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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Democrats Get Introspective

Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington is the target, er, the guest on "You Can Quote Me" at 11 this morning on WCAX-TV.

Floyd_nease Her third-in-command, House Majority Whip Floyd Nease [left] was the target, er, guest at the Democratic State Committee Meeting Saturday in the library at Montpelier High School.

One committee member wanted to know why if somebody's supposed to count votes ahead of time, Wednesday's double-barreled Democratic defeat was allowed to happen?

“You asked the right question," replied Whip Nease. "I’m the guy that counts the votes." He conceded he knew ahead of time what the votes were in both chambers on both bills: global warming and campaign finance reform.

But Nease made the pitch that, "It was an opportunity to hold Gov. Douglas accountable even if we lose the votes."

Nease pointed to the editorial in the following day's Rutland Herald. "It really did generate some press," said Nease, press that talked about Douglas in a way he hadn't been talked about before.

Yes, indeed, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Editorial Writer David Moats personally attended the Wednesday circus in Montpeculiar. Thursday's Herald editorial carried the headline: "Stymied."  And Ol' Moatsie showed his 60s-generation roots, calling Vermont's Republican governor "Dr. No."

Don't know about you, but it made me think of Sean Connery right off, showing my 60s-generation roots. Wrote Moats:


Doctor No is trying to portray himself as Doctor Sort Of. The political reality is that climate change and energy issues have significant political momentum, and Douglas could become an irrelevance unless he takes action.

The Legislature will be prepared to move ahead aggressively in January on energy and climate issues; one hopes the leadership will avoid political minefields like the one into which it tiptoed with the Yankee tax. This is a priority that will not go away.

House Speaker Gaye Symington was persuasive in her statement that climate change is a Vermont problem and that Vermont must show leadership. She also made the salient point that the two bills that went down on Wednesday —campaign finance and energy — were linked.

Big money has the power to block action in the public interest. Douglas helped preserve the prerogatives of big money through his veto of the campaign finance bill. It will be up to the Legislature in January to continue the fight to address the climate and energy issues, dragging the governor as it goes.

Dome_from_hs Nease noted that on the House Floor only one Republican stood up to defend Jim Douglas on the campaign-finance veto and that was [Burlington Rep.] Kurt Wright.

Ol' Floyd's argument that, even in defeat, the majority Democrats scored points by getting "Dr. No" on record as an opponent of reform legislation addressing campaign finance reform and  global warming didn't fly with everyone.

State Committee Member Bill Sander from Jeffersonville told the gathering Wednesday's embarassing Democratic defeat at the Statehouse - one that gave the Guv the opening to call the Democrats "big losers" - was "an exercise in exposing Gov. Douglas to folks who already knew" where Jimmy D stood on those issues.

"The guy is a fascist with a smile and it's clear to us," said Sander. In many quarters, he told the committee, Gov. Douglas "comes out looking like an effective leader and comes out with a plausible explanation if you don't look at it too carefully, and most folks don't."

Good point, eh?


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Newfane Man

What a dismal performance on WCAX this morning. Marselis Parson ripped the Speaker to shreads.

Then, the Speaker incredulously stated that she needs to become a leader. That's an understatement!


A person in a public policy position calling the Governor a fascist is totally responsible and reprehensible. Conservative, maybe. "Fascist," no. Look up the definition of fascist in the dictionary. Downgrading this important and historial word to simply refer to an conservative opponent trivilizes Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco and their mass murderous deeds. Last I checked, Douglas didn't take power by violent force and mobile the machinery of the entire state to kill other people. Sander should apologize.


sorry: "irresponsible"


Conversely, one could look to Mussolini (indisputably a fascist) for a definition for fascism. Mussolini stated that fascism should be called more properly 'corporatism', the marriage of state and corporation. Gov. Douglas certainly seems to fit in that light.

It is getting to be a rather worrisome state when the right-wing can only offer duplicitous 'nuh-uhs' when it comes to the apt comparison between the ideologies of previous fascist regimes and the ideologies driving the administration and their shrinking corpus of supporters.

The proffered defense of "well, the conservatives haven't caused a Holocaust" is a cold comfort when the rhetorical grounds the conservatives are staking down are eerily similar to the grounds from which such toxic fruit has previously sprung. A word is missing from that above defense, and it is a word which reveals why that defense is so chilling. That word is "yet".


