And now, a few dispassionate words about Phil Scott

The most irritable people in Vermont politics these days — and it’s not even close — are the hard-core Phil Scott supporters. They’ve even managed to out-outrage the anti-renewable crowd, which is really, really hard to do.

I’ve got a few Phil-o-philes in my Twittersphere, and boy do they get angry when I suggest that Phil Scott is anything less than the exemplar of the Perfect Politician. Here’s an all-too-typical sample.


So let me try to explain how I see the guy.

I don’t hate Phil Scott. I think he’s a genuinely nice guy who’s managed to balance running a business and performing public service. An admirable person in many ways.

What i have no patience for is the Phil Scott hagiography that’s running rampant.

Phil Scott has served in state government for 15 years or so. During that time, he’s gotten along with almost everybody and made a lot of friends. As for his accomplishments or leadership, not so much. He hasn’t been a champion for any particular issue or issues. He hasn’t challenged the status quo in any real way. Why we should expect him to be different now, I don’t know.

The Scott campaign and its True Believers portray him as a visionary, a transformational figure who will grab state government by the lapels and turn it into a leaner, more efficient entity that will provide better service to Vermonters at lower cost.

That’s nonsense. The image bears no resemblance to the real-life Phil Scott who’s been in politics since the turn of the century.

None of this is to suggest that Phil Scott would be a bad governor. He would be perfectly adequate. He’d keep the lights on and the doors open and muddle through. He’s unlikely to screw anything up.

If you’re tired of the constant activity of the Shumlin years, if you think we’ve been trying too hard to reinvent government and be First In Everything, then maybe all you want is ta little peace and quiet. I can understand why you might feel that way. Shumlin can be abrasive, a meaty taco slathered in hot sauce; after eight years of that, a bowl of oatmeal can look awfully darn good.

Just don’t expect much more than that. Look: one of his own stated core principles is “Ensure a Predictable Political Environment.” There’s plenty of verbiage about working with everyone and bringing people together. Hell, his campaign’s tagline is “Leadership That Listens.”

Mmmm, oatmeal.

So no, I don’t hate Phil Scott. I just refuse to embrace the uncritical hero-worship of his most devoted partisans.

8 thoughts on “And now, a few dispassionate words about Phil Scott

  1. newzjunqie

    And you are right to do so. We need to hear other perspectives b/c face it only the other side has the motivation to dig up the dirt & facts we need to see. Which is why I watch all news channels & perspectives from all sides of political spectrum including digital news. We are not supposed to live in a vacuum or exist in an echochamber.

    This is the way it should be, one my biggest complaints is how the left turned Obama into an iconic figure behaving as Brownshirts. So haughty & arrogant — this is how & why he turned presidency into a dictatorship — and why locally & nationally supporting the other side. Supporters including the press turned off the lightbulb in brain and merely ceded the responsibility we all have to keep our leaders in check to the wind. His regime dwarfs Nixon in corruption & if Bill Clinton gets his third term it will dwarf his.

    With each lowering of the bar our government structure based on the rule of law, democratic process, separation of powers, erosion occurs if not mended it is damaged following that it becomes broken. Now that all of the above are in place we have in Donald Trump a Hitler fan who kept speeches readily available next to bed, who has tapped into the very same rage as did his icon. Purposefully & deliberately mimics Hitler by doing the very same things he did with intent to install a dictatorship. Also sees most of us don’t see this and unsurprisingly followers don’t care even if true. Would be in second year if he makes it the mayhem would occur imho.

    Not a fan of politicians period as they in fact occupy the realm of overseer & as such are not our friends. I chuckle when I hear ppl say “Senator so-and-so is a friend of mine”. Uh, no he’s not…you may be his friend but he’s definately *not* your friend.

    We need to be inclusive of both & all political voices. Each side of any debate has the most incendiary language for the others’ pov. Intent is to silence that voice, an ongoing ad hominem which seves only one purpose — inability to discuss an issue on its merits.

    1. Walter Carpenter

      “Best short description of Scott I’ve seen oatmeal!”

      I agree.

      “As for his accomplishments or leadership, not so much. He hasn’t been a champion for any particular issue or issues. He hasn’t challenged the status quo in any real way. Why we should expect him to be different now, I don’t know.”

      Wasn’t Scott against paid sick days, raising the minimum wage, and so on?

  2. walter h moses

    How about a few words dealing with Lisman, Ram, Dunne, and others. Heck, even your favorites like Burns or Blittersdorf. Enough of Phil Scott, you’ve made your point.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Sorry if you disapprove. I spend a lot of time on Scott because (1) he is the consensus front-runner, most likely to be our next governor, (2) I see a profound gap between the real Scott and the image projected by his campaign, and (3) I don’t see Vermont media doing much about it. So I’ll keep on writing about him, and you can skip those entries if you want.

      I’ve written about Lisman. I’ve written about Dunne, including a substantial piece just a few days ago, for God’s sake. As for Ram, well, I consider her the #3 candidate in the race for Lite-Guv, so don’t expect equal time on her.

  3. walter h moses

    Don’t get the idea that I’m a Scott fan. Just think you have made your point. If you want to ride his back forever, feel free.

  4. Jason Loomis

    Keep writing about Scott please. The press just wants to hang on long enough to see if they can land a job in a Scott administration. He gave them attention at the statehouse, you see, so he’s a friend. He said hi to me today. Ooo, aren’t you lucky.


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