Scott Milne is running a truly bizarre campaign, entirely based on attacking incumbent Sen. Patrick Leahy. Milne’s entire “platform” consists of (1) Pat Leahy’s been in Washington too long, and (2) he’s been a successful fundraiser. Like Rudy Giuliani and “9/11,” Milne can’t open his mouth without the number “42”, as in Leahy’s tenure in the Senate, tumbling out. Milne has made no effort to outline policy differences or present his own ideas.
This may not be the nastiest campaign in state history; God knows the 19th Century featured tactics that might make Donald Trump blush. But it’s certainly the nastiest campaign in living memory.
And it’s getting worse, and louder, and nastier.
Start with Milne’s weekend rejection of Trump. He couldn’t get through three paragraphs without a gratuitous slam at Leahy. In fact, the Leahy slam was the lede in Milne’s statement.
Then came the news that Vice President Biden will campaign in Vermont. Milne couldn’t stop himself:
“Sen. Leahy and Vice President Biden have spent the past 42 years together in Washington, and they both supported Hillary Clinton against Bernie, so it is not surprising that they would be campaigning together.”
A sensible candidate would have kept his mouth shut. Why call attention to a high-profile fundraiser benefiting your opponent? But Milne appears to suffer from a unique variant of Tourette’s, which compels him to whine about Pat Leahy with every breath he takes.
Yesterday brought another Milne blast, alleging that he’s the subject of “negative campaigning” by Leahy and the Democrats.
Funny thing is, the press release is so incoherently written that Milne never actually describes Leahy’s alleged “negative campaigning.” He simply asserts that Leahy is “running a negative campaign.”
And while he couldn’t be bothered to document his complaint, he did manage to recycle all his attack lines against Leahy: 42 years, millions in campaign donations, EB-5, D.C. dysfunction, and, of course, Leahy’s refusal to debate as often as Milne would like.
Which brings us to today, and an Amateur Hour Web-only video ad from Milne that shows Leahy being “bitten” by the DiCa mosquito. That’s short for “DIstrict of ColumbiA,” a clumsy takeoff on Zika and a reference to Leahy’s decades-long tenure in Washington.
The video production is marginal by modern standards — it’s not hard to produce a good-quality video on a basic computer. This one barely qualifies. The narrator is, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, one of Milne’s kids. It’s clearly not a professional announcer. And, at the very end, Scott Milne calls in his “I approved this message” bit by phone.
It’s all just unrelievedly nasty. And all of that has happened within the last four days.
There’s been a lot of complaining about “D.C. style attack politics” this year, much of it overblown. Scott Milne has outdone all other campaigns combined in mean-spiritedness, and it’s all homegrown Vermont vintage.
Scott Milne, the nastiest Vermont candidate in living memory.