguments to choose from.


3 thoughts on “Milne for Senate?

  1. Kelly Cummings

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all the political hopefuls would drop the game play and just address the issues?

    It’s insulting to the people of Vermont.

    Tell us what you stand for, explain your vision for Vermont and just how you plan on making that vision become a reality. If we like it, we will vote for you. If we don’t, we won’t.

    Stop all these silly political maneuvers. While the political hopefuls play games, the rest of us are dealing with real life. There are real problems that need real solutions. Let’s hear what you’ve got to offer. Plain and simple. And if you can’t do that…please just go away and don’t bother us. We’ve got better things to do.

  2. newzjunqie

    Leahy is not exactly what I’d call unpopular, has had no scandals I can recollect so not enough negatives to remove an incumbent. If Milne is looking to get into VT politics I would say start slow, go for Lt. Gov.

    Dubie could have won if he were not led astray by Corry Bliss. He was a nice guy who lost his nice guy cred by following a the tangled web of Rovian path to perdition.

    Wendy Wilton is capable, served Rutland well and could easily do the same for VT. However Beth Pearce was and is doing a great job so not much of a reason to replace. But the negative campaigning will not work in VT, electorate rather abhors negative campaigns.

    Chewing St Patrick out will not work.

  3. forbes morrell

    One simple theme for Scott Milne! ” if you don`t like what is going on in Washington, I offer you that change which is your choice and can reflect your concerns come election day 2016. “


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