October 23rd, 2006

It’s Downsize Dubie Week At VDB!

by Philip Baruth

That’s right, campers — it’s Downsize Dubie Week here at VDB. We’ll be keeping an ear to the ground for noteworthy tips on the state of the Lieutenant Governor’s race, and passing that chatter directly on to you.
Dubie, fondling fish

This along with probing, award-winning bits of photo-journalism, like this disturbing image of Dubie choking a big fish.

As the photo indicates, Dubie’s is a demanding interpretation of the Lieutenant Governor’s official duties, but then Brian has never been one to shirk.

Actually, as you know, Dubie has made missing candidate debates the hallmark of his 2006 campaign. Word comes that he missed his third — an event in Craftsbury, and the only one scheduled for the Northeast Kingdom — just last night.

What campaigning Dubie has done has come in the form of controlled speaking engagements before friendly audiences, like an event this past Friday at UVM, where Dubie spoke on “Engineers and Public Policy.”

Of course, even in a controlled environment, Dubie tends to stray off task. VDB-reader Justin was at the Friday event, and he writes in with odd tidings:

“The highlight was his closing. Closely quoted, but not definitely exact, “As you know, I’m a pilot. I like to fly with women. They have a soft touch on the controls.” Most of us sat slack-jawed. This is not out of context, there was no context. I think he was trying to encourage women in engineering, but he really went around the point, not to it. It was worth the time.”

Passed on to you without comment.

Except for the piece below, of course.


Thus Spake Brian:
The Pretty Darn Timeless Wisdom
of Dubie-Wan Kenobi

Perhaps no one in Vermont has benefited more from the Bush administration’s post-9/11 military posturing than Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie.

Like Bush, Dubie is very fond of citing his experience at Ground Zero; like Bush, Dubie has cultivated a quasi-military air whenever possible. If you go to Dubie’s official state website, you start to feel a bit like you’ve stumbled into a uniform supply warehouse — jet pilot uniforms, commercial pilot uniforms, blue power-suits, all draped over the same blandly inoffensive model.

And where does all of this military posturing finally culminate?

In Dubie’s recent two-week “mission to Iraq”: an ordinary fact-finding tour dressed up in military lingo and kept secret by his staff until Primary night, when the story could draw attention from Matt Dunne’s impressive win over John Tracy.

But the similarities to Bush don’t end there. Both men are far more conservative than the majority of their constituents understand; both are generally acknowledged to be at least one (if not two) McNuggets shy of a Happy Meal.

And of course both have a reputation for avoiding hard work. In Dubie’s “Lieutenant Governor’s Log Book: A Record of Success,” he modestly describes his early efforts to dubify government at the local level. When school board duties proved burdensome, Dubie snapped into action:

The next year, the board elected me to be the chair. One of the first things I did was reduce the meeting schedule down to 17 in my first year as chair. The results were dramatic (p. 70).

Indeed. The results were dramatic: Dubie learned that this government stuff wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed, provided you could slide into an executive slot and reduce the work load down to a level that would let a guy keep his plane in the air.

Dubie, hard at work

Finally, both Bush and Dubie are drawn to sunny, empty sound-bites that tend to come unbitten in their mouths.

Bush used to wax lyrical about that special place “where wings take dream.” Dubie, for his part, prefers to mangle the wisdom of the East. Again, from Dubie’s “Log Book,” under the heading “A Green Valley for Vermont’s Future”:

In China there’s an expression, “Same bed, different dreams. Same bed, same dreams.” It’s about the difference between conflict and harmony.

Vermonters all share one bed, and its name is Vermont. Leadership is about aligning our dreams — for our own future, our children’s future, and the world’s.

So let’s create a Green Valley, surrounded by Green Mountains, with blue water and clean skies (p. 28).

Now if you look at this Chinese proverb, you notice something strange immediately: it seems to say one thing, and then its exact opposite. Are the Chinese paradoxical in some mystic way that Westerners cannot fully understand?

No. Dubie and his people bollixed up the proverb.

As far as VDB has been able to determine, the Chinese saying is limited to “same bed, different dreams.” And it describes a situation not unlike a couple who have grown apart — still sleeping uneasily together, but with their minds and desires separated by a widening distance. The phrase has been used to describe the China/Taiwan situation, for instance, as well as China’s role in the six-party talks over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

In short, the saying describes a somewhat tense situation in which people struggle at cross-purposes, sometimes violently.

But that proverbial truth would be at cross-purposes with Dubie’s happy-talk brochure, and so Dubie’s ghost writers boldly fabricated a happy ending: “Same bed, same dreams.”

Of course, what they produced seems to make no sense of any kind.

But fortunately, Dubie’s writers included a brief yet profound snippet of commentary: “It’s about the difference between conflict and harmony.”

Now, skeptics might point out that every proverb, parable, saying, story, sentence or noun finally comments in one way or another on “the difference between conflict and harmony.”

But VDB is no longer skeptical. No, after reading “Log Book: A Record of Success,” we see the Dubie vision-thing, finally. And what a vision-thing is Dubie’s.

Clear your mind, and let us lead you to the light.

To begin, “same bed, different dreams” is bad (conflict), but it’s at least Chinese, which sounds good in a campaign brochure. “Same bed, same dreams” is good (harmony), which, even if it is entirely fabricated, was entirely fabricated right here in Vermont, providing jobs for fabricators.

It goes without saying that the key here is moving from “bad” to “good,” a task made tougher by the fact that we’re all, you know, sleeping together — you, me, your wife, the population of Thetford, in one huge bed “named Vermont.” And anyone with experience of even a limited sort of swapping arrangement — ménage a trois or quatre or even vingt — will tell you that the possibilities for tension are unlimited.

So how to move from “bad” to “good” when we’re all sleeping together in this one massive bed? Answer: Dubie climbs in with us, and leads us to “harmony” — in bed. That’s what “Leadership is about,” apparently.

“Do you share my vision for our state?” Dubie asks on his website, and then suavely answers, “I thought so.”

Thus spake the visionary. Thus spake a Lieutenant Governor on a spiritual plane far higher than campaign debates or 9-5 work weeks. Thus spake Dubie-Wan Kenobi.

Truly is VDB unworthy.

[This piece ran first in the Vermont Guardian.]