And the point is? | Freyne Land
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Friday, February 22, 2008

And the point is?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 9:28 PM

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Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington's Friday "brown-bagger" with the Statehouse press is now being dubbed her "weekly press discussion."

I was the only one who ever brought a sandwich in a brown bag - to the first one, a few years back. One cannot, however, take notes with food in between one's paws. Gaye kept calling it a "brown-bagger," but no one ever brought food again. After all, it's her chance to counter the Guv's weekly presser, usually held on Thursdays.

Today's gathering in Speaker Gaye's office (a gathering Ch. 3, Ch. 5 and The Associated Press blew off), started 10 minutes late. In fact, with both Gov. Scissorhands and Lite-Gov Doobie-Doo out of state, Ol' Gaye was acting-governor!

When it was over, we were left wondering why she had bothered to call it in the first place. What was the Democratic Speaker of House's message?

Politics, mes amis, is a battle of messages. He/she who has the winning message ends up in power.

Despite his Republican jersey, Jim Douglas has had the winning message in Montpelier since taking office in 2003.

And despite their currently significantly superior numbers under the Golden Dome, Democrats have still been unable to deliver on the core issues they told Vermont voters were their priorities: major healthcare policy reform, serious climate-change legislation and major campaign-finance reform.

If the Democratic Speaker had a message today that she wanted to get out to the Vermont public through the Statehouse press, quite frankly it escaped us. So as the press ran out of questions and the Speaker ran out of anything she wanted to say,  yours truly tossed up the old softball, asking Madame Speaker if there, in fact,  was a particular message she wanted to get out to Vermont voters through today's press gathering?

Symington replied:

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"The message that I began with was we’re beginning to write the budget and our priorities in the budget are not to put additional pressure on property taxes, not to put additional, shifting cost onto healthcare premiums for Vermonters, and to focus on the barriers and challenges that both our employers are facing and that Vermonters are facing in terms of being able to get to work and hold work and, you know, be reliable employees and that’s housing and transportation and child care and that we have tough budget choices ahead of us, but those are our priorities."

Wouldn't you agree that until Vermont Democrats can articulate a "message" more clearly and crisply and concisely, [i.e. get to the point!], Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' hold on power is quite secure?

P.S. Anybody see/hear Tony the Prog this week?

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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.

More by Peter Freyne


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