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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



There's no score sheet

Some of you had great fun last week beating us up for covering Anthony Pollina's "non-event." It's OK, I can take it. My mother still loves me.

But here's the piece of your carping that I don't buy. First off, people were wondering - including some of you - what the Prog was going to do. So we let you know the answer to that.

But behind your complaints seems to be the underlying presumption that if we cover a candidate's event, it's automatically a plus for that candidate. I don't think it is.

If you have a story that quotes a local political scientist saying the candidate is making a mistake is that pure positive for that candidate?

Ideally, a story is giving readers a better picture of the whole situation so they can make informed decisions.

Are the voters sitting at home reading their newspapers thinking: "Look at this man's picture and this story about him - I think I'll vote for him"?

Though all the campaign and their supporters seem inclined to, you can't count up stories about each candidate like a score sheet and pronounce who's won the coverage game.

Now, if the story had said, "Candidate bashes off naysayers, ready to save state from certain disaster," that'd be another thing. I didn't see that story, though.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Dear god, why do we have to hear from Garrison Nelson and Eric Davis about everything? I'm begging, please go into the crowd and ask them what they think. Why do we have to be told what to think by those two? Are there other political scientists who might offer an opinion?
You did the right thing Terri- what would they have called you IF Pollina did have something to say? This "news conference" is about the only way Pollina can get an audience and he did use the BFP but reporters will remember next time because he is addicted to running for office.
Gaye had a few press conferences but no one could get past the sound of crickets chirping after everything she said.

I can't vote for Gaye because she ran away from her cap gains loophole closure based on angry phone calls from her inner circle and other independently wealthy friends. She gave no reason, so I have to assume that is the reason. She should have done this and generated $20+ million but she didn't and now all Vermonters will have to pay. Obviously, Ms. Symington isn't about the whole but rather just pieces of the whole. We don't need another Jim Douglas, only with a pantsuit.
You don't know the reason, so you'll just make on up!
The issue isn't really if Pollina's event should have been covered. It should have. What I didn't see was similar coverage of Symington's trip through the State.

I am not a Symington fan and suspect she had very little of substance to say but you have to ask why no coverage.
McCain/Dole '08 !!
McCain should run with the republican senator from Maine.
Symington should have gone after that capital gains money. I would agree. Didn't Douglas agree to that idea too?
It's funny. Gay is attacked on one side for raising taxes too much ... and attacked on the other side for not raising taxes enough.
I agree with the post. Thanks for covering the event. When a major candidate announces a major press event, the media should cover it. He answered the biggest question people had about his campaign head on.
No, actually the biggest question is: Why bother? He's lost 4 statewide campaigns already.

Obviously Vermonters don't want to vote for him.
Pollina should hold a press conference to ask Gaye and Jim why they abandoned the capital gains loophole closure they both agreed to. Did they think Vermont didn't need the millions the move would have created? What exactly happened there?

Better yet, why didn't/won't the press ask this question?
Pollina should hold a press conference to hear himself talk (again).
Pollina's press conferences are to say one thing "Look at ME!! Look at ME!! Look at ME!!"
Terri, of course it was a story. Everyone in Vermont's political world was waiting to hear what Anthony had to say. Thanks for being the only outlet with up-to-the-minute news.
I think everybody out there in cyberspace should read his speech from the event, before they start saying it was a non-event. And why should the public pundits have a say in why he should run? The pundits probably would have said that the American Revolutionaries were traitors and that they were making a mistake. What would be better if the news coverage from The Free Press stop printing fluff stories and talk about issues and maybe then we would have an informed electorate who could vote not based on party but on issues.

Pollina is the candidate that represents all of Vermont not just a few insiders.
Anonymous said...

"Dear god, why do we have to hear from Garrison Nelson and Eric Davis about everything? I'm begging, please go into the crowd and ask them what they think...."

In other words, you want somebody to tell your ignorant anonymous ass what ya wanna here.

Nice try, no sale schmuck.

Always a pleasure.

Anonymous said...

"McCain should run with the republican senator from Maine."

Which one, little nameless-nitwit fella? Snowe or Collins, aka, the one who's gonna lose in November?

Your post is right on. You had to cover the event, particularly after Pollina's camp deliberately fed the speculation that he might drop out and run for Lt. Gov.

I don't know if he soured his relationship with the press by pulling a stunt like that; only time will tell. But he certainly can't complain if you and other reporters skip events or press him in advance for their content before making decisions about whether to staff them.
Thank You, Mr. Pollina

Editorial Comment in the Caledonian-Record, May 31, 2008 (link to editorial).

We were prepared for the worst when we heard Progressive gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina had scheduled a news conference on Thursday. We were afraid the rumors were true and that Pollina was poised to announce he was abandoning the race and dropping out of the contest for governor in favor of a run in the less congested race for lieutenant governor.

