Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's Rainville Time!

It’s Rainville vs. Welch in November, surprise, surprise. In the congressional race to replace Bernie Sanders, that is. Although Rainville’s facing a Republican opponent in the primary, Mark Shepard, she did about all she needed to do in yesterday’s debate on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show to finish off the much-overmatched Shepard.

With the weight of the Republican Party hierarchy already behind her, Rainville’s been playing the catch me if you can game with Shepard – dodging debates and refusing to even acknowledge his existence.

Until now. And it looks like we know why: Mark Shepard is clearly not ready for prime time. Besides, where, exactly, do these rightwing nutjobs think they’re going to get in Vermont with open support of the war, strident pro-life positions, and big smooches to the nuclear energy corporations?

Shepard must have thought he was on the radio show after Johnson’s, True North, where it’s host and his bevy of whack-jobs spill forth with enough rightwing venom to make Jim Douglas stay away. And Jim Douglas doesn’t stay away from much.

If yesterday’s debate were a boxing match, the ref would have declared a technical knockout after the first question. Shepard was stunned from the beginning, barely able to finish sentences and nervous as all hell. Johnson even tried to help him out of a few verbal meanderings and one complete loss of thought. Yikes.

The She-General just whacked Shepard around like he was some Abu-Ghraib detainee. I’ll bet she was busy trying to rewire her headphones to give Shepard’s nipples a good jolt of juice. But she hardly needed to, not with the way Shepard just lolly-gagged around the whole affair, except, of course, when he got to get all passionate about supporting the war, preventing abortions and building more nukes.

Yo Shepard, take that flock elsewhere. Or better yet, keep it confined to True North radio so we can all still have our comedy hour on the dial.

But that leaves us with the She-General. And damn she’s slick. The question is: is she too slick? The Republican trainers have obviously got her primed for this race on all the important factors, most notably how to avoid answering a question and camouflaging your true ideology.

That, my friends, is right out of the Jim Douglas playbook. It’s really quite simple: be nice, smile, and avoid the issues. And the good news for the candidates who employ this strategy is that the Vermont media will snuggle up in your lap for a long, election season nap. Oh sure, you might have to rub behind their ears from time to time, but you’ll never have to worry about a challenging question or – heavens forbid—the threat of investigative journalism. Yep, you never heard of that up here, did ya?

So once the She-General gets done making an ass of Shepard, she’ll be off to face this year’s king of blandness, Peter Welch. And, sadly, this race feels a whole hell of a lot like the Douglas vs. Doug Racine race of 2002. Douglas just smiled and spoke in amazing generalizations and the obnoxiously bland Racine, running as if he deserved the governorship, got a good ass whipping.

Well, folks, the Rainville’s acting a whole lot like Douglas and Welch is doing his best imitation of Racine. Welch, in fact, doesn’t even seem to like himself. Just look at his ads. Welch’s first ad was all about his now-deceased wife. And now his second ad is all about his fucking dog. That’s nice, Peter, but how about you?

Welch’s handlers apparently know that they more they focus on Welch the more the voters are likely to reach for the barf bag. Besides, when people see Welch being Welch they think of one think: ambulance-chasing lawyer. Yep, we all remember the REAL Welch back when he saturated the media with ads that begged for clients for this law firm.

The Democrats of today deserve Welch. These lethargic ninnies are so scared of passion that they keep getting passionless candidates. Imagine that. Only a modern Vermont Democrat could screw up a race against a former general in an outrageously unpopular war. If you looked at the issues alone, Welch should be in a cakewalk toward office this year. But Welch has been largely invisible on the issues and, when he does show up, he just reminds us how goddamn bland he is. Yep, just like Racine.

But the race is on. Hand me some more popcorn….