Unsurprisingly, VTGOP chair David Sunderland has rejected VPIRG head Paul Burns’ invitation to a public debate on the idea of a carbon tax. I’m sure that Burns would press him, not only on that issue, but on where Sunderland stands on climate change. After all, his only public statement on climate change was a denialist claim that there’s “science on both sides.”
No, Dave. There’s the scientific community on one side, and a handful of tame “experts” on the fossil fuel industry payroll plus a few cranks operating outside of their core competency. Recent revelations about ExxonMobil make this even more clear: nearly four decades ago, the oil giant’s own scientists concluded that climate change was real and caused by human activity.
Well, instead of debating a very knowledgeable person who heads an organization which supports a carbon tax, Sunderland has seized the opportunity to renew a pointless call for a debate with Dottie Deans, his Democratic counterpart. His wafer-thin rationale: the carbon tax is “sponsored by over two dozen Democrat legislators,” hence it must be a Democratic — pardon, “Democrat” — idea, hence Ms. Deans is responsible for defending it.
Yeah, well, nuts. Unless the carbon tax is in the Democrats’ platform, Deans is not answerable for it.
His complaint to the Secretary of State’s office, which he made public even before Jim Condos had a chance to respond, gave him a few headlines on the slowest news day of the week. And that’s all Sunderland really wanted; if he had had an honest beef, he would have taken it to Condos first and gone to the media only if he was dissatisfied with the official response.
In the process, Sunderland blithely imperiled a member of Condos’ staff.
For those just tuning in, Sunderland’s ire was directed at JP Isabelle, who offended Sunderland’s tender sensibilities by posting a comment on this here blog. Sunderland asserted that “Isabelle’s credentials as a neutral and nonpartisan administrator have been irreversibly undermined,” and demanded that Isabelle be removed from any “administrative obligations, input or influence in elections.”
Which stops just short of demanding Isabelle’s termination, but c’mon. He’s an administrator in the Elections Division. What kind of job could he hold where he wouldn’t have any “input or influence in elections”?
It seems that Sunderland doesn’t mind jeopardizing a person’s livelihood and reputation if he can score a cheap political point in the process. JP Isabelle is simply collateral damage. And that, in my view, is despicable.