Category Archives: Scott Milne

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.

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Scott Milne be Scott Milne

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.

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The “moderate” VTGOP is a mythical beast

A few interesting things came out of the Vermont Republican Convention on Saturday — besides revealing that Phil Scott can’t take a rhetorical punch.

I thought it shone a harsh and unforgiving light on the idea that Vermont Republicans are a breed apart — the last surviving redoubt of moderate Republicanism. That’s largely a fiction created in a desperate effort to appeal to the liberal Vermont electorate. It takes on the veneer of reality thanks to the thoroughly moderate image of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. But the party ranks are full of garden-variety 21st Century Republicanism. Vermont Republicans may have thrown in the towel on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights*, but they are a stoutly conservative bunch when it comes to brass-tacks issues like government spending, regulation, and taxation.

*Well, let’s say they are withholding the towel. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts they’d change their tune if they ever achieved political power.

After all, this is a party that eagerly embraced John Kasich, a man whose tax plan would make Ronald Reagan blush with embarrassment. George W. Bush, too, for that matter.

But there were signs aplenty at the Convention that this is a party with a strongly conservative core.

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Scott Milne’s shotgun attack

Too-coy-by-half Senatorial candidate Scott Milne has come out firing with both barrels on the EB-5 program, hoping to use it as a wedge issue against perpetual incumbent Pat Leahy. Some of his criticisms are valid; others reveal a profound misunderstanding of Leahy’s role in the program.

Either misunderstanding or rank political opportunism. You make the call.

Milne is on solid ground when he accuses Leahy of being a prominent advocate of EB-5, and for being a vocal cheerleader for Vermont developers taking advantage of the program. Leahy has basked in the glow of ribbon-cuttings and high-profile announcements for years; he deserves his share of the heat from the collapse of Jay Peak and the involvement of his “good friend” Bill Stenger in an alleged fraud scheme.

It’s also fair to criticize Leahy for pushing a program with a fundamentally problematic premise: selling green cards to high rollers.

However, I don’t expect Milne to hit too hard on that point, considering that he himself toyed with the notion of soliciting EB-5 investor funds. Seven Days’ Paul Heintz reports that Milne traveled to China and South Korea in 2009 with Bill Stenger and then-Governor Jim Douglas, and came back an EB-5 enthusiast:

“To me, it is the perfect storm of government policy capturing the best of entrepreneurial spirit,” he told the Valley News a week after returning from Asia. “I was pleased beyond my expectations.”

“Perfect storm,” hahaha. There’s a malapropism that turned out to be horribly apropos.

Milne goes off the rails when he accuses Leahy of “mismanagement,” and lumps the Senator in with Governor Shumlin for “the way the EB-5 program has been structured and managed.”

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The ghost of 2014 walks the earth

Ruh-roh. I’ll bet Pat Leahy is quaking in his boots.

Either that, or snickering in his tumbler of single malt. The Valley News via VTDigger:

Milne Travel, the Barre-based travel agency owned by former Vermont GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne, has sold a controlling stake in the company to the New York-based travel management giant Altour International Inc.

Milne, who acknowledged he is weighing a run later this year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Patrick Leahy, said the joint venture with Altour places his firm on a solid financial footing “should I get lucky … it gives me the ability to step back for six years.”

That’s right, Senator. Vermont’s own Giant Killer has you squarely in his crosshairs.

Hahaha.

Well, to be fair, Milne’s name recognition should allow him to outpace Len Britton, who earned 31% of the vote in 2010 as Leahy’s most recent Republican opponent. But can Milne repeat his David V. Goliath act against Vermont’s Senior Senator?

Naah.

I suppose I should explain, since I was equally dismissive of Milne’s chances in 2014, when he came within an eyelash of unseating Shumlin. So why am I confident in laughing off his chances this time?

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Energize Vermont’s cockamamie political analysis

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know.

Widespread unrest over the state’s renewable energy policy was responsible for Governor Shumlin’s near-defeat in 2014.

Actual piece of anti-wind propaganda from Ireland. I'm more afraid of Giant Baby than the turbines. But maybe the vibrations turned him into Babyzilla.

Actual piece of anti-wind propaganda from Ireland. Personally, I’m more afraid of Babyzilla than the turbines. But maybe the vibrations turned him into Babyzilla. Hmm.

Well, that’s the story being peddled by our buddies at Energize Vermont, an anti-renewable nonprofit whose funding sources are entirely opaque. They’re branding it as “The Vermont Energy Rebellion,” which allegedly poses an existential threat to the Democrats in 2016.

But let’s go back to 2014, the year that Scott Milne allegedly surfed the wave of anti-renewables anger to within an eyelash of the governorship. The fevered imagination of Energize Vermont focuses on the key constituency of Craftsbury, population 1,206.

Hey, you in the back: stop laughing!

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Milne for Senate?

Curious item landed in my inbox this morning: an email from Scott Milne.

Well, not a personal email — it was a blast message to his mailing list, entitled:

Scott Milne challenges Pat Leahy to get money out of politics.

The message slams Leahy for holding a fundraising event over the weekend, at which attendees were (according to Milne) charged “$5,000 for face time with Vermont’s senior Senator.” Milne compares this unfavorably with Leahy’s predecessor, St. George Aiken, who “spent $17.09 on his entire last campaign for the Senate in 1968 [and] spent a total $4,423.03 for all six of his U.S. Senate campaigns combined.”

Well, in 1968 Aiken occupied both the Republican and Democratic slots on the ballot, and managed to win re-election with, ahem, 99.9 percent of the vote, which makes me think he wasted seventeen bucks. The bulk of his career took place when the GOP absolutely ruled the roost in Vermont. But I can just hear Milne say, “Leahy is as bulletproof as Aiken; why raise money at all?” To which Leahy would reasonably reply, “In politics, you never know.” Especially since conservative groups have begun to spend money on Vermont elections. It’s only prudent for Leahy to build up a warchest.

But the biggest question raised by Milne’s email is simply, Why? Why is he attacking Pat Leahy?

If this were any politician not named Scott Milne, the answer would be obvious: he’s going to run for U.S. Senate. In Milne’s case, it might simply mean he got out of bed this morning and decided to write a letter.

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