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.
He then questions the carbon cost of Shumlin’s trip, who is paying for it, how big Shumlin’s “entourage” will be, and whether Shumlin is using the conference as a stepping stone for his next job.
(Surely it can’t be concern for the planet or a desire to represent Vermont at a crucial venue. But of course, I’m speaking of the guy who thinks “there’s science on both sides” of the climate change issue, so I’m sure he sees the Paris summit as a waste of time.)
As with Sunderland’s past attacks, if he was honestly interested in answers he could have gotten them without resorting to a press release. And as usual, his heave from way downtown was immediately swatted away. Shumlin spokesflack Scott Coriell’s reply:
According to the U.N., “the French government will offset all emissions from travel of registered participants, as well as those from the conference facilities and local operations…”
The Governor’s and Secretary Markowitz’s travel and lodging will be paid for by the Georgetown Climate Group, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization affiliated with Georgetown Law with the goal of promoting a low carbon future. They understand how important it is to bring state leaders’ voices to the conversation about a global climate agreement at this critical moment.
Further, the Governor is proud to bring Vermont’s experience leading the way on combatting climate change to Paris. This is one of the most important issues facing the future of Vermont, America, and our planet. The Governor will be on the front lines, fighting for our future. Where will Republicans leaders be? Home, with their heads in the sand, denying climate change. That’s not leadership.
Well, it’s just another day for Super Dave: missing the mark with an off-balance shot from way downtown. I suppose he’s just doing his job — although on the Democratic side, the salaried Executive Director handles the attack-dog duties. What is it exactly that Jeff Bartley does to earn his ED salary, and why does the unpaid David Sunderland keep jacking up airballs?
My guess: Bartley’s shooting percentage is even lower, and that’s why his ass is nailed to the bench.