05/17/2007

 Some newspapers in Vermont, not including The Valley Reporter, have come down hard on Speaker Gaye Symington. Their reasons show a great deal of impatience and wrong-headedness. They must remember that she is the Speaker of the Vermont House not the U.S. House.

Speaker Symington shows more interest in Vermont issues than the frivolous and time-consuming resolution that is strictly a U.S. Congressional matter -- impeachment of President George W. Bush. Granted there are many grounds for the exit door for Mr. Bush, among them his unfortunate war in Iraq, his general ineptness, his encouragement of the lying that brought this country into that war, and the huge and unnecessary tax breaks given to the oil industry and other big wealthy corporations and individuals.

Instead, Speaker Symington has been devoted to working on Vermont matters, including the expense of Vermont public education and efforts to relieve the crushing tax burdens on Vermont cities and towns. Among her other areas of interest are the all important matter of health care in this state along with other issues including the environment and energy.

The impeachment matter is at best divisive and best left in Washington. Headline grabbing on the subject provides nothing and consumes valuable time that the local lawmakers could have used for the important Vermont issues. The critics of the Vermont speaker should refocus their efforts. The issue of whether or not to impeach is clearly heard in the White House and Congress. Any action in Vermont is not central to the debate on that issue. Besides, the White House occupants have another year and a half to dig a bigger hole and increase their unfavorableness throughout the country, which should have some effect on the election of 2008.

Meanwhile, despite her critics, Speaker Symington should remain at her post and begin to make plans for the next session of the Vermont Legislature and specifically the Vermont House.
 
It is time to play Vermont politics, not national politics. The late great Speaker Tip O'Neill said it all in just one sentence: "All politics is local." That applies in a big way, even in Vermont.

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