Tag Archives: Peter Diamondstone

@bfp_fail: We interrupt this debate to bring you a picture of Peter Diamondstone nodding off

Well, I tried to watch it.

The Burlington Free Press hosted a gubernatorial debate at noon today, and livestreamed it online.

Or tried to.

The first half hour was fine. After that, it kept freezing and crashing. I spent most of the ensuing half hour waiting for isolated bits of audio. Which, as Darcie Johnston pointed out on Twitter, always seemed to happen when Peter Diamondstone was talking. And the frozen image on the screen was usually Diamondstone with his eyes closed. Around 1:00, I gave up.

The Freeploid can’t blame its failure on too many viewers, either. There was a counter onscreen that tracked the number of viewers, and the highest it hit was 74. That’s not enough to crash a livestream.

Well, it shouldn’t be, anyway.

Of course, since the Freeploid only yesterday announced a corporate “reset” that includes forcing newsroom staff to reapply for their jobs, this disaster may have been an inside job. Whatever the cause, it’s a dismal performance.

Speaking of dismal performances, Scott Milne continued to hammer on the shortfalls, real and imagined, of the Shumlin Administration without offering any plans of his own.

Single-payer? Let’s wait six years.

How to cut the budget? Get rid of the governor’s SUV and out-of-state travel.

When asked for specific cuts, he tried to make a joke, talked about bringing in smart people from outside who’d be willing to take pay cuts to work in his administration, made a half-hearted call-out to the long-discredited Challenges for Change, and concluded by saying “I don’t know.”

School funding? He slammed Shumlin for failing to make tough choices, but offered nothing of his own.

And, according to the Freeploid’s Twitter feed (I’d stopped watching the unwatchable livestream by then), MIlne actually said he’d unveil a Lake Champlain cleanup plan by Election Day. 

Sheesh.

At one point, he briefly paused his attacks on Shumlin to day “It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. I’m talking about the future.” And then he resumed the attacks.

Milne has managed to dribble out a few ideas, inadequate and half-assed though they are: a two-year statewide property tax freeze, Challenges for Change, maybe a regional health care exchange. But with less than four weeks until Election Day, he remains the Man Without a Plan, with apologies to Fred Tuttle.

His excuse is that he doesn’t “have a background” in government. Well, sure. But is that a positive asset for filling our top executive position? What if an applicant came to Milne Travel and said “I don’t have a background in the travel business, but you’re doing a terrible job and you should hire me”?

And even if you put a value on bringing in a fresh perspective, why can’t Milne consult with some of his “expert advisers” and come up with a few specifics? He doesn’t need years of government experience to do that.

I’ll say it again: I had some hopes for Scott Milne when his campaign began. And there’s plenty of room for an informed critique of the Shumlin Administration. But he’s just been a disaster.

Postscript. I’d slam the Freeploid for its inexplicable decision to invite Peter Diamondstone and not Dan Feliciano, except that it led to the most entertaining moment of the debate. Diamondstone wasn’t there at noon; he appeared at about 12:10, panting furiously. And continued to pant for a couple of minutes, directly into his microphone, while Milne was trying to answer a question.

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Weird Uncle Pete and the Fringe Brigade

Just about every family has that one relative. The one you try to stay away from. The one you never ever ever talk politics/religion/race with. The one who drinks too much, or gives creepily extended hugs. For our purposes, let’s call him Weird Uncle Pete.

Not Peter Diamondstone.

Not Peter Diamondstone.

As uncomfortable as Weird Uncle Pete makes everyone, he still gets invited to Thanksgiving dinner. Because he’s family.

But that doesn’t mean you have to invite him to a gubernatorial debate.

Well, it does, but only in Vermont. There, occupying the designated Fringe Candidate chair at Tuesday night’s debate, was Peter Diamondstone, perpetual candidate of the Liberty Union Party. (At the first debate, it was Hempily Peyton.)

And I have to say, as admirable our attention to inclusion may appear, people like Weird Uncle Pete add absolutely nothing to a high-stakes political debate. They occupy space, they take up time, and they limit the opportunity for real interaction between the candidates who have a prayer of actually being elected. Their inclusion is a disservice to the voting public.

Now, I don’t mind if Peyton and Diamondstone get one round. But I sure as hell hope I don’t have to hear either one of them again this year.

This ain’t the Special Olympics, folks. Everyone doesn’t get a ribbon for participation. I don’t mind that Vermont’s ballot access law is extremely lenient, but you don’t deserve a place on center stage or 20+ minutes of my time just because you got your name on the ballot.

Emily Peyton got on the ballot by collecting 500 signatures. Diamondstone got on the ballot because in 2012, the Republicans and Progressives didn’t run a candidate for Secretary of State, which left the Liberty Union candidate alone against Jim Condos. And of course, she got enough votes to guarantee her party ballot access for 2014. Diamondstone didn’t do a damn thing to “merit” a seat at the debate.

You may think me undemocratic, but I ask you: what is the purpose of these debates? I argue that they exist to serve the voting public. And the voting public is best served by an uncluttered presentation by candidates who, again, actually have a prayer of becoming Governor. Debates are designed to help the undecided make up their minds. The vast majority of those undecideds are never, in a million years, going to even consider voting for the likes of Weird Uncle Pete and Aunt Hempily.

We only get four gubernatorial debates this year. We can’t afford to hand them out like participation ribbons.