Daily Archives: February 3, 2016

A tale of two troubled campaigns

Over the weekend, when I realized that much of the Vermont political media corps had decamped for Iowa, I jokingly Tweeted an alert to politicians: this would be an ideal time to dump some bad news, because it would likely be under-reported by our depleted media corps.

Well hey, turns out I was right. Because not one, but two Democratic candidates for statewide office took the opportunity to fire their campaign managers: gubernatorial hopeful Sue Minter, and Rep. Kesha Ram, running for lieutenant governor. (Technically, Minter reassigned her campaign chief, but that’s so transparent it fails the laugh test.) The news was broken by one of the only political scribes who didn’t decamp to Iowa, Seven Days’ Terri Hallenbeck.

I think we’ve just achieved a great deal of clarity on the likely Democratic ticket. I don’t know for a fact that the Minter and Ram machines are in the ditch, but I do know that this is something that only happens when a campaign is in deep trouble.  It’s like a baseball team going into a new season with a new manager — and then firing the poor bastard on Memorial Day. It doesn’t happen unless there are exigent reasons, such as a 12-30 record and dead last in the standings.

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Look who the VTGOP is honoring tonight

The Vermont Republican Party is holding a fundraiser tonight at the Barre Elks Club. They’ll have speeches by candidates, a silent auction, and generally fun, food and frolic as only the Republicans can do.  (Think disco-era David Bowie with a whole lot of American flags.)

And oh yeah, they’re continuing their tokenistic Salute to Our Vets with a round of applause and a few parting gifts for three Actual Veterans!

(As usual, the proceeds of the event aren’t going to vets’ causes, or even a small portion thereof. It’s all going into @VTGOP’s coffers.)

And one of the three vets rang a faint bell in my mind: Paul E. Gibbs, Jr., of Springfield. After a bit of Googling, I discovered that Mr. Gibbs is a spectacularly unsuccessful two-time candidate for the legislature. He ran as a Republican for the House in 2010, and for the Senate in 2012. Got thoroughly trounced both times.

Sheesh. Not only are the Republicans using our brave veterans as window-dressing for a political fundraiser, they’re recycling old candidates from their Fail Pile and presenting them as randomly selected stand-ins for the defenders of our freedom.

That’d be shameful enough. But then I put on my Wellies and took a stroll through the muck and mire of Mr. Gibbs’ Facebook page, which is full of rabid archconservative propaganda.

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Bully for Bernie

Nice showing for our 74-year-old “junior” Senator in Iowa. And boy, does he have more stamina than most people ten years younger. I loved the footage of him addressing a crowd of hundreds at FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING as he arrived in New Hampshire.

Anyway, my take on Iowa. I begin with my customary mea culpa when it comes to Bernie; I’m one of those who has underestimated him all along. And somehow, he’s doing quite well in spite of me. However, allow me to be consistent: I still think Hillary Clinton is the favorite.

On the Democratic side, the results were a victory for both candidates. Clinton got to claim the victory; Sanders did better than expected, and continues to ride a seemingly unending wave of momentum. He’s likely to win New Hampshire; after that, the going gets tougher. Bernie  still has a very long way to go.

He has a momentum advantage. He’s also got a surprising asset for an insurgent: a healthy campaign fund and the closest thing to a perpetual-motion fundraising machine. Clinton won’t be able to outspend him into irrelevance.

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