Welp, I guess we can lay to rest the New, Improved, Inclusive Vermont Republican Party: born November 8, 2013, died February 1, 2014. Ah, VTGOP, we hardly knew ye.
The death blow was struck by the Republican State Committee which, on Saturday, approved a resolution formally opposing single-payer health care and urging “legislative and statewide candidates to publicly oppose single-payer/government run health care.”
This development, reported only (so far) by Neal Goswami of the Mitchell Family Organ (paywall alert), is difficult to interpret as anything other than a slap at Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, who has been publicly skeptical but not opposed to single-payer. But don’t take my word for it; just ask Phil, who did not attend Saturday’s meeting.
“I am surprised that a resolution such as that would be put forth without any notice to people like myself. I look forward to getting to the bottom of it to find out how and why. I think that’s disappointing,” he said.
But don’t take Phil’s word for it; just ask Darcie “Hack” Johnston, anti-health care reform dead-ender and serial Consultant To The Losers. If her grubby fingerprints aren’t all over this thing, she seems awfully damn proud of it. And unafraid to point out the obvious implications.
There could be repercussion for Scott and the party should he not take a stronger position against single-payer health care, according to Johnston.
“I don’t know what the consequences may or may not be. I would expect his fundraising would be more difficult. He could have a primary challenge. He won’t be helpful to other candidates on the stump,” she said.
Nice little Lieutenant Governorship ya got there, Philly. Shame if something were to happen to it.
The Hack, having somehow lived through the utter debacle of the 2012 election without seeing any need to re-examine her political assumptions, continues to believe that Governor Shumlin and the vast Democratic majority are somehow out of touch with true public sentiment. The anti-single-payer resolution, she claims, puts the VTGOP on the comeback trail.
“I think it’s the ticket to raising money. I think it’s the ticket to recruiting candidates to run,” she said.
Durr hurr hurr. “Raising money” like Randy Brock, who had to loan his own campaign $300,000 just to get his war chest up to HALF the size of Gov. Shumlin’s? “Recruiting candidates” like Wendy Wilton, who lost badly in spite of massive spending on her behalf?
Okay, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of dead-enders in the VTGOP who are happy to take an inflammatory hard-core position — and put their unforgivably moderate Lt. Gov. in a really uncomfortable place. But what about Scott’s slate of party leaders? What about party chair David Sunderland, who won with Scott’s backing over the opposition of the dead-enders?
Sunderland was there on Saturday. He must have known that this was on the agenda, and he ought to have known that Scott was clueless about the knife poised between his shoulder blades. I have to imagine that if he has any control of his own organization, he could have wangled a postponement.
Why didn’t Sunderland have Phil Scott’s back?
The best he could offer was a lame non-explanation:
State GOP Chairman David Sunderland said the resolution is aimed at the frustration behind the “cloud of mystery” regarding Shumlin’s plan. It is not directed at Scott, he said.
Cough, choke, snort. Yeah, it was not directed at the only prominent Republican who’s held fire on single payer, the most prominent Republican advocating for a more inclusive party ideology, the most prominent Republican telling them that they’re dangerously out of touch, and the only Republican with proven statewide electoral appeal. I can’t even imagine how someone could reach such an obviously errant conclusion.
Sure thing, Dave. But I imagine your ensuing conversation with Scott must have been an uncomfortable one.