2014 The gubernatorial campaign of Scott Milne had one distinguishing feature: Scott Milne did what Scott Milne wanted to do and said what he wanted to say. In an odd sort of way, it reminds me of one Donald J. Trump.
Appear grossly unprepared in public forums? Check.
Give long, meandering, stream-of-consciousness answers to questions? Check.
No attempt at all to hew to Republican orthodoxy? Check.
No attempt to open or maintain communication with the VTGOP? Check.
No effort to raise money or build a campaign infrastructure? Check.
His inner circle basically consisting of family members? Check.
Propensity to grind personal axes on the campaign trail? Check.
Donald Trump without the energy and Brut-drenched charisma, you might say. Better hair, tho.
He’s pursuing the same contrarian course in his present challenge to eternal incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy.
Milne has made a big deal, or tried to, about the practice of naming federally-funded buildings after sitting members of Congress. This is an issue of concern only to Scott Milne, but he hasn’t let that stop him.
Now comes a mind-bending response to a question from the Upper Valley website DailyUV.com — and brought to my attention by Green Mountain Daily front-pager BP. One of DailyUV’s contributors asked various candidates about Utah millionaire David Hall’s idea to build a planned community in four rural Vermont towns. It’s an issue occupying a lot of minds on the Vermont side of the Upper Valley.
Most candidates replied with concerns about the proper scale of development and references to the Act 250 process. Randy Brock, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, went even further:
I find the project bizarre and wholly out of place with Vermont. It is so far-fetched, were it not for the land purchases, I’d find it hard to take seriously.
And now, speaking from somewhere on the Planet Milne, is the man who would be Senator:
Although I appreciate the candor of folks who are whispering about it not being right- because “it’s inspired by Mormons” or because it could attract hardworking Republicans to Vermont and upset one-party rule- particularly in Windsor County, I hope we will get folks with those prejudices out of the way as judges, juries, or regional planners – so Vermont can carefully and soberly review this idea.
The adjective “batshit” springs to mind.
BP explains that this oddball rant was inspired by Milne’s years-long battle with planning officials over Quechee Highlands, his proposed mixed-use development off Exit 1 of I-89. His position, if you can call it that, springs from his battle with the local Act 250 board.
Note his refusal to mention the predominant objection to the Hall proposal: the fact that it could bring as many as 20,000 people in a sparsely-populated rural area. That’s because the primary objection to Quechee Highlands is that it’s too big and out of character with the surrounding area.
So here he is, bringing personal grudges into a race for high office. Rather Trumpian, don’t you think?
The most oddball passage in that distinctly oddball paragraph, though, is the idea that the Hall community would attract “hardworking Republicans” and alter the balance of political power in the very liberal Upper Valley.
Uh, Scott? Are you actually familiar with David Hall’s idea?
Because there’s a highly Utopian thread running through it. The idea was inspired by the writings of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, but the Mormon church fathers went in a completely other direction.
The community would be open to all, for one thing. Hall is opposed to religious segregation; he foresees a diverse population of those attracted by the principles of the community. One of those: economic activity would be small-scale and centered on the community, and resources would be shared by all.
Which ain’t exactly Republican, need I say.
So, Scott Milne, living largely inside his own head, sees David Hall’s plan through Milne-colored glasses, and responds accordingly.
Here’s the thing. Scott Milne the fuzzy individualist would be a political curiosity. Might even be fun to see him prowling the halls of Congress, befuddling the Beltway media crowd.
But Scott Milne the embittered grudge-holder? That man is unworthy of holding high office.