… The Phil Scott Way.
Congratulations to our Lieutenant Governor for arriving at the right answer on Syrian refugees. It only took him eight days to do it, which is kind of unseemly for a guy who wants to be our take-charge, New-Direction chief executive. A bit more clarity and alacrity would seem to be minimal qualifications for the corner office. But congratulations anyway: he may have taken the scenic route (unusual for a veteran race car driver), but he did manage to arrive at the right destination.
Scott now says it’s okay for Vermont to accept Syrian refugees. Also, he dubiously claims that his position hasn’t changed.
Which, hahaha. Let’s look at the record.
On November 17, Scott said the following to VPR’s Steve Zind:
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to [bar Syrian refugees] until such time as the federal government can prove it’s meeting its national security obligations,” said Scott.
Need I point out that “can prove” is an awfully high bar? Can the government absolutely prove it’s meeting its obligations? Especially without, say, revealing information best kept on the down-low?
But after Zind’s story appeared, Scott basically accused Zind of misquoting him. He said his real position was pro-refugee — but with some pretty stringent conditions.
I want to be clear that my goal is to ensure the federal program moves forward with security protocols Vermonters, and all Americans, can have confidence in.
And as I previously pointed out, it’ll be a cold day in Hell before “all Americans” are confident about anything the government does.
Turns out he didn’t really mean that. What he meant was, there ought to be a pause in the refugee program until one specific American was convinced. That one American? Phil Scott, natch.
…as WPTZ’s Stewart Ledbetter first reported Tuesday, Scott had a change of heart after taking part in a U.S. Department of State conference call last Friday and meeting with Vermont Department of Public Safety officials Tuesday in Waterbury.
… “I learned a lot from [DPS officials] about where some of the security risks really are,” he said, pointing to student visas and the Canadian border as areas of concern. “I came away being much more comfortable than I was and having a better understanding of what that process is.”
Personally, I’m glad that Phil has had his come-to-Jesus moment. Glad to know he’ll be siding with the Democrats and supporting Governor Shumlin’s plan to accept Syrian refugees. Glad to know he’s at odds with every single Republican candidate for President and every single Republican member of Congress. But here’s a curious passage from his midstream position paper:
Simply dismissing concerns by saying the program is “rigorous” without explaining precisely how it is structured and how it works to ensure security only adds to concerns and adds fuel to the political fire.
But wait, Phil. Aren’t you now telling us “the program is ‘rigorous’ without explaining precisely how it is structured and how it works”?
Aren’t you asking us to take Phil Scott’s word for it, even though you insisted we shouldn’t take Peter Shumlin’s word for it?
Why? Because you’re Phil Scott, the paragon of probity, beloved by all Vermonters?
Our Lieutenant Governor may have arrived at the right conclusion. But it took him a good while. And his insistence that his position is unchanged rings hollow. It sure looks like a waffle.
And he’s generously given his opponents, both Democratic and Republican, a fair bit of ammunition for the coming campaign.
In the language of racing that he loves so much, Phil Scott is runnin’ a little loose in the turns. He might want to head for Pit Road to tighten up his ride.