BP’s take on the Windham County race set me to thinking.
When the late Senator Jim Jeffords made his famous statement, that he hadn’t left the Republican Party but it had left him, he foretold the GOP’s future in Vermont.
Today’s Vermont GOP is a fractured and ineffectual mess.
It happened rather quickly; and it happened, for the most part, because nationally, the “Grand Old Party” had just grown too extreme to find support here, orphaning Vermont Republicans to explain their parentage as best they could.
Longtime Vermont Republican figures soldier on in a joyless vacuum. Money from the national party, so necessary to buying a credible place on the ballot, comes with a secret handshake and the long shadow of talking points that would make Ronald Reagan blush.
Both reasonable men, Phil Scott and Randy Brock represent two aspects of the same disfunction:
Scott has found a “safe” place by being everyone’s friend and a little vague on where he stands on everything else.
Left rudderless by an appalling national party, Randy Brock seems to have lost the will to live, politically speaking.
Meanwhile, every political hopeful who lies somewhere to the left of Michele Bachman, is trying to cram him or herself into the (winning) Democratic blazer and make it fit. It’s a Blue Dog bonanza!
Can you blame them for seeking an identity makeover?
When even the word “conservative” can’t be said with a straight face, and demographics seem poised to send your party straight over the cliff, Darwin-style, what alternative is there?
The problem is that this artificial swelling of the Democratic ranks resets the parameters of “moderation” within the party a little to the right. In so doing, Democratic commitment to tough issues like social justice, single payer healthcare and environmental stewardship become diluted.
And yes; there is some truth to the argument that defection to the Progressive Party just reinforces that diluted state.
Guilty as charged.