Phil Scott needs a refresher course in “Leadership”

The Man Who Would Be Governor Of All Vermonters had his first chance to display some authentic leadership, and he blew it big-time.

In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, which struck at the hearts of thousands of Vermonters, Phil Scott did the absolute minimum. He issued a paragraph of generic condolences and kept to his schedule of content-free glad-handing.

While somewhere between 1,000 (Burlington Free Press) and 2,000 (VTDigger, so let’s call it 2,000) people gathered for a vigil in Burlington, including numerous political leaders, Phil Scott was… um…

… which followed earlier appearances at the Equinox Valley Nursery, Wilcox Ice Cream, and Miles Lumber and Fuels. Because as far as his campaign was concerned, it was just another Monday in Vermont and there was no reason to postpone a single feel-good photo opportunity.

Bruce Lisman did no better, of course. But he remains a long-odds hopeful who’s running as a nuts-and-bolts Republican. Phil Scott is the front-runner, and claims the mantle of a listener who cares and understands Vermonters. And in this case, he just didn’t get it.

Here is the entirety of his public response to Orlando. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

“It’s difficult to find the words to express our collective national shock and grief over this senseless act of violence. While we wait for federal and Florida officials to gather all of the facts, I will continue to monitor the situation closely. I have already received briefings from Vermont public safety officials and will remain in contact with them as the situation warrants. Together, as we process the scope of this tragedy and await the facts, let’s keep the victims and their loved ones in the forefront of our thoughts, honor their memories, and remember that compassion and respect will always triumph over hate.”

I’ve got two big problems with this. First, it’s completely generic. It could have been issued (and maybe it has) after any violent attack of any kind on an;y group of people anywhere.

And second, his quick pivot from “shock and grief” to self-promotion is, well, more than a tad distasteful. Not to mention misleading.

The Lieutenant Governor, whoever it happens to be, has no role in protecting our citizenry aside from attending briefings and issuing statements of concern.

It’s hard to expect more than this from an ambitious politician. But Phil Scott claims to be a different kind of politico, a “leader who listens.” And if he becomes governor and, God forbid, another such event takes place, he should take a prominent role in the next vigil. In the meantime, if he wants to convince us that he’s a true leader of all Vermonters, then he needs to step up his game.

Some will see this as overly harsh. I don’t. Phil Scott has set the bar high for himself. He has claimed to be more than an average politician. Now he has to live up to his words.


21 thoughts on “Phil Scott needs a refresher course in “Leadership”

  1. Brooke Paige

    My first question is how widely publicized was this vigil in advance of the event. I was first informed by the evening electronic coverage on Monday and the print coverage on Tuesday – all this information was (practically) after the fact, one would need to be on the inside to be involved in such a spontaneous event.

    Everyone has prayers and sympathetic words of condolence for the victim’s friends, family and community as well as prayers and encouragement for the survivors, but in the end only the prayers will be of any assistance to those involved.

    This was the insane action of a madman with unknown and unfathomable motivations: no volume of political pap will have any influence on the resolution of the tragedy.

    For now the best we do is to keep the souls of those lost and the wellbeing of the survivors in our hearts and prayers – beyond this, grandiose expressions of sympathy or outrage, especially by the political class, are little more than political opportunism.

    1. Linda Maloney

      Maybe it helps if you’re connected with people who are alert to and care about these things. I got an e-mail from my bishop the day before.

  2. Kelly Cummings

    It’s becoming more and more obvious everyday that Phil Scott talks the talk but does not, that’s does not, walk the walk.

    In fact his actions seem quite audacious really. His lack of consideration for the issues, concerns and needs of Vermonter’s, who would not necessarily count themselves part of the Republican Party, are truly eye opening to what kind of governor he would be if elected. Knock knock! Who’s there? A Democrat, a Progressive, state employees, etc., etc. GO AWAY!

    I’ve always heard he’s a nice guy. I’ve never met him per say, but his lack of inclusiveness would not fit my description of a nice guy. Or for that matter, a good governor.

    Words are easy. Actions tell the story.

    Phil Scott’s lack of desire to be open and available to ALL Vermonters is, in my opinion, a disqualifying characteristic.

    I hate to say it but- He’s kind of Trumpian. Like the way he is “exclusive” to only like minded people. If Phil Scott gets elected, he will surely turn a blind eye and ear to the majority of Vermonter’s. The majority of us will be shut out. This is bad enough….but maybe even worse, is who he will be welcoming in.

