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?
Apparently not, because around noon yesterday I Tweeted:
— The #vtpoli Observer (@theVPO1) September 29, 2015
The response? Crickets. Nothing. Not from Scott, not from the VTGOP.
Scott has declared himself to be pro-choice, and he’s tried to hold himself at arm’s length from the national Republican Party without offering a hint of criticism, no matter how crazy the GOP gets. Well, next year he’s going to share a ticket with a presidential candidate who’s fully on board with the Planned Parenthood mania. So I say it’s time to stop with the vague, mealy-mouthed “Vermont Republicans are different” stuff and, you know, take a stand.
I realize that Scott isn’t used to such things, but if he wants to be a leader, well, he needs to show he’s got what it takes.
I don’t expect him to call a news conference and declare that the national Republicans are liars and crazies. But do you know what he could do?
He could hold a media event at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and thank the staffers and the organization for the great work they do. He could publicly make a donation to Planned Parenthood.
Too hard? How about releasing a statement praising Planned Parenthood’s work for women’s health? Or making it clear that he supports government funding for its non-abortion services?
Still too hard? Well, maybe Scott doesn’t have what it takes to be Vermont’s chief executive.
How about it, Phil? Are you on the side of truth? Or will you remain silent while good people and a good organization suffer ceaseless attack at the hands of your friends and allies?