Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Definite Candidate for Wimp of the Year Award: Vermont Governor Jim Douglas

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas has jumped ahead of the pack in the race for the "Wimp of the Year" award. Douglas surpassed the competition as a result of his lack of courage on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Currently, Vermont recognizes civil unions, but the state Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this week. The House will consider the measure later this week, and most reports indicate that the proposal will likely receive enough votes.

Douglas, however, has threatened to veto any measure that legalizes same-sex marriage. His spokesperson explained the governor's strained position:

Governor Douglas agrees with President Obama that marriage is between a man and a woman. He supports Vermont's current civil union law, which provides equal rights, benefits, and responsibilities to Vermonters in civil unions," said the governor's spokeswoman, Dennise Casey.

The governor "believes this bill is a distraction from the important work the legislature needs to do to pass a responsible budget and get our economy going again," Casey added.
This is an utterly wimpy argument. Douglas is a wimp because he chose to hide behind President Obama rather than articulating his own independent argument on the subject. Douglas is also a wimp because he chose to hide behind the economy in order to justify his position -- as if balancing the budget can excuse discrimination. Douglas' has made one of the most pathetic political arguments I have seen all year. Accordingly, Douglas is a strong contender for Wimp of the Year. Congratulations, Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont!

Why Aren't These Things "Distracting"?
Here are some of the other things that Governor Douglas has done (or has planned for this year) that have not caused economic collapse in Vermont.

Vermont Quarter to get a Makeover: "Governor Jim Douglas has nominated Vermont’s 150 miles of the Appalachian Trail to replace the scene of Camel’s Hump and sap buckets as part of the U.S. Mint’s new America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Program."

Public Appearance Schedule of Governor Jim Douglas:

Friday, March 27, 2009
6:00 p.m. Annual Green-Up Poster Contest Awards Banquet, Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, Montpelier

Saturday, March 28, 2009
10:00 a.m. Poultney Maple Fest Weekend Tree Tapping, Green Mountain College, Poultney

11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Tour of Sugar Houses for Maple Open House Weekend, Locations to be Announced

6:00 p.m. Vermont Trappers Association Annual Banquet, Montpelier Elks Club, Montpelier

Governor Douglas has time to hang out at a tree tapping, go on a tour of sugar houses and attend a poster contest banquet, but he thinks that debating civil rights is too distracting.

Related Reading on Dissenting Justice:

It's Official: Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Formally Announces His Intent to Veto Same-Sex Marriage Measure, If Passed


Infidel753 said...

You're obviously right about the "distraction" claim. If memory serves, the state senate vote was by a veto-proof majority. So if Douglas wants to avoid "distractions", he'd do better by signing the law rather than vetoing it and, presumably, sending it back for another vote to override the veto.

In hiding behind Obama, I think he's not so much refusing to articulate his own position as trying to shield himself against suspicions of bigotry -- "Look! I can't be a gay-basher because I'm really just taking the same position as the guy we all agree is above criticism takes!" Mindless followership instead of articulating an argument is more what the foaming-at-the-mouth right-wingers do -- "I'm against this because the Bible says I'm supposed to hate fags, and that's good enough for me!" Douglas sound like the kind of guy who couldn't foam if his life depended on it. The saving grace of people like him is that they may eventually do the right thing, even if only out of fear of polls or ridicule. He's no leader, but he's not much of an obstacle either.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Hi. Thanks for the post. I thought the same about the "veto" issue.

Second, in trying to blunt criticism that he is a bigot, I think he is still exhibiting cowardice. If he wants to take a stand against the state legislature and GLBT people in the state, then he should do it. I agree that some people believe that Obama is above criticism, but this man is the governor of the "Live Free or Die" state!

Another reason for the comment -- Vermont is a Democratic stronghold. Obama won by a slew of votes. He is just trying to protect his own neck by appealing to the popular Democrat in a Democratic state.

Anonymous said...

Eh, Douglas has been doing this type of crap for years, and getting away with it because the Vermont press almost never reports his worst transgressions. People here desperately want to believe that the vaunted old New England moderate Republican still exists, and Douglas has been careful to cultivate that persona while always pushing the limits of what he can get away with. It doesn't help that the Democrats have run incredibly weak candidates against Douglas for as long as he's been the incumbent, and that Vermont has an obnoxious third, leftist
party that dominates Burlington (the state's most populous area) and in practice serves no purpose other than to kneecap Democrats.

Douglas has screwed up a lot this term, and I'm glad to see that even people outside of Vermont are beginning to notice what a tremendous weenie he is. (He's been conspicuously trying to kiss up to Obama as much as Lieberman kissed up to McCain, and I think it's beginning to backfire.)
The good news is that almost every viable Democrat in the state is running in 2010. Between this and Douglas's missteps this term, we might finally get rid of him next election, but I'm not holding my breath.

Also, Vermont isn't the "Live Free or Die" state. That's New Hampshire. Our motto is "Freedom and Unity", which isn't half as stupid or melodramatic.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Thanks, anonymous!

JD Ryan said...

Darren, a small correction... New Hampshire, Vermont's evil twin, is the "Live Free or Die" state. You know, the one that nominated Pat Buchanan in 1996. By the way, I posted about what you wrote here over at the state's top liberal blog, Green Mountain Daily today -


Nice job.

JD Ryan said...

Oops, I must have posted the New Hampshire correction same time as anonymous. Sorry 'bout that.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

JD and "anonymous" - I originally thought that VT's motto was something else, but I googled "Live free or Die" and pulled up a lot of Vermont articles. On closer look, they are about people who have moved from New Hampshire! Thanks for the correction. But "Freedom and Unity" suggests that governor should stand up and do better too!

And thanks for the Green Mountain Daily post.

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