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
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.
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.