by Peter Freyne
The Guv normally opens with a “dog & pony,” i.e. a sales pitch for a pet project or issue - something along those lines. The press politely listens and then gets to ask questions on that topic or any they choose. It is America, after all, and one appreciates deeply being able to exercise the “All men are created equal” part of the Constitution and ask the Big Cheese anything one wants to ask the Big Cheese. Right out in the open, cameras and tape rolling!
This week, contrary to form, Gov. Jim Douglas scheduled his “weekly” for Tuesday.
Damn. Must be ‘cause he’s busy?
Tuesday, you see, is my regular “Inside Track” writing day. C'est la vie. Last thing in the paper. Surely Gov. Scissorhands doesn’t want to discourage my attendance?
Whoa! Easy does it, Paranoid Pete. Jimbo loves having you there and you know it.
What did you miss?
Didn’t see anything in the Freeps’ online-edition, but Louis Porter’s piece in the Times Argus/Rutland Herald indicates Gov. Douglas certainly had to juggle a little of the current day’s unpleasant political reality.
Douglas: Feds dumping costs on states
By Louis Porter Vermont Press Bureau
MONTPELIER – The federal government is increasingly putting the burden for supporting programs like subsidized health insurance coverage for the poor onto states, including Vermont, Gov. James Douglas said Tuesday.
But Douglas stopped short of blaming spending on the Iraq War for the cuts or changes in such programs, however, and put responsibility for both on the Democrat-lead Congress and the Republican administration of President George Bush.
Bush is expected to request an additional $50 billion for the war in Iraq, which is now costing more than $3 billion a week by some estimates.
"It doesn't matter what causes the federal deficit, it is a reality," Douglas said at a press conference Tuesday. "They can't balance the federal budget on the backs of the states."
Wait a minute. Did he really say that "It doesn't matter what causes the federal budget deficit?"
And WGOP, er, WCAX News ran a blurb off the presser on Gov. Douglas, VT Yankee Nuclear’s #1 cheerleader, commenting about how VT Yankee's been falling apart of late, eh? Said our popular Guv:
“Economically it has been very beneficial. But safety is the most important. Two mechanical problems over the last week or two are certainly troubling and management needs to hold itself to a higher standards why something like that could happen shortly after an inspection.”
"State and plant officials," Ch. 3 told its viewers, "say the two mishaps did not threaten public or environmental safety. Vermont Yankee officials will soon meet before the nuclear advisory panel to discuss what went wrong. The nuclear plant provides a third of the state's power. And has kept Vermont's electric rates the lowest in New England."
Hey, who cares if it’s falling apart and dangerous and running short on space to store its radioactive waste, as long as Vermont’s electric rates are ”the lowest in New England”, eh?
So what was keeping the governor so busy?
Checked the official public appearance schedule. Only one other event on it:
7:15 a.m. STAT (Set the Agenda Tour) Coffee Hour
Wayside Restaurant, Barre-Montpelier Road, Montpelier
Turns out, Time Argus Editor Sue Allen covered it and has a very sweet story in today’s TA. Guess how many regular folks turned out to catch Landslide Jim on his statewide “meet the people” STAT tour and voice their concerns?
None. Nada. Zippo.
Just two Republican state representatives.
Thank you, Sweet Sue!