Daily Archives: December 11, 2015

The McAllister Shuffle

Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell was on VPR’s “Vermont Edition” today. And eventually*, the conversation turned to Norm McAllister.

*More on this below. 

The topline: Campbell expects the Senate will suspend McAllister pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

Yup, the coward’s way out. They don’t have to get their hands dirty, and they’ll have a pretext for keeping him away from the Statehouse, thus limiting the potential media circus. At least they hope so.

Now, Campbell dressed it up in talk of not interfering in McAllister’s right to a fair trial. But that ignores some inconvenient facts:

— If they’d wanted to, Senators could have come up with a way to oust McAllister without trampling on his rights.

— By taking this course of action, the Senate will be putting its own needs ahead of the disenfranchised voters of Franklin County, who will be short one Senator for the entire 2016 session. (Trial is scheduled for March, but there will almost certainly be delays beyond adjournment.)

— Said voters have no recourse. There is no recall provision in state law. The people are dependent on the tender mercies of the Senate, which oh God.

By suspending McAllister, the Senate will drop this hot potato right in the laps of Franklin County Republicans. Because if McAllister is clueless enough to resist the near-universal calls for his resignation, there’s a good chance he will actually run for re-election. (Unless he is convicted and sentenced, but that’s not likely to happen until the campaign is well underway and the filing deadline is past. And if he is convicted, why not appeal and drag it out even longer?)

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Metapost: Apparently I’m an established blogger now

In recent weeks, a new kind of advertising has appeared on these pages. This is because WordPress has accepted me into its WordAds program. My blog has high and consistent enough traffic that it’s worth their while to sell ad space on theVPO and send me some of the proceeds.

It’s a nice accomplishment, especially for a blog with relatively niche appeal. I appreciate all my regular readers; just by visiting, you’re helping put a little coin in the tip jar. This includes the gun-rights crowd that keeps coming back and back in response to my background check post. Thanks, guys! Your comments say “no,” but your pageviews say “yes.”

As for the ads themselves. I have no control over which advertisers are featured. Indeed, I suspect that different readers see different ads. I think it’s based, at least partly, on your recent browser history. Example: earlier this week I went to Hotwire for some travel arrangements. Since then, I’ve been seeing Hotwire ads on theVPO when I visit to check on comments.

That’s all. Carry on. You keep visiting, I’ll keep writing.

Bang bang, I shot you down

Sue Minter has taken a step toward sharpening her political profile, in an interesting and timely way. From the Vermont Press Bureau:

Minter, one of two Democratic candidates for governor, has come out strongly in favor of requiring universal background checks for all firearm sales in Vermont, regardless of the nature of the transaction.

Well. That should get her a heapin’ helpin’ of backlash from the gun-rights crowd. And if Minter continues to push the issue, it will be a test of what the pollsters say: that there is broad support for universal background checks, but a very loud minority keeping the issue off the table.

For his part, fellow Dem Matt Dunne was notably more circumspect, saying only that he would be “open to discussing any strategy that would reduce gun violence.” Which kinda means exactly nothing.

The two Republican candidates, as you might expect, are against any changes to state law. Bruce Lisman asserts that state law isn’t broken and “doesn’t need to be fixed.” For his part, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott seemed a little unclear on the concept of of “universal background checks.”

“We already have universal background checks. I’ve been through them myself.”

Er, sorry, Phil, we don’t. (He seems to be having trouble with this policy stuff.) But pray continue.

As a Vermont boy myself, trading one off with my neighbor or a family member is a right I think we should have,” Scott continued. “Vermont has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and I think we are searching for an answer for a problem that doesn’t exist.”


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