As I reported a couple days ago in this space, Jim Douglas’ new memoir includes a passage that accuses Governor Shumlin of public corruption — of giving a seat on the Vermont Supreme Court to Beth Robinson, a political ally, as a reward to her and to an important constituency. Here it is again:
“The Senate leader, who succeeded me in the governorship, was a strong proponent of gay marriage. Since he was nominated by a scant 200 votes in the Democratic primary, their support may well have provided the margin of victory. He later reciprocated by appointing one of the leading lobbyists of the movement to the Vermont Supreme Court.”
The key word there is “reciprocated.” Douglas is saying that there was a quid pro quo — one of the state’s highest offices was bartered away as a political reward.
Well, on September 11, Douglas was a guest on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show. When Johnson asked him about the passage, Douglas doubled down — claiming that Robinson is unqualified:
With all due respect to the Justice, I think it’s hard for most Vermonters to believe that she would have risen to the top of the pack but for her leadership on that issue.
“With all due respect,” my ass. Jim Douglas is saying that Beth Robinson had no business being chosen to the high court, and that this is so obviously true that “most Vermonters” would have a hard time believing she was nominated on merit.
Johnson, taken aback by this rather bold assertion, asked if Douglas really believed she was appointed because of her work on the marriage equality court case.
She obviously became well known because of that, and, um… [long pause] who knows?
A wonderful piece of passive-aggressive political attack. Johnson asked “What do you base that on?” Douglas offered no evidence; instead he quickly changed the subject.
His comments about Robinson were baseless and mean-spirited. They’re of a piece with his allegation that Shumlin made a corrupt deal to put her on the high court.
Which, I say again, should have been the top headline news out of Douglas’ memoir. I remain stunned that, with the exception of Mark Johnson, no one in the media has mentioned it at all.