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



Mud season at the Statehouse

This same-sex marriage debate is heated. And when things heat up in Vermont in March, that means only one thing: mud. Stepping in it, slinging it, wiping it off your shoes.

A string of statements from both the governor and the Legislature on same-sex marriage lean toward the disingenuous.

A Nov. 21 article by Associated Press staff writer Dave Gram is one example. In it:

Gov. Jim Douglas: "I never indicate what I might do when a bill gets to my desk, but I've been quite clear that I don't support the legislation."

Well, sometimes he indicates what he might do, like yesterday.

In the same story, Sen. John Campbell, D-Windsor, one of the sponsors of the same-sex marriage bill: Campbell criticized Douglas for not saying whether he'd veto a same-sex marriage bill. "This is too important of an issue for a governor to be evasive. He should let the people of Vermont know where he stands now," Campbell said.

And when Douglas did that yesterday, Campbell seemed not to like it.

The list goes on:
Legislative leaders said Douglas shouldn't be deciding the fate of a bill before the bill passes, yet they decided three weeks ago that a bill would pass before any committee started taking testimony.

Douglas said yesterday: "I'm sure that legislative leaders would not have advanced this bill if they did not have the votes to override a veto." I would argue that he is playing games when he says that, that he suspects otherwise and merely wants legislators to look bad if they don't have the votes.

It is mud season.

- Terri Hallenbeck

Campbell won't like how we Windsor County voters tell him how we feel next November.
Really? What are ya gonna do, make him Lite Gov?

Douglas, knowing he'd get his head handed to him - again - if he went head to head with Pat Leahy, Peter Welch or Bernie, has opted to become George Wallace standing in the State House door.
And Douglas won't like how Vermonters tell him how we feel next November
Douglas has been very clear he does not support this bill - he must stand for what he believes in.
Is this the most pressing issue for Vermont right now - I think not.
we can work on more than one issue at one time.

in fact, we need to.
First of all, Douglas' only concern is Douglas and he's got the resume to prove it. Douglas doesn't give a damn about the State of Vermont. Never has. Never will.

He knows he's gone as far as he's ever going to go politically and he's chosen to go out as George Wallace standing in the State House Door.

Secondly, if this is such a trivial, unimportant issue, why the veto threat?

Opponents of same-sex marriage cry that this issue is a distraction out of one side of their mouth and whine that it's been rushed through too quickly out of the other.

Pick a lie and go with it for crying out loud.

Either way, you've got no beef. The civil rights of other people aren't yours to vote on.

Make a note of it.
I love all the people against equal rights that are threatening current politicians.

NEWSFLASH - you are a tiny little minority in this state and you couldn't knock off a freshman Rep from the NEK
"we can work on more than one issue at one time."

Uh, no. It's 2/3 of the way through the session, and how many bills has the Legislature passed? One: the sex offender bill. The rest of the bills are still in their infancy locked up in committees.

The Legislature has proved what we all already knew: it CAN'T work on more than one issue at a time. It is too undisciplined.
Campbell doesn't seem to be the type of person who cares whether this issue will lead to his defeat. Some people don't get that some politicians actually care more about the correct thing to do rather than the "politically" correct thing to do.
That's a joke. Campbell comes from liberal Windsor County. He knows that his pushing for gay marriage can only help his career. He's definitely using this as a career-advancing issue.

Don't be so naive.

Next thing, you'll be saying that Shumlin cares about something besides himself!
This issue is politics at its most naked: The Democrats have very skillfully used this wedge issue to put Douglas in a no-win position. If he signs the bill or lets it become law without his signature, he risks having his base stay home in an off-year election. If he vetoes it, he alienates independents and moderate Democrats.

I don't agree with his move, but I presume he made it with the best intelligence he could get about the vote count in the House. Douglas has publicly let Republicans and moderate Democrats for whom voting against the bill would carry a price know that if they do so, at least they're not doing it for nothing.
Douglas is a complete straight arrow, and always has been. Doesn't surprise me he does not support gay marriage.

On the other hand, everyone know same-sex marriage will eventually be adopted in Vermont, probably sooner than later. And that will be good.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of shouting going on this mud season. I'm afraid demonstrating wherever Douglas goes will not change his mind, and may turn off people on the fence.

Let's get on to the veto override, and then once it is settled for this year, start figuring out the cuts and revenues that we will need to sustain us after the stimulus money is gone.
Shumlin and Campbell want to be Governor and Lt Gov. Everybody knows it. They take on these issues to advance their careers. The gay community is being used.
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