Oh noes, Skip Vallee is angry. And you wouldn’t want to see Skip Vallee when he’s angry.
The gasoline magnate, Republican moneybags and failed candidate is angry because Bernie Sanders is sticking his nose in Skippy’s profit margin. Ace reporter Paul Heintz has the deets:
The owner of nearly 40 Vermont Mobil stations has produced a 30-second political attack ad accusing Sanders of siding with “big business” to damage the state’s environment. And he’s threatening to plunk down a chunk of cash to put his ad on-air.
And by “siding with big business,” Skip means “asking questions about Vallee’s efforts to block a proposed Costco gas station in Colchester that would bring competitive pressure on the market.” But in the ad, Bernie is depicted as a corporate puppet bent on despoiling Vermont’s prostine environment:
“Leaders like Sen. Patrick Leahy have fought to provide resources to make Vermont a cleaner place. That’s why we are so disappointed with Sen. Bernie Sanders,” the narrator says as the soundtrack turns darker. “Bernie sided with a multinational, billion-dollar corporation over Vermonters – supporting development that will increase traffic and idling emissions and phosphorous runoff in Lake Champlain, leading to more algae blooms.”
Mmm-hmm, one more gas station at a bustling freeway exit will be the straw that broke Lake Champlain’s back. That’ll fly like a lead balloon: a big businessman trying to paint Bernie Sanders as a tool of big business.
Uh, Skippy, basic rule of politics: an attack ad, in order to be effective, has to reflect some measure of reality. Or at least an established stereotype of reality. Think the 2004 ad with John Kerry windsurfing, or this year’s Obama ads painting Mitt Romney as a hard-core one-percenter.
You can’t just take someone with a 30-year political record and slosh him with a completely contradictory accusation. Well, you can; you just can’t expect it to work.
Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in Vermont. If Skip believes that he can take on Bernie and hope to prevail, well, he’s seriously delusional. He needs to stop poking the bear and back slowly out of the cave.