Bruce Lisman doesn’t know the meaning of “irony”

Bottom-dwelling gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman is launching another TV ad. This time, he positions himself as “not the usual guy… and I won’t do the usual thing.” He’s dressed casually, and at the end he’s pictured chatting with “real Vermonters” or perhaps actors made up to look authentic.

And in the middle of the ad, there’s a brief animated passage that shows Governor Shumlin as a marionette saying “BLAH BLAH BLAH” while three fat-cat types flaunt their wealth. Like so:

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 7.05.15 PM

Well, there’s a few problems here, aside from the fact that this depiction is blatantly offensive in a very non-Vermont style. And then, as VPR’s Peter Hirschfeld points out, there’s the fact that Lisman “isn’t running against Shumlin.”

Finally, and crucially, there’s the disconnect between image and reality. Because it’s Bruce Lisman who comes from the world of fat cats who could use $100 bills to light cigars if they wanted to. Lisman, obviously, wants us to forget that he spent virtually his entire adult life in the canyons (moral and topographical) of Wall Street, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful.

Well, not just “hobnobbing.” Hell, he WAS one of the rich and powerful. Still is. Talk about the pot running attack ads against the kettle.

I don’t know anything about Lisman’s taste in cigars, but I do know he could bankroll a walk-in humidor full of Cohibas if he wanted. And he could light them with $100 bills to his heart’s content.

As a matter of fact, given his dismal standing in the most recent poll, Lisman’s entire campaign could be seen as a protracted exercise in setting fire to his money. Hirschfeld, again:

Lisman is the only candidate in the race for governor who’s taken his message to television networks. According to campaign finance disclosures released earlier this month, Lisman had spent nearly $200,000 on mass media before this latest round of television buys.

And the latest VPR Poll had him at a robust four percent. If he were selling shares in his candidacy, they’d be in the penny-stock category — and nobody would be investing.

Lisman’s strategery carries unfortunate echoes of another Republican hopeful who grew up in Vermont, made his fortune elsewhere, and then came back* made himself a pile of money, and then late in life, decided to leap into our political life at the very top. And who did his level best to recast himself as a Real Vermonter of humble origins who still retained the common touch.

How’d that work out, Rich Tarrant?

*As a correspondent pointed out, Tarrant wasn’t born in Vermont. And unlike Lisman, he actually made his pile here. The rest of the comparison remains apt. 

12 thoughts on “Bruce Lisman doesn’t know the meaning of “irony”

  1. H. Brooke Paige

    Bruce Lisman is an affable fellow and I am sure he has lots of “good” ideas; however a fellow who must take a “tour” of the state to find out what our problems are is probably not the best choice to tackle the cornucopia of troubles that everyday Vermonters are confronted with.

    It is important to remember that Sue and Matt have been one the same “tours” in order to discover what any thinking adult could figure out by reading the local newspapers. Unfortunately, this is the all too familiar road to hell paved with those good intentions.


  2. Robert Haskins

    Lessman is a special breed of tone-deaf. Like Tarrant who reinforced his Richy Rich moniker, Randy Brock who campaigned in his nifty Palm Beach blazer and Jaguar, Lessman doesn’t realize fat cats burning $100 bills is exactly the perception we have of Wall Street asshats like him. You’d think $50 million would buy better messaging.

  3. chuck gregory

    Under vendor-based system of campaign finance regulation , the other qualified candidates would be entitled to equivalent services to produce and air the same number of ads in the same time slots as Lisman got, at no cost to themselves. Such a policy reduces everybody’s need to depend on Daddy Warbucks donors…

  4. Walter Carpenter

    “Such a policy reduces everybody’s need to depend on Daddy Warlocks donors…”

    Good idea, Chuck:) The big campaign donors would flip out, though:)

  5. Dorothy Flash

    Rich Tarrant was born in NJ, came to St. Mike’s, and then made his money here in VT. Not that that info makes him at all someone I”d ever want to be compared to. He is still a great example of how to run a VT political campaign the wrong, tone-deaf way.

  6. Sue Prent

    Listman must be in the grip of a real identity crisis. First, he’s a Wall Street one-percenter in the midst of that industry’s most humiliating hour. Next, he’s a johnny-come-lately back “home” in the small pond, claiming to be a true independent while routinely issuing GOP dog-whistles.

    Then, we don’t hear much from him until he finally comes out of the GOP closet, announcing himself as a candidate for no less than governor, having not even bothered to cut his teeth in local office, let-alone the legislature.

    This tactic of touting his business credentials and pretending to be not “the usual guy” smacks of Donald Trump. As is the case with DT, in the business where Lisman made his fortune, honesty, transparency and selflessness are not the earmarks of success…but they are kind of what we hope for from a governor.

    So which are we getting, the slippery wall street wheeler-dealer, the condescending prig, or some entirely new incarnation of smug entitlement?


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