This is the kind of story that leaves you wondering whether to laugh or cry.
The Vermont Republican Party has beefed up its election-year staffing, with the hire of a “Victory Campaign Director.” Sounds noble, right? The power of positive thinking in action, portending the dawn of a new, dynamic VTGOP? Also, this new leader refers to himself on his Facebook page as “Fresh. Focused Energy. Forward-Thinking Leadership.”
Nope. Because the party’s Victory Campaign Director, according to a Tweet by the ever-vigilant Paul Heintz, is one Jeff Bartley, chair of the Chittenden County Republicans and veteran of numerous losing campaigns. Yes, one of those Republican operatives who keeps on failing upward.
Talk about recycling. Well, more like composting, really; turning garbage into fertilizer. “Fresh,” indeed.
We last saw Jeffy in November 2013 as a candidate for state party chair. Somehow, he managed to lose the “battle” for the conservative wing’s support to John MacGovern, who blew a gasket and hit the wall in his 2012 campaign against Bernie Sanders.
Let that sink in for a moment. Jeff Bartley lost to John MacGovern. And now he’s the Republicans’ Victory Director.
Well, Bartley sure knows victory. Particularly, how to avoid it.
His political resume also includes a 2012 stint as political director for the Vermont House Republican Caucus. Yes, the group that somehow managed to lose seats even though it had previously achieved super-minority status.
After the jump: Jeffy’s role in two of the most disastrous Senate campaigns in recent memory. And other failures.
Another example of Bartley’s “forward-thinking leadership” was his intra-party lawsuit against former U.S. Senate candidate Len Britton for unpaid salary and expenses. The whole schemozzle was embarrassing for both men, although moreso for Britton. But still, Bartley — then, as now, a Republican Party official — taking a fellow Republican to court? Not exactly 11th Commandment material.
Presumably, Britton was attracted to Bartley because of his previous experience in a disastrous Senate campaign: at age 20, Bartley was hired by the ill-fated Rich Tarrant for Senate campaign. Apparently he’s got a thing for hopeless causes — and for making sure they stay that way.
Bartley’s most notable contribution to the Tarrant effort was his embarrassing attempt to pull the wool over Vermonters’ eyes with a bogus political blog called “Vermont Senate Race,” which was ostensibly a straight news site, but was meant to be a conduit for Tarrant agitprop. Unfortunately, the late great Peter Freyne blew the whistle on Jeffy’s dirty trick, by exposing him as the owner of the site. Plus, as Freyne pointed out, the founding of the VSR website corresponded almost exactly with the Tarrant campaign’s hiring of Bartley.
That is, as far as I can tell, Jeff Bartley’s entire political resume: just one damn failure after another. And this qualifies him to be the VTGOP’s Victory Director.
Every time I think they can’t possibly go even lower, they surprise me. When exactly does the Vermont Republican Party hit bottom?