Vermont Republicans seem to be elated by the surprisingly strong showing of their gubernatorial candidate, Scott Milne, but in the light of an unseasonably warm day, they must be thinking of what might have been.
A year ago, maybe more–I know that it was before the whole world knew that Chris Christie was the kind of guy who would cause massive traffic jams just to get even with his enemies–a friend and I were talking about a bold move that had the potential to pay off big for both Phil Scott and Chris Christie.
Here's the way the plan would work: Phil Scott sits down with Chris Christie, the head of the Republican Governors' Association, and gets Christie to funnel megabucks into a Scott run for governor. The up side for both of them is clear: Scott, universally recognized as a nice guy, capitalizes on Shumlin's vulnerabilities and wins before it's his turn. Christie's a kingmaker, if on a small stage, and shows Republican primary voters across the country that he can deliver, and that a conservative, socially moderate governor can win a tough election. As I say, a big win for both Scott and Christie.
Of course, it didn't happen. Scott is temperamentally averse to bold moves, and he coasted to an easy win in his reelection bid. Christie was not much of a player in Vermont, and election results across the country showed that every Republican who won a governor's race was the most vicious and extreme of right-wingers.
Meanwhile, the actual Republican nominee was the only guy who didn't have the presence of mind to take two steps back when they asked for volunteers, and he did better than anyone expected.
But if Scott had been the nominee he would have won.