Tag Archives: Mark Johnson Show

Strange bedfellows

Just saw Peter Galbraith’s first TV ad. The most interesting thing in it was the last line:

“Roger Allbee, Treasurer.”

Hmm. Roger Allbee. Lifelong Republican. Agriculture Secretary in the Jim Douglas administration. In 2014, he became a Democratic candidate for State Senate in WIndham County — without actually becoming, you know, a Democrat.

He was effectively running to fill the vacancy opened by Peter Galbraith’s decision not to seek re-election. He enjoyed Galbraith’s endorsement.

He also committed a world-class gaffe at a candidates’ forum:

Whoever is elected represents all the people, whether they’re Democrat, Republican, they’re colored, they have alternative preferences, we represent everyone in the county. Everyone. We represent every citizen.

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The Sergeant Schultz of Wall Street

“Waiter, waiter! My table is on fire! Can we have some water?”

“Sorry, sir, that’s not my station.”

I ended my last post about Bruce Lisman with a reminder of his 2010 comments to the effect that the 2008 financial collapse was some sort of unforeseeable natural event, a “Darwinian asteroid,” “this thing that happened.”

Well, he did offer some further comments on his Wall Street tenure during his interview with Mark Johnson, but they didn’t do anything to soften my criticism. He expressed pride in his own record as a Bear Stearns executive, and professed ignorance of the gross malfeasance that was going on at the doomed company.

In a sense, he had a point. He was busy running his own division, and it wasn’t his responsibility to make himself aware of what other executives were doing. Although, it must be said, the misdeeds of his fellow Bear Stearns execs turned out to be a disaster for his division’s clients as well as everyone else in the goddamn world.

And what does it say about his insight, his judgment, that he could be stationed on the deck of the Titanic and not see the iceberg coming? Or not raise serious questions about the decision to steer the ship through the North Atlantic ice fields? Especially when he’s so sharply critical of the Shumlin administration’s failure to plan ahead, take the long view, make government predictable and accountable, and gather the data necessary to make intelligent long-range decisions?

He is expecting far more of state government than he expected of himself and his fellow executives. And he is demanding a level of accountability for state officials that he is still not willing to assume for the catastrophic dealings of Bear Stearns, the firm where he spent his entire career.

Think I’m being harsh? Let’s look at the transcript.

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A strange little bubble: the proto-candidacy of Bruce Lisman

Former Wall Street panjandrum turned bland public policy crusader Bruce Lisman showed up on The Mark Johnson Show Friday morning, and came about as close to declaring his candidacy for Governor as he could without actually making a declaration.

“I’m leaning strongly toward running,” he said, and indicated he was embarking on a weeklong family vacation that would probably produce a final decision. But while he’s pretty sure he’s running, he’s a lot less sure how he will do it: as a Democrat, as a Republican or as an independent. “If I choose to run, I’m running for the people. I’ll figure out how best to do that.”

Aww. For the people, eh? Well, the people appreciate the kind gesture.

He spent the rest of the hour basically proving my contention that he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of ever being Governor.

His answers were awfully rambly and not terribly engaging. He frequently changed subjects in mid-answer — sometimes in mid-sentence. He rarely ended up anywhere close to where he began.
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But that’s not the worst problem.

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BREAKING… URGENT… PREDICTABLE THING HAPPENS

Spoiler alert: Shap Smith will run for governor.

I know, shocking. But so reports the AP’s Dave Gram.

Mr. Speaker appeared on the soon-to-disappear Mark Johnson Show this morning and said that “he would make an announcement next Wednesday,” but wouldn’t say what. So Dave worked the phones and got a couple of unnamed “high-ranking Democrats” to spill the beans.

Being honorable people (cough), the sources refused to be named “because they did not want to be seen pre-empting Smith’s announcement.”

Which, of course, is exactly what they did. It’s just that they “didn’t want to be seen” doing so. Thanks, guys.

We’ve known for months now that Smith would run, just as it’s obvious Matt Dunne will enter the race, and it’ll be a shocker if Sue Minter opts out.

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Kill Vermont Exceptionalism.

(A warm welcome to visitors from K9K’s Facebook community, and thanks for giving me a sizable bump in pageviews.)

Been looking for a reason to use this picture.

Been looking for a reason to use this picture.

A couple things are bugging me today. Both have to do with a deeply-held, and only partially merited, sense of satisfaction Vermonters feel about themselves.

Us Vermont liberals scoff at the conservative idea of American exceptionalism. We see America, not as the shining city on a hill, but as a nation with noble aspirations and our share of flaws. A work in progress; a development project on a hill, perhaps, with its ultimate shape to be determined. At the same time, however, we have an unspoken belief in the equally absurd notion of Vermont exceptionalism.

Anyway. My first item comes from yesterday’s Mark Johnson Show. I happened to drop in during an open-phone segment and heard a caller say that it takes at least three generations to make a real Vermonter. That’s how long it takes to inculcate the unique values and perspectives that make Vermont such a special place.

Good gravy on toast, are we a little full of ourselves?

I’ve lived here for nine years. By the caller’s measure, my great-grandchildren will be worthy of the name “Vermonter”. Until then, flatlanders all: uninvited guests in these verdant provinces.

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A monument departs

Well, geez. I go out of town for a few days, and the Easter Island Statue of Vermont media gets up and leaves.

Veteran Vermont journalist Mark Johnson announced Monday he will be leaving WDEV radio to take a position as senior reporter/editor at the online news site, VTDigger.

Johnson has hosted the popular public affairs, call-in program for 25 years, 16 years with WDEV in Waterbury and for nine years before that with WKDR, a Burlington station that Johnson also co-owned.

His last program is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Disclosure: I’ve been an occasional substitute host on Mark’s show for several years. But this has no bearing on my comments here.

This is a fantastic move by VTDigger, and a tremendous loss for the radio audience and for WDEV.

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Limping to the finish line

This morning on central Vermont’s meeting place of the minds, the Mark Johnson Show, David Mears announced his departure as head of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The move, he said, has nothing to do with DEC or the Shumlin administration or his performance:

“I was given an opportunity to go back to my old gig teaching law at Vermont Law School, and decided I just couldn’t turn that [down]. …It just happened to be that the position came open now, and law professor jobs don’t come along very often, so I took it…

“In all honesty, I would have liked to have stayed throughout the remainder of the Shumlin administration, but like I said the chance came along so I decided to jump at it.”

I have no reason to doubt him, but as VTDigger’s Morgan True pointed out:

This is where Shumlin’s lame-duck status could be most impactful.

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