Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Excuse me, but could someone please tell me what the hell I’m missing when it comes to all this talk about China in Vermont lately? Suddenly, out of nowhere it seems, the business relations between China and Vermont seem to be about the most important thing facing this state. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when Governor Howdy Doody Douglas decides to gather his throng of faithful journalists, wave his magic wand in front of them, hike his pants up midway to his chest and then repeat these lines until they have no choice but to believe it: “China is important now. Watch me travel to China. Watch me be important in China.”

And the media obliged – again. Leading the way was the embedded Mark Johnson of WDEV fame, who tagged along on the Guv’s China trip thanks to the largesse of the Republican business interests who footed the bill. And then Johnson seemed to don the rosy glasses the Douglas team strapped onto him and issue one rather breathless report after another about the importance of the trip.

But, again, I’m not getting it. And I’m not buying it either, especially when Douglas’ main theme while over there was all about “exporting Vermont’s environmental ethic.” Oh sure, you mean that ethic that seems to be all about his veto of the global warming legislation? Who’s kidding whom here, Guv?

Frankly, this whole China hoopla just feels like one big political charade. Douglas doesn’t have a clue about how to make policy sense out of his “affordability” mantra so the more dopey trips like this with the fawning media pretending that it matters the better. See, Douglas will tell us, I’m on the worldwide cutting edge of…of…oh yeah…affordability. Yeah, that’s it. And he’s right too, especially since the trip didn’t cost him a penny. You go, Guv.

Of course, a trip to China will also make Douglas feel a whole lot better about Vermont’s standard of living, too. I mean, come on, what are all us Vermont workers complaining about? We are, after all, making a hell of a lot more than the Chinese. Ah, affordability issues conquered. Congrats, Guv.

Finally, would it have been too much to ask for Johnson or any other members of the media who regurgitated the Douglas line on China to bring in a few human rights or social justice experts to challenge the rather rosy scenario being painted by the business hawks? Or are we just going to pretend that the exploitation and injustice doesn’t exist just so a few of Douglas’ favorite little business pals can reap millions? Oh yeah, baby, Vermont is sooooo different. Feel the ethic…

I guess I’m just wondering where Mark Johnson is off to next? First it was Chicago. Then it was China. Hmm, it sure looks like he’s got some kind of alphabet thing going on here. Columbia? Costa Rica? Cuba with Brian Dubie?

Nah, I’m betting his next trip is to Shore Acres Inn – gratis once again. Smart guy, for sure.