Lisman 2.0: The greenwashing UPDATED

Please note update below; new information from the Vermont Foodbank.

Looks like Jason Gibbs has his thinkin’ cap on. The former Douglas Administration utility infielder turned political PR flack, now representin’ Bruce Lisman’s Campaign for Vermont, is presumably trying to relaunch CFV in a more convincingly nonpartisan way — following its rather disastrous 2012 debut as a stalking horse for Republican talking points.

So I sense the fine hand of “gowithgibbs” in a press release announcing CFV’s latest publicity stunt — er, display of compassion:

More than a dozen partners of the independent, non-partisan advocacy organization Campaign for Vermont met Jan. 16 at the Vermont Foodbank to volunteer and talk with human service providers about the growing demand for services, the importance of post-holiday giving and the need for a more vibrant economy where no one is left behind.

We trust it was a more productive visit than Paul Ryan’s infamous 15-minute photo opportunity at an Ohio soup kitchen, which backfired on Ryan because it was transparently phony, and backfired on the charity because some donors objected to its politicization.

The Lismaniacs did actually do some work, unloading “dozens of donated boxes of food. The use of “dozens” implies a figure between 24 and 99 boxes. With “more than a dozen” Lismaniacs on hand, that must have taken at least several minutes of hard labor.

(See note below; per Vermont Foodbank, the Lisman crew did actually do a significant amount of work.)

And then came the talking, which is what this little Potemkin set-piece was really all about.  

As Lisman explains, the poor and needy provide a useful backdrop for CFV’s vision, in which an unleashed free market brings an end to hunger and want:

“The increasing demand for the Foodbank’s services, and assistance provided by countless other organizations, is an important reminder of why we founded Campaign for Vermont.”

…”The Vermonters who will benefit most from our policy work are those who currently rely on the Foodbank and other compassionate service providers to get them through the challenges of today with hope that there will be more opportunities for them tomorrow.”

Yeah, well, unless your “policy work” has changed dramatically from the free-marketeer-inspired rhetoric of Lisman 1.0, “the Vermonters who will benefit most from our policy work” are the rich and powerful. Those are the people who benefited most from the untamed Wall Street gold rush of the last few decades; and it was in the canyons of Wall Street where Lisman made his fortune and formulated his ideas.

But hey, the visit to the Foodbank wasn’t just a one-time publicity stunt. It was the first in a series of publicity stunts, as CFV plans to hold public policy forums around the state — and will accept donations to local food pantries at each event.

How kindly. And how apropos: bring a can of beans, and get a load of CFV’s ideological beans.


UPDATE. I received the following message from John Sayles, head of the Vermont Foodbank. In light of this, I admit I was too harsh on the CFV gang; it was more than just a Paul Ryan thing. (I sitll question CFV’s viewpoint and platform.)

Bruce Lisman himself and more than a dozen people who support Campaign For Vermont did indeed come to the Vermont Foodbank and spent about 3 hours sorting 4000 pounds of grocery salvage product. It is a task that the Foodbank relies on volunteers to accomplish.  

Dozens of groups – churches, businesses, civic clubs, and groups of friends – come to our Barre and Brattleboro locations to sort hundreds of thousands of pound of salvage every year.  We thank every group and never ask their motives or political affiliation.

In fact, I would invite the bloggers of GMD to come in, bring their friends and see if they can beat the CFV total!

Thanks to John Sayles for the information. I don’t know if we’ll be able to meet his challenge; we at GMD can hardly organize our way out of a paper bag.

5 thoughts on “Lisman 2.0: The greenwashing UPDATED

  1. Whatever the motive, it is welcome and, unfortunately, necessary.

    Too bad they couldn’t park the Campaign at the door and just drop off the much needed food without comment; but ‘quid pro quo’ has a long tradition in Dickensian acts of charity.

    Proselytizing or politicking; its all pretty much the same when you have an empty belly.

  2. did not mention any funds donated or Lisman’s direct involvement, I therefore posit it likely didn’t happen. (Watch for a 6′ x 3′ Publishers Clearing House-sized check to be written & additional photo-op.) Why should he get off his dead sorry ass when continuing to pull the wool over gullible Vermonters eyes when a mere press release is sufficient? Sending his lackeys to pose for this mere photo-op is so much more efficient, plus none of the pesky press can question him directly. Very smooth & oh-so greasy.

    A slap in the face to those caring Vermonters who donate time, energy & funds every day without using it for their own selfish ends.

    With their shameless shilling for their own PAC using Vermont Foodbank as a backdrop for their self-aggrandizing ends while clearly exploiting the poor & needy these sick creeps have reached new lows. Unsurprising & nothing new.

  3. The press release is oddly worded at some key points, including whether the CFV folks actually brought any food with them, or whether they were simply doing some warehouse work:

    Working in “assembly line” fashion, the volunteers unloaded dozens of donated boxes of food and repacked the contents by categories – vegetables, pasta, desserts, etc. Their work helped the Vermont Foodbank, a central repository for donated food, prepare food for delivery to food shelfs and other outlets around the state.

    Also, for that matter, the press release wasn’t clear on whether Bruce was actually there in person or whether he just made some quotable comments for the press release.  

  4. Has not risen high enough. Our policy work to do so will surely help those Vermonters who have not yet seen this rising tide.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *