Planned Obsolescence

Following the hard-fought Democratic primary, newly elected Governor Peter Shumlin shrewdly defused (and diffused?) his key Democratic rivals by offering them cabinet posts overseeing the most challenging departments of state government.  

To Deb Markowitz, he offered the Agency of Natural Resources; and to his most successful rival, who came within a hair of winning, he offered the Gorgon of them all, Health and Human Services.

How could Doug Racine have possibly resisted the temptation to take the reigns of the agency that, at least in theory, could bring all of his priorities to fruition?  

Of course his stewardship was doomed to failure from the start; and that was the genius of Shumlin’s appointment.

Not only did Racine step into this complex suite of agencies at the very moment when austerity measures closed the tap on its already limited resources; but as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Racine was in line to be the principle scapegoat for all the blame that would inevitably accompany the rollout of Shummy Care.

It was always in the cards, even before Hurricane Irene made matters worse.  Doug Racine was to be permanently neutralized as a rival for Shumlin’s future ambitions.

It was always in the cards. The only question was when it would all blow up and how far the shrapnel would travel.

I keep reading that Racine has barely been heard from since taking on Health and Human Services.  Could that have had something to do with the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?”  

I suspect there are volumes of meaning in that silence; but Racine is a good Democrat and a generally nice guy, so we won’t hear it from him.

His “boss” wouldn’t hear of a tax increase on the wealthy to enable HHS to do a proper job of dealing with the growing pool of need in Vermont; but Racine had accepted the thankless job of helmsman on the Titanic, and it was his job to make the best of things until it was time to go down with the ship.

Do I detect a hint of sulphur in the air?  

Cue orchestra. (Curtain.)

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

6 thoughts on “Planned Obsolescence

  1. If ever there was a time for Democrats to join with Progs and get a nominal tax increase passed for the wealthiest Vermonters, you think it would be now, with Dem super majorities and a Dem Governor cruising to re-election.

    Nope. Uh uh.. Not going to do it…

    Can someone please find that group of 100+ Vermont millionaires who sent a letter to the Governor during the recession, indicating they wanted to do more. They need to hit resend.    

  2. Any guess how soon until the “rich will flea Vermont if we raise taxes” BS surfaces? Maybe someone already hauled it out of storage and I missed it.

  3. Not sure that anything else needs to be said.    Seems almost like the award of the post primary and election fruit was based upon the primary vote getters.  

    Correct!! The writing was on the wall and several individuals said so when the plan was implemented.  Call in the “keep your friends close and your challengers closer” squad.  

    If indeed the Democrats had some fortitude we would have been talking a more equitable tax assessment structure a while ago.   Don’t expect the trust fund babies and millionaires to step up.   And don’t be surprised where you find them sitting.  

  4. His “boss” wouldn’t hear of a tax increase on the wealthy to enable HHS to do a proper job of dealing with the growing pool of need in Vermont

    Yes, and you make me weep, and wonder what it means to be a Democrat.

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