First Duck Quacks | Freyne Land
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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

First Duck Quacks

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2006 at 10:58 AM

Just heard it -  the first aerial quaking of the season by flocking ducks getting ready to head south.

And earlier there was lots of political quacking on WVMT’s “Charlie & Ernie Show” with a 7-8 A.M.  in-studio, head-to-head, bill-to-bill debate between Mad Dog Jim Barnett (GOP) and Bill Lofy (Democrat).

Four years ago,  Barnett was the fiery young opposition researcher and attack dog serving on State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Jim Douglas’ talented campaign team. (Neale Lunderville was the campaign manager.)

Fast forward to the present. Mad Dog is the salaried chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. Mr. Barnett turned 30 a couple weeks ago. Happy birthday, James!

Mr. Lunderville, the Boy Wonder, worked on the governor’s Fifth Floor staff until this spring. He briefly took a job with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals out of Boston (yes, the Viagra manufacturer). But Sec. Dawn Terrill's sudden departure over at AOT quickly brought the Boy Wonder home to Vermont to fill  the important hole. Lunderville is our state’s current Secretary of Transportation at 32. ( Hey, you can drive at 16, right?)

OK. Who is Bill Lofy?

Whoever he is, that’s the best performance I’ve caught by a Democrat in a radio cockfight with Mad Dog Barnett....ever!

So, who the hell is Bill Lofy?

Well, Bill was a friend and confidante of  U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. He worked on Wellstone’s staff for six years. Wellstone died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002 along with his wife, one child, two pilots and three campaign staffers.

In 2003, Bill went to work for as communications director for Wellstone Action. Lofy wrote and in 2005 published Paul Wellstone: The Life of a Passionate Progressive. But guess what?

Vermont is where he’s always wanted to live. His wife went to UVM. (Besides, I spent three winters in Minnesota in the early 1970s - it’s too damn flat!)

Bill popped up on the Vermont political scene last January as a part-time communications consultant for House Speaker Gaye Symington. Gaye was frustrated her message wasn’t getting out. So she organized a political action committee, raised the bucks and hired Lofy!

Today he’s running the coordinated campaign for the Vermont Democratic Party. Bright guy and it showed against Mad Dog in Mr. Lofy’s inaugural appearance on “Charlie & Ernie” this morning.

Hey, who in the Vermont press has paid heed sooner and shown more respect for Young Barnett’s talent than yours truly? A master at opposition research and a brutal debater - no one changes subjects faster when cornered - Mad Dog is one key reason the party of Bush-Cheney holds three top jobs in DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s home state: governor, lieutenant governor and state auditor. Does Karl Rove somehow not know this?

Meanwhile, the rest of America thinks of Vermont as the most left-wing, anti-Republican state in the nation.

Interesting.

We look forward to the Barnett v. Lofy rematch!

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*Update*

Lunchtime, Wednesday ! And I just updated the Tuesday Rummy item below.

St. Patrick's remarks on the U.S. Senate floor last night are worth a little read.

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**Update**

After reading today's “Inside Track” item on the Democratic Lite-Gov Primary, State Rep. Harry Monti of Barre just called to point out the fact his name is posted as a supporter on both Matt Dunne and John Patrick Tracy’s websites!

“I don’t know why [Dunne] has my name down,” said Rep. Monti. Harry made it perfectlty clear over the phone he supports Tracy, not Dunne, in the Democratic Primary.

On Dunne’s website, we found 40 Democratic House members listed as supporters.

On Tracy’s website, we counted 35. Hadn’t noticed the duplicates. Bummer.

Also posted as supporters on both Tracy and Dunne’s campaigns are the names of State Rep. Kathie Keenan, State Rep. Richard Howrigan, State Rep. Alice Nitka, State Rep. Linda Martin, State Rep. Helen Head, State Rep. Tim Jerman, State Rep. Al Perry and State Rep. Ken Atkins.

Interesting.

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Bio:
Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne

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