Governor-elect Phil Scott’s first round of appointments came on Thanksgiving Eve. And honestly, the announcement was a touch underwhelming.
Nothing against the four appointees. But c’mon, three members of his transition team and the sole staffer in the Lieutenant Governor’s office? Did it really take three weeks to pluck the lowest-hanging fruit?
Would it be churlish of me to point out that in November 2010, Peter Shumlin had his inner circle in place less than ten days after the election, and had begun to fill out his cabinet by this point? Perhaps, but compared to the last Governor-elect, Phil Scott’s off to a slow start.
(Irony Alert: When Shumlin took office, he made it clear that the single focus of his administration wouild be job creation. It’s deja vu all over again, just like last time.)
Also, it’d be reassuring to see at least one appointee who’s not a member of The Usual Suspects.
The Phil Scott and Sue Minter campaigns are in full froth over alleged negative advertising. Each accuses the other of willful distortion: Team Scott is upset over ads questioning his pro-choice credentials; the Scott campaign, meanwhile, is slammed for tying Minter to a proposed carbon tax.
Funny thing is, they’re both right on both counts. The attacks are based in fact, but are designed to mislead.
The pro-choice ads were produced by the Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund. They cite two pieces of evidence that call Scott’s abortion stance into question. The first: his past support for some restrictions on access to abortion. The second: the fact that Right to Life Vermont “recommended” Scott.
Both are accurate. But still misleading.
Second point first. RTL did not endorse Scott, but it did “recommend” him as, basically, the best of an inadequate lot. RTL doesn’t particularly like Scott, and they’d much prefer a harder-line candidate, but he was, in RTL’s view, the least bad option.
Campaign finance filing day always brings out a mild strain of Vermont nativism, as candidates rush to claim a Real People Badge of Honor by touting contributions from small donors and authentic Vermonters and throwing shade on opponents who dare to import their campaign cash.
This week, Republicans are touting the fact that Phil Scott took in more cash from Vermonters than anyone else (not including Bruce Lisman’s self-funding). More than three-fourths of Scott’s money is Vermont green.
The most flatlander-oriented campaign, on the other hand, is Matt Dunne’s. He raised $322,000 in Other People’s Money, thanks in large part to his years in the tech industry. Shocking! Dunne’s bankroll is as much California pastel as Green Mountain Green.
Which, honestly, who cares?
Well, the media do — on campaign finance filing day, at least. The writers of political press releases certainly make a big deal of it, seeking that real-deal Green Mountainicity.