Whoever wins the Democratic primary for attorney general will face wealthy businessman and Republican (long-shot) candidate Jack McMullen. Famously, McMullen lost the Republican senate primary race to Fred Tuttle in 1998 and an actual senate race in 2004. In 1998 Tunbridge farmer Fred Tuttle mocked McMullen’s lack of knowledge about local place names and cow anatomy. The thing was Tuttle hardly had to actually do anything special, McMullen’s humorless sense of entitlement to a US Senate seat from Vermont shined through. It was there for all to see with or without “Tuttling”. Judging from an interview in Vtdigger.com it seems he may have missed the lesson and just wants it all forgotten.
McMullen recalls 1998:“A good laugh was had at the time.” He continues,
“What better human interest story than a recent full-time arrival – Harvard educated – versus a lifelong farmer Vermonter dropout from high school.”
It wasn’t just a human interest story or about teats or how to say Calais, but about his failure to skillfully address the carpetbagger issue.
If McMullen understood how this issue may linger he might have said something different along these lines: “We did have good laugh back then, at my expense, but in the past 16 years I have grown to feel Vermont is truly my home, although I’ll never be a natural Vermonter as Fred Tuttle was. I still hope to serve my adopted state.” [No reason not to lay it on thick!] He did nothing of the sort, but briefly notes that he now knows how to say “Calais” and how many teats a cow has. “Ha, ha harrumph …yup all behind me now …quite a colorful local character that Fred Tuttle”…subject changed, he pivots awkwardly to hit Sorrell/Donovan on a couple issues.
Surprisingly McMullen does kind of channel the spirit of Calvin Coolidge’s tight lipped style when responding about his familiarity with legal issues and why he never became a member of the Vermont bar. “I was busy”, says Jack McMullen.
“I’m not a member in Vermont because when I came here it required an apprenticeship and I was busy…”
Although he has a law degree from Harvard, McMullen is not an attorney here in Vermont and doesn’t have to be for the AG office.