November 20th, 2007

Lt. Governor Brian Dubie Shrugs Into Action With Dynamic New Red Cross Radio Spot

by Philip Baruth

You wouldn’t exactly call Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie the hardest working man in Vermont politics. And yet he’s done all right in life. As a tall man, often in a well-pressed uniform of one sort or another, he is easily mistaken for an action-figure, and for many voters that’s more than enough.

Dubie, hard at work

You know you’ve hit the sweet spot when your Wikipedia entry notes your “laid back approach to campaigning,” and yet you manage consistently to shrug your way to re-election.

If the Douglas recipe for re-election is elementary (tough talk on drugs and taxes), the Dubie recipe can’t even properly be called a recipe at all, because it contains only a single basic ingredient: Brian in uniform, served up as late in the campaign season as possible.

Garnish with 9/11, and serve.

Who could forget the harrowing two-week deployment to Iraq during Dubie’s last campaign, news of which was held to compete with the news of Dunne’s big win over Tracy in the Democratic primary?

And sure enough, like clockwork, Dubie’s at it again: He’s starring in a pretty convenient Red Cross commercial, a radio spot that opens with a modest reference to Dubie’s yeoman’s work on the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The pressing reason for the spot? To urge all listeners to “create an emergency plan” in their own homes.

How long, Lord, how long? How long before 9/11 is allowed to rest in peace, rather than being pressed into service by every sweaty-palmed down-ballot Republican from Boise to Bangor?

How long before we drop this odd phrase “Homeland Security” altogether, which sounds like something lifted straight from World War II propaganda — propaganda aired by the losers, not the winners?

And how long before we set some sort of decent standards limiting public service announcements that double as campaign spots for nervous incumbents?

The rule could be a simple one: for every heroic Red Cross spot, or empathetic spot linked to cancer, the sitting incumbent must do a matching campaign spot for irritable bowel syndrome or hemorrhoids or erectile dysfunction.

These people can’t continue to pick their causes, and the timing of their public service spots. If they’re going to get involved, then VDB wants them flogging the bad and the ugly as well as the good.

And we want it 24/7/52.