by Peter Freyne
In response to questions, Vermont’s top Republican gave his thoughts Thursday on the conviction this week of GOP VP Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff on four criminal counts of lying, perjury and obstruction of justice. The conviction of Scooter Libby (right) was not a topic Vermont’s Republican governor was eager to discuss.
Let’s face it - the wind has shifted. The dynamic Republican duo that won the last two U.S. elections while skillfully playing the 9/11 card and fabricating a bogus threat from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein that justified war, is now hanging on by its fingernails. Their approval rating which once soared into the 70s and 80s hovers around 30 percent now. In November, U.S. voters put the Democrats back in charge in Congress. “Impeachment” has replaced “Homeland Security” as a hot topic on newscasts and talk shows.
Twice Jim Douglas has headed up the Bush-Cheney election campaign in Vermont - once while Vermont’s state treasurer in 2000, and once as Vermont governor in 2004.
Though the Bush-Cheney ticket lost Vermont both times, it carried Florida and the nation. And Republican Jim Douglas easily won his races in our "leftist" Green Mountain State. Let’s face it, Jimbo’s got a magic touch! A way with words!
He’s been on the November ballot everytime since 1972 when he first ran for a seat in the godforsaken legislature, AND James has only lost once in 18 tries - the 1992 U.S. Senate race to Democrat Patrick J. Leahy.
He’s been extraordinarily patient, working his way up slowly from a legislative seat representing Middlebury, through “second tier” offices like secretary of state in the 1980s and treasurer in the 1990s before going for the big time with a bid for governor in 2002.
On Tuesday, in a major blow to the current regime, Scooter Libby was convicted on four counts of lying, perjury and obstruction of Justice in a case in which the White House blew a CIA agent’s cover because her husband was a critic of the Bush administration’s deceitful, un-American war policy towards Iraq.
At his weekly press conference Thursday, Gov Douglas was asked if the criminal conviction of Cheney's top aide surprised him?
Gov. Douglas: “I guess I’m not following all the testimony. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but, ah, it’s certainly not appropriate for anyone, whether a public official or a private citizen, to lie to government officials, so I assume the process works."
Press: What about its impact in the Bush Administration?
Gov. Douglas: "Well, a lot of recent administrations have had people charged with and convicted of crimes and that’s an unfortunate development on the history of our national government, but I hope and expect that everyone will move on and fulfill their responsibilities and not be distracted by it.”
Press: Do you think it hurts, though?
Gov. Douglas: “Well, I don’t think it ever helps when some official of an administration is convicted of a crime.”
Press: Any advice for the president on pardoning Scooter Libby?
Gov. Douglas: “Well, I don’t believe that anyone should lie to investigating officers. I think public officials above all others need to be held accountable and if this conviction is upheld, then that’ll be the case.”
The man has a way with words, doesn't he?
THIS JUST IN: A rare phone call from Gov. Douglas' Press Secretary Jason Gibbs.
"I think you crossed the line," says Jason.
He's referring to the "Outrageous" item below in which we publish Gov. Douglas' remarks declaring he would never do what popular VT GOP online scribe James Dwinell did in publishing a smear of a leading Vermont Democrat's marital fidelity. To which yours truly added in the post:
"Of course not. You'd get someone to do it for you. No fingerprints is key!"
"The implication," said Gibbs, "is somehow Gov. Douglas agreed with it or may have been involved in it."
"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
I agree. "Nothing could be further from the truth." I suggested Ol' Jason was experiencing a "paranoia" attack. That was absolutely not what I was suggesting.
The implication in the blog sentence was, I explained, that no politican - Republican, Democrat, Progressive or Independent - would want any connection whatsoever to such a below-the-belt smearing of an opponent's reputation.
Jason's phone call, we'd suggest, affirms that.
The Times-Argus has this warning from Montpeculiar Mayor Mary Hooper in today's edition:
A letter from Montpelier Mayor Mary Hooper on flooding precautions
Despite the considerable expertise of federal officials and strong support of state officials it is impossible to know if there will be flooding or where or when it could occur.
If there is a flood, it will be in low areas in and around the downtown. It could be the same areas that were flooded in 1992, or it could be in adjacent areas; it could be upstream or downstream from these areas. If there is a flood it could happen quickly - water could rise to cover the downtown in less than an hour. As a result we are asking everyone in the Montpelier community to be thoughtful and prepared so they can protect themselves and help their neighbors