The fabled moderate Vermont Republican has pretty much vanished, and if you believe the American Conservative Union, that respected personage of the past has been replaced by a small pocket of Reagan conservatives.
The American Conservative Union and the American Conservative Union Foundation were founded by William F. Buckley after the presidential election in 1964 (Barry Goldwater’s huge loss to LBJ). Along with a host of other activities they sponsor the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) once chaired by Carly Fiorina.
And now, the American Conservative Union says it is thrilled to announce “a small pocket of conservatism exists in Vermont: 33 out of 150 Representatives and 5 out of 30 Senators will receive ACU’s conservative award.”. Vermont’s small conservative pocket is mostly Republican but a lone Democrat did well in the ratings: One outlier in the legislature is Representative Browning, a Democrat who will receive the ACU Conservative Excellence award for her 100% rating.
Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) made the grade. She often votes with Republicans and has tangled with the Shumlin administration over access to healthcare funding details. And two NEK state senators, Bobby Starr and John Rodgers D-Essex-Orleans, hardly starting out as part of what the ACU termed the “coalition of the radical left,” might find their way into the conservative pocket with a little effort.
The ACU judged legislators on a wide range of bills from the 2015 session, selected to reflect an adherence to certain conservative principles.
We select bills that focus on former President Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of the “three-legged stool”: 1) economic: taxes, budgets, regulation, spending, healthcare, and property; 2) social and cultural: 2nd Amendment, religious freedom, life, welfare, and education; and 3) government integrity: voting, individual liberty, privacy, and transparency.
That seems to me less a description of a simple three-legged stool than some elaborate Empire dining room suite of issues. But who would know Ronald Reagan’s stool better than ACU and CPAC.