Vermont’s Prince In Waiting, Phil Scott, has revealed his choice for President. And it nicely encapsulates my cynical vision of his prospective governorship. VTDigger’s Mark Johnson:
Scott, who declared he would not vote for Trump, revealed later Thursday he has decided to write in former Republican Gov. Jim Douglas as his presidential choice in the November election.
“He’d make a great president,” Scott said about the four-term governor.
Ah. Jim Douglas. How… predictable.
Men of good will may disagree about the qualities of the former four-term governor. But it takes an awfully limited definition of greatness to see him as potentially a “great president.”
If you disagree, please tell me: Jim Douglas was governor for eight years. What is his legacy? His signature accomplishments? Where did he leave his stamp?
This is the guy dubbed “Governor Scissorhands” by the late great Peter Freyne for his relentless attendance at ceremonial events*. This is the guy whose signature overhaul of government operations, Challenges for Change, didn’t even survive his departure before it was pronounced (by lawmakers from both parties) a failure.
*Reminds me of the endless parade of parades, festivals, and food contests littering Scott’s own campaign schedule.
This is the guy who oversaw the pitiful diminution of his own Republican Party, which last held a legislative majority during his first term. The VTGOP lost ground steadily throughout his eight years, in the Legislature, in statewide offices, and most importantly, in party finances and infrastructure. When Jim Douglas left office, the Vermont Republican Party was an underfunded, disorganized mess. It is still struggling to recover, despite a string of own goals by Governor Shumlin.
Can Douglas be blamed for the fall of his party? I don’t know. What I can say is it happened on his watch. If he did anything to bolster the VTGOP, it sure as hell didn’t work.
Jim Douglas was a caretaker, nothing more. A caretaker who allowed the house to fall into disrepair and the gardens to turn into unkempt thickets.
If Jim Douglas is the model to which Phil Scott aspires, I can tell you what Scott’s governorship would look like. It would be another period of unimaginative, reactive management, of interparty strife, of nothing more than barely perceptible incremental progress.
There would be little, if any, leadership or vision or new ideas. That’s what Phil Scott wants to see in his president, and that’s the kind of governor he would be. If that’s good enough for you, then fine, vote for him.