Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Good running day

I managed 21 miles yesterday on a day off work - all of it on the treadmill.

I was able to offer an argument at town meeting that seemed to sway an issue.

And then, the voters rejected me by a huge margin. I'm at a loss on how to beat someone who refuses to campaign, refuses to reveal his positions, and has major name recognition, especially when the local newspaper doesn't bother to cover the election.

I'll take some time to get over my disappointment and then decide if I want to get involved in town business again at any level. Any decision made right now would be based on disappointment and anger, and that's not the right frame of mind to make rational decisions.


Dr. Andy said...

Tough luck on the election. At least you'll have some extra time to train.

Dr. Andy

ollie said...

Sorry to hear about the election; but name recognition is so much a factor, and it is well known that people often don't research their votes.

Personally, you couldn't pay me to run for office.

Kudos to you for trying hard though.

janinsanfran said...

Sorry to read it worked out that way. So many local offices are close to hereditary...folks just put in who is expected to be in.

Damon said...

Thanks for the thoughts on the election everyone. Yesterday, I have to admit that I was really taking it hard and very personally. Today, I'm focusing more on the bright side - the extra free time. I'll definitely run for the Select Board again in the future, but for now, I'll enjoy the time.

As a citizen of the town, I'm not thrilled with our new board. We lost one liberal and one moderate (me - even though I vote liberally at the national and state level, I was very much a moderate on the local board) and they were replaced by two far-right members. The new members staged a coup last night and installed the guy who beat me as the chair of the board, replacing the lone remaining liberal on the board as chair.

Ollie, running for office is something I recommend to everyone, although it's much easier in small towns than where you live or where Jan or Andy live.

Jan, the guy who beat me matches your description. His history makes him a form of royalty among local politicians.

Dr. Andy said...

So what is far-right in Vermont? They supported Obama or HRC instead of Kucinich?

Seriously, maybe this is the start of a nationwide conservative wave. Well at least I can dream.


Damon said...

Far right in VT is the same as everywhere else. VT really has two distinct populations in some respects. The people who have grown up here, especially those who have made a living as farmers and laborers are very conservative.

The person who beat me falls into the Grover Norquist school of taxation and government - shrink the government until you can drown it in the bathtub.

In the late 60s and early 70s, there was an influx into VT of a new generation of people. For the most part, they and their children and others who have moved here since, such as me, seem to make up the liberal base here in the state. So, it's often seen as a battle between native conservatives and the hippies and flatlanders who bring their crazy liberal ideas to the state.

Both new members of our board are so fiscally conservative that I expect them to go after some services that our government provides, such as recreational programs. Our town currently spends about $80K per year on rec programs aimed primarily at children. This includes summer camps, operating a public ice rink in the winter, operating the town pool in the summer, adult basketball and volleyball leagues, low key sports camps, etc. This work is contracted to the local Boys and Girls Club. When the town ran these programs, we spent more than 50% more than it costs to contract these services. So, I think we've made good progress in reducing costs and putting the programs into the hands of professionals. Yet, I'm afraid that at least one new member will try to kill the programs entirely.

One thing that I find consistent with conservatives in VT is that they are true fiscal conservatives rather than the borrow-and-spend "conservatives" in Washington. But, for the most part, they want to cut way, way back on education, they want to get rid of civil unions, they are big on gun rights and hunting rights. Vermont is the only state where the right to hunt is guaranteed in the state constitution.

Despite how the press portrayed him, liberals in VT didn't like Howard Dean all that much as governor. He was very fiscally conservative, he set up "rainy day" funds to protect the state from future economic downturns when liberals wanted to spend that money, and he was way too slow to move healthcare in the direction that most Vermonters want to see it go.

Amongst the liberals and progressives in VT, HRC is seen as a right winger. Amongst the conservatives, she's a dangerous liberal. Neither side likes her very much.

I would love to see how a Kucinich or Edwards would do here if they survived long enough in the race to get here while still a viable candidate.

Anyway, that's a long-winded response, but Vermont has a core conservative base that is truly conservative. But, the liberals and progressives outnumber them by a large margin, so the state has a reputation for being completely liberal, which is just not true.

I do think that the state's liberals recognize that HRC and the DLC are not progressive at all.