August 4th, 2011

Tom Salmon And the Manhood Question

by Philip Baruth

Tom Salmon has been baiting Bernie Sanders for a while now, issuing sharply worded (if unreliably spelled) press releases in the name of a group called SALMON FOR A STRONGER VERMONT. In his last, Salmon notes that the state’s junior Senator “has not spent a day teaching in the public schools, nor a day on the battlefield.” Salmon, of course, has spent a bit of time in each of these places, and therein lies what the Auditor sees as an electable distinction.

For good measure, the press release adds that Bernie “has earned a black belt in delivering half-truths.” And of course, in order to match a black-belt in half-truths, you need a black-belt in full truths. All very macho stuff, this.

So the operative question would be: If Salmon were not merely talking smack, and did in fact have political courage enough to bring the fight to Sanders, how might that match-up play out?

Well, turns out Public Policy Polling just brought out a statewide poll designed to test key head-to-heads, and among others they sampled on this very question:

Bernie Sanders (I-inc): 62
Tom Salmon (R): 28
Undecided: 10

Math was never our strong suit but that margin looks like, hang on a second, carry the one . . . . 34%. Which really smarts, you have to think.

Now look: Salmon is no fool. He has no intention of challenging Sanders. But at this point, it’s a reliable way to keep the balloon aloft, and to keep himself firmly in the GOP nomination line for other more tempting challenges, against other less robust incumbents. So VDB isn’t surprised by the fire-eating language out of the Auditor’s office.

bernie stares down lunch

Still, it’s ironic: the candidate with the longest record of manly bluster, the candidate most deeply enamored of references to personal bravery and battle, so clearly spooked out of a race with an aging Socialist, and an aging Socialist against whom Salmon really seems to bear some personal animus.

Maybe not so much ironic as predictable. Found that out in junior high, actually.

August 2nd, 2011

In A Word: Nixonian

by Philip Baruth

Gene Sperling, of Obama’s National Economic Council, on the debt deal: “The president didn’t give one inch. The President did not give one inch. The president made clear, while he was willing to compromise, he was not willing to allow anyone to hold our economy or government hostage by using the threat of default.” Absolutely breathtaking.

shades of watergate

August 1st, 2011

Vermonters Gather For Christchurch, NZ

by Philip Baruth

Funny how you get lost in your own disasters, and forget that elsewhere in the world they’re concerned about things a little less fabricated than the debt-ceiling debate. Take, oh say, Christchurch, New Zealand. Devastated by a major earthquake in February, the city then suffered another 5.6 tremor in June, and the ensuing quake finished off a number of buildings that had previously survived. Finished them.

We’re an image-based society, so here are two before-and-after sequences, in which you might imagine your own business housed, your own family working and shopping:





The bright spot? Unlike the debt-ceiling debate, you can do something about this disaster.

On August 3, 6 pm sharp, this coming Wednesday, there’ll be a benefit at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, located at Lake and College Streets in Burlington. New Zealand Ambassador Mike Moore will be there, and they’ll be screening a new film by Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi.

To put it out there: they’re looking to raise some money to help people. So the suggested contribution starts at $50 — not to say you need to come across with that amount in order to attend, but it is to say that new buildings, cities and lives don’t come cheap. If you can help, at any amount, we’ll look for you there.

More information at .

And kia ora.

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