Pathways to Electoral Failure, Fringe Republican Edition

We have two stories today touching on a common theme: how not to appeal to the Vermont electorate. One involves a presidential candidate allying himself with a Republican moneybags with deep pockets and imperceptible electoral appeal; the other involves a young lawmaker on the rise who seems to be an acolyte of America’s Crankiest Novelist and America’s Most Notorious Ophthalmologist.

First, the candidate and the moneybags:

Yep, that’s Florida Senator Marco Rubio believing that Skip Vallee will “do great things” for his campaign. (Tweet was first noted by the Free Press’ Emilie Teresa Stigliani.) Well, Skip will probably do great things for Rubio’s bottom line. But as for strengthening his campaign, not so much. Rubio can be forgiven for not knowing the details of Skippy’s political rap sheet, being from Florida and all. But just in case he’s reading this blog, God only knows why, let’s do the numbers.

The high point of Skip Vallee’s political career was when he donated enough money to the Bush 2004 campaign to wangle himself the ambassadorship to the Slovak Republic. Aside from that, Skipper’s political career has been purely a figment of his own imagination. In his only bid for elective office, Vallee lost the 2000 race for State Senate in Chittenden County, despite what must have been the most expensive State Senate campaign in state history: he spent $134,000. And still lost.

Vallee has never run for office again — although he keeps hinting and nosing around, as if he can’t believe his proven unpopularity.

His talk of running for governor in 2010 was met with deathly silence, as was his crotch-grabbing debate challenge to Bernie Sanders back when our Senator was raising cain about high gas prices in Chittenden County. Vallee also bought TV time for anti-Sanders attack ads last fall — even though Bernie wasn’t up for re-election at the time.

By his endorsement of Rubio, I would infer Vallee is a fan of free markets; but he’s gone out of his way to avoid competition whenever he can. He’s been trying to block construction of a Costco gas station off I-89 in Colchester because such a station would almost certainly bring down prices. And over in Plainfield, Vallee bought a gas station on the east side of town. He then bought a former gas station in the middle of town and immediately put it back on the market with a clause that blocks a purchaser from opening a gas station on the site. Thus ensuring that he owns the only gas station in Plainfield.

But I digress. The point is, if Senator Rubio is counting on Skip Vallee to open fresh opportunities for him in Vermont, well, he shouldn’t hold his breath.

And speaking of free markets, here’s one of the Republican Caucus’ leading PYTs, Paul Dame, serving as co-admin for the “Vermont for Rand Paul 2016” Facebook group. And sprinkling his Twitter feed with pro-Rand items like:

Hahahaha “deep policy knowledge” hahahahahaha. Oh wait, you’re serious.

Dame also appears to be a fan of another famous Rand.

That Tweet was in response to this one:

“Anthem” is one of the preachy novels by dyspeptic writer Ayn Rand. She’s the one who endlessly warned of the dangers of dependence on government while happily accepting Social Security and Medicare benefits. I guess she was strong enough to resist the corrosive effects of such freeloading.

That’s also the Ayn Rand who believed that “abortion is a moral right” and that “an embryo has no rights.” (Italics hers.) Of course, none of our present-day Young Conservatives likes to recall that part of her worldview.

Anyway, good to know that young Mr. Dame is a fan. Remember that if he should ever try to present himself as a centrist or bipartisan figure.

As for Rand Paul, I can see how his campaign would have some appeal among the gun-rights community in Vermont (hi, Ed). But other than that, he shouldn’t be counting on us for much, despite Paul Dame’s efforts. At last count, the “Vermont for Rand Paul” Facebook group had a mere 108 members.

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