    Knock knock! Who’s there? Big business, dark money, big insurance, ALEC, special interests, Koch brothers, etc., etc. COME ON IN! THE DOORS WIDE OPEN!

    Oh boy…….

    1. Walter Carpenter

      “Big business, dark money, big insurance, ALEC, special interests, Koch brothers,”

      And they’re all coming if he gets in too.

  3. newzjunqie

    Scott seems to be trying to distinguish himself by separating from the lockstep march of others rather than another voice in the chorus of public officials delivering the same insincere blather.

    Think Scott is billing himself as “not your typical politician” but a working Vermonter & business owner who has also been involved in politics. Seems to be attempting to connect on that level.

    Also has gotten quite a bit of grief from the party until now so has built some outsider-cred in a non-establishment year. Personally believe they only let him in b/c he checks all the right boxes: name recognition, positive public perception, understands VT politics, served ably, few to no negatives — nice-guy persona, respected & popular amongst the citizenry, will serve party by promoting platform hot-button issues such as lower taxes support pro-business community, kill VHC.

    Hopefully dismantle GMCB & so-called “reform” — another leftist construct, open insurance market, and kill mandate to buy only in VT which no other state commands its residents to do. Personally hope he shitcans the like of Harry Chen & all of the other UN globalist-mandating tools who have overrun VT making us the privacy-violating capital of the US.

    Face it — the left has failed ordinary working Vermonters & taxpayers & is no longer the party of the working-class unless a union member. In which case leaves the rest as an underclass. But has become doctrinaire-driven elitists gun issue will also drive ppl away from the left.

    Vast over reaches designed solely to protect the card-carriers on the left. Education has two (at least) departments on state-level — one a cabinet level position designed to keep schools from going indy. Health care debacle kept alive by promise after promise — deadline after deadline so Shap, Shummy & Prog/Dem enablers don’t have to be written off as the failure it & they are & *still not fixed*.

    1. Dave Katz

      Phil’s the sizzle playing the steak, and you can bet he’ll fall right in line with a Scott Walker/Curt Rauner/Sam Brownback agenda of public sector union busting, tax breaks for the rich, environmental protection deregulation, stripping state aid to higher education and the poor, bad enough as it is here anyway, and sellouts to whatever extractive industry waves cash in his face. Because one fact about all Republicans in office today, in 2016, is that they’re all for sale– to the Kochs, the Adelsons, the Foster Friesss, the vulture-fund Paul Singers, and all the rest of those proto-fascist deep-pocket corrupt fucks out there in pay-to-play land. Scott’s no different, I suspect; I doubt very much he’ll be able to resist shopping Vermont down the river for a few crumbs from the big-boys’ table. “No!”, I hear you squeal, “Phil Scott’s diff-er-unt!” Well, then you haven’t been listening when Mr. Different Nice Guy mumbles his platform out of the corner of his mouth, then, have you? Yeah, he’s different from all those other Republican bait-and-switch douchebag Governors, all right–at least Scott wears his sponsor decals on his race suit. Hey, and I know how much you Republicans would love to forget the Oughts and eight embarrassing years of George W. Bush and the wreckage he caused, but seriously, Jim Douglas? He was just as rotten as the rest of his party, and he had a cowed and timorous Leg meekly falling in line behind the wave of national pissing-on-your-leg-and-tell-you-it’s-raining the GOP battered this country with, so don’t tell me there’s any Vermont exceptionalism in play. It can happen here.
      And not for nothing, nj, but who the hell’s in, or on, this “left” you’re blathering about? Never mind–nodding off in 3…2…1

  4. Al Walskey

    More egregious than the Phil Scott so-so statement about the Orlando shooting was his absence from the gubernatorial forum held in St Albans on June 12th. There was an empty chair in the spot reserved at the candidate table for Phil Scott. Suggest that Phil might consider getting Clint Eastwood to come talk to the empty chair at functions he boycotts. I’m told that there have been several. Bruce Lisman made this event and for me it was a good thing because I didn’t know much about him and it was good to hear his ideas about how he would govern.

