The null-set campaign

If you’ve got 30 seconds to spare, why not skip on over to the Scott Milne For Senate campaign website? I’ll wait here.

… You back?

Not much to see, is there? Four stinkin’ pages: Home, Join Our Team, Contact, and Donate.

No “Issues”, no “News”, no “Events”, nothing of substance whatsoever.

It’d be downright weird if it wasn’t (a) Scott Milne we’re talking about, and (b) a perfect match for the campaign he’s run to date.

Which is to say, virtually substance-free.

As far as I can remember, and I’m on the campaign’s email list, he has made exactly one policy proposal: he would bar Congress from naming federal buildings after living persons. Particularly themselves.

That’s it.

Guess he’s got a bee in his bonnet about the Leahy Center, eh?

Otherwise, his campaign has issued a stream of press releases decrying Pat Leahy’s refusal to run a bare-bones campaign, his refusal to disavow corporate and PAC donations, and his refusal to meet Scott Milne’s expectations for a debate schedule. Oh, and constant references to Leahy’s 42-year tenure in Congress.

Nothing about taxes, the budget, the economy, foreign policy, national security, welfare, the drug war, the space program, or the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Milne presents himself as a political null set. His only argument to voters is that He’s Not Pat Leahy, Who Must Be Defeated Because He’s Been In Washington Too Long.

Not much of an argument, really.

Even his campaign logo reveals a paucity of effort. It’s identical to his 2014 “Milne for Governor” logo, except he’s replaced “Governor” with “U.S. Senate”.


Milne’s latest barrage follows Leahy’s agreement to appear in three debates. Milne had sought “at least four,” so Leahy’s three doesn’t seem too outrageous. People in his position — established incumbents facing a long-odds challenger — have frequently chosen not to debate at all. One could wish for more, but it’s within a standard deviation of normal.

In support of his outrage, Milne cites comments made by Leahy in 1992 and 1998. He says this reveals Leahy’s “hypocrisy” on debating.

Well, shit, if each of us were held to account for everything we’ve said over the last 24 years, we’d all fail.

And I really don’t know why Milne wants more debates. He seems to have nothing to talk about other than debate schedules and campaign finance. And tacit references to how old Leahy is. Three debates should be more than ample to cover that tiny piece of ground.

In 2014, Scott MIlne ran a thoroughly unconventional campaign and nearly won the governorship. That won’t happen again. Pat Leahy is a lot more popular than Peter Shumlin. And this is a presidential year, which means you can add almost 100,000 voters to Vermont’s off-cycle total. Most of those will be liberal or independent.

Scott MIlne nearly beat the widely despised Peter Shumlin by positing himself as the literal embodiment of “None of the Above.” The same strategy is doomed to fail when the opponent is Pat Leahy.


1 thought on “The null-set campaign

  1. Brooke Paige

    A Warm Body is Better than a Blank Space on the Ballot !

    Scott Milne is on the Ballot to keep the Republican Party from having the distinction of being the only state where the party to fail to present any Congressional candidates. Unless something happened on the write-in front in the primary Peter Welsh is unopposed in the general election since Mark Donka appears have tired of jousting at windmills in the U.S. House race.

    Milne seems oblivious as to how odd his campaign appears. Beginning with his brag that his campaign war chest has only $98 in it and the fact that he won’t take any corporate or PAC money is most probably not a philosophical stand but rather a realization of the fact that no corporation or Political Action Committee would consider sending him a plug nickel let along a big fat check.

    His presentation at the Barre Republican “Old Time” political Debate in July was surely the most bizarre political speech I had ever experienced. He did not talk about his campaign or why he was running or what he sought to accomplish or what issues he saw as differentiating Ole Patty and himself. The only thing he did talk about was the fact that his great grandfather (or maybe it was his great, great grandfather) had been a labor organizer in the Granite industry – an interesting proclamation to make before a crowd of free enterprise, limited government types. Further his quiet, seemingly medically sedated, style not only fails to engender whoops and howlers from enthusiastic believers, they must be diligent to keep from slipping into a restful slumber.

    Milne behaves as if he has no idea why or how he got into the race and his greatest desire, most probably, is for the election to be over so he can give a biting concession speech about how the party, the press and his opponent disabused him of a practicable campaign! The high point of the campaign will be when Jim Douglas introduces him with great fanfare as “Vermont’s Next U.S. Senator – Scott Milne ! ” The question will be “can Jim do it without “busting up” with his signature chuckle ?

    Give Scott Milne his due – his assignment is roughly the equivalent of being one of the Christians sent to battle the lions in the Flavian Amphitheater and his chances of victory are probably about the same !

    H,. Brooke Paige


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