Green Mountain State Going Red?

Posted: Dec 21, 2014 9:00 AM
Green Mountain State Going Red?
Looking over the final voter tallies, the winners and losers for state and federal offices, there remains one undecided gubernatorial contest: Vermont. Unlike other states, if a gubernatorial candidate, whether incumbent of challenger, fails to win a simple majority, the state legislature appoints the next governor out of the top three contenders. Incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin, won by 2,000 votes, yet got less than half the total vote in the 2014 election.

Presently, the legislature sits firmly in the Democratic camp, although Republican gained a few seats. Still, Shumlin has weathered some troubling controversies in Vermont. In his 2014 State of the State Address, Shumlin identified a herion epidemic in his state. So much for healthy, environmental living. Then he tried to force a single-payer system onto his state, using the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange (Green Mountain Care) as a stepping-stool. Blue Dog Democrats balked at the proposal, indicating that no one would put up with the necessary tax hikes to fund it. Some of their comments:

"The deadlines for proposing financing have been missed two years in a row now, so to me that’s very disappointing. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is no financing plan,” Condon told Vermont Watchdog." --
Rep. Jim Condon, Colchester

Another fiscal conservative resisted single-payer because of the cost:

Sen. Bobby Starr, another Democrat who voted against Act 48, told Vermont Watchdog in January there’s “no way” single-payer can work without new taxes. Indeed, no lawmaker has introduced any bill that would finance single-payer health care without also raising taxes.

Recent news reports reveal that Shumlin has not only given up on his single-payer scheme, but he admitted that it was “the greatest disappointment of my political life so far.” Why did he back away from the program, despite promises to Vermont Progressives? The Daily Signal reports:

At an unannounced news conference, Shumlin said he received the final modeling for financing single-payer health care on Tuesday and concluded the taxes required to fund a publicly financed system were simply unaffordable.

No matter how Left a legislature or a governor leans, they cannot run away from the laws of supply, demand, and scarcity. Even progressives don't want to raise taxes, knowing that they will face the wrath of the voters for driving up the cost of living. Notice also that Shumlin's "Bad News" conference was unannounced, an attempt to diminish his embarrassment and loss of political capital. He even tried to keep this failure secret, but another
Democratic lawmakersued him to disclose all the information on this failed, progressive, venture.

Breitbart contributor Michael Leahy has detailed another damaging controversy: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. Vermont hired the same arrogant academic to supervise Green Mountain Care and its single-payer transition: the same academic who cited the stupidity of the American People as the key component for passage of Obamacare. Not only was Gruber forced to apologize for then defend his remarks and his legislative legacy, now former Vermont officials andcurrent representatives
are demanding names, information, and accountability.

In the face of rank joblessness, heroin epidemics, budget short-falls, bond downgrades, and rising energy costs, Shumlin promotes the demise of single-payer as his biggest loss? He might need to revise that assessment with the loss of the governor's mansion.

With so much bad news mounting in the Green Mountain State, could Shumlin could lose reelection at the hands of an otherwise like-minded state legislature? Brooke Paige, an affiliate of the Vermont Tea Party, and Shumlin's primary challenger in 2014, discussed pressuring the Montpelier lawmakers to elect the Republican Scott Milne:

The legislature is charged with the responsibility of selecting the next governor from the three highest vote-getters from the election in November. I will attempt to attach my editorial Character Counts which I am having some difficulty in getting published, "a little too hot to handle". I am writing a second "Responsibility not Merely a Rubber Stamp" which hopefully will make it to print the week before the Legislature reconvenes. "Forcing the Legislature" is a judicial path, which is probably impossible to do given the short time that remains, however cajoling them to do the right thing is a social political path to the goal.

Is it likely that Vermont Democrats working with their conservative, right-thinking Republican colleagues will support Republican Scott Milne for Governor in January 2015? With the growing concerns that Vermont Democrats could face a backlash left and right for supporting an increasingly controversial (and seemingly incompetent) governor, Democrats may install Vermont's first Republican governor in over four years.