Any time a reporter has a few minutes to spare and wants to buy the Vermont media equivalent of a lottery ticket, all they have to do is give once-and-maybe-future-Senator Norm McAllister a call. If he answers the phone, he’s almost certain to say something dumb or offensive or both.
This week’s winner was Terri Hallenbeck of Seven Days, who wrangled a juicy quote from Good Ol’ Norm, whose internal exile has, unsurprisingly, failed improve his perspective. In fact, he’s showing signs of outright conspiratorialism.
The context: Hallenbeck was previewing this week’s Senate vote on marijuana legalization. At the time, it was looking like a very close thing — maybe one vote either way. Which prompted Hallenbeck to observe that this was “the second of two recent legislative initiatives on which [McAllister] might have swayed the results.” (The other one was the paid sick leave bill.) That is, if he hadn’t been suspended in January because of those pesky sexual assault charges.
Take it away, Norm…
Reached at home in Highgate, McAllister said he would have voted against both measures. “I got an idea that’s probably why some people didn’t want me there.”
Yeah, solid thinking. It wasn’t the multiple felony charges or the pending trial or the embarrassment of having an accused felon in their midst. The Real Truth is that Norm McAllister was simply too dangerous and had to be silenced!
Hey, I think he’s onto something. That would explain why veteran Senator Kevin Mullin could share a Montpelier rental with McAllister and witness him taking a teenager into his bedroom night after night without raising a stink. Mullin was letting McAllister entrap himself so he could be gotten out of the way! Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Back to reality. Two of the prime movers in McAllister’s suspension were Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning and President Pro Tem John Campbell.
Benning and the Republican caucus were opposed to paid sick leave.
Campbell was strongly opposed to legalization.
So why, expactly, did each of them want a dependable “No” vote removed from the rolls?
I realize I’m shooting fish in a barrel here. But McAllster’s latest comment is one more sign that we shouldn’t expect any sudden blossoming of self-awareness. This is why I believe he will stick around as long as he can, and even run for re-election, no matter how damaging it would be to his own Republican Party. Unless, that is, he is convicted, exhausts his appeal process, and is actually carted off in an orange jumpsuit for an extended stay behind bars.