We were wrong. Pollina told a crowd of 100 supporters that he’d been swamped with inquiries and surrounded by rumors, all suggesting Pollina was yielding his place in the race against incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Douglas to Democrat Gaye Symington. Pollina said he decided the only way to deal with the rumors, speculation and misinformation was to hold a conference and make a clear and unequivocal statement straight from the horse’s mouth that he wasn’t going anywhere and that he was standing squarely behind his earlier commitment to run for governor. That’s good news and we congratulate Pollina with sticking to his guns.

When it comes to state and national politics, we believe voters are not served by the narrow constriction of two parties who, increasingly, are trying very hard to control the race, the issues and the candidates. The voters lose when two parties are able to intimidate independents and third party candidates. The voters lose when a party seeks to eliminate a contested primary race or attempts to “settle the issue” months before a convention or an election.

In recent years, we’ve seen the Vermont state Republican machine anoint Martha Rainville, decrying that she should be the only Republican to challenge Democrat Peter Welch. The party began financing Rainville’s campaign even before the voters decided in a Republican primary to choose Rainville over Sen. Mark Shepard of Bennington County. We’ve seen Progressive David Zuckerman, a member of the House of Representatives, discouraged from running against Welch and Tarrant under the old and tired explanation that Zuckerman would only divide the vote and elect a Republican.

We’ve heard that Pollina can’t possibly win. We’ve heard that even though he formally announced for governor long before any Democrat was willing to do so, now that Democratic Speaker of the House Symington has decided to run, it’s time for Pollina to do the right thing and go home, leaving Symington with a clear shot.

We’re glad Pollina decided this is not just about positioning for advantage and not just about back room strategies. We’re glad Pollina has the courage of his convictions and that he believes he has something to say on the issues that is not getting said by the other candidates. His supporters should be proud, and his decision to stay put will likely win a few converts to his camp.

We think a broad spectrum of candidates with divergent views on the issues and interesting answers to the problems we face is the best thing that can happen in our society. We hope that Pollina’s example will encourage other candidates for office to stick with their convictions and jump in. The more the merrier. There are worse things than having a Democrat or a Republican mad at you.
JWCoop10 said... "In other words, you want somebody to tell your ignorant anonymous ass what ya wanna here.

Nice try, no sale schmuck."

....tell your ignorant anonymous ass what ya wanna here. ...here? Don't you mean hear?

Talking of ignorant asses, nice try but no sale schmuck. Proof your stuff. Live up to the standard you berate everyone else to uphold.
C'mon, you know and I know the motive behind the Caledonian Record editorial: to get Jim Douglas reelected. Of course they wanted Pollina to stay in the race. The fact that even a marginal retread candidate like Pollina could cost the Democrats enough votes to win may be an "old and tired explanation," but it's still inescapably true. Pollina=Douglas.

And, yes, Pollina announced his candidacy before Gaye Symington did. So what? Harold Stassen always got in early, too. Plus, Gaye actually wanted to complete her work as Speaker of the House before announcing.

How would the CR feel if a marginal right-winger, like John McClaughry, got into the race?
"How would the CR feel if a marginal right-winger, like John McClaughry, got into the race?"

I'm guessing orgasmic.McClaughry's ego is even larger then Pollina, Symington and Douglas's combined. He's a windbag headed soon for the rest home. See ya!
Endinsiderpolitics sounds like it comes right from campaign central. Everyone in Vermont knows that most of our politicians are our neighbors. The average house rep represents, what, 3000 people maybe. People elect their neighbors and generally love their reps (just not the reps of other towns sometimes! :) !) To try and call Vermont politics 'insider' is purely to misinform the public that they don't have a say and lead them to believe that they shoudn't get involved because it is 'insiders' running the show. And conversely that they need a knight in shining armor (Pollina) to free the masses from what they, apparently, cannot do themselves. Shame on you-- we need more citizens getting involved at every level and for the progs to perpetuate that politics in Vermont is 'insider' only serves to weaken our democracy by convincing people that they don't have a say when they really do.
Douglas and Pollina also wear pantsuits.
Except Douglas's pantsuit legs hover around top of sock level.
Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "There's no score sheet":

JWCoop10 said... "In other words, you want somebody to tell your ignorant anonymous ass what ya wanna here.

Nice try, no sale schmuck."

"....tell your ignorant anonymous ass what ya wanna here. ...here? Don't you mean hear?"

Yeah, you're right. That should be hear. I used the wrong form of hear. That's my mistake and I take full responsibility for it.

That said, I stand behind my comment. Illuzi may not be your kind of gop, little factually-challenged fella, but nevertheless, he's a gop.

Always a pleasure.


A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
And still you keep losin' it. Ya best leave your fortress of solitude, climb the stairs to the kitchen and ask your mom to pin it to your Little League cap, write your name and number under the bill and pray somebody returns it when ya lose it the next time, little fella.

Always a pleasure.

....written by a guy that is the authority on living in his mom's basement.
Anonymous said...

"....written by a guy that is the authority on living in his mom's basement."

Well, at least your ignorant anonymous ass is an authority on something, little factually-challenged/nameless-nitwit fella.

Always a pleasure.

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