The “moderate” VTGOP is a mythical beast

A few interesting things came out of the Vermont Republican Convention on Saturday — besides revealing that Phil Scott can’t take a rhetorical punch.

I thought it shone a harsh and unforgiving light on the idea that Vermont Republicans are a breed apart — the last surviving redoubt of moderate Republicanism. That’s largely a fiction created in a desperate effort to appeal to the liberal Vermont electorate. It takes on the veneer of reality thanks to the thoroughly moderate image of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. But the party ranks are full of garden-variety 21st Century Republicanism. Vermont Republicans may have thrown in the towel on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights*, but they are a stoutly conservative bunch when it comes to brass-tacks issues like government spending, regulation, and taxation.

*Well, let’s say they are withholding the towel. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts they’d change their tune if they ever achieved political power.

After all, this is a party that eagerly embraced John Kasich, a man whose tax plan would make Ronald Reagan blush with embarrassment. George W. Bush, too, for that matter.

But there were signs aplenty at the Convention that this is a party with a strongly conservative core.

Let’s start with the willingness to throw principle out the window and support Donald Trump. Indeed, let’s look at the fact that Phil Scott may just have a Trump problem; there are indications that his declared opposition to Trump is prompting some disaffection among diehard Trump supporters.

And now look at Vermont’s freshly-elected delegation to the national convention. It’s chock full of conservatives, while a bunch of relatively moderate party stalwarts were left without a ticket to Cleveland.

The Convention selected 16 delegates, including:

— Wendy Wilton, prominent member of the party’s right wing, and Lenore Broughton’s favorite candidate in the 2012 campaign. (Wilton lost badly to political newbie Beth Pearce.)

— Darcie Johnston, founder of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, an astroturf group that agitates against health care reform. She was last seen spurning Scott Milne in 2014 and throwing her support behind Libertarian Dan “Four Percent” Feliciano.

— Paul Dame, Libertarian in Republican clothing. Has reportedly copped to never having voted for a Republican for President. One of only four members of the House to earn a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union.

— Jace Laquerre, 17-year-old wunderkind who sequentially supported Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in the primary. Member of Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Life, and the NRA.

— Suzanne Butterfield, former chair of Windsor County GOP and member of the President Coolidge Foundation, “dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of America’s 30th president.” And if Coolidge is your idea of a great president…

— State Rep. Janssen Willhoit, born-again Christian, got an 82% rating from the American Conservative Union.

— Rick Cochran, who described himself as “pro-life and fiscally conservative.”

In addition to the elected delegates, there are three slots set aside for the party chair and Vermont’s two national committee members. That would be:

— David Sunderland, a staunch conservative who has questioned the scientific basis of climate change. (“There’s science on both sides,” eesh.)

— Susie Hudson, last seen accepting a free trip to the Holy Land paid for and guided by the American Family Association, the far-right Christian organization labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

— Jay Shepard, who eagerly anticipated last August’s Vermont visit by Sen. Rand Paul by sending out a Tweet saying “I stand with Rand to defund Planned Parenthood.”

That’s a lotta conservatives, and not much traditional Vermont moderation.

Now let’s look at some of the unsuccessful candidates for delegate, and marvel at the amount of experience the VTGOP is choosing to leave behind.

— Mark Snelling, former VTGOP Treasurer, former candidate for Lite-Gov, and scion of the Dick Snelling family tree.

— Tim Hayward, chief of staff to Jim Douglas, senior staffer under Dick Snelling. During the last days of the Legislature, some “Jim Douglas for President” bumper stickers were being circulated; Hayward had this comment for the Burlington Free Press:

“We always talk about our Republicans as being more moderate perhaps than some of our peers around the country,” said Tim Hayward, former chief of staff for Gov. Douglas.

“There was a spark of truth in those stickers, I think,” Hayward said.

Yeah, he’s not going to Cleveland.

— John Carroll, former state senator and Senate Majority Leader, challenged Bernie Sanders for Congress in 1994.

— Dawn Terrill, Transportation Secretary under Jim Douglas, former finance chair of the VTGOP.

— Brady Toensing, current Vice Chair of the VTGOP.

— Tom Koch, longtime State Representative from Barre, relatively moderate voting record.

— Thom Lauzon, mayor of Barre. Pretty conservative guy, but always willing to work with government — and Gov. Shumlin — if it helps his hometown.

I think that’s sufficient to illustrate my point. The VTGOP’s delegation has a substantial rightward lean, and many of the party’s old lions who go back to the days of moderate Republicanism were left out.

Considering all of the above, who’s got the power in this party, anyway?

This post is already too long, but I’ll point out one other salient fact. Earlier this year, the American Conservative Union issued its annual rankings of lawmakers from around the country. As first reported on Green Mountain Daily, a surprising number of Vermont Republicans got very favorable rankings from the ACU.