Sorry, that's ridiculous. First, Mussolini was a fasicst, but he's not in charge of the dictionary. Nor would I accept him as a responsible authority on anything, do you? Second, Vermont is not a marriage of the state and corporation. If you believe that, you're paranoid. Vermont is the most anti-corporate controlled place in the U.S. Third, why don't you ask a Holocaust survivor if it's fair to degrade the important word fascist by using it on Douglas, ok? Fourth, you're ridiculous last paragraph is long on rhetorical flourish but short on substance. And you implicitly concede my point. You admit it's not an apt comparison "yet." Finally, it's easy to try to scare everyone by saying Vermont is not a fascist state "yet." But it doesn't change the fact that Douglas is not a fascist. So, Mr. "yet," is it your prediction that any day now Douglas will be rounding up people and killing them? When do you think that will happen, cuz I gotta know! Jesus. Get a grip. I repeat, anyone who throws around the term fascist to refer Gov. Douglas is dishonest, shameful, and totally irresponsible.

sandy ward

Vermonter you fail to understand because you are neither an addict nor a soldier. When you consider the number of people Douglas' police have rounded up for his drug war and placed in prison to die and how many Vermont soldiers that have died on the Douglas/Bush watch, I consider both fascist. So, take the blinders off Vermonter and tell us how many Vermonter's deaths it will take to make Douglas a fascist in your eyes?


Um, a strict anti-drug policy that sends people to jail for offenses YOU would consider too minor, and a stupid foreign war (that Douglas as a state-level official has little or no control over), does not make Douglas a fascist. Look up the word in the dictionary and you'll see I'm right. Stop incorrectly using a word and thereby diluting its meaning. Don't like Douglas? Then use another word for him or invent one of your own. But stop misusing a word that already exists and has a specific meaning.


The modern use of the word fascist originated with Benito Mussolini in 1919 as a label for his anti-communist right-wing organization's belief system. It derives from an Italian root "fasci" meaning group or bundle, which has been in use in Italy since the late 1800s.

As the one who chose the term to describe his political party's belief system, Mussolini is probably a better source for its true meaning than the dictionary.

So, a Governor who is a corporatist would qualify as a fascist, according the self-described fascist who first coined the term. I trust you won't dispute whether or not the Governor smiles.

sandy ward

I looked it up in the American Heritage Dictionary for you, Vermonter.

Fascism: A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dicator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism.

Oppressive or dictatorial control.

Fascist: An advocate or adherent of fascism.

What dictionary are you looking in, dude?


Webster's has a similar definition. And none of that defines the Douglas administration, "dude." Do you know what dictatorial control means? It means you wouldn't be able to express your opinions on this blog. If you can't see that, the you need to get off the reefer for a while and take some English classes.


"Vermonter" sure does get his/her panties in a twist when someone maligns the Douglas Administration. Maybe s/he is actually one of Douglas's apparatchiks. Is that you Jason Gibbs? Get back to work (or have one of your many PR hired guns get back to work for you).


So Tommy, they let people send e-mails from prison? Or are you finished your sentence on that drug rap?


Sentence complete. Book in publication. Buy it!


Seriously Vermonter - you gotta chill out, Dude. Sounds like those fascists are working you too hard on the 5th floor. Here's a definition for you to check out in Websters:

Say, anyone see Gaye Symington's new haircut on You Can Quote Me yesterday? Yowza!


I was a European History major in college and grad school. My grandfather died as a result of an injury sustained in WWII. Mussolini and Hitler, for whom the term fascist was coined, murdered millions of people. So, yes, I get very upset when I hear a fuzzy-thinking Vermont leftist loosely refer to Gov. Douglas as a fascist. Would it be okay to refer to various leftists on this blog as a stalinist -- a man who murdered millions of people supposedly in the name of communism?


Oh. You're a European History major. That explains why you are in this blog all day and not at an actual job. Would you prefer I call Douglas a monarch?


Just because I majored in European History doesn't mean I wouldn't have a job. I don't practice it. I have other gainful employment. But how nice and enlightened of you to assume that anyone who majored in liberal arts is unemployed! Shall I assume that you are unemployed, since you spent all afternoon blogging under your pot-smoking pseudonym? Howabout instead of calling Douglas "cute" names that make you feel more secure in your own left-wing politics, howabout you accurately describe him: a moderate Republican governor (certainly by U.S. political standards) and leave off the outrageous name-calling? He's not a fascist, anymore than you are a communist.


Actually, Tommy Chong quit pot quite a few years back. I like his politics, but how quickly you label Mr. Chong. You need to practice the restraint you preach to others. And I never called Douglas a "facist," so lighten up Mr. "legend in his own mind."


Bill Sander called the Governor a fascist. "Nick" then fuzzily defended Sander's word choice. Sandy Ward then enthusiastically called the Governor a fascist. You chimed in that I had my panties in a twist because I was offended by the word "fascist" being used to describe the Governor, and then added the incredibly dumb remark that European History majors must be unemployed. Did I get the chronology wrong?

Peter Joes

Yes, Douglas is not anywhere close to being a fascist. He can't be in the Vermont scheme of things. However after reviewing the definition I was surprised to notice how Douglas' favorite politician, George Bush, was moving quickly in that direction. The change in leadership in Washington has made this more difficult.

As a thought game I wondered if Bush and his merry neo-con band would have surrendered the White House had Ralph Nader won the election. Can't you just imagine how in the interests of national security they would have come up with some reason to void the election or put off the changing of the guard?

OK, OK boys and girls I know Nader had no chance. This was just a mind game. And yes, the chance of GB and company actually doing this is remote. But there was just enough of a possibility to give me pause . . . . .


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