Bruce Lisman has some stuff to sort out

Well, our very own Wall Street panjandrum has formally launched his gubernatorial bid with a bold, perhaps unprecedented, first move:

He okayed a campaign logo without a speck of green in it.

Instead, he bravely opted for a sky-blue field, backing what appears to be the label from a long-lost brewery: Lisman Lager, the beer that claims to be different from all the others but tastes oddly familiar.

That’s the bold move. The rest of his launch was a pastiche of mixed messages and same-old same-old.

Let’s start with his Jeb! problem. As a presidential candidate, Jeb Bush had to decide how to address the legacy of George W. Bush. And he hasn’t. He’s tried to present himself as his own man, but that effort is undercut every time he rushes to W’s defense. He winds up talking much more than he should about 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lisman’s “George W. Bush” is his Wall Street career.

He wants to depict himself as a born-and-bred Vermonter in touch with Vermont values, and politically he has to distance himself from a widely-reviled institution, but he just can’t stop talking about the place he spent most of his adult life. Paul Heintz:

“Neither I nor the businesses that I ran had anything to do with any of the financial problems you read about in the press,” he said.

That’s just very tough to swallow. The businesses that he ran didn’t implode, but the company he served as a top executive certainly did. It’s like an officer on the Titanic admitting he was on the bridge, but insisting it wasn’t his job to look out for icebergs.

Maybe Lisman was faultless in his conduct. But he failed to see signs of trouble. He fails to recognize the scope of the disaster and its human cost. (That blithe reference to “the financial problems you read about in the press,” good God. Talk about tone-deaf. He’s describing one of the worst financial collapses of our time! “Financial problems,” indeed.)

He has to figure out how to talk about this, and it’s dismaying that he hasn’t, considering how long he’s been thinking about a candidacy.

Speaking of dismaying, his policy positions are an odd mix of grievance and generality. He doesn’t like Act 46, Vermont Health Connect, property taxes, wind or solar power, the state’s renewable energy goal, the budget, and the Shumlin administration in toto. But ask him what he wants to do instead, and he doesn’t have a lot to offer. For instance, cutting the budget:

Asked whether he could name a single budget cut he would recommend to meet his growth target, he said, “Uh, no.”

Usually, I’d cut some slack for a newbie candidate. But Lisman has been deep-diving on Vermont issues for more than five years. He founded Campaign for Vermont, which has been exploring issues and devising solutions for four years. Surely he’s developed some solid plans of his own by now. At the very least, you’d think he could name a sample budget cut or two.

To judge by his hot-button remarks, Lisman is apparently aiming to cobble together a Coalition of the Aggrieved. He attempted the neat rhetorical trick of painting everybody else as an insider. VTDigger:

Lisman broadly criticized the field of challengers, many of whom have worked in or beside the current administration, saying “the Shumlin administration, and those who aided them, and those who have stood by in silence, are the ones who are at fault for this mess.”

Cute. By that definition, Matt Dunne is an insider because he “stood by”. Phil Scott is an insider because he has worked “beside the current administration”. Bruce Lisman, meanwhile, refused to stand by in silence: he bravely wrote a series of opinion pices and blogposts.

Now, that’s leadership.

One more thing. His daughter Maggie spoke of Lisman’s wife dying of cancer while the kids were young, and of his struggles as a working parent. Good for him. Really, I mean it.

But if he’s going to make political hay out of his personal setbacks, then I have a couple of questions.

— I don’t know when in his career this happened, but did he have the resources to hire a nanny? Were there servants?

— Has Lisman remarried? If so, let’s get a chance to meet the lucky woman (or man, to be inclusive). Who is she? What’s she do? How old is she? How long have they been married?

Bruce Lisman has an uphill battle against the very popular Phil Scott. He’ll need to have his shit together. And at this point, he simply doesn’t.

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7 thoughts on “Bruce Lisman has some stuff to sort out

  1. forbes morrell

    The primary will be good for Phil and the issues brought forward will be the same ones discussed in the general election.. Kind of a training ground. Vermonters like and trust Phil and i would venture to say he will win the primary by a 80% polarity which will give him the momentum into the 2016 Governors race..

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      I agree with your view of the outcome. The only way Lisman’s candidacy causes trouble for Phil is if he starts writing big checks and forcing Phil to spend on the primary.

      Reply
  2. Stuartlindberg

    Lisman is at least letting Vermonters know where he stands on the serious and pressing issues facing all Vermonters which include ACT 46, industrial wind and solar as well the VT health connect fiasco. It is a conversation that is long overdue.

    Reply
      1. Stu Lindberg

        Bruce Lisman knows that ACT 46 is bad legislation. Phil Scott supports it. Lisman trusts parents and local stakeholders to make the best decisions for their children’s education and not the bureaucrats in Montpelier. One must be able to clearly identify a problem before finding a solution and believe me Lisman has good solutions.

