Last October, when the conventional wisdom was the Howard Dean was going to be The Man that the Democrats would rally around, Jonah Goldberg had a great cover story in National Review about Vermont. The cover’s chief headline was set in enormous type and was one word: Hell. (Here’s an spin-off article that Goldberg wrote for National Review Online.)
C.C. Kraemer picks up the theme, looking at “Green Mountain Statists” in Tech Central Station:
Vermont is a paradox. It’s a relatively poor state filled with low-income families who can use the price breaks brought by discount retailers. But it’s also a playground for wealthy progressives and elitists who tend to be concentrated in the Burlington area. They began flocking to state three decades ago because they saw an opportunity to take control of Vermont’s policy-making process and force through a progressive agenda.
Though their wealth is a product of our capitalist, free-market system, these left-leaning relative newcomers see development and economic advancement as threats to Vermont’s rural and quaint small-town flavor. That puts them at odds with much of the more deeply rooted populace that shares neither the elitists’ wealth nor their values. As such it becomes clear why the state is the perfect location for the escalating culture clash over Wal-Mart.
Kraemer concludes, “Most Vermonters could use more Wal-Marts and the low prices and job opportunities the retailer brings. Yet an elite few are willing to make sure they get neither. The world’s largest retailer is unwelcome in Vermont and in other self-characterized progressive states and communities across the country. That might be OK for the cocktail party crowd, but it is a disservice to those who rely on Wal-Mart to make their incomes go further.”