The results of the ratings indicated a small pocket of conservatism exists in Vermont: 33 out of 150 Representatives and 5 out of 30 Senators will receive ACU’s conservative award.

That may constitute a “small pocket” of the entire Legislature, but it’s more than half of all Republican lawmakers. That “33 out of 150 Representatives” includes 32 Republicans plus Democrat Cynthia Browning. But the House only has 53 Republican members — so more than half get the ACU seal of approval.

And that “5 out of 30 Senators” could also be described as 5 out of 9 sitting Republican Senators.

In other words, 37 out of 62 Republican lawmakers scored 80 percent or better in the ACU rating. That’s 60 percent, folks. To be honest, that’s quite a bit higher than I expected. And it’s one more sign that the party of Jim Jeffords and George Aiken — hell, the party of Jim Douglas — is vanishing quickly.

Phil Scott may be the VTGOP’s nominee for governor, but his putative moderation is out of step with the state party’s mainstream.

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33 thoughts on “The “moderate” VTGOP is a mythical beast

  1. chuck gregory

    IMO, When a Republican makes Brady Toensing look like a moderate, the party has definitely shifted far, far right…

    Reply
  2. Cynthia Browning

    First of all, why do you say “this post is too long”? Does anyone complain? Is there a rule? I am willing to read as much as you need to write because you always have an interesting perspective.

    Secondly, since you mention me and my ACU ranking: I don’t know which bill votes they used, but I have seldom voted for the spending or revenue bills put forth over the last few years. This is because the Democrat majority has in my opinion given lip service to comprehensive tax reform without doing it, and they have not done enough of the comprehensive spending reform that still needs to be done. The Republicans push for spending reform, but from what I see they resist real tax reform that could lead to lower rates even as it eliminates deductions and exemptions or credits. We need BOTH spending and tax reform, but the politics has made it difficult.

    To have budget years during an economic expansion when we continually need to raise taxes is a sign of real structural fiscal problems. What will happen when the economy slips into another recession, as it inevitably will, and tax revenues decline? The Federal government may not be either willing or able to step in with stimulus funds again, and we may have to cut spending or raise taxes to balance the budget and those are the worst things to do during a recession.

    As an economist I believe that the Democratic majority missed an unusual opportunity to undertake thorough spending and tax reform to put our state on a sound fiscal footing across the business cycle. I think that they put political concerns over economic necessities, and the Republicans did so as well, and I think that Vermonters will pay a price for this. I deeply regret that I was unable to have greater influence over the discussions in Montpelier.

    So that is my vote explanation. Oh, wait, is it too long? Sorry.

    Rep. Cynthia Browning, Arlington

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Rough rule of thumb: posts over 1000 words long tend to lose readers before the end. Computer-induced short attention spans. Darn kids nowadays. Pull yer pants up! Get off my lawn!

      Otherwise, I didn’t make a big deal of your ranking because you’ve got your principles and you’re consistent. I might not agree with you, but I respect you.

      Reply
  3. Kay Trudell

    John, the grassroots (which includes me) in the Republican Party nationwide appears to have moved more to the right. That seems to be true in Vermont as well. This is a direct response to the Obama administration and its far left policies and scoffing at the Constitution, except to weaken it. The liberal media does not label liberal Republicans as such, but insists on tagging them with the label “moderate”. They are not. When they have surrendered on the moral/social issues and are tentative on the fiscal issues as well, they are liberals. The liberal media does not use that label for liberal GOP members who are their media darlings. They call them moderate. Radical leftist Democrats are now occasionally called liberal by the media when they are really socialists and Marxists and revolutionaries. Bernie is the only one they call a socialist because he has self-identified as such. Progressives are socialists also, but not tagged with that label by the media. The media uses labels in this way to drive the national discussion and a worldview they are attempting to mold in America. People who disagree are labeled as haters or homophobic or transphoblic or right wing wackos by that same media. One worldview can only push people so far before there is a swing of the pendulum in the other direction. That is what you are seeing now. The grassroots is indeed more conservative in Vermont than much (not all) of the GOP party leadership. There are exceptions to that statement in the Vermont Legislature, where we have some great conservative future leaders. This mirrors the national trend. I was born and raised in Vermont in the Democrat Party. My whole family was Democrat. I fled from the Democrat Party when they embraced abortion almost as a sacrament. As a pro life person, and a former more liberal person who has become conservative, I know I am in the minority in Vermont, but that’s okay. Principles above all, not political correctness above all.

    Reply
  4. John Ennis

    I would not classify Jace as a 17-yr old wunderkind. He simply won because of his age and his multiple interviews on the TV circuit. There were other candidates that were more qualified and deserved a seat as a delegate. One of these was Sam Ennis; see bio at end. Sam unfortunately lost because he was honest about his moderate views and how he felt about Trump during his interview on VPR. If you listen to Sam’s and Jace’s interviews, you too would say that we selected the wrong young Vermonter.

