Jeff Bartley continues to fail upward

Congratulations to Jeff Bartley, fresh off his unfortunate racist Tweet (“Dez Bryant is a monkey”) and his apparently successful stint as the VTGOP’s Victory Director in the 2014 campaign. Also, condolences to the VTGOP itself, because according to a hot tip, unconfirmed but from a source I trust, Jeff Bartley is about to be hired as Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party.

I say “condolences” because Bartley is one of those Young Conservative blowhard types who keeps rising through the ranks without regard to merit or track record. Although, to be fair, if the VTGOP can actually afford a permanent full-time staffer, that’s a step up in financial terms.

Whether Bartley will be more effective than an empty chair, however, is debatable. Let’s take a look at his pre-2014 record, from a post I wrote on Green Mountain Daily in June of this year:

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.

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?

Back to the present. If, in fact, the VTGOP is about to hire Jeff Bartley as its full-time leader, then I’m afraid it’s still trending downward.

Also, this news puts Bartley’s rapid-response Twitter apology in a new light. If he knew — as surely he must have — that he was about to get this big new job, then he had to be duty-bound and hell-bent to minimize any blowback from calling a black athlete a monkey.

And I guess it worked, since nobody else in the Vermont political media picked up on it. And now little ol’ Jeff Bartley is poised to become the Executive Director of the state party.


4 thoughts on “Jeff Bartley continues to fail upward

  1. Robert Maynard

    ‘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.’

    I wanted to point out one small flaw in this piece. Jeff Bartley is not a conservative and it should come as no surprise that conservatives would not het behind him as their candidate for party chair. He burnt a lot of bridges with consertavives and Tea Party types during the Len Britton campaign by telling the that his model for a Republican office holder was Maine’s Senator Olympia Snowe. (At least that is what I am told by the Tea Party members who worked on the campaign) In their eyes, he represents a brand of Republicanism that will say anything to get elected, reqardless of whether it is consistant with what the party purportedly stands for.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Robert: Thanks for the perspective. It helps explain Bartley’s appeal to the Sunderland/Scott crowd. Although I’d think his track record would be a more pressing point against him than his ideology, no matter which end of the conservative spectrum y0u’re on.

  2. Robert Maynard

    True, but the Vermont GOP’s base is thin and the pickings are slim. The rebuilding job will be arduous and the GOP may not have had many applicants lined up for the job. The cynic in me would argue that the position was determined, at least in part, by his willingness to do Scott’s bidding. There is a difference of opinion when it comes to the role of the party apparatus. Is it merely in charge of the nuts and bolts operation that supports candidates, or is it also a key vehicle to promote a Republican message? Some think that it is the former and that promoting a message should be left up to the highest elected GOP official. That would be Phil Scott. Others think that the messaging should be reflective of agreed upon Republican principles and that both the party and its elected officials should be subordinate to those principles. By most accounts, Sunderland is ideologically conservative, but sees the role of the party as subservient to the elected officials when it comes to messaging. I think that Bartlett is both ideologically moderate and sees the role of the party as subservient tp the elected officials messagewise.


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