The Most Typical Political Event

If you follow the presidential election and have a pulse, you know Vermont is one of the least battleground states in the country.  Mitt Romney was here recently, not to campaign, but to prep, at the home of former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, for his debates vs. President Barack Obama.  His motorcade got stuck behind a tractor (a true Vermont experience), he posed for a photo with VT GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock at a hardware store and didn’t take questions from local reporters.  That’s about all I know.  (Tip to Romney campaign: it’s legal to pass on a solid yellow line in Vermont, as long as you don’t exceed the speed limit.  It’s a tractor thing.)

On the Democratic side, an Obama fundraiser this week at Nectar’s in Burlington (the bar that launched Phish) was headlined by Jonathan Goldsmith.  Who?  Exactly.

Mr. Goldsmith is better known as the “most interesting man in the world,” a character the actor portrays in Dos Equis beer commercials.  Yes, that’s the kind of “celebrity” one gets when your state is in one party’s category long before any hustings have been taken to.

From all reports, Mr. Goldsmith, who moved to Vermont last year, is less interesting than the man he portrays and more … well, I’m not sure how to describe him.  Let’s start with the VIP area.  Because the range of donations at the fundraiser ran from $20-$500, no politico is gonna let $20 hoi polloi near The Star of Several Beer Commercials.  (BTW, isn’t $20 – the double sawbuck – a form of two X’s or Dos Equis?)  So, Mr. Goldsmith was sequestered in a roped off “VIP section” of the bar.  (Listen jerks, around here VIP stands for Vermont Isn’t Pretentious.  Let’s keep it that way.)

Low-rollers were also not allowed to take photos of the bearded, sixty-something, lest they be thrown from the bar.  This applied to the press as well and even state Rep. Kesha Ram (D) who sponsored the event (and is Mr. Goldsmith’s second cousin) couldn’t prevail on the bouncers to change the policy.  (Really?  If you can’t convince a saloon bouncer to let you control your own event, can you really be expected to stand up for “the people” in the capitol?)  On the other hand, if one ponied up the (relatively) big bucks, one could walk past the rope and get a grip ‘n grin with a beer salesman.  Woo, hoo.

Mr. Interesting and his wife/agent also refused to take questions from at least one reporter, because he hadn’t cleared them with the agency’s West Coast office in advance.  After all, Mr. Goldsmith once appeared in an episode of “MacGyver”!  Where do you people get off?  (Actually the reporter tried to go through the West Coast office several days before the event.  They never got back to him.)

Do not despair.   Next month, over on the east side of the state, where the really rich folk live, Jane Stetson, national co-chair (one of many, I suspect) of the Obama campaign and fifth-largest Obama bundler (sounds kinda dirty, doesn’t it?) will host a concert with James Taylor.  It’ll cost $2,500 to get in the door and $20,000 to get anywhere near the handyman himself.  Now THAT’S fundraising.

Make no mistake, the American gap between have and have nots widens daily and if you think Dems care much more than Republicans, you’re fooling yourself.

© Mark Floegel, 2012

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