Thursday, December 08, 2005

Emerging theme: Bush as punching bag

Take from it what you will, but there's a very clear theme emerging right now in upcoming Vermont political races: President Bush is a punching bag that should we whacked as hard and as often as possible.

It's not just Democrats. Many Republicans are indicating the GOP chief is more a liability than an asset, and are distancing themselves from policies of the White House. Last month, Republican millionaire Richard Tarrant was in our offices at 49 School Street to discuss his bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Independent Jim Jeffords. Tarrant, while identifying with core GOP values, made a point to criticize the administration's handling of the war in Iraq. Contrary to the stance of administration officials, Tarrant believes the U.S. should withdraw troops from the embattled country as soon as possible.

Last week, Democrat Peter Welch stopped by for a chat about his bid for the U.S. House, which Bernie Sanders is opting out of for the Senate. Welch, in a story I wrote this week, is making a point to paint Bush's policies as "radical and extreme." Democrats need to retake Congress to put the brakes on Bush, who is incompetent and dangerous, Welch believes.

Tough talk. But will it work? Burlington Democrat Peter Clavelle saw his bid for governor go down in flames last year after putting Bush - not Gov. Jim Douglas - in his punching bag. Now, governor hopeful Scudder Parker, a Dem, is following the same path.

It'll be interesting to see if this rhetoric continues next year, when the elections start to really heat up.

- Scott Monroe


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