Johnston, Feliciano and Sunderland: Closing the circle

After writing my previous posts about Darcie “Hack” Johnston’s personal attacks on Scott Milne, I happened to check my other other email account, which I sometimes neglect. And there I found the trigger to all this garbage: a press release by VTGOP Chair “Super Dave” Sunderland attacking the Libertarian Party in very extrreme terms. Specifically, the Libs’ stand on drug legalization.

Sunderland meant to remind Republicans that if they support Libertarian Dan Feliciano in the gubernatorial primary, they’re effectively endorsing a very fringey set of principles. That’s all fine, but his letter included this incendiary passage:

Let’s be clear about this:  Vermont Libertarians would release all the heroin traffickers and professional dealers who have peddled their poison on our streets.  And all those felons who were arrested, charged and brought to justice by dedicated members of law enforcement for importing and profiting from the hardest and most addictive drugs would be set free and have their criminal records expunged if the Vermont Libertarians had their way.  Then what?  You know the answer:  They’d be back at it.

That’a a very inflammatory accusation. Let’s check it. From the Vermont Libertarian Party platform: 

7. CRIME: Repeal all consensual crime laws to focus police resources on crimes to property and persons. To ease the strain on our judicial systems, we support greater use of alternative dispute solutions. We propose amnesty for all convicted non-violent drug offenders.

There’s a huge difference between the Libs’ stand and Sunderland’s characterization, and the key phrase is “non-violent.” Sunderland would be right if, and only if, all our imprisoned drug dealers were purely nonviolent offenders. And that is simply not true: the real bad guys in the drug trade commit acts of violence and are punished for same. The vast majority of non-violent offenders are either consumers or low-level dealers.

In short, Sunderland stretched the truth beyond recognition. And that explains Johnston’s Twitter rampage.

Note: I said “explains,” not “justifies.” Johnston took it from the realm of distorting a political position to attacking a person’s integrity. That’s still outrageous, and Johnston should still take it back.

But the real news here is this: Why the hell did Sunderland jam a stick into the hornets’ nest? The Libertarians are not a serious threat to our two biggest parties. At least, not usually.

My inference is that Sunderland is truly worried about Feliciano’s write-in campaign. He’s worried that Feliciano could actually beat Scott Milne on August 26. That shows how desperate things are getting in Republicanland.

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