February 28th, 2006

Monday Must-Read Sentence: Hands Off the Guard

by Philip Baruth

Given that tomorrow the Legislature will select a new Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard by secret ballot, it’s only right and fitting that this week’s MMRS address the challenges of the 21st-century Guard.

Especially as we’ve endorsed a candidate in that race — Lt. Col. Judith Sheehan.

So address the Guard’s challenges VDB intends to do. And most of them come directly from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, turns out.

The nation’s governors — Republicans and Democrats alike — released a letter yesterday, deploring the Bush administration’s policies as they affect the Guard’s general readiness. The letter, signed by all fifty governors, allows the New York Times to say with perfect frankness what it has broadly hinted at over the last two years:

Governors of both parties said Sunday that Bush administration policies were stripping the National Guard of equipment and personnel needed to respond to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other emergencies.

For “hurricanes . . . and other emergencies,” of course, read Katrina and Rita. Clearly bad blood lingers, even with Republicans like Governor Haley Barbour. For an organization still dominated by a Republican majority — at least until the 2006 election cycle — this letter is a pretty open-handed slap.

And a pretty neat little MMRS.

It used to be that when Bush said jump, Republicans at all levels said: how high. But that was then. Now when the President says jump, apparently, Republicans at all levels say: you’re high.

And VDB is absolutely loving it.

So, yes, this week’s MMRS ultimately went to the New York Times, but an organization with a tiny fraction of the budget ran all but neck-and-neck.

BurlingtonPol.com, written by Burlingtonian Haik Bedrosian, ran a highly detailed and amusing post this morning on an event with Progressive Mayoral candidate Bob Kiss: “Kid Friendly Breakfast with Bob Kiss.” Haik’s coverage of the campaign has been sharp in general, but this piece is choice.

The highlights? In a pinch, Haik is driven to taking notes with crayons. And this bit near the end:

“Just when it seemed the dealy-o was going to wrap up without any surprises, my wife’s friend Autumn asked Bob how his platform differed from [Democratic candidate] Hinda Miller’s. ‘Oooh,’ I thought. ‘This ought to be interesting.’

“And it was. Because for an answer Kiss repackaged the litany of experiences he would bring to the corner office, while failing to enumerate any differences between his platform and Hinda’s.

You can read the whole enchilada at the link. Interesting stuff, regardless of your political stripe.