Daily Archives: September 30, 2015

A happy ending

Well hey, looky here:

Scott opposes efforts to defund Planned Parenthood

That’s the headline on a newly-minted story by the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami, who reached out to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott for comment on the Planned Parenthood foofaraw. Don’t know whether Goswami’s inquiry was sparked by yesterday’s disgraceful Congressional “hearing” or by my earlier post calling for Scott to exercise some leadership, but the important thing is, Phil Scott stepped up and delivered.

“I’m pro-choice. I always have been and I believe that Planned Parenthood provides very important health services that go far beyond abortions for women,” he said. “They provide great services and needed services.”

Can’t say anything bad about that. It’s a strong and straightforward statement, and it puts Phil Scott at odds with the national party and all the Republican Presidential candidates. I do have one quibble:

Scott said he did not know if the videos that have inspired conservatives in Congress to cut funding for Planned Parenthood are reputable.

“I don’t know anything about the allegations, whether they are true or not, but I’m sure we can all agree that no organization should be profiting from abortions,” he said.

Well, he went a little Sergeant Schultz on us there at the end. But the rest of his position? Commendable.

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Oh wait, there’s some leadership now!

My previous post called on Lt. Gov. Phil Scott to show some leadership on the issue of Planned Parenthood, and noted that neither he nor the VTGOP had responded to my Tweet inquiring about their stance. Well, I missed something.

Unfortunately, it’s not good.

Jay Shepard is one of Vermont’s two members of the Republican National Committee. (The other, Susie Hudson, is known in these parts for drawing paychecks from the VTGOP as a “fundraising consultant” while the party’s fundraising continues to suck, and also for accepting a free trip to the Holy Land chaperoned by leaders of the American Family Association, the notoriously anti-gay, anti-choice ultraconservative Christian organization.) He is, in short, one of Vermont’s two representatives to the national party.

And he revealed his position on Planned Parenthood in an August Facebook post:

Jay Shepard and Rand Paul

Well, hooray for leadership. Too bad it’s the wrong kind. Wrong for Vermont, certainly.

I’ll also mention a comment Shepard made in January to the Wall Street Journal, concerning then-fringe candidate Ben Carson. Yes, the guy who doesn’t believe a Muslim should be President.

“I think he was fantastic. A breath of fresh air,” said Jay Shepard, GOP national committeeman from Vermont.

Oh, goodie.

Now, I realize that Phil Scott isn’t directly responsible for the views of his fellow Vermont Republican. But this guy holds one of the most important, influential posts in the VTGOP. And the other RNC representative thinks it’s perfectly okay to travel on a hate group’s dime. If these are the two people chosen to represent Vermont on the national stage, then tell me again: exactly how is the VTGOP different than the national version?

Time for some leadership

Phil Scott wants to be the leader of our state, after six years in the high-profile but undemanding position of Lieutenant Governor. Last Friday, he demonstrated his leadership by speaking at the Rally for Safe Roads in Montpelier.

A worthy cause to be sure, but advocating civility and opposing mayhem isn’t exactly going out on a limb. Scott has also spent plenty of time recently promoting Wheels for Warmth, another creditable but not at all controversial endeavor.

So when will he say or do something that might be the least little bit of a stretch?

Well, he’s got an ideal opportunity right now. Because the national Republicans have been loudly, offensively, ceaselessly on the attack against Planned Parenthood, trying to capitalize on the deceitful outrage videos that claim to show PP officials profiting from abortions. Yesterday’s chest-pounding Congressional “hearing” was particularly offensive: Republican members grilled Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards for five hours, repeatedly cut off her attempts to answer questions, cited “information” from anti-choice sources, and generally behaved like assholes.

Aside from that brutal display, we’ve got Republicans threatening a government shutdown over federal funding for women’s health care at Planned Parenthood, at least three ongoing Congressional probes of the organization (with a fourth in the works), plus every Republican Presidential candidate joining the chorus. Carly Fiorina is the most obnoxious in this regard, but they’re all piling on.

So, Phil. Got anything to say about your fellow Republicans?

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