Recent days have brought a series of journalistic head-scratchers to the pages of Vermont’s Largest Newspaper. As the Legislative session roars toward the finish line with several meaty issues unresolved, the Freeploid has been trolling the backwaters of Vermont politics.
Last week, we saw a very friendly profile of Darcie “Hack” Johnston, whose current engagement involves a Republican gubernatorial candidate on the other end of the continent. Yesterday came a front-page exploration of the question nobody is asking: “Is Emily Peyton the new face of Vermont’s GOP?”
Yes, perpetual fringe candidate Emily Peyton. For the time being, she is the only declared Republican candidate for Governor; but she has absolutely zero chance of becoming “the new face of Vermont’s GOP.”
And today we find a mercifully brief take on the Liberty Union Party, emphasizing the advancing age and frail health of the perpetual fringe organization that lucked into a guaranteed ballot spot this year thanks to the Republicans’ (and Progs’) failure to nominate a candidate for Secretary of State. (The LU’s Mary Alice Herbert garnered 13% of the vote as the only ballot-listed opponent to Jim Condos.)
Not to downgrade the honest efforts of Peyton, Diamondstone, et al., but they are basically irrelevant in any serious discussion of Vermont politics. I don’t mind paying them a token amount of attention… but why, oh why now? This is the kind of stuff you save for a slow day in midsummer, not during the final fortnight of the Legislature.
And even if the Freeploid’s editors think their readers are uninterested in the miniutiae of legislation, there is important stuff happening in our politics. Like the possible candidacy of Bruce Lisman for Governor. And the possible candidacy of Heidi Scheuermann; she has said she will announce her plans this week. And the drive by Democrat John Bauer to gain public financing for his campaign for Lieutenant Governor, which could actually make him competitive with Phil Scott.
I fear that the Freeploid’s wandering eye is a portent of an eventual downsizing of its political bureau, which already lost Candace Page to (a very active) retirement. If the ‘Loid’s leadership doesn’t believe they needs two reporters at the State House when the action is fast and furious, how much longer until they decide they don’t need two State House reporters at all?