Matt Dunne needs to decide who he is

In the first two TV ads from the Matt Dunne campaign, the name “Bernie Sanders” appeared more often and more prominently than the candidate’s own. Indeed, the first ad began with the words “What Bernie Sanders started” and the second opened with “Bernie Sanders.”

So, mini-Bernie? Perhaps, although his policy positions are a mix of Bernie-style progressivism and Shumlin-style pragmatism.

Today, his third ad dropped, and this time he’s a woman.

Well, not really. But he’s the next best thing: a fully liberated and feminist man, thanks to a family tree full of determined, accomplished women. The lines are all delivered by women; Dunne appears only in the closing shot without saying a word, standing next to the primary narrator — who turns out to be his wife, Sarah Stewart Taylor.

Message, I guess: You don’t need to vote for The Woman in the race, because Matt Dunne is an honorary woman.

You know, the problem with the Dunne campaign is that it’s trying too hard. He’s putting on a costume show instead of just sharing himself with the voters.

Also, he needs to cut back on the Red Bull. His first two ads were a little hyperkinetic, and he was a bit too close for comfort.

Or maybe this is what he is: an overcaffeinated chameleon. I’d like to hope not, though.

Polling information is scant and untrustworthy; but by all accounts, Dunne has failed to pull ahead despite some apparent advantages. Name recognition from his previous gubernatorial bid, experience in a statewide campaign, an ability to play the outsider because he hasn’t been in office during the Shumlin years, credibly transferable private-sector experience, strong fundraising, an energetic campaign team, and an inconsistent effort from his main opponent, Sue Minter.

Who, by contrast with Dunne, is saddled with her six years in the Shumlin administration and got a much later start. She’s also never run for office outside her home base of Waterbury, she had to change campaign managers midstream, and is perceived as an underwhelming speaker.

Matt Dunne inspires a lot of people, so I assume there’s a real guy in there with real ideas who might well make a good governor. Maybe his campaign is outsmarting itself.

My advice, for what it’s worth: dial it back a bit. Take a chill pill. Show Vermont a person they can relate to. Assuming, of course, that he exists under all the costumery.


8 thoughts on “Matt Dunne needs to decide who he is

  1. Jane Stein

    Oh, boy, the pandering quotient on this campaign is pretty nauseating.

    And btw, now I’m being followed around on the Internet not only by Phil’s weird, leering picture, but also Galbraith auto-play video ads. No idea what they say because I automatically hit the mute button on my browser with all intrusive auto-play ads.

    All these folks are making me long for Shumlin’s first campaign. No idea who I’m going to vote for among the Dems at this point because they’re all making me cringe.

  2. Dave G.

    On a separate note, did you happen to read the nothing piece on Scott in today’s BFP? Most superficial garbage coming out of this guy’s mouth. At one point he throws out an idea then says he doesn’t know what it will cost. You might want to check that little detail. A good ad for Scott would be a shot of an empty suit and little more is needed.

  3. Macy Franklin

    Matt Dunne is pure artifice. A trust-funder who eschewed Vermont public schools for the privileged confines an elite prep-school, a 1%er Google executive, who, thinks by wearing Carhartts and a blue work shirt Vermonters will think he’s a man of the people who can lay claim to Bernie’s hard fought, and legit progressive mantel. Please.
    And you’re absolutely right. His persona in his TV ads is scary off-putting.

    1. David Gibson

      That’s all pretty extreme and misleading. You should get to know him before you sling mud.

      I’ve known Matt since we were both in grade school at Hartland Elementary.

      First of all, Matt lives in the same farmhouse of parents in education and his father a lawyer and civil rights activist, and is so so far from being a 1#er or a trust-funder. He also didn’t go to prep school. He went to Hanover High as Hartland lacks a high school.

      He’s dedicated most of his adult life to public service – to include entering the VT house at 22 and then was tapped to run AmeriCorps to aid this country’s poor, but then mixed that with real-world business experience.

      Google is this world’s icon of innovation, and rather than leave to CA, he forced them to let him stay. He setup Google’s first office in WRJ, VT and worked to help small businesses market themselves online. During Irene, he jumped in and tapped Google’s resources to create Google Maps that mapped out the open vs closed roads – an invaluable contribution directly at the time of need – not 5 months later, when Sue stepped in for cleanup.

      Matt is a very intelligent, ambitious and thoughtful leader with innovative ideas to grow the economy and better serve Vermonters. I hope fellow Vermonters will take a more informed approach to judging their candidates, and remember that all are good well-intentioned people with families and such stereotyped accusations are just hurtful and not productive.

  4. Mike McCarthy

    I think Matt Dunne is a lot of things, and most of them would be great for VT. He has business and government executive experience, and he’s been a champion for progressive policies in the statehouse and during this campaign. I think the gender dynamics of this gubernatorial race and EMILY’s list money notwithstanding, Matt has put together a much more compelling campaign than Sue. This ad is as much about substance (like defending PP) as it is about biography and character. If Sue wins, I’ll fight like hell to make sure she beats Phil Scott, but I think Matt has run a deeper, stronger Primary race than Sue and that will matter more than the ads on 8/9.


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