Galbraith pipped at another progressive post

I don’t know how much influence Rights & Democracy has. It’s a fairly new organization, but it’s made some waves in its brief existence. And it drew a crowd of hundreds Wednesday night for a combination political rally and concert.

At which it endorsed David Zuckerman for lieutenant governor — no surprise there — and Matt Dunne for governor.

Hmm, I thought. Matt Dunne. Not Peter Galbraith. From a group whose stated goal is to advance Bernie Sanders’ political revolution.

Overall, Dunne’s a better candidate than Galbraith, but some of his positions are rather centrist. I would have expected a bit more puritanical and less practical approach from a left-wing group. So I gave R&D chief James Haslam a call to find out how the group settled on Dunne.

Many people liked [Galbraith] a lot. What might have been the biggest factor is, we believe it’s important to beat Phil Scott. We concluded that Matt has the best shot at beating Phil Scott. He’s built a strong campaign.

Galbraith got a late start. People were concerned about his ability to be a strong candidate.

When pressed, Haslam acknowledged that Galbraith has the reputation of not being able to play well with others.

There is some truth to that. It was in some people’s minds. Peter is an extraordinary policy mind. But some are concerned with his ability to work with people to move policies forward.

I see Galbraith finishing third in the Democratic primary. I thought he’d burned too many bridges to earn much support from mainline Democrats. But if his reputation is also costing him support among small-P progressive voters, then he’s a weaker candidate than I thought.

Earlier, Dunne had beaten out Galbraith for two big union endorsements, from VSEA and the Vermont AFL-CIO. The Progressive Party decided not to endorse until (perhaps) after the primary. Aside from the anti-wind crowd, Galbraith is losing out on formal endorsements and organizational backing.

Rights & Democracy took a thorough approach to its first-ever endorsements. The group’s endorsement committee sent questionnaires to the three Democratic contenders, and also conducted in-person interviews. The fact that the candidates took the time to participate is an indication that this new group wields some influence. Or at least the candidates think so.

It’s an interesting turn of events for an organization that spun off from the still-extant Vermont Workers’ Center. It was only a year and a half ago that VWC made itself very unpopular in mainstream political circles by staging a sit-in that interrupted Governor Shumlin’s inauguration. Some of the people who organized that protest, including Haslam himself, now find themselves being actively courted by would-be Democratic candidates. It’s another sign of the Bernie Effect: Democrats aren’t taking their left wing for granted these days.

Just for the sake of completion, I asked Haslam about the third contender, Sue Minter.

People saw a lot of merit in her campaign. She would be a much better option than Phil Scott. But on policy, the other two are much more in line with the beliefs of our members.



7 thoughts on “Galbraith pipped at another progressive post

  1. newzjunqie

    “The other two” would be Galbraith & Dunne? Unsure how Galbraith could be in the running as more Prog-evolved than Minter. She checks off all the boxes I think & personally believed her to be Prog running on Dem ticket.
    Dunne fits the Prog-mantra well. Didn’t just support Bernie but full-throated support for keeping the dream alive even in a post-Bernie potus challenge. I think Sanders is smart to stay in, in case the next Clinton shoe drops.
    Prog movement has smartened-up & appear to be running a seige-like inside-out stealth mode. Attempting to fill positions with Progs running on Dem ticket. Appreciate Haslam & the ones who agreed that Galbraith is too
    damaged to represent the party esp top job.

    Doesn’t really matter who the burned bridge belongs to, bridge-burners don’t tend to be fussy. He’s as bad or worse than Shummy in terms of honesty, predatory shrewdness & agility in monkeywrench-throwing even turning on supporters, but unfortunately will never know until securely ensconced on the 5th floor & once again another tiger refuses to be tamed, eating the whip & chair for breakfast on day one.

    shummy always showed the leanings & signs of magical thinking (delusion) irrational pipedreaming & dishonesty, which came to full fruition once he became gov. Often do not see the full scope of these inherent traits until the afflicted have have nearly full control & the latent hubris takes over. Suddenly don’t need to keep promises to supporters anymore as he seemingly had us all over a barrel of political blackmail which is why I jumped & voted Milne.

    Biggest red flag for Shumlin was failure to release nonexistant numbers for health care plan. He knew after Hsio & failure to get all-payer it wouldn’t happen but never told anyone & dishonestly kept the failed promise alive. Dem leadership had to have known but also deserted us which is why I also deserted them all & will leave Dem boxes unchecked on ballot as I did last time.

  2. Faith Biggs King

    John, as you well know from previous comments of mine, I disagree strongly with this personality-driven assessment of candidates. It’s always struck me as subjective, squishy-as-hell and more then a bit catty. SOB’s can actually get a lot done – see exhibit A: LBJ. And melt-in-your mouth nice guys with social skills up the wazoo can accomplish little of any weight. See Exhibit B: President Obama. It’s sad, however, to read you mockingly
    referring to progressives as “puritanical” while scolding others for ‘not playing nice’. After reading about the vote on the Democratic Party Platform yesterday, there are many names that come to my mind for Centrist/Establishment Dem’s (the ‘practical’ ones as you call them). But it’s Sunday, after all.

  3. chuck gregory

    Maybe Galbraith being appointed to carry through a specific program would be a good test of his ability o govern in his own right.

  4. newzjunqie

    Would suggest anyone believing in Galbraith do a little research. Galbraith is no LBJ, not by a long shot. LBJ worked for the party & was one of the great Democrats, Galbraith completely self invested & works for Galbraith. Could easily shapeshift into Dem, Prog or rabid rightwinger or anything that would get him elected.

    Doomed by own dickish antics. Seems to sit back & greatly enjoy the show he creates when he fails to get others on board for his failed offerings. If he can’t get own way, thinks nothing of tossing a handful of sand in the transmission or pouring sugar into the gas tank.

    A career in VT politics seems to be the pipedream of many wealthy out-of-staters, or those seeking political fortunes. Judging from a read of their wikis — many of our leaders are here solely for this reason — career in in our beautiful state of politics, culminating in congressional career out of the deal. They *do not care about us* period. As long as we keep voting in those who fancy themselves as the political class they will continue streaming into VT.

    We don’t need ppl like Peter Galbraith VTers deserve better. Personally believe his senate run was stepping-stone to higher office. If so, incredibally foolish to gum up the machinery on his way out & presume if he just lays low for a bit electorate will just forget about legendary antics. VT needs *sane* responsible leaders who put our interests ahead of their own- PG is not one of them.

    1. Faith Biggs King

      Nah. Apparently Vermonters ‘deserve’ building contractors, sex offending farmers, race car drivers, lawyers, maybe the occasional shape-shifting and ruthless physician (Dean, anyone), and real estate agents. Oh and the odd Republican millionaire. That may indeed be what Vermonters deserve. You don’t like him. Big deal. My point is that this endless focus on something as subjective as ‘some people’s’ assessment of ‘other people’s’ personalities is mushy, meaningless bull shit. You can’t prove it, so it’s a waste of discussion time when important issues are at stake. Worth a footnote, sure. Difficult guy, lots of people (in the Statehouse – not the world writ large) don’t like him. However, I suspect that somebody who helped mediate the agreement ending the Croatian War probably, just probably has a few people-skills tucked away in his tool bag. There are those people – with enough ego strength themselves – who can tolerate a little (or a lot) of arrogance in others without flipping out. Never said Galbraith was another LBJ – who I imagine was a repulsive and ruthless human being in many instances. I wouldn’t have invited LBJ to my garden party, but I’m glad he launched the War on Poverty.

  5. newzjunqie

    Some of your examples of choices by VT voters were unpopular in own district & certain antics unknown at the time of vote. Don’t consider Dean ruthless nor all other examples as exactly unfit.

    We here in VT and anywhere really, have to do something to make a living what’s wrong with construction or real estate. Racing as a no-no bit of a stretch but personally not a fan & actually despise it.

    Much more concerned about the ones who wish to be rulers & work in government, any sort will do, as Mr G and long line of others who VT has rejected for similar reasons seemed to be angling for.

    Galbraith fits the wealthy retiree meme of several others VT has laughed out of the running. Though he, like all of your examples has their fan base, temperment has shown him to be unfit by majority of statehouse & *no* voters have objected or rallied in his favor. Sorry it becomes objective when it’s common knowledge.

    Character, integrity, mental fitness & ability to at least have a good working relationship with others, another admirable quality of LBJ are important to me. Peter Galbraith has shown himself to be extremely dishonest as his statements rarely square with facts or truth. The ‘editing’ of the wiki strikes me as all I really need to know & interesting the things he tries so hard to hide — ditto with the Minter wiki.

    I suggest he return to the activity that has given him so much success, fame & above all — his fortune — as this is where his strengths seem to be ideally suited.


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