I saw a Sue Minter TV ad the other night, and was unimpressed.
It was a negative spot aimed at Phil Scott — but it misses the mark. It tries to paint Scott as a proponent of higher taxes, which is (1) inaccurate and (2) highly unlikely to succeed. It also furthers the Republican talking point that taxes are political poison, which is counterproductive to sensible decision-making.
The sad thing is, there’s so much material for a better spot.
“What material?”, you may ask.
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.
The Phil Scott campaign is reacting to the very positive results of the VPR Poll in a rather curious way: With a hysterical email blast warning of dirty political tricks.
By an unnamed rival campaign.
That haven’t happened yet.
Here’s the letter:
We need your help!
A new poll from Vermont Public Radio and Castleton University Polling Institute shows strong support for Phil’s positive message and clear priorities.
Now we are already hearing from several sources that one of Phil’s opponents is planning to go negative!
Can you help us ensure the focus stays on the issues that matter, like growing our economy and making Vermont more affordable?
With your support, we will run a positive, issue-oriented campaign that focuses on why Phil is the best and most qualified choice for Vermont.
(Italics in the original letter.)