Daily Archives: December 4, 2015

He shoots — and misses! Again!

In basketball, there’s a derogatory term often applied to very good players: “Volume shooter.” It refers to a skilled offensive player who hogs the ball and shoots a lot. If most of ‘em go in, it’s good. But when he’s missing, he keeps on shooting, often to the detriment of his team.

The NBA’s current king of volume shooting is the formerly great Kobe Bryant, limping through his final season with stat lines like 7 for 26 (12/1 loss to Philadelphia), 4 for 20 (11/29 loss to Indiana) and 6 for 22 (11/22 loss to Portland). Enough bricks to build a full-scale replica of the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

The #1 volume shooter in Vermont politics is David Sunderland, chair of the Vermont Republican Party. He’ll fire off a press release whenever he sees the faintest opening to score a political point. Like the 2015 Kobe, he shoots a lot but seldom scores. Unlike the real Kobe, he doesn’t have a Hall of Fame career in the rear-view.

Sunderland’s latest desperation heave is a thoroughly nasty (even by his standards) attack on Governor Shumlin for having the audacity to attend the Global Climate Summit in Paris. He begins by totting up the imagined sins and shortfalls of the Shumlin administration, and then gets to the red meat:

While we can appreciate why you would want to leave your many problems behind for a few days, that’s not leadership. And it’s certainly not the job you were narrowly re-elected to do.

It is not necessary for you to attend this meeting. It would be far more economical — and far more environmentally responsible — to send your thoughts in writing or attend by video conference. You’ve frequently touted the state’s telecommunication advances — you should be taking advantage of them now.

The whole thing reads like that. Never does Sunderland pass up an opportunity for snark.

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With friends like these

With apologies to Mr. Harwood.

Early front-runner for Sound Bite of the Campaign Season is former Governor Jim Douglas. He had given a hearty endorsement speech at Phil Scott’s campaign launch; afterward, VTDigger’s Mark Johnson asked him what issue Scott is identified with.

Douglas’ short answer: “Uh, you’ve stumped me.”

That’s bad. The actual audio is worse. You can hear it at VTDigger, but here’s a transcript:

Johnson: So what’s the issue you identify him with?

Douglas: The issue I identif — ? Dunno if there’s a specific issue, um, we talked about some today, but uh [pause] uh, you stumped me. Again.

[facepalm]

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No room for Lisman

Phil Scott’s campaign launch may have been underwhelming from a rhetorical and policy perspective, but it was a damn fine show. Production values rarely seen in Vermont politics, a large crowd of Republicans desperate for a winner and giving their full-throated backing to Scott.

The crowd was impressive not only for its size, but for its heft. Numerous officeholders and party officials, most of the state committee, a whole lot of significant donors, and the VTGOP’s Mr. Everything, Jim Douglas.

If the event wasn’t specifically intended to discourage Bruce Lisman, it must have had that effect. He was boxed out like the Lions’ secondary on that Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary*. Looking at the crowd and all the big names, and feeling the enthusiasm, you have to wonder how Lisman can possibly make a race of this.

*We Michiganders have an acronym for that: SOL. “Same Old Lions.”

There’s only one chance: to throw open his checkbook and try to whomp up a movement with the sheer power of his money.

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