DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- People always say that Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas is a nice man. But he has character as well as policy failings which we can no longer afford to overlook. Douglas's tenure has been disastrous.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons why:
Today all we hear about is energy, energy, energy.
Catch-phrases like "reliance on foreign oil" have even made it into
the mealy mouth of our boy-king president. But Vermont had the
opportunity to control its own energy destiny in a big, big way when
the hydro plants on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers came up for
sale - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that anyone with a brain in
his head would have recognized. But that description leaves out our
governor, who made sure that all local and state efforts to buy the
dams failed. After all, he's a Republican who worships the religion
of the free market, no matter what kind of economic rat hole it's
pushed us into.
Our decaying nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee. Kissing owner's Entergy's ring - there's that pesky free market theology again - may satisfy Douglas, but we've seen two cooling towers become distressed in the past year. For a long time, I've believed (as
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Speaker of the House
Gaye Symington says) that if the plant could receive and pass a
thorough inspection, it might remain in business. After the second
cooling tower incident, I think the plant, no matter how well it's
run, must be closed now. Douglas's refusal to allow the Legislature's
inspection team to inspect just makes it even more clear whose pocket
And Douglas won't support wind energy, even when Vermont has wind, a reputation for advanced green thinking, and is home to one of the world's leading suppliers of wind technology.
Douglas may be a nice guy and a funny guy, but he's the one who brought the whole Lee Attwater/Roger Ailes/Karl Rove school
of political campaigning to Vermont. OK, politics ain't beanbag
(whatever that means), but it used to be civil here. It used to be
about debates, ideas and character. Now it's about endless spin,
negative opposition research and dirty tricks. And Douglas's videoing
of his opponents in order to catch them making gaffes that he can
capitalize on? It just makes me sick. Under Douglas and his attack
dogs, we've moved very far away from Vermont values.
Speaking of dirty tricks, there's the closing of the farming, community garden and composting center CALLED Intervale in So.
Burlington, which suspiciously used to employ Symington. There's the
cutting of the state workforce "to save Vermonters' money" after
giving his own people big bonuses. And why in hell's name does he
need a communications director in every department?
Douglas is a friend and supporter of George W. Bush. He's had least two sleepovers at the White House. He supported both of Bush's wars of choice. In other words, he's a really bad judge of character as well as being way behind the curve in awareness - when
it came to protesting the Iraq war, we Vermonters (including our
entire Congressional delegation) were out in front in protesting
while our governor was still smiling and shaking Bush's hand.
The whole "Vermont is bad for business" thing. Douglas says it over and over. He doesn't get it that entrepreneurs are
thriving here. As Janice Shade of Richmond, who is about to introduce
a low-priced natural soap into the national consciousness, remarked
to me a few weeks ago, "Aren't 100 companies with 30 employees just
as good as one company with 30,000 employees?" Not to Jim Douglas.
He's stuck in the past. It's IBM or nothing. And then, on his watch,
he lets IBM get away! Is this man even awake at the wheel?
Act 250. The reason Vermont is still Vermont and not New Jersey is Act 250, the state's pro-conservation environmental law. Former governor Howard Dean tried to dismantle it, and Douglas
continues the bloodletting. He's acting on behalf of his wealthy
contributors. He doesn't care about those of us who want to keep the
state green and lovely (but with windmills).
"It's never my fault." Douglas has a way of deflecting blame when something doesn't happen and grabbing the credit whenever it does - even if it's the Legislature's idea. Example? The Legislature was driving toward a universal health care back in 2006, when Douglas forced it into a box. They had to approve a plan that was no way near universal, or health care, or coverage. And then Douglas ended up in AARP Magazine being praised as a health care innovator. It reminds me of the old saying, "The rooster's crowing like he made the sun come up."
Remember the time he was shilling for Wall Street and tried to sell us on selling the state lottery, even though the
numbers he used had no basis in reality?
I could go on, but those are my Top 10. Thanks to Jim, no
health insurance. Thanks to Jim, no energy policy. Thanks to Jim, no
dams. Thanks to Jim, Vermont Yankee will stay open for another 20
years. Thanks to Jim, his friends will be rewarded while the rest of
us get screwed. The more you look at it, the more he richly deserves
his nickname - Gov. Does-less.
It's definitely time for Vermonters to wake up and vote
Douglas out of office. Who should replace him? Stay tuned.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less,"
is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at
Copyright 2014 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.