Two years ago, Howard Dean strolled Church Street in Burlington, campaigning with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker.
This year, Dean sent an op-ed piece to Vermont newspapers declaring his support for gubernatorial candiate Gaye Symington. Not quite the same as the personal touch, but Dean is busy with national matters.
He's not the only one. There's a plethora of people too busy or too uninterested or to baggage-laden to campaign for any of the gubernatorial candidates.
Anybody seen Sen. Patrick Leahy out and about campaigning with anybody running for anything in Vermont?
How about Bernie Sanders?
They are too busy thinking about Barack Obama and the 2009 U.S. Senate.
Whether your name is Gaye Symington, Anthony Pollina or Jim Douglas, you aren't really getting a lot of personal help from your higher-up friends.
Symington put herself on the line for the party, but for the most party, the bigwigs have not reciprocated, at least not in public. Holding a rally for the party faithful in Barre doesn't count - that's preaching to the converted.
She apparently was honking-and-waving this morning and will again this evening with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch. With the time change, they'll be lucky if evening commuters can see them.
But where is the mob-scene rally with Welch and Leahy and Madeleine Kunin and every big- name Democrat you could muster who would catch voters' attention?
Pollina touts his work with Sanders, but doesn't have his endorsement.
Douglas, meanwhile, can't afford to invite anyone into Vermont to campaign for him who might otherwise. Dick Cheney? George Bush? He'd be begging them to stay away.
It's lonely at the top of the state's ticket.
- Terri Hallenbeck