1.17.2010

Jim Douglas waves good-bye

"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these:
'It might have been!'"


(Image from the 2008 Waterbury Independence Day parade.)

In 2008, I wrote a blog post recounting a Vermont gubernatorial debate -- "I think that Jim Douglas is glib... feckless and cowardly and has not taken hard stands on difficult problems."

I don't think that this sentence is anything to be proud of. "Feckless" -- perhaps -- but "cowardly" -- I don't think this is an appropriate word to describe the governor. It should be redacted, but oh well, once words are anonymously launched into the blogosphere, it's hard to pull them back. Perhaps my only consolation will be (as I have noted) that I write a remarkably non-influential blog.

But, if "cowardly" wasn't the right word, it doesn't follow that I think that Jim Douglas was a profile in political courage. In an act that symbolized his rather negative legacy to the state, the governor recently pushed the detonator button to blow up the decrepit Champlain Bridge.

Governor Douglas used is his preoccupation with not raising taxes to not push for investments in infrastructure that will prove costly to Vermonters in the future. This isn't an abstract, time-out-of-mind problem -- it is something I can think about every time I drive to work on the shattered pavement of Vermont Route 100.

When it comes to the dismal fiscal condition of the state, however, I think Jim Douglas will be able to walk away from a mess and say "I told you so." I followed the antics of the state legislature in overriding the governor's veto of the current state budget. The arguments his opponents put forth are not persuasive and are intellectually dishonest.

Vermont does not lead the way economically in anything, yet 'progressive' factions have constructed a (relatively speaking) vast edifice of state programs. Now the money is gone and new solutions must be found, I'm far from confident that the current cast of characters will face facts and deal with the situation in a rational and equitable way.

There is a generally persuasive description of the Vermont labor market here....

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