St. Brian of the Turbines

I’ve been pondering the liberal bloggers’ tradition of posting spoof pieces on April 1, carried forward today by Green Mountain Daily. Even started developing a few ideas. But then I decided (a) there’s too much real stuff to write about, and (b) I have non-blogging stuff on my plate, and I need to carve out time for those obligations.

One of my ideas was “unlikely candidates for public office,” based on the parade of “Who asked for this?” candidacies and proto-candidacies. Garrett Graff, Brandon Riker, Louis Meyers, John Rodgers, Peter Galbraith, Bruce Lisman… I think I’m forgetting one or two… but the list is long and undistinguished, especially in a year when there are so many good candidates on offer.

The April Fools’ Day post would have listed other unlikely entries. Lenore Broughton, Eric Davis, Howard Frank Mosher, Anne Galloway, Tom Bodett… the possibilities are endless.

And then reality intruded in the form of Brian Dubie, former lightweight Lite-Guv, now mooting a return to the wars as Saint Brian of the Turbines, a cheap Don Quixote knockoff with a soupcon of Jeanne d’Arc.

Apparently Saint Brian and his consort Sister Peggy have been haunting the corridors of power, bird-dogging the progress of S. 230, the energy siting bill. And The Royal Couple are not pleased; they, like the rest of the anti-renewable crowd, see the bill as a joke. They, like their allies, won’t be satisfied with anything short of local veto power over siting decisions.

Dubie’s discontent runs so deep that he’s contemplating a descent from the mountaintop, blessing us all with a return to politics after his six-year absence. Presumably armed with two stone tablets (rough-hewn from a pristine summit) containing exactly One Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Build Ridgeline Turbines.”

Lest you think I’m overly dramatic, Dubie’s comments to VTDigger’s Mark Johnson sure have the ring of a messiah-in-waiting.

“Whether that translates into stepping up for office, it’s premature for me to say that, but I am, with sincerity … I’ve done things as an airline pilot who stepped up and ran. I’ve done some illogical things in the past in terms of my career and other things, and I’m going to consider what happens in our Legislature to respond to Vermonters that are being impacted,” he said.

"And that's where I saw the burning bush."

“And that’s where I saw the burning bush.” (Photo by Terri Hallenbeck/Seven Days)

The words of a true prophet, stoned out of his gourd on raw spiritual power. Or just a guy who has trouble finishing a sentence. (When you listen to Johnson’s interview with Dubie, embedded in the story, you realize that Johnson helped him out by cleaning up the quotes. They were even worse in the original.) Elsewhere, he boasts that he is “committed, personally” and “I’ve made emotional decisions” and the clincher, “I’m just being honest and forthright.” It all has the ring of a guy who firmly believes he is God’s gift to the political process.

It’s even more apparent when you listen to the audio of Johnson’s interview (embedded in the story) — the painful earnestness, the exaggerated emphasis, the overreach for transcendence. The guy thinks he’s a prophet.

Maybe he’s suffering the effects of Wind Turbine Syndrome. After all, during his eight years as Lite-Guv, Dubie was a proponent of ridgeline wind — in an administration that opposed the idea. But now that there’s a wind farm proposal not far from his Swanton home, he’s Been To The Mountaintop and seen the light. Or something.

So he might, just might, deign to run for the Legislature. House or Senate, maybe neither. Given the clarity of his thought process, maybe both.

Snark aside, if Dubie were to run for Senate, he’d put a serious dent in Democratic hopes for a pickup. Not because of his supercilious opposition to wind power, but simply because of name recognition. He’d instantly become co-favorite in the race for Franklin County’s two Senate seats (along with incumbent Republican Dustin Degree).

He’d suck as a legislator, of course. He doesn’t have the patience, the persistence, or the temperament to dig in and do the hard work of lawmaking. Not to mention he’s a one-trick pony — he doesn’t really care about anything other than wind turbines.

Which is an asset if you’re St. Brian Of The Turbines. But if you’re Senator Dubie, it’s a fatal flaw.

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