A few days ago, I spotlighted Lt. Gov. Phil Scott’s reaction to Governor Shumlin’s State of the State Address (Opioid Crisis Edition), which seemed rather staunchly conservative considering its source. And I wondered if Scott was feeling the pressure to move towards — or at least pander to — the right wing of his party.
Well, if he is, he’s not doing enough of it to satisfy said wing. From Jon “Watchpup” Street at the “I Can’t Believe It’s Journalism” site Vermont Watchdog:
Pressure mounts for Vermont lieutenant governor to take single-payer position
Prominent members of his own party wonder why, after more than 2 1/2 years, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott refuses to take a position on the state’s single-payer health-care law.
Scott has adopted a skeptical but “wait and see” attitude toward single-payer, saying he can’t take a position until Governor Shumlin actually unveils the single payer plan including its funding scheme.
Which isn’t good enough for “prominent members of his own party.” And who, pray tell, are these “prominent members”?
The very folks who ran the VTGOP off the rails and into the chasm of an historic 2012 defeat: gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock and his extremely well-paid campaign manager Darcie “Hack” Johnston. Those are the only two “prominent members” identified by Street as criticizing Scott.
First, the ex-candidate:
Brock… said ample information is available to judge that a single-payer system would be bad for Vermont.
Single-payer will jeopardize jobs … It would encourage medical professionals to leave the state, discourage medical innovation … prohibit Vermonters from choosing their own health plans and rely on a state agency he says has already proven itself incapable of implementation.
And the “mastermind” of Brock’s defeat:
“I think Lt. Gov. Scott is very confused on the Republican principles with regard to government-run, socialized health care, “Johnston said.
Yes, the architects of Brock’s woefully underfunded and completely ineffectual campaign are taking potshots at the only Republican who actually won a statewide race in 2012. (Just to remind you of the numbers, Brock earned less than 38% of the vote and lost to Shumlin by over 20 percentage points, while Scott pulled in 57% of the vote. The only other statewide Republican candidate to win more than 41% was the other centrist on the ticket, Vince Illuzzi.)
Not that these embarrassing results have given any pause to Brock or the Hack; they’re demanding that Scott prove his conservative purity by moving farther out of Vermont’s mainstream. Man, I don’t envy the high-wire act Scott will have to perform: maintaining his centrist credentials (even as Shumlin actively co-opts the center) while trying to mollify the Loser & Nutjob Wing of the party.
If I were him, I think I’d just let the VTGOP roam in the wilderness and bask in the popularity and job security of being Lieutenant Governor, a job that plays to his skills and lets him go on being Everybody’s Buddy. Why try to save the political bacon of ingrates like Johnston and Brock?