    I suspect that like Donald Trump Phil Scott believes that he is a shoe-in for gov so he doesn’t need to make a good faith effort to meet the people he hopes to serve. Phil did make the pilgrimage all the way north to the Enosburg Falls Dairy Day parade along with his race car. It’s too bad he boycotted the forum cause I have a policy of NOT voting for OR recommending a no show candidate who snubs the public BEFORE the election!. I will, however, make it a point to let people know what a disappointment Phil is as a candidate who will represent some of the people some of the time..

  5. newzjunqie

    Enjoy your slumber sir my eyes are wide open. My my paint with a broad-brush much? This is what happens when our leaders here in VT screw up. Blame them not the other party pls. VT has been living under the whaaat — vetoproof in VT for most of 10 fking years? Epic fking fail of the left! What did our leaders do for us, including biggest epic fail Vermont has ever known Peter Shumlin? If answering *next to nothing* that would be about right, rendering the rant flawed & indefensible.

    Have never believed in VT exceptionalism, not saying Scott is different, time will tell, but that he is *differentiating himself* by not me-tooing & mindlessly marching lockstep with the others who are doing little more than posturing while filling up scorecards with cheap political points & behaving as typical politicians.

    Might offend the ones with Scott in their crosshairs, but vast number of working class ppl do not even vote, feel totally disenfranchised — those are the ones who will connect with Scott when he visits their workplace or shakes hand at the scoffed-at chili-cookoffs and parades — working poor the left have ignored. Many who do vote are apolitical. But chorus of politicall-connected middle-class left are livid because he skips partisan dog-and-pony shows and wouldn’t get their vote anyways.

    Paradigm of left vs right a false one as we can plainly see from the leftwing corrupt vetoproof VT has seen for ten fking years. And Republicans still get the blame? Have voted Dem half my life & for pathological-liar Peter ‘word-is-bond’ Shumlin twice & Dem for 10 years straight. Finally know the true meaning of tax-and-spend liberalism as it’s all our leaders in VT know how to do and now experts at running up the budget & biggest issue for voters.

    What have we gotten for our money shoveled into the bonfire year after year — unsustainable nanny-state-on-steroids plus steaming piles of bullshit. Leaders have purposefully plotted this course on behalf of Shap/Shummy’s leadership, even meeting illegally when statehouse not in session.

    It’s one thing to be a Republican but for Dems in majority to fail to serve even own party when in their hand to do so is the real crime here. I simply refuse to support politicians who continue to run only to hold the reigns of power solely to stay in power.

    We should vote for them because…what…they’re Dems/Progs??? When we fail to do our job it’s considered cause for dismissal. Why shouldn’t they also be fired?
    What no:
    – Maryjane legislation-hundreds of millions in lost revenue?
    – Change to tax code — hundreds of millions more?
    – Meaningful health care reform?
    – Connection to healthcare website that works rather than a non-functional third-world
    style disaster?
    – Mere change in student-to-employee ratio, up to a hundred million savings?
    – Adequate mental health service for those needing at least some level of hospitalization?
    And there’s still more

    1. Kelly Cummings

      “We should vote for them because…what…they’re Dems/Progs??? When we fail to do our job it’s considered cause for dismissal. Why shouldn’t they also be fired?
      What no:
      – Maryjane legislation-hundreds of millions in lost revenue?
      – Change to tax code — hundreds of millions more?
      – Meaningful health care reform?
      – Connection to healthcare website that works rather than a non-functional third-world
      style disaster?
      – Mere change in student-to-employee ratio, up to a hundred million savings?
      – Adequate mental health service for those needing at least some level of hospitalization?
      And there’s still more”

      You have good points here.

      I and others have felt frustrated when the Dems have hesitated or perhaps even given up really trying on issues like healthcare, etc. And at times it has seemed the Dems were cowed by the Republicans; letting the Republicans define the Democrat’s message. Time and time again backing them into a corner of fear and confusion which rendered them no more able to move than a deer in headlights . Of course it is in those corners where one can either give up or find again their courage and come out stronger than ever.

      I am not ready to jump ship just yet, but to instead give them one more chance to embrace the party of the people. It was unfortunate that their leader, Peter Shumlin, lost sight of and connection with the very voters that elected him and the causes that were so important to them.

      It is my hope that the Dems will begin to act like Dems again; that THEY, will define who they are and not the Republicans. It’s time for them to reconnect to their supporters. No more words without actions to back them up. This is a very crucial time. An opportunity that they must not miss.

