Democrats for Dubie?

Political observers the last few days have been asking how a Democratic candidate for state Senate can justify supporting the candidacy of Brian Dubie for governor.

Our view is that you can't defend the indefensible.

Laura Day Moore, who was one of three Democratic candidates for Senate from Washington County in 2008, and is one of five candidates running for the nomination this year, has been the subject of questions and criticism ever since the latest campaign finance reports came out, showing that she has contributed $450.00 to Brian Dubie's campaign. (scroll down to page 40 of the report to see her listing.)

Moore is an articulate, energetic candidate with experience as a local school board member who has been active in the Washington County Democratic Committee. She also had a key role in organizing the gubernatorial candidates' forum at Barre Town Elementary School this spring. You know, the one that Dubie chickened out of attending at the last minute.

At GMD we don't generally endorse candidates in the primary. We do, though, seriously question how a Democratic candidate, running in a Democratic primary, can put money in the pocket of the Republican candidate for governor. What we know about Dubie indicates that he is, if anything, even more conservative than Douglas, even more beholden to the big-money interests who run the Republican Party, and way too conservative on social issues, like choice, even for many Republicans. 

In short, Dubie stands for everything that Democrats oppose, and opposes everything that Democrats stand for. In our view, and the view of most Democrats, a vote for Dubie would be a vote to extend the Douglas-Dubie policies of attacking social services, attacking and weakening our education system, attacking Vermont's workers, balancing the budget on the backs of the neediest Vermonters, neglecting the environment, and continuing the failed policy of economic growth by badmouthing Vermont and shoveling tax breaks to employers to create jobs they probably would have created anyway.  

So what's Laura Moore doing supporting him?

GMD asked her, and here's what she said:

Some voters are asking me why I made a campaign contribution to the lone Republican candidate for Governor, Brian Dubie.   Some of the voters who have asked me this question clearly see this as a ‘litmus test’ as to whether or not I am deserving of their vote on the Democratic primary ballot.  I disagree with this litmus-test way of thinking.

 The real reason I even found myself in a position to write a check to Brian Dubie has nothing to do with politics or my views on specific issues or my support (or lack of support) of Brian’s views on specific issues but everything to do with my personal life.  My partner is a long-time Republican who is a senior adviser on the Dubie campaign.   Because of his work, I have accompanied him to various events and gatherings.  Likewise, my partner has attended many Democratic events with me, and has made contributions to Democratic candidates.

Not only have a number of friends and supporters inquired about my donation to the Lt. Governor but also a few have said that they question their support for me because of it.  I find this hyper-partisan attitude harmful to the political process and deserving of further comment.

