I realize that our universally-liked lieutenant governor is new at this whole “leadership” thing. He’s unaccustomed to taking strong stands and providing firm direction. But if he wants to be Governor, he’d better start practicing. Because right now, he’s displaying the opposite of leadership on the issue of paid sick leave. And the Democrats caught him in the act.
For those just tuning in, paid sick leave almost got through the Legislature in 2015 despite the anguished howls of the business lobby. Phil Scott has been right there alongside them, raising heartfelt concerns about the impact of paid sick leave on small business.
This year, paid sick leave looks certain to pass, with some modest tweaks designed to soothe the tender sensibilities of the bizfolk. And here comes our own Braveheart, triangulating his way to the winning side.
“I like the direction it’s going, and I’m happy to take a position on it once it’s out of committee,” Scott said.
The Democratic Party took note of this and pounced. Here’s a fun Twitter exchange, screengrabbed for your amusement.
There’s something sad about a politician asking for a reference about something he himself said. Especially in the Age of Google, when a few minutes of research can easily dig up this stuff. The fourth Tweet links to a press release documenting Scott’s, ahem, evolution on paid sick leave. Complete with references.
The record: Scott was against paid sick leave throughout 2014 and 2015. The specific statement Scott couldn’t recall making — “We don’t need that right now” — was reported by WPTZ on December 3, 2015. Sorry, Phil.
In early January, he again stated his opposition to paid sick leave.
But now? He’s undecided, and clearly moving in favor. Or, to put it another way, he sees the train a-comin’ and he’s jumping off the tracks. I expect he will applaud the final passage of the bill as an example of how we can all work together to bridge our differences and Get Things Done, blah blah blah.
You know, I can understand why people like Phil Scott. I can understand wanting a warm, familiar, comforting presence in the corner office after the oft-contentious Shumlin years. But don’t insult my intelligence by painting him as a bold political visionary. He is not, and there is nothing in his record to suggest otherwise.
Remember, you can’t spell “leader” without “Phil Scott.”
Oh, wait. Yes you can.