I don’t know if it’s the Hansen effect or what, but lately House Minority Leader Don Turner has adopted a more aggressive stance toward his job. Instead of loudly complaining about the maneuverings of the Democratic majority, he’s now finding opportunities to play the active obstructionist.
This is kind of a new thing in Vermont politics, and is of a piece with how Congressional Republicans act on the national stage.
Turner’s latest exercise in Human Speedbump concerns S.230, the energy siting bill vetoed last week by Governor Shumlin. He has reportedly crafted a “fix” to the bill that would allow him to sign it; but Turner is vowing to block passage in any way he can.
And it ain’t nothing but politics.
Oh, Turner claims to be acting on principle, but the differences between the current and fixed versions are simply not worth fighting over. He just wants to stir up as much trouble as he can.
And I suspect that what he really wants is for Shumlin’s veto to stand. That would allow Republicans to demagogue the issue in the campaign — “Democrats failed to address your concerns,” that sort of thing.
Don Turner plays bad cop (is “bad fire chief” a thing?), and Phil Scott gets to play good cop — the earnest politico who’s sincerely distressed at the Dems’ “failure.”
This should be a simple, straightforward process, but Turner may be in a position to drag it out for a few days. Every additional day adds to the price tag for the special session, which reinforces the Republicans’ talking point about the Dems’ wasteful spending.
Turner’s got a weak hand, as usual. But he’s playing it to the hilt. Which, again, is kind of a new thing, and makes me wonder who’s pulling his strings.