      I am hopeful Matt Dunne will be the leader they need and help them remember who they are. I don’t worry about the Progressives. Seems to me they’re always in there fighting for the common man and woman. Much respect.

      I don’t know if you have historically voted the way you say. Your words are pretty supportive of Republicans. Truth is they will never support the things you listed that you feel the Dems didn’t deliver on. I hear your frustration….loud and clear. Maybe don’t give up yet. Maybe join those of us who say, we will give you one more chance to fight for us. And if they don’t? Well, do as you may.

      Many understand that there’s nothing more frustrating than voting for a Democrat that ends up acting like a Republican.

      We’ll see.

      1. newzjunqie

        Have posted as stardust & northstardust. On record as being all over the map also have long history of voting Dem and commenting left. Must have missed my strong & sincere defense of Bernie. Really always an Indy, primarily Libertarian leaning left. Now leaning right b/c left has failed so miserably nationally & in VT making vast overreaches which are untenable for many & spanning entire political spectrum. This is partly what gave us Trump and includes failure of Republicans to oppose much of Obamas agenda.

        So both of the two parties have failed us. Most of the public is not partisan & why politics so hated. Ever wonder why congress has or had a 9% approval rating? Everyone sees the failure if we want to be honest with ourselves & not simply blame other side.

        Swing voters decide all elections. Also pls remember that MCain & Palin turned red states blue. Said it before many times vast majority of voters are Indy leaning left or right but also swing voters who vote person not party. Republicans hate Dems & vice versa which is ruining our country. I can accept anyone but find both sides can be very narrowminded. If anyone thinks the middle means friends on both sides-think again. Really enemies (of the narrow-minded) on both sides.

        “Time and time again backing them into a corner of fear and confusion which rendered them no more able to move than a deer in headlights.”

        Respectfully disagree. Simply do not believe any politician can occupy turf of abused spouse or confused adolecent. Objectively, we and they are grown adults (for the most part) deserve to be held accountable & cannot hide behind blaming real or percieved wrongdoing on opponents. Politicians are not our friends period which is why I critique both.

        ‘Health care is a human right’ believers do not understand what free government-run health care will look like. I suggest you or anyone who believes to pls study what’s going on in Great Britain — a disaster. The way we are doing single-payer & universal health care in the US & VT has been tried and failed elsewhere. Canada is a mixed bag but some officials are unsure why US is gung ho for it since Canadians who can afford it come to US & negotiate for care. US hospitals like the arrangement b/c they’re cash customers. So still an underclass, rich & poor still not on level field.

        Many nations have a combination of single payer and additional insurance. Universal is also a mix in many places-only means everyone has ‘access’ some form of health care but often just means access to a place in line. Paid for with a VAT or other very high taxes *everybody even the poor pay* so it’s not actually *free*. This is another thing I have studied extensively would suggest others do the same digging. Doctors in some countries are given the moral license to end a persons life. Disabled & terminally ill children also have the right to end life. Some hospices just keep everyone completely sedated to make job easier & less costly. Workers also hasten death according to quotas.

    2. Paul Minot

      Junkie. You put yourself on a pretty high horse with your comments, or analysis, yet, unlike the politicians you bemoan, they are at least willing to put their name out there, unlike you, whose real name is hidden behind a self-professed love of really liking to read news, which makes you a go-to source again why? Watch out for shattered glass.

      1. newzjunqie

        Slamming those who do not use names a cheap shot, there is no way to know if you or anyone is using real name nor is it necessary. *Many* commenters & bloggers use screen-names — ever here of Eschaton-Atrios? All who have an online presence are known by persona & veracity of comments & contributions.

        Welcome to the Wild West of scribblers aka the blogosphere. Warning: not for the fainthearted. No high-horse here — just spittin it like I see it & would like to see more commenters & comments, personally learn as much or more from all online comments.

        Clearly a nerve was struck — *no one* disses comments they agree with — attacks are intended to silence, usage means attacker is unwilling or unable to discuss controversy on its merits-another cheap shot.

        Serving the public is *a choice*-using their real names b/c it’s not optional. Those who make this choice recognize they can & will be held accountable-posse of apologists & sycophants serve as attack-dogs to silence critics. None of this is new.

        Satisfaction is not guaranteed, nor are you or anyone obliged to read them. There are a few not necessarily here that I *never read* unless a reply, may I suggest that you do not read my comments as they appear to have gotten under your skin.

