I just had to say it.
I know the national scene is looking pretty bleak, but Vermont stands as a beacon of hope. The tea party tried - really tried - to bring their foul brand of anger and hate to our little slice of New England ... and failed. Just across the border in NH, they had better luck (sorry, NH), but here in VT, we stood our ground.
We not only kept all but a few teabaggers out of office (we'll fix that next time), but we GAINED the Governor's office for the first time in nearly a decade!
I know people consider VT an easy blue state, but it's a misconception (as evidenced by how close the Gov. race was). This state requires a level of active "retail" politics that you see almost nowhere else - except NH. In our district, the House candidate, Chip Conquest, most likely won because he literally knocked on every door in the district. Note: I didn't say "his team" knocked. He, personally, knocked on every door.
In Vermont, politicians aren't considered a special class. They're simply our neighbors. And they'd better be serious about behaving in a neighborly manner!
The Vermonter attitude can be summed up as: "my voice counts."
This means candidates don't just show up, give a speech, and run; they show up, give a speech, do a Q&A, THEN spend an hour chatting with people in the community - listening to their concerns, hearing their ideas, and responding. Vermonters have a much better opportunity to know, personally, who they're voting for.
A politician in Vermont can't just be a facade with lots of corporate funding. That kind of politician - the wholesale package - just doesn't work here. Luckily, the big backers of the tea party didn't know that. The few who did eek into office happen to be long-time community members, active in their communities, and at least nominally respected.
Victory in VT is hard-won - for either side. Vermonters are curmudgeonly and demanding. We expect a lot from our candidates, and they know it. Those who don't know, soon learn. Campaigns in VT are relatively short compared to the typical national timeline, but they require a skilled team, and a great deal of very hard work.
So while you may see our shift further into the blue column as "expected" keep in mind that it's only expected because people work really, really hard, election after election, to make it happen. It's definitely not easy.
Thus I say, "Hooray Vermont!"
Congratulations to all of the people who have worked so hard throughout this campaign season to create the result we see today! And THANK YOU to everyone who called, cajoled, organized, and otherwise worked their butts off. It was worth it!