Jon Margolis

Jon Margolis

Jon Margolis is VTDigger's columnist. He is the author of The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, left the Chicago Tribune early in 1995 after 23 years as Washington correspondent, sports writer, correspondent-at-large and general columnist. Margolis spent most of his Tribune years in the Washington Bureau as the newspaper’s chief national political correspondent. In 1988, he was a one of the journalists asking questions of Senators Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle in their televised vice presidential debate. Before joining the Tribune in 1973, Margolis had been the Albany Bureau Chief for Newsday. He was the first reporter on the scene of the Attica prison rebellion in 1971, and spent the entire first night inside the prisoner-held “D” yard. Earlier, Margolis was a reporter for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, N.J.; the Miami Herald and the Concord Monitor (N.H.). In addition to The Last Innocent Year, published by William Morrow in 1999, he is the author of How To Fool Fish With Feathers: An Incompleat Guide to Fly Fishing (Simon and Schuster, 1991) and The Quotable Bob Dole — Witty, Wise and Otherwise, (Avon Books, 1995). He also wrote two chapters of Howard Dean: A citizens Guide to the Man Who Would be President (Steerforth, 2003). A native of New Jersey, Margolis graduated from Oberlin College in 1962. He served in the US Army.

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    Margolis: Racism, Vermont-style

    The state’s overwhelmingly white racial makeup leaves many Vermonters ill-equipped to deal with people of other races when they do come in contact with them.

    Margolis: The voters need to get over themselves

    While some of the uncompromising anti-Clinton (or anti-Trump) voters mention some legitimate political reasons, as many talk about what their vote would mean to them, to their perception of themselves as a certain kind of person with certain values and connections.

    Margolis: Leave the ‘sexy’ to Vegas; this is governing

    Vermont legislators are hardly averse to making a big splash. But they demonstrated that they’d rather spend their time dealing with the nitty-gritty of governing, even if that won’t get them on network TV.

    Margolis: Secret Democratic pot caucus busted

    Agreeing in general that marijuana should be legal is one thing. Agreeing on just how it should be legal is something else altogether.

    Margolis: Spending less isn’t as simple as it sounds

    The only way state government can spend less is to do less: Don’t fill the potholes; close the state parks; let the wetlands get filled in; give less money to impoverished single mothers.

    Margolis: What the Sanders campaign’s failure says about the left

    There is the possibility that the campaign will survive as a movement even after the election. The possibility is not a likelihood. The same kind of talk has been heard from the supporters of losing candidates before, including former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

    Margolis: We’re all responsible for the EB-5 mess

    The temptation to blame public officials for the sins of the people who elect them should be resisted, not because it is unkind, but because it is wrong. Those who succumb to it are themselves corrupt, intellectually if not ethically.

    Margolis: Undemocratic? Remember ‘the eye of the beholder’

    So powerful is the dream of the nomination that Bernie Sanders is in denial of the all-but-fatal numbers. So devoted are they to their candidate that supporters see no inconsistency when they embrace a strategy they also deplore as “undemocratic.”

    Margolis: Candidates, hold the mush and start inspiring us

    The five major-party candidates hoping to replace Gov. Peter Shumlin are all for a clean environment, good schools, economic growth and fiscal prudence. Big whoop.

    Margolis: Fate of student aid bill leaves powerful impression

    Four of the six Senate Education Committee members were invited — or perhaps summoned — to a meeting in the office of the Senate president. When it ended, a bill affecting the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. was effectively dead.

    Margolis: State’s rights Republicans, political process fraud and GMOs

    Of late, the same office-holders who most avidly support decision-making by “government closest to the people” have been busy on the state level reversing decisions made by local governments, who are presumably closest to the people.

    Margolis: Sanders’ only option may be a distasteful one

    He may have to embark on a course that is the exact opposite of what powerful Democrats — now including the president — are urging.

    Margolis: The super-delegate elites

    Critics say super-delegates are “undemocratic” because they are handpicked by the party. But that elitist system is designed to help parties nominate the most electable candidates.

    Margolis: Sanders’ fling with Castro

    Being outside the mainstream for some left-of-center Americans like Bernie Sanders in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that meant being a “Fidelismo,” and not being a liberal. After all, liberalism was respectable and acceptable to most Americans.