It must not matter to these critics that in the past three years, I have made greater contributions to each of Deb Markowitz, Barack Obama, Peter Welch, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic National Committee, the Vermont Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee than I have contributed to the Dubie campaign.  In addition, I have donated significant amounts to Peter Shumlin, various down-ballot Democratic candidates, and politically active, left-leaning organizations.   The total of these contributions dwarfs the contribution that I made to Friends of Brian Dubie.  
Yet for some, my contribution to the Lt. Governor’s committee negates the relevance and importance of these other, very substantial financial commitments.  The simple fact is that these Democratic donations reflect my political beliefs.  However, can I say that all the candidates or organizations that have received my financial support met a 100% litmus test warranting my support?  The answer is clearly no.  In light of the serious issues and problems facing our communities, our state and our country, I find any sort of litmus test to be troubling and unproductive.  
 Do I consider myself a Democrat?  Yes, a life-long one.  Am I a strictly partisan Democrat?  No.  I remember well the first time I ever voted for a Republican:  1990 for Bill Weld when he ran for Governor of Massachusetts against John Silber.  I had very clear and strong reasons for casting that vote and can recall them clearly even now.  Since then, I have also voted for Jim Jeffords in 2000.  And, although we do not yet know who the Democratic nominee for Governor will be this year, I do not see any scenario under which I would vote for Brian Dubie.  
 I have equally strong memories of the first campaign I ever worked on:  George McGovern, even though I was not old enough to vote.  More recently, I worked tirelessly for Barack Obama.  I made my first donation to the then Senator Obama in April 2007 – long before there was any clear momentum toward his candidacy.   By September 6, 2007, I had donated the maximum allowed by law to Obama’s primary race. On numerous occasions, including primary day, I traveled to New Hampshire to work to get Obama elected.  
Yet, I had fellow Democrats – women – question my support.  They asked how I could, as a woman, support Obama instead of Hillary Clinton?  This blind litmus test was deeply offensive to me. 
Candidates very rarely, if ever, offer complete synchronicity with any particular voter’s views and beliefs.  Most often, responsible voters learn about a candidate’s views on a number of relevant issues and then make an informed judgment about who to support.  I do not believe that Democrats have the corner on all the right answers any more than I believe that every candidate who chooses to run for public office and calls himself or herself a Democrat is deserving of my vote.
 In reflecting further on my interaction with the Lt. Governor during this campaign, I will add that I enjoyed my conversations with the Lt. Governor and found his aspirations for public service to be genuine.  We engaged in respectful, detailed and thoughtful conversations on a number of issues, including the environment and women’s issues.  Clearly the Lt. Governor and I do not agree on all issues.  However, I appreciate and value the belief in treating each other with respect even in areas of difference.
 I grew up in the home of a minister/civil-rights activist and pubic schoolteacher.  My father worked with Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Jesse Jackson and Cesar Chavez and many others to guarantee civil and human rights for everyone.  Some of my earliest memories of my community service involve working in California as my parents assisted Cesar Chavez in organizing grape and lettuce boycotts to firmly establish the United Farm Workers Union.  My Democratic roots (and my commitment to equality) run deep.  So too, do my roots run deep in cherishing the value and importance of how we treat one another – even when we disagree.  I believe I have modeled my life – personally, professionally and in my public service – as a reflection of this framework. 
 I regret that anyone may choose not to support my candidacy for the Vermont State Senate because of how I have chosen to live my life. But I do not regret how I have chosen to live it.  
We don't doubt that Laura is completely sincere in what she is saying. Nevertheless, you can't defend the indefensible. Whatever the reason, giving Dubie money helps his campaign. At a time when the Democratic candidates are fighting each other in the primary, money for Dubie is going right into his general election campaign against whoever the Democratic candidate is. That is simply incontrovertible.
What is more, the Democratic Party is always in tension between its liberal and conservative wings. In most of the state the liberals have a strong edge. The fact that long-time Progressives can run in Democratic primaries in Chittenden and Washington Counties (and, at least in Chittenden, get elected as a D/P or P/D) and statewide (see Doug Hoffer's strong run for Auditor of Accounts, which is attracting Democrats from across the state), demonstrates this. Nevertheless, there are parts of Vermont where Democrats don't look very different from Republicans.
What we've always been interested in here at GMD is not just electing Democrats, but electing “more and better Democrats”.
It's hard to see how electing someone who supports Brian Dubie does that. 

19 thoughts on “Democrats for Dubie?

  1. There is something faintly corporate and cynical about a decision to contribute to candidates on both sides of the aisle.  Her donation says to me that she supports Dubie and pretty much all he stands for.  No further explanation is required.

  2. Apparently, Ms Moore does not understand how politics works. Do we want another State Senator who does not have the slightest idea how the system works?  NAW!!

  3. Mr. McCullough’s statement in his post that GMD does not endorse candidates is cynical nonsense.  This attack on Laura Moore (by the Chair of the Washington County Democratic Party) is an anti-endorsement that the chair of the county party should not issue.  Shame on you.  Of course, those of us active in the party know that Jack is all about the good ‘ole boy network and that he is actively pushing the three good ‘ole boy candidates.

    Ms. Moore is a breath of fresh air who wants to accomplish things and who eschews the old divisive, corrosive partisan approach to politics that GMD promotes.  People who have worked with Laura on the school boards know that she is a problem solver and consensus builder.  Elect a Moore and better Democrat!

  4. You’ve nailed this Jack!

    To use Laura Moore’s terminology, I’m one of those very “partisan” Democrats. I strongly supported her candidacy for the Washington County Senate seat until this afternoon, when I learned she donated money to Brian Dubie’s campaign. My jaw dropped. I thought it must be another person with the same name, but it was confirmed that it’s the same Laura Moore who’s running for the Washington County Senate Seat.  (Is she running as a Democrat?  The word Democrat is NOWHERE on the postcard we received from her today. Maybe now we know the reason why.)

    In the statement she gave GMD, listing her “reasons” and “explanations” for this donation, she said nothing to sway my support back to her candidacy.  If her “partner” is an active Republican, fine.  Why wasn’t the donation in his name? I will not vote for anyone who gives financial support to a Republican, especially anyone who supports Brian Dubie, who is about as far right wing as you can get. In the primary I’ll vote for Ann Cummings, Donny Osman and Kim Cheney.      

  5. Who are the three “good ole boy” candidates? If Mr. Harrison could point them out I would at least have a clue of what he’s talking about.

    I think this is a valuable debate, and I’m glad that people are getting into it on both sides.

