Nobody’s a spoiler under this scenario
Amidst all the talk about who is running for what as a result of Gov. Jim Douglas’
decision not to run for re-election, there were some missing voices — Progressives.
Rep. David Zuckerman
, P-Burlington, took time from the harvest at his farm to give voice to his political aspirations. He’s considering a run for lieutenant governor or state senator from Chittenden County.
Here’s the twist. If he runs for lieutenant governor, he would run in the Democratic primary.
Before Douglas dropped his political bombshell, Zuckerman said he was only thinking about a senate run. Now he, like about everyone else with political ambitions, is thinking bigger.
Zuckerman said running in the Democratic primary would be a way to eliminate what he considers a chronically unfair accusation that Progressives who run in statewide races are spoilers. He would use the election system — with its primaries — to solve the dilemma.
“I feel in order to remove the angst of the three-way race, let the voters decide,” Zuckerman said. “I would hope I could earn, have earned the support of Democrats.”
Zuckerman is currently testing the political interest in this idea. “I haven’t heard anyone say if you do that you are selling out the Progressive Party,” he said.
Under the scenario he’s floating, if he won the Democratic primary next September, he would ask Progressive Party members to nominate him at their candidate — assuming someone else wasn’t already running as the Progressive candidate for lieutenant governor. He said he would want to be listed on the ballot as a P/D.
“If I go this route, it would an attempt to build a bridge,” Zuckerman. He would be trying to bridge some of the bad feelings that have developed as Progressives and Democrats have vied for many of the same voters.
Zuckerman said it will be well into October, if not November, before he would make a decision about running for lieutenant governor in 2010. He’s not worried that putting off his decision for the next month would be a disadvantage, he said.
“I think any number of people could jump in during the next eight to ten weeks and I don’t think anyone would have an advantage raising money or building support,” he said.
— Nancy Remsen
Perhaps you heard reports about the Tea Party March in Washington D.C. Tea was served in Vermont, too. Here are some excerpts from an account of Vermont events by Jon Wallace
of Rutland, state Tea Party coordinator.
“The rain held off, and even the sun broke through at times on Saturday, Sept. 12, as hundreds of passionate patriots assembled in Manchester, Burlington, St Albans and Rutland for sign-waves and marches. Following the local events, many Tea Partiers hopped in their Tea Party decorated cars, and formed caravans, which then proceeded to Montpelier for the Tea Party 9/12 March.”
Wallace noted the marchers got a surprise when they began assembling on the steps of the Statehouse. A security guard said they couldn’t hold a protest without a permit.
“We are not here protesting, we are here celebrating the United States of America,” Wallace said he replied. Wallace’s account notes that the group stayed put, sang God Bless America, recited the Pledge of Allegiance twice, thanked veterans for their service and got down to talking about the issues that brought many to the rally — health care reform and big government.
Organizers identified two bills pending in the Vermont Legislature that would establish government-run health care which drew crowd disapproval, Wallace reported.
The Tea Party organization is trying to awaken citizens to their responsibility to act.
“The day was a success as there were many new faces,” Wallace said. In contrast to some reports about the palpable anger at the Washington march, Wallace wrote, “The attitude of the crowd was ultimately positive and hopeful. ... Many expressed gratitude to the organizers, for they felt that they now had a way to become politically active. Previously, they felt ideologically isolated, therefore politically frustrated, and disenfranchised and unempowered.”
— Nancy Remsen
Reading tea leaves James Haslam
, director of the Vermont Workers’ Center, says Tea Parties are misreading the tea leaves on health care reform — at least in Vermont.
“In 2008, the Vermont Workers’ Center conducted personal interview health care surveys with over 1,500 Vermonters,” he said. The results: “Over 95 percent of those asked believed that health care is a basic human right.”
— Nancy Remsen
Checking the pulse of health care reform
So the weekend talk shows in Washington have aired, President Barack Obama
has delivered another health care pep talk and Tea Party protesters took to the streets to complain about health care reform.
How does Vermont’s trio in Congress see the chances for health reform now?
Rep. Peter Welch
, D-VT: “In his address to Congress last week, President Obama made a strong case for the urgency and necessity of reforming the nation’s health care system. He echoed what I heard from Vermonters throughout August: that Congress must focus on providing security and stability to those who have health insurance and extending access to those who don’t. In the coming weeks, I am optimistic we will pass a bill that will protect families and businesses from insurance company rip-offs, extend coverage to 37 million Americans, and provide more choice to Americans by creating a strong public option.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders
, I-VT: “As the president mentioned, it is an international embarrassment that the United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all of its people, while spending almost twice as much per capita as most other nations. If we do nothing, as many Republicans suggest, the cost of health care in this country will double in the next eight years. I intend to do all that I can to see that a strong and meaningful health care bill is passed.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy
, D-VT: “Uneasiness about reform understandably has grown over the last few months while congressional committees have struggled to draft their various proposals. With no complete bill to debate, the discussion has drifted, and some partisans have also stepped into the void to stir people's worst fears. You wouldn't know from the headlines that many of these reforms have had significant support on both sides of the aisle. It's worth keeping in mind that as popular as Social Security and Medicare are today, there was strenuous opposition to them at the time.
“Soon there will be real legislation on the table. That will not completely reset the framework of this debate, but it will help anchor the debate in real facts. That goes as well for the idea of a public option, which I strongly support.
“Health insurance reform would have been done long ago if it were easy. The President says he expects that Congress will pass health insurance reform by the end of this year. That seems like too ambitious a goal to some, but I believe it's a realistic one.”
Dubie as peacemaker?
Some might have expected an announcement last week, but Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie
, the Republican to whom other Republicans are deferring before making their own decision on whether to run for governor in 2010, says it will not come until perhaps next week. He’s visiting Alaska this week to see how turbines made by Northern Power Systems of Barre are working.
Dubie indicated last week, however, that his prospective campaign strategy will be to cast himself as the peacemaker at a time when peace needs to be made. (Think budget stalemate, vetoes, veto overrides).
“One thing is clear – the status quo of the relationship between the Legislature and the governor is not acceptable,” he said.
— Terri Hallenbeck
Roar of the crowd
From the Free Press online story chat on Auditor Tom Salmon’s
switch last week from Democrat to Republican party:bfpcommenter:
“After the past 2-3 sessions I would want to be running as a republican , even in VT. Between Shumlin, Smith, and Symington it will be a wonder if the libs even have a majority in the Statehouse. If they do, we will know for sure that VTer’s vote solely based on party.”proudvter:
“This is all about positioning. Dubie will make a run for Gov. and Tommy will try to jump in Dubie’s LT Gov. seat. Just a guess, but the Dem. side of the house knows there are a number of far left groups that always interfere with the dems trying to get into the Gov’s office. Tommy, being a “conservative dem“ sees his opportunity and I am sure he has talked with Dubie about the future. Just my guess. Any other guesses?”
Labels: Bernie Sanders, Gov. Jim Douglas, Jim Haslam, Jon Wallace, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, Patrick Leahy, Peter Welch, Rep. David Zuckerman, Vermont Tea Party