It’s rather fun to speculate on Governor Shumlin’s reason for blurting out his endorsement of Hilary Clinton on the same day as Bernie’s announcement of his own candidacy.
Since GMD is a blog, and an irreverent one at that, we can indulge in such things while the conventional news must remain somewhat more cautious.
The governor is, of course, free to endorse whomever he wants, whenever he wants, but Vermonters can be excused for fountaining rootbeer out of their noses when he does it at such a conspicuously inappropriate moment.
No one can accuse the governor of being politically naive, so we have to conclude that there was method to this madness; especially so since he more or less implied, in the same week, that he himself intends to run again in 2016.
Soooo…what can this all mean?
We might assume that it was just Shumlin’s way of sucking up to the divine Ms. C. so that he might later bask in reflected glory, quid-pro-quo, when his own 2016 campaign is likely, for the first time, to meet considerable push-back from the left.
But why the rush to endorse; particularly, on that day when progressive minded Vermonters were poised to feel good about an historic moment?
Did the Clinton camp specifically request this early token of loyalty?
Was the strategy to create a structural weakness in Sander’s home state support base?
Possibly; but that would suggest that someone has not done much market research in Vermont, where Bernie’s popularity ratings remain high while Shumlin’s have been circling the bowl practically ever since the last election.
Shumlin’s endorsement of Clinton is so much in character with his whitebread expectations that it was hardly worth mentioning, let alone provoking more alienation from the left.
Among governors, only that of Clinton’s adopted home state, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, has made the early leap to endorse her.
Perhaps Shumlin is only running again in 2016 because he is counting on the inevitable groundswell of Democratic support for whomever heads the national ticket to inoculate his tandem run on the homefront against genuinely progressive “spoilers.”
The conservative money is on Clinton, so that is where Shumlin invests his hopes.
He probably realizes that this immunizing fairy dust of association will only be available to him one more time before even Democratic Vermonters are really unwilling to take him back on any terms. By then, he probably hopes that getting an early leg-up on the Clinton train will carry him to new fields of opportunity in DC.
Tacky but true?