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The man behind the curtain

Whether or not you believe that L. Frank Baums Oz series was an allegory involving eastern gold interests (the yellow-brick-road, the three-piece-suit wizard, the silver slippers changed to ruby-red for the 1939 movie) and midwestern farmer-populists (the virtuous folks accompanying Dorothys quest to return to Kansas), you have to recognize the great moment when they finally arrive in Oz to seek an audience with the Wizard; the Oz-tripping trio is almost intimidated by the manufactured theatrical sound effects until Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal a disheveled, anxious, and somewhat less-than-straightforward Wizard manipulating the levers of pretend-power.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, he says in the movie version, but it doesn't work and soon Dorothy and her pals are on their way home.

Ive thought of that scene frequently as Ive watched, recently, the Vermont State Legislature and some local pressure groups do much the same thing to get their way. Herewith, then, a trio of examples two legislative and one private.

Case in Point 1:

The skillful maneuvering of the Golden Dome folks to avoid dealing with school costs and taxes. Pay no attention to them, they said.

Global warming, presidential impeachment, and assisted-suicide are far more important and more fun-filled things to talk about. So far its worked: conveniently, there just aren't the votes to do anything about school costs (up) school performance (down) and taxes (up, again, of course).

Pay no attention, of course, to the pro-spending vote bloc lurking silently behind the curtain because, in Montpelier, there's no Toto to pull it back and reveal the underlying agenda: pleasing the nearly 20,000 voters whose paychecks derive directly from K-12 public education, another 50,000 in their immediate households, maybe another 20,000 ideologically supportive of any sort of further expansion in government employment.

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