Daily Archives: June 18, 2016

Was that supposed to help?

Yesterday, Bruce Lisman held a fundraiser that couldn’t have better reinforced his image as a Wall Street plutocrat.

The location: Burlington Country Club. Chosen not for golf purposes, sez Bruce, but because it was “the best place for easy parking.”

Oh, so that explains why the One Percenters hang out at country clubs. “Easy parking.” Yep.

The featured attraction: the very embodiment of Wall Street cluelessness, Steve Forbes. Here’s a guy who got lucky in the genetic lottery (he inherited the family business) and decided he was a genius. His two campaigns for president were so spectacularly unsuccessful that they inspired derision in the press corps. If you think Jeb Bush was bad, well, Forbes was even worse. “…wacky, saturated with money and ultimately embarrassing to all concerned,” wrote Calvin Trillin, who characterized the candidate as a “comedy-club impression of what would happen if some mad scientist decided to construct a dork robot.”

So, Steve Forbes, master politician, comes to Vermont to “help” Bruce Lisman.

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Bedazzling the bucket

The three contenders for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary got together Tuesday night to talk about the job and how they might make it a little more useful. Or a little less useless, perhaps.

The relatively powerless second-in-command is, as far as I know, an oddity of American politics. (Do other countries’ governments sport institutionalized appendices?) A heartbeat away from executive power, but trapped in an unglamorous treadmill of boredom famously dubbed “a bucket of warm piss” by one of its occupants.

You could say the lieutenant governorship is what you make it, but it’d be more accurate to say that it’s what other people let you make it. Peter Shumlin gave Phil Scott a seat in his Cabinet, a generous gesture that Scott has repaid by strenuously denouncing anyone who calls attention to it.

Still, at the very least, the office can be used as a bully pulpit. You can advocate for your causes. You can engage in backroom politics in the Senate, where you do wield a bit of authority. Or you can set off on a gimmicky, photo-op-friendly Jobs Tour.

Oh wait, that one’s been taken.

The three candidates’ images of the job, to a large extent, mirror their separate capabilities and interests.

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