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.