    This should be a good year in Washington County. With Phil Scott running for Lite Gov, we should be able to seat at least two Democrats this year, and I intend to work hard to make that happen.

    Of course, that will be after the Democrats of Washington County make their choice in August. I expect to field a strong slate of candidates, and I hope all Democrats and progressives sill support that slate with their energy, money, and votes. Until then you won’t see any kind of endorsement from the County Committee.

  6. …would have been for LDM to write the Democratic checks, and her Republican partner to write the GOP checks. She had to have known that her donation to Dubie — the top Republican of this campaign season* — would become an issue.

    What, did her partner forget his checkbook? Do they flip a coin to see which one will write which check? Dartboard it? Arm-wrestle?

    * With all due respect to Paul Beaudry.  

  7. That donation from Ms Moore is disgusting.  Thanks, Jack, for bringing it out into the open on here.  

  8. Laura Moore explains why she gave $900 to Brian Dubie’s election campaign. She says she did it to support her partner, Paul Hatch, former deputy director of the Republican National Committee, who is working for Dubie and gave him $2,000. . The gift wasn’t an endorsement of Dubie,  rather a support of  Hatch she says.  She argues the gift shouldn’t be a litmus test of her political values.  Of course Dubie is against a woman’s right to choose,  same sex marriage, tax cuts for the rich, and supports other Republican causes that are a litmus test of Republican values.  Laura’s chemistry may be good, but her judgment isn’t.  Neither Dubie or Hatch, I expect,   share Democrats’ values. Many democrats feel used by Laura. Money talks…

  9. If I understand this correctly, her partner maxed out his Dubie contribution.  So her way to help him was to put in her own contribution?

    I think I have a problem with that.

  10. I am Laura Moore’s partner and would like to set the record straight on several issues.  First, kcheney’s post indicates that Laura donated $900 to the Dubie Campaign.  As is so often the case with Kim (I assume this is his post), he has over-reached by 100%.  Her contributions total $450, and she has explained why she made them and that they are miniscule compared to her contributions to Democratic candidates.

    Kim also mis-stated my background.  I was the deputy director of the Political Division at the Republican National Committee.  He didn’t mention that I also served as the Executive Director of the Republican Governors’ Association and the Chair of the RNC’s Victory ’96 program.  Kim presumes to know about my position on various issues; he doesn’t.  I am a pro-choice Republican who favors equal rights for all, including my gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender friends and neighbors.  As is the case with many of the posts about Laura, Kim makes assumptions about me which are simply not true.

    I share this story about Kim:  Two years ago when Laura was running for the Senate and on a corner in Berlin honking and waving with Kim, he gestured to an approaching bus and snarled, “I oughta throw you under that bus”.  Laura’s 11-year old daughter heard this and asked, “why does that man hate you so much”?  Kim is (and was) clearly distressed that Laura and others are running against him.  He seems to think that since this is his fourth or fifth (I’ve lost count) run for the State Senate he has a right to the office.

    I noted another post about the good ole boy network.  Here is what I know about it:  As chair of the County Party, Jack McCullough held a monthly meeting two months ago.  He called and invited the three male candidates to attend and to prepare some remarks about their candidacies.  He didn’t bother to advise Laura about the meeting.  She showed up and made some off-the-cuff comments.  When she called Jack out on the omission, he told her that since she is a regular attender at the meeting, he didn’t feel the need to advise her of the purpose of the meeting.  Pretty lame excuse, but it may say something about Laura’s commitment to the Democratic Party that she regularly attends Party meetings but her opponents do not.

    I know Laura better than any of the bloggers here.  She will not vote for Brian Dubie.  She is a Democrat through and through, but who is willing to have a dialogue with anyone if it will actually result in progress and problem-solving.

  11. I wonder if Laura Moore donated to Dubie’s campaign if Dubie’s campaign donated in kind to hers or the democrats in kind.  It is difficult to understand how Moore can bill herself as a progressive democrat, or a democrat at all, when in the middle of a campaign to defeat him, she supports a republican with all that values that she is, supposedly, against.  

  12. Hey Laura Moore,

    I want my vote back. I voted early and voted for you. You stopped by my house one day about a month ago. I had not heard of you before, but was quite impressed by your manner and resume – and especially by your clear opposition to Phil Scott as a candidate for Lt. Gov. To my ear, that part of our conversation spoke volumes about your priciples – and I felt very comfortable adding you to the list of three Washington County senate candidates who would get my vote. And now this?? Not feeling good right now at all. I’m sending my partner (who by the way is definately NOT a Republican – and to whom I had advocated your candidacy) down to vote for a slate of three that does not include you. Clears my conscience a bit, but I’ll probably feel cheated for some time to come.

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