I don’t think the VTGOP can help itself

Angry Jack Lindley, chair of the Vermont Republican Party, has once again resorted to his favorite tactic — cutting off his nose to spite his face.

The man at the helm of a nearly bankrupt party with no grassroots infrastructure, a dearth of appealing candidates, and an ideology that’s clearly to the right of the Vermont electorate, has decided the thing to do is… tack to the right. It’s like the captain of the Titanic shouting “More icebergs! We need more icebergs!”

This time, Lindley has responded to the federal sequester by basically saying it’s not drasttic enough. Yes, he’s effectively positioned himself to the right of the Tea Party Congress.

Lindley… says the across-the-board cuts, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense federal agencies, are merely a “bend in a curve of increasing expenditures.”

Joining in the Teabagger’s Lament was House Minority Leader Don Turner.

“A lot of people are trying to make this seem like a huge, huge cut,” Turner told VTDigger. “I don’t think that’s the case.”

And, as with Lindley, Turner has a remarkably paleolithic outlook on the federal cuts:

Turner’s other take is that the sequester provokes a long overdue and much-needed conversation about the state’s reliance on federal funding.

… “We have become very, very dependent in Vermont on federal money, and we need to start to wean ourselves off of that.”

Hmmm. Yes, we need to go back to the Good Old Days when we didn’t have welfare or interstate highways or any of that modern claptrap. Back when communities struggled mightily to meet their obligations.  

So much so that, according to “The Star That Set,” Samuel Hand’s account of the rise, reign, and fall of the VTGOP, the clamoring for centralized government actually began in Vermont’s smallest, most rural communities — the ones that didn’t have the resources to meet their obligations. They were the ones who started Vermont on the path toward big government, because they needed a government big enough to support them.

But that matters little to a diminished Republican Party that’s largely been stripped of its moderate wing. If you spend any time around the State House, you’ll see why the VTGOP may well be trapped in an ideological vortex. The Republican delegation is full of tea-party types who can barely contain their anger as they sit through hearings, meetings and debates, powerless to stop the Democrats from pursuing their agenda. The atmosphere must seem so alien to Republicans who’ve been incubated in the Fox/Rush Bubble: they are forced to endure endless concern for health care and the environment and the poor and all that other commie-pinko stuff.

One quick example. Tom Terenzini, retired prison guard and freshman state representative from Rutland Town. Technically an R/D because no Democrat ran against him, but clearly a Fox/Rush kinda guy. By dint of some cosmic joke (or freshman hazing ritual), Terenzini was assigned to the House Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources Committee, chaired by noted environmental champion David Deen.

Terenzini clearly has no interest in fish, wildlife, or natural resources aside from human exploitation of same. And when you watch him in committee meetings, you witness a fascinating combination of boredom and slow-burning rage.

Seeing Republican lawmakers like Terenzini, and reading comments like those from Lindley and Turner, make me realize that the VTGOP is caught in a powerful current carrying them further to the right. And their State House impotence is only making things worse: the longer they have to watch the Dems walk all over them, the madder they get.

It’s going to take some remarkable events to make the Vermont Republican Party relevant again. And I don’t see anything to suggest that its current crop of leaders and officeholders can take the necessary steps. Quite the opposite; I think they’re far more likely, out of pure spite, to push their party into even greater irrelevance.  

7 thoughts on “I don’t think the VTGOP can help itself

  1. You wrote: “The man at the helm of a nearly bankrupt party […]”

    Not sure the VTGOP is so bankrupt. It got some money from the Romney campaign for parking big money for them (maybe it was just the valet’s tip, but it was something).

    And someone is bankrolling anti-Dem tv spots on WGOP.

    So where’d that money come from? One might be excused for thinking Ms. Lenore “Daisy” Broughton might have opened her checkbook, but I have no direct evidence of it.


    We now know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob. ~ FDR

  2. The Federal Republicans demanding massive cutting of expenditures.  There are certain costs that can’t be avoided, which means the GOP wants to cut other vital programs more to ‘save’ money for the costs that can’t be changed.

    The state GOP wants to cut even more vital resources.

    And at town meeting today the Conservatives demanded huge cuts in the school budget claiming that the School Board didn’t do it’s job by cutting enough out.  (Really, what are we going to cut?  The school has three teachers for 50 students.)

    Now here’s the kicker: health insurance for the town employees went up 11% alone.

    The Conservatives are eager to cut pay to their fellow townspeople so as to impoverish them and then demand starving and homeless teachers work harder for crap-pay, but then refuse to agitate against annual double-digit insurance raises!  Some anonymous CEO getting a huge salary increase is more important to Conservatives than their own townspeople’s lives.

  3. perpetually restless. Perhaps they might ask themselves why they are on such a short leash and how they got there. The more autonomy they have the more misery & mayhem they cause. It’s just a fact of life.

    Every time they say or do anything on a national, state or local level they show how maddeningly clueless and detrimental their plots & plans are to the rest of the populus.  

    Stoked on an ongoing basis by their media icons, who are arrogant, angry, thoughtless, meanspirited & downright nasty they stay in their echochamber & drink the evil toxic brew which is served. How could they not emulate that bunch. Birds of a feather.  

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