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Friday, October 20, 2006

Bernie Sanders
Crisis Management Friday

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 11:31 AM

*Updated" 12:40 p.m. re: Ol' Bernardo

It’s a cold, dark and damp morning in dreary Burlington, Vermont. The above shot was taken yesterday in Burlington's Lakeside neighborhood.  Ol' Ben, a retired French-Canadian gentleman who puts in the hours on that front porch - but is photo shy -  was telling me stories about the old days. The cotton-mill days of the 1930s and 1940s. And even about the time former Gov. Phil Hoff hit town. It was back around 1960.

"He came from Massachusetts," said Ben. And he lost his first race for alderman, he remembered. Won the second won for governor, though, and the rest is history. Ben also told me something I never knew about Phil - he was a champion arm-wrestler. Ben recalled watching Philsie, the Massachusetts transplant and Democratic lawyer, kick-butt, er, kick-elbow anyway,  in arm-wrestling contests held in the building behind the telephone pole on the corner. Used to be a private social club back then, said Ben. It's a residence today, just south of the currrent St. John's Club.

Not much on the news docket today- I’m avoiding the murder case - and I had a Friday plan: a little blogging and a little laundry.

No can do. It’s 7:45 a.m and this Internet baby - the one we take for granted everyday - ain’t working.

Call Adelphia. Get a service rep in Kansas. Have trouble understanding her pronunciation, but I stay calm and patient. I realized long ago in these tech calls that staying cool is key. However, it sounds like we’re looking at two different screens on two different planets! She checks to see that I’m getting a signal - I am. But then she leads me down paths and has me open screens I’ve never seen before and they all dead enders. After 25 minutes, she offers to connect me to Apple for their customer service assistance. Not a good sign, eh?

Plus,  Apple’s on the west coast and does not open until 9 a.m. Eastern. It’s only 8:30.

My horoscope  said something about challenges today so I was on-guard to prevent anything from knocking me off-balance. No big deal, who needs the fricken Internet anyway?

Blogs are for buttheads, right?

And I did fine for decades reading newspapers that were actually printed on paper. Thank you very much.

Horrifying thoughts they are, however, in the 21st Century take-it-all-for-granted, high-tech, wireless world, eh?

So let’s mellow out a little and post a nice Burlington, Vermont picture. Hey recognize these two babyboomers?  Community leaders. I caught them Thursday afternoon about 2:15 scooting across Church Strreet to get coffee.  The one with the white shirt and tie is Chief Adminstrative Officer Jonathan Leopold. And on his right is.......c'mon, guess!

....the Progressive mayor of the largest city in the state of Vermont - Bob Kiss. And we had a nice chat on a number of topics including why the Democrats in this state haven’t won the governor’s race since 2000. Any thoughts out there on that, folks? Citizens in the other 49 states actually think we're a left-wing state.

I called Adelphia again. This time the customer service rep was in Louisiana. “Mikaela” - what a lovely name - sounded like she knew what she was doing right from the start.

The first thing she told me to do was disconnect the modem and turn off my Mac.

Why didn’t the first service rep in Kansas say that?

Funny thing happened when I reconnected and restarted - it worked!

Knowing my Internet doctor was in Lousianna made me think of Hurricane Katrina and the Bush administration’s pathetic and embarassing response. And the feeling rose within that things are going to change bigtime in Washington, D.C. after the votes are counted in the November 7 congressional elections.

I thanked Mikeala profusely and expresssed the wish that they’ll be some pay-back for Georgie Porgie and his cast of losers.   

“Oh, I hope so,” said Mikaela.

Amen, sister.

So, we’re a couple hours behind but we are back online. Blogwise, I’d planned to get into the brilliant back-and-forth at yesterday’s gubernatorial debate held at the Renewable Energy Vermont conference/convention. Enemy territory for Small-Scale-Wind-Only Jim, but he escaped unscathed.

How'd he do that?




Lunchtime and here's a tasty, well-written morsel courtesy of the editorial page of today's Bratttleboro Reformer:

Many things can be said of Richard Tarrant's campaign for the U.S. Senate, but one thing is glaringly obvious -- he underestimated what Vermonters know about Bernard Sanders.

No shit, huh?

Sanders has been on the state's political scene since the 1970s. As a former mayor of Burlington for eight years and an eight-term member of the U.S. House, his record of accomplishment is known to all. He listens to his constituents, and his honesty and integrity is unquestioned.

Bernie Sanders did it the old fashioned way, folks - he earned it. I happened to be getting paid to watch. Lucky me.

When Tarrant began a barrage of ads in late August -- ads that portray Sanders as a coddler of pedophiles, drug dealers and rapists -- he succeeded in alienating voters of every political stripe.

Tarrant's ads, which took a few of Sanders' thousands of votes in Congress out of context, represented a new low in dishonesty and mudslinging in Vermont politics. For all of Tarrant's talk about being "a true independent in the Vermont tradition," his campaign tactics were straight out of Karl Rove's playbook.

"Pathetic" would be the proper description.

For Tarrant to suggest that Vermonters don't know Sanders or his record is disingenuous, bordering on dishonest. We know Bernard Sanders, and as we have many times over the years, the Reformer endorses him. We believe Sanders will make an excellent senator, and together with Patrick Leahy, will give Vermont a formidable presence in the U.S. Senate.

Amen. Read the whole Reformer editorial!

You know, old-timers wil remember that Bernie and I used to go at it pretty good during his mayoral phase in the 1980s. Someone had to teach the screaming leftist-radical taking his first successful baby steps in the world of American electoral politics  that, under the rules of this democracy game, the mayor does not determine what questions are kosher at a press conference.

The press does.

The mayor can only control the answers.

"That is not the topic of today's press conference" just doesn't cut it, Mayor!

To say Bernie was "rough-around-the-edges" in 1981 when he shocked himself and the entire world by sliding into the mayor's office on a 10-vote miracle "cushion," would be an enormous understatement. Since I'd spent 1974 to the fall of '79 living a nightime-cabbie's life in Chicago, screaming loudmouths were not intimidating. Au contraire, I was right at home.

Ah, the good old days.

Took a couple years, but he learned.

Now he's a freakin' statesman!

You know, C-SPAN's ratings will jump.

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

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.

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