by Peter Freyne
Boy, aren’t you going to miss the “Vote for Me!” TV commercials?
Scudder Parker came out swinging Monday morning with a Statehouse presser. Ever since former Paul Wellstone aide Bill Lofy came on board, Scudder’s actually been having press conferences - free media!
About fricken time, eh? Particularly for a candidate who cannot afford much airtime.
Gubernatorial candidate Parker should of been doing that back in June? July? Lack of name recognition is killing him. He’s got no money for the necessary ninth-inning TV blitz. What he’s had has been a bit.... lame?
And he appears staff heavy. Today, for example, Scudder had four campaign staffers with him. The guy he’s trying to replace only had one - a Vermont State Trooper, per usual.
Monday at 11 a.m. in Room 10, Scudder did his best to paint the rosiest possible picture. The message was that he’s been getting closer since Friday’s WCAX Poll had him 10 points behind. And it’s all about one question and one question only: are you better off now than you were four years ago when Jim Douglas was elected?
Scudder sounded like he was desperately looking for coattails - Bernie Sanders' coattails. Peter Welch's coattails. How come they ain’t there, yet?
“Everyone has known, and I have known from the beginning, that this was a difficult race. We were running against a four-year incumbent, a two-term incumbent who is, let’s face it, a pretty good politician.”
Is there any one thing, we asked, that a lot of people might not know about Gov. Douglas that they should know about him?
“That he is more invested in being the governor than he is in governing. And what I want them to know is that my only interest and my only activity will be to help govern this state.”
Incidentally, WGOP, er WCAX-TV did not attend the Democratic gubernatorial candidate's presser. Nor did the Freeps - no more Montpelier bureau for Vermont's Gannett machine.
About 40 minutes later, the little Montpeculiar press pack nailed the Guv right inside the front door at the Capital Plaza Hotel. He was delighted to be nailed en route to the Mental Health Association conclave. Gov. Scissorhands was in top form and loving it.
This middle-aged politican started in the game by winning a Vermont House seat way back in 1972 when he was only months out of Midddlebury College. Montpeculiar has been his stage for more than 30 years. Cheerful, friendly and funny was he. The look and feel of a winner. He’s done this drill so many, many times before.
Said left-leaning Vermont’s Republican governor:
“I agree. The WCAX Poll is not accurate. In fact, if it worked four years ago, I wouldn’t be standing here today! I really believe things are going quite well. I’m optimistic and feel very, very confident.”
No pretend there, folks. We hit him with the best shot of the moment - Scudder’s little dig about how he primarily just loves to play governor, rather than actually having to govern. Someone we know likes to call him Gov. Scissorhands for his ribbon cutting skills. Said Vermont's Guv:
Certainly, Jim Douglas' record of political survival - an anti-wind-power Republican in the Land of Patrick J. Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Jeezum Jim Jeffords. Peter Welch, Matt Dunne and....Howard Dean - that, mes amis, is mighty impressive, indeed!
P.S. Ready for this? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee will be making a Burlington appearance Tuesday morning with Matt Dunne. If Dubie the Republican doesn't break 50 percent, it'll go to a secret ballot by the 180 members of the heavily Democratic legislature.