  3. newzjunqie

    Lisman completely dishonest disingenuous carpetbagging phony looking to tap into the desperation of voter angst and mine it for his own platform, personally I for only one am not fooled. Nor do I support anyone only on politics, as an independent, integrity, character and values are more important to me.

    Do not wish to tar all supporters with derogatory labels, nor is this my blog – just a commenter – Mr Lindberg contributes LTE to local papers with thoughtful liberty-based commentary which I for one appreciate.

    Mr Lisman possesses shrewdness which is a mere base instinct, requires no intelligence or thought and present in all mammals and other wildlife. Also appears the more intelligent the animal the less cunning required, primates and elephants are example.

    Stocked Campaign For VT (‘Governor’, heh) with staffers respected here in VT with instant name recognition, bipartisan VT political careers and support which lends an air of legitimacy, solely to get foot in the door and hold it open for his run for governor.

    Lengthy career as consummate Wall St. insider does not help him even though he tries to obfuscate and claim ‘his division’ was not involved in the heist, er, “meltdown” that nearly cratered our economy harming financial markets which includes everyone with this huge subtraction in some way worldwide. We are all still paying the price for these reckless opportunists, many areas and sectors still have not recovered. Although there were losses on Wall St execs like Lisman walked away with millions or more.

    Back to VT he arrives following lifetime on Wall St – Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley – with plenty of cash to purchase the top job as well as anyone who might get in his way except those who actally care about VT and cannot be bought. And like other rich dummies Tarrant, Dwyer, Mullen thinks we are none the wiser. Fred Tuttle, a true Vermonter, blew Mullen out of the water by merely asking how many teats on a cow.

    Anyone who takes the time to look into his past dealings even fairly recent ones in VT politics and actually study them using a little critical thinking can easily see what’s going on here.

    Though Scott may support Act 46, governor does not make laws and this could change as more info becomes available such as new information that has not been widely published as it contradicts Shap & Shummy’s plan to limit school choice. And shows Education Sec Holcombs’ edict that choice schools cannot merge with non-choice is erroneous and not based on established law but in fact the opposite is true. That is that Act 46 precludes changing choice/non-choice status at all.

    After all of this confusion:
    Lisman completely dishonest disingenuous carpetbagging phony looking to tap into the desperation of voter angst and mine it for his own platform, personally I for only one am not fooled. Nor do I support anyone only on politics, as an independent, integrity, character and values are more important to me.

    Do not wish to tar all supporters with derogatory labels, nor is this my blog – just a commenter – Mr Lindberg contributes LTE to local papers with thoughtful liberty-based commentary which I for one appreciate.

    Mr Lisman possesses shrewdness which is a mere base instinct, requires no intelligence and present in all mammals and other wildlife. Also appears the more intelligent the animal the less cunning required, primates and elephants are example.

    Stocked Campaign For VT (‘governor’, heh) with staffers respected here in VT for instant name recognition, bipartisan VT political careers and support which lends an air of legitimacy, solely to get foot in the door and hold it open for his run for governor.

    Lengthy career as consummate Wall St. insider does not help him even though he tries to obfuscate and claim ‘his division’ was not involved in the heist, er, “meltdown” that nearly cratered our economy harming financial markets which includes everyone with this huge subtraction in some way worldwide. We are all still paying the price for these reckless opportunists, many areas and sectors still have not recovered. Although there were losses on Wall St execs like Lisman walked away with millions or more.

    Back to VT he arrives following lifetime on Wall St – Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley – with plenty of cash to purchase the top job as well as anyone who might get in his way except those who actally care about VT and cannot be bought. And like other rich dummies Tarrant, Dwyer, Mullen thinks we are none the wiser. Fred Tuttle, a true Vermonter, blew Mullen out of the water by merely asking how many teats on a cow.

    Anyone who takes the time to look into his past dealings even fairly recent ones in VT politics and actually study them using a little critical thinking can easily see what’s going on here.

    Though Scott may support Act 46, governor does not make laws and this could change as more info becomes available such as new information that has not been widely published as it contradicts Shap & Shummy’s plan to limit school choice. And shows Education Sec Holcombs’ edict that choice schools cannot merge with non-choice is erroneous and not based on established law but in fact the opposite is true. That is that Act 46 precludes changing choice/non-choice status at all.
    After this mess blaming VT media for the confusion:
    http://vtdigger.org/2015/10/04/holcombe-fingers-media-for-misperceptions-of-school-choice/
    Then comes a clarion voice bringing daylight to darkness:
    State board power grab is illegal
    October 11,2015
    http://www.timesargus.com/article/20151011/OPINION06/151019933/1014

    Which may render controversey to mute points.

    Sorry so long but believe it or not there’s more.

    Reply

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