I'm not voting for Brian Dubie today. I can't say that I'm terribly enthused for voting for his opponent, Peter Shumlin, because the prospect of a unified House, Senate and Governor in the state also isn't all that terribly appealing to me. However, that fear isn't outweighed by the fear of not a Republican in the office again, but by an incompetent one.
When I graduated from Norwich, our speaker was Mr. Dubie, a life-long Vermonter and member of the Vermont Air National Guard (where he's earned the Meritorious Service Medal with an Oak Leaf Clusters for his actions during September 11th and Hurricane Katrina), and serves as a pilot for American Airlines and is a co-owner of the Dubie Family Maple Orchard here in Vermont. In addition, he has been Vermont's Lt. Governor for four terms. He first won his office against Peter Shumlin in 2002. I'm a little surprised that we haven't seen this come up yet in the campaign.
The gubernatorial race for Vermont has been an exceedingly negative one, and highlights the worst in both parties. The Democratic side ran five candidates for governor, and engaged in recount that cost them two weeks against Dubie, who ran unopposed. I didn't bother voting for any of the candidates, because they were all essentially shilling the same message: Expanded healthcare, close down Vermont Yankee, and revitalize jobs in the state. Dubie has firmly remained behind building jobs, and has stubbornly refused to move off of that message. As soon as Shumlin entered the race, the gloves came off, and both sides have attacked one another mercilessly. I'm very, very glad that I don't watch TV or listen to radio with commercials very much.
My impressions of Dubie, however, don't come from his service, but from how he seems to work, it was from the speech that he gave at my graduation last year. Clearly already thinking of running for Governor, the talk was a bloated, incoherent talk about Dubie, and how he was someone who shot from the hip and talked down Cuban diplomats. Coming out of a program that emphasized writing and organization as a way to convey a clear and concise message to your audience, it was disheartening, at best, to see someone talk for an extended amount of time with absolutely no point or moral to what he was saying. If someone can't organize (or make the point to organize) what they are saying to a group of people, how can they be expected to run a state with the same level of organization?
Fundamentally, I disagree with some of what Dubie says and on what he has been campaigning for. I dislike him as a person, his approach to doing things, and his attitude towards his responsibilities. I don't disagree on how jobs are important to the state, but they're not the only thing that occupies the public's attention or interest. As such, I see anyone who wants to focus only on one issue as being narrow minded, and I do question their ability to react to changes in the script. Jobs in the state will change, and demand attention, but at the same time, other issues are important to Vermonters. Similarly, I don't believe that wielding a knife and making extensive cuts to the state will Vermonters; a more nuanced approach to the issue (a series of cuts and strategic spending choices) is required, and Dubie's already shown that he's not a nuanced person. (Of course, neither is Shumlin, but I see him as recognizing the spending and cutting issue a bit better than Dubie).
When it comes to the political spectrum as a whole, I'm at a loss. I don't believe that either party has my interests at heart, beyond their own interests in beating back the other side. I want to vote as a Republican, because I believe that spending needs to be reined in to a more appropriate level, and that the level of national government needs to be scaled back. Over the course of my studies, I became a big fan of President Eisenhower and his policies in the 1950s. I'd like to see that again. I want to vote Democratic, because I believe that the Federal government has a duty to protect the people under it, from outside sources and from one another.
I won't vote for the Republican side of the house in general because their calls for lowered spending sounds hollow to me: they are the people who took a surplus and turned it into a major deficit. They're the ones who have denied people equal status in the law, and have frequently sought to vilify those who don't deserve it, while engaging in a massive war that seemingly has no end (to combat operations AND finances).
I don't want to vote for the Democrats because they can't seem to understand that we can't continue to place out future on a credit card, that they characterize the right as a group of racist, warmongering and homophobic bigots who will turn the country into a wasteland, and that they can't seem to get a cohesive message and agenda together that they can communicate.
I for one believe that the social messages come first and foremost, with finances as a close second. For this reason, Shumlin's getting my vote - I hope that he can fulfill his image of being socially liberal and financially conservative and working to make a balance between party line and the real needs of the state. I hope that he can keep spending under a bit of control in these troubled times, that he can effectively manage and replace Vermont Yankee, ensure that no more jobs are lost in the state, that we don't take a step back in the rights for individuals and so much more. I hope, because I have no way of trusting my elected officials any more. I hope that changes.