      1. newzjunqie

        Ok I see where you’re coming from. Scott has never been hard-right but moderate. As I recollect he’s been trying to steer the mossbacks away from the cliff. He got quite a bit of flak from the party in the past as I recall for just that. Don’t see him as another Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, Rick Perry etc etc.

        What geatly troubles me is the fact that Shumlin has not done what he could for our state as in Blue Ribbon suggestions to bring the code up to speed *with other surrounding states* which include at least *hundreds of millions* he and *vetoproof majority* just handed the wealthiest 5% in our state. Battening the hatches with tax reform to counteract the scenario you envision would have gone a long way to strengthen all levels of the middle class in VT he’s supposed to be championing. Well fking played governor & statehouse accomplices who met their challenge with a deafening “baaa”.

        Instead he In fact managed to shoehorn at least two more giveaways to the wealthy, included draining the millions left in the enterprise fund & handing it over to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi , as an added bonus also schooling him on how to milk VT for even more & recently another windfall to wealthy friends to keep them from “moving to FL”-he’s worse than Douglas.

        Oh, and once again those pesky revenues didn’t come in as his wizards projected to the tune of *another* $15 million. So I guess we can call that another flush of taxpayer funds down the VT toilet, or another shovel-full into the bonfire take your pick. And, job market once again has suffered additional losses the money could have been used to support VT businesses & community to make new hires, expansion or upgrades.

        But Peter Shumlin & his enablers in Montpelier don’t care about VT or Vermonters but their own lives, careers & finding better ways to take care of the big-money donors to their campaigns which enable their salaries & ongoing thievery.

        Really sucks when our leaders fail us doesn’t it. I didn’t write this epitaph it was on the wall I just copied it down. Sorry to confuse you with those stubborn facts, but shooting the messenger won’t fix this trainwreck.

    3. Dave Katz

      “…vetoproof in VT for most of 10 fking years?”
      No. Just, no. I mentioned Jim Douglas for a reason. In 2006, he was–are you ready?–the popular Republican Governor! and his lt gov was Brian Dubie–so popular was he, that Shumlin barely–barely!–defeated FlyGuy in their first gubernatorial faceoff in 2010. So everything that followed 2010 was all The Left’s fault, then. That makes Vermont some kind of Failed Grand Experiment in Leftism, how, exactly?–given that little reality on the ground, nj? Maybe you didn’t catch that thing about rotten Republicans, though it was the entire last paragraph I wrote, with words and punctuation and grammar in it and everything.

      1. Dave Katz

        Point being, there is a lot of centrist sentiment in this state, which limits the movements a maybe “progressive” governor would be able to pull off.

  6. newzjunqie

    What did I miss? Dems w or w/o Progs had a vetoproof majority & rejected Douglas’ budget. Following this event Douglas announced he would not run again. Oh, so maybe no 10 but 9-sorry.

    Have solid record as not-a-Douglas fan & proudly harshest critic. In fact it was unraveling the surreptitious way he commandeered his staff & teamed with Graff to fool we the then-gullible public into believing he was a ‘principled moderate’ solely to keep sefl in office that caused me to jump the R ship ten fking years ago, discover the way msm works & fact that it is a deeply flawed source for news on all levels wherever it is.

    Since then have discovered the Dems are as bad if not worse. Which is why I trust neither & have moved beyond the two-party system. Down the rabbit hole of blogosphere, alternative & Indy media.

    Dems/Progs will not change as long as long we continue business as usual. Unless they receive the same stinging rebuke & stunning loss as did the Republicans they’ll stay fat and happy, living large & high off the VT hog. The hogs ribs are showing. And they’ve failed us — it’s all about them all the time — the center of their own universe.

    Our lives & properties serve as mere facades, stage-props & supply the background music for ongoing drama-under-the-dome and related escapades. The EB-5 unarmed robbery an eyeopener. Cannot wait until the damn emails detailing Shummy’s wrecking crew are released. Goes on another one of his infamous doubling-down offensives demanding a $20,000 ransom? Foolishly telling us their worth…

    Both Douglas & Shumlin share the role of harming our state while also a discredit to their party.

  7. Dave Katz

    Why not save this insider-baseball hooey to lay on the sizable number of Vermonters who don’t vote? Watch their eyes glaze over. Then you can curse them for not recognizing your brilliance, and they STILL won’t vote. Win!


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