The inevitable has occurred. The final member of the State Senate’s “Two Dicks and a John Club” has publicly endorsed Phil Scott’s bid for re-election as Lieutenant Governor. For those just joining us, that’s three of the most powerful Senate Democrats endorsing a Republican for a statewide office. An office which is largely ceremonial, but it does come with a spot on the three-member Senate Rules Committee and the ability to cast tiebreaking votes in the Senate.
The latest Dick to join the party is Sears of Bennington, following (as usual) in the well-worn footsteps of Dick “The Immovable Object” Mazza and Senate Penitent Pro Tem John Campbell. The latter declared their true and abiding Phil-o-philia at an event in the garage where Mazza keeps his Corvette collection. Man of the people, is he.
Sears cited sound political principle for abandoning his party: “I’ve known Phil for 14 years, we’ve worked well together in the Senate.”
Well, Kum Ba Ya.
But that’s not all. Sears also rolls out the VTGOP’s endlessly reiterated campaign stand: “Restore Balance to Montpelier.”
“There’s little likelihood that Republicans will take over control of the House or Senate, and little likelihood they’ll be taking over the governor’s office,” Sears said. “I think it’s important for Vermont to have some balance, somebody who stands up and says, ‘I think we ought to look at it a different way.’”
Progressive Dean Corren, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination, would look at things in a different way himself, but I suspect that Sears would rather see that “different way” be Republican rather than Progressive. Or, more to the point, he’d rather see it coming from his bosom buddy Phil Scott.
Myself, I’m not persuaded that a Lieutenant Governor will make a crucial difference in the balance of power. But he might make a key difference on a crucial vote or two, such as single-payer health care. Aside from breaking ties, Phil Scott has about as much power as top Democrats are willing to let him have. And pretty much the only occasion when the Senate is tied is when the Democrats fail to get their shit together.
And really, if Dick Sears is that interested in a bit of partisan balance, I suggest that he win re-election, immediately resign from the Senate, and urge the Governor to replace him with a Republican. A real, honest Republican, instead of a Democrat who ditches the party that nurtured him and helped elect him when he has to choose between his party and his friends.