Some days, the snark practically writes itself.
The Board of Directors of the Ethan Allen Institute is pleased to announce the election of Robert Roper, of Stowe, as its new President.
Yes, that Robert Roper. The Robster, “best” known as the host of Common Sense Radio, the daily hour of conservative cant underwritten* by the, ahem, Ethan Allen Institute.
*because if CSR had to depend on ad sales — you know, the free market? — it’d wither and die in a hurry.
EAI’s news release didn’t even bother with the usual “after an exhaustive nationwide search…” Because, obviously, there wasn’t one. Because the free-marketeer movement in Vermont is like a sad little circle jerk around a Boy Scout campfire.
If you think that’s harsh, let me remind you that EAI was founded in 1993 by one El Jefe General John McClaughry, who served until his “retirement” in 2010 but is still Board Vice President, editor of the EAI’s seldom-read newsletter, author of its unreadable op-ed pieces, and voice of its tedious, ranty radio commentaries. EAI’s Secretary/Treasurer is his wife Anne. The EAI Board also includes such eminences as Sleepy Bill Sayre, the Robster himself, and Jack “Six Teats” McMullen.
Roper… will spearhead an aggressive new program to educate Vermonters on the fundamentals of a free society – individual liberty, limited government, lower taxes, competitive free enterprise, economic opportunity, fiscal responsibility, and respect for the constitution.
Sure thing. The guy who hosts an unlistenable radio show… the guy who thinks Sleepy Bill Sayre is a great radio personality… the guy who edits a crappy conservative website… the guy who chaired the Vermont Republican State Committee during the GOP’s plunge into electoral irrelevance (2007-2009)… is now the “spearhead” of “an aggressive new program.” Somehow I’m having trouble seeing that. Especially since EAI’s current President, Bruce Shields, was hired less than a year ago, and hailed as the person who would, according to the EAI newsletter, “launch EAI into a new phase in our effort to become a more influential force in Vermont.” I guess he wasn’t, after all.
Can anyone help me out here? Someone who embodies newness, aggressiveness, and political relevance?
EAI Board Chair Jack McMullen said “I have known, worked with and respected Rob Roper for many years, and I am thrilled that he will now bring his talents to the service of free markets and economic opportunity by leading the Institute.”
Gaaaaah. No, no, no, no, no, guys. You don’t flaunt an endorsement from a three-time electoral loser, fresh off a doomed attempt to bring down an enfeebled incumbent attorney general. Unless, of course, you believe that the name “Jack McMullen” lends credibility and star power to your effort. And, sadly, I think you do.
But perhaps I’m being unfair. How does the Robster plan to broaden a movement that obviously represents a tiny minority of the electorate? How will he recast the Institute’s ideology in a way that will convince more people to take them seriously?
“We believe in and fight for the ideals laid out in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution because they work. Today, we are witnessing a systematic erosion of our rights and, sadly, the Vermont government is leading the way with a host of confiscatory taxes, unjust mandates, and ideological experiments in social engineering. Our task is to wake Vermonters up while there is still time to avert a tragedy.”
Okay, no. The same overheated rhetoric that produced abject failure in this year’s campaign is not going to suddenly open the doors to a New Age of Conservatism in Vermont.
It will, however, make Lenore Broughton happy. And that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? In the tight little orbit of Ethan Allen Institute/Common Sense Radio/True North Reports/Vermonters First/Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, the top priority is to keep the cash flowing from Miss Daisy’s inheritance.
Well, that’s probably unfair as well. I think these guys honestly do want to convince people of their principles. They just don’t have a goddamn clue how to do it. And so, as the man says, they will beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.