Our little chat with Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday afternoon covered a couple of other subjects besides Costa Rica. One was La Revolución here in Vermont.
Republican Gov. Jim Douglas looks almost unbeatable for reelection to a fourth term in November 2008. All the possible Democratic contenders appear to be quietly waiting their turn, except for Matt Dunne. Matt's the only one of significance who hasn't completely ruled it out, yet.
But Matt Dunne's not going to run unless he believes winning is doable.
Then there's Progressive Anthony Pollina, a fixture on the Vermont political stage for more than 20 years. Ran against Republican Congressman Jim Jeffords back in 1984 as a Democrat!
An Italian kid from New Jersey who became a champion and organizer of Rural Vermont. Was a senior policy advisor to U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders in the early 1990s. Then directed VPIRG and organized dairy farmers.
Was a founder of the Vermont Progressive Party. Ran for governor  and lost. Ran for Lite-Gov , and lost by less. He's articulate, passionate and, like Bernie, says what he means and means what he says. And he does most of his talking these days on Equal Time talk-radio on WDEV.
And right now, Anthony looks like the only true opposition candidate to our beloved Gov. Scissorhands who's out there with a shot. But he'd have to do "a Bernie," i.e. run as an Independent who has the support of the Progressive and Democratic parties - just the way Ol' Bernardo did in the 2006 U.S. Senate race.
Name one issue, one policy position, be it on healthcare, energy, the environment or economic justice where Bernie and Tony disagree?
There are none.
But the list of issues on which Bernie and GOP Jimbo disagree, well, excuse me, but the list is not short, is it?
I asked Sen. Sanders about it....
BERNIE: Let me just say this at this point, Peter. I’ve seen Anthony around in the last month or two. Have not talked to him at any length about his possible candidacy. I really haven’t. But I’ve known Anthony for many years.
If you’re asking me do I think he could be a very strong candidate, I do. He’s clearly smart and he’s clearly articulate, No question about that.
FREYNE: You're not urging him to run, are you?
BERNIE: I'm not urging him to run, I’m not urging him not to [run].
You know, I don’t like to make these decisions in one second when you ask me a question. It’s something that has to be thought about and I’ve got to talk to a number of people and so forth.
FREYNE: So, at the moment, you think he’d be a strong and smart candidate?
BERNIE: Well, Anthony is very smart and he is very articulate. No one disputes that.
UPDATE [11 a.m.]: FREE LUNCH WITH GOV. JIM!
From Al Kamen's "In the Loop" column in today's Washington Post:
Free lunch today! We got an invite yesterday from Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), former South Carolina governor Jim Hodges (R) and some contractors who are inviting all the state governors' Washington office directors to a fine meal at tony Johnny's Half Shell, where they'll hear why it is important to strip from the farm bill a provision that bans some outsourcing of the food stamp program.
The companies and their supporters perhaps could have held this briefing at a National Governors Association committee meeting, but food stamp matters obviously are better discussed over oysters.
Be there by noon!