Well, the State Senate’s #1 Untouchable, Dick Mazza, is at it again.
This time, the alleged Democrat has co-written an opinion piece (published a few days ago in the Bennington Banner) with Republican Peg Flory and alleged Democrat Bobby Starr, slamming the Shumlin administration for, uhh, seeking the shutdown of Vermont Yankee.
To be more precise, the three solons accuse Shumlin of rank hypocrisy for wanting to close Vermont Yankee and now seeking divestment from coal stocks. Because Vermont Yankee was renewable energy, see?
The essay includes plenty of harsh rhetoric you might expect from the outer precincts of the VTGOP. (Tougher than Phil Scott, certainly.) Here’s a sample:
Recent issuances from Vermont’s government have overridden fiduciary responsibility and due process in favor of special interest campaigns and political gestures.
Right out of the Republican playbook, no? And then, this:
The eventual, unfortunate decision to close Vermont Yankee has now increased the state’s carbon footprint, as Vermont uses more fossil fuels for energy generation. State government officials at the time called the loss of high paying jobs and expanded tax base “hard news,” as if nothing could have been done to prevent the closure and its consequences.
Again, chapter and verse from the VTGOP: pinning the blame on Shumlin and ignoring the fact that it was Vermont Yankee’s owner that pulled the plug. For all of the Governor’s posturing, Entergy was winning the court battle over VY’s future when it decided, purely on financial grounds, to close down the plant on schedule.
The Three Solons also ignore all the bad about Vermont Yankee — Entergy’s lousy record as a corporate partner, the perpetual maintenance issues, the questions about decommissioning. Vermont Yankee was practically a case study in how NOT to run a nuclear power plant and how NOT to win friends and influence people.
They go on to accuse the administration of being “willing to do an end run around legislatively-required due process,” and of seeking divestment as a pointless political stunt.
Remember, two of the three authors are Democrats. And one of those Democrats is in a seemingly unassailable position of power under the golden dome: Dick Mazza, currently serving as Phil Scott’s Cheerleader-In-Chief. Indeed, the essay closes with praise for Scott’s “pragmatic approach,” although it comes just short of an actual endorsement.
I’ve asked this question many times before, and I’ll ask it again now. What exactly does it mean to be a member of the Democratic caucus? What kind of service, what kind of loyalty, is expected of caucus members? On what basis are the rewards of being in the majority parceled out?
In the case of Dick Mazza, the answers appear to be Nothing, Nothing, and Pure Seniority. He’s always been an independent cuss, but these days he’s spending more and more of his time flouting the Democratic Party. His punishment? Retention of all his privileges and his seat at the center of legislative power. He is the Teflon Don of Vermont politics.
During the century of Republican dominance in Vermont, there developed a liberal wing and a conservative wing of the party. You basically could not be a Democrat and get elected, so everyone was a Republican in label at least. There was considerable diversity of political opinion within the party. Elections were decided in the Republican primary, not the general election.
Perhaps in 2016 Vermont, the Democratic Party is in a similar (though not quite as extreme) position as the Republicans of 60 or 80 years ago. The Democrats’ hold on power in the legislature is fairly unsurmountable in the near term, and the sheer number of officeholders that label themselves Democrats means that there is bound to be some diversity of political views within their ranks.
You make some very good points. I think this is especially true in the Senate, where incumbents are almost untouchable at the ballot box. They can win even with lukewarm party support. In a way, the party is more dependent on them than they are on the party.
Well, he does have an appropriate first name, doesn’t he?
The embodiment of everything wrong with Vermont politics today.
Makes me proud to be a Democrat. No, wait a minute, I’m not.
The word for today is Cozy. As in cozy with wealthy elites, cozy with business, cozy with developers, and cozy with the warmth of their own self-regard. Ladies and gentlemen, your Vermont State Democratic Party! (golf clap)
Paging Dick Mazza! Please pick up the white courtesy phone for a call from Strom Thurmond (something-something burble burzle switching parties humm crackle) It’s a collect toll call from Hell, so keep it short, willya?