    Samuel Ennis is a sophomore at Saint Anselm College, where he dual majors in politics and history. He is an active member of the Saint Anselm College Republicans where he serves as the Chairman of Elections. He was born in Newport, VT and currently resides in Bethel, VT, where he was elected Chair of the town’s Republican Committee. He is a Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, where he works to bring political programs to the greater New Hampshire community.

    He recently served as an intern on the John Kasich Presidential Campaign. He graduated as valedictorian of Whitcomb High School’s Class of 2015. At Whitcomb he served as class President from his sophomore to senior year, was a captain of their varsity baseball team for two seasons, was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in numerous musical festivals, and in his senior year, was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award from Whitcomb. For his high school senior project, he composed a 26 instrument symphony dedicated to the landing in Normandy. He is an Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout troop 205, where he earned Eagle Scout Rank in 2013.

    Why do I want to be a delegate? I want to have the chance to represent the young people of Vermont who are the future of the party. I also want to be a voice from one of the rural areas of the state. I believe the knowledge that I have gained through being so actively involved in politics while at college and now in my home state of Vermont, qualify me to be one of the state’s delegates to the convention. Throughout the 2016 race I have supported John Kasich which was the reason I was so eager to intern on his campaign. I supported him because of his long record of fiscal responsibility, his foreign policy knowledge, and his ability to create jobs. As a delegate I have no issue voting as either the 8 Trump or 8 Kasich because that is what the Vermont people decided. However, if something were to change and the convention, though that seems unlikely, I will be supporting who I feel can best represent the people of Vermont and our country and who can lead our nation forward not backward.

    Also, on Wednesday I had the great opportunity to be interviewed on the Vermont Edition segment on Vermont Public Radio (VPR) about my candidacy for delegate along with my feelings on being a young Republican in Vermont. I encourage you to listen to the interview which can be found by following the following link. My segment begins around the 31 minute mark. http://digital.vpr.net/post/renegade-librarian-jessamyn-west-information-access-and-democracy

    Reply
  5. Dave Katz

    A moderate Republican is a Republican no other Republicans listen to. They used to say that about the John Birch Society. But now the Birchers are in charge. Sorrreeee, moderate Republicans! You guys all got bloated and smug, raking in those State Houses and seats in Congress off your shameless pandering to, and stoking of, the racist, sexist, xeno-and-homophobic beasts that are the true id of your party and have been since Brown v. Board of Education. Did you really think that, having created and nurtured this horror, that you could then control it? Fools.

    My deepest regret about Barack Obama will always be that he didn’t bind George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Clarence Thomas, William Kristol, Rush Limbaugh,and the entire pantheon of warmongering, mendacious grifter Republicans who sullied the new millenium for the whole planet, together into some kind of a giant cudgel of sheer fuckitude, and beat the immensely toxic GOP to its long-overdue death with it. And, because that didn’t happen, now we have Trump.

    Reply
    1. Kay Trudell

      Dave, Mr. Trump was elected by a wide populist “uprising” of Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and even some Democrats who wanted to send a message to the elites in Washington, DC that they are tired of a government that has forgotten them and exists mostly to keep its members in power. And that covers both sides of the aisle. This was a very large swath of U.S. grassroots people who were just plain sick and tired. To think that only conservative Republicans voted for Trump is naive.

      Reply
      1. Dave Katz

        Yeah, Kay, those “populists” rose up from their gated communities because of all those there Eee-leets that were getting lobster and steak with food stamps, or were pouring across the border, bounding along on those”cantalope leg muscles”(one of yours–look it up) to “rape” and “murder”(your mawn, The Talking Yam) gawd-fearing ‘Murricans, or were leaping by the towel-headed hundreds into Toyota pickup trucks to drive across North Africa and the Atlantic Ocean and brandish their AK-47s at Murrica’s daughters down to the 7-11 parking lot, or who murdered Vince Foster, or JFK, or whatever the flying fucking crazee shit Fascist-steaming brains are conjuring up today, hot off the presses of Reality TV.
        Trump and his followers are not an “uprising”–Him, and them, are retrograde devolution, away from the progress of the Enlightenment and American representative democratic self-governance, into dictatorship by TV personality. I’m troubled and revolted by the sheer numbers of those who know little about history and care even less, who would rather smash this fragile experiment in democracy into smithereens simply as a spasmodic, orgiastic expression of their own fears, hatreds and love of violence.

      2. Kay Trudell

        Dave, we both know that in Vermont the primaries are open and not restricted to only members of that particular Party. It is an absolute fact that not just Republicans voted for Donald Trump in Vermont. Vermonters of all political persuasions crossed over and voted for him, not just Republicans, or people who live in “gated communities”. I am not totally sure what you meant by that anyway. You are too dismissive of people who are not liberals and who do not have a liberal worldview. Also, what is your definition of a “fascist steaming brain”? Gotta say, that phrase is one I have not heard before. Does that apply to all people who are not liberals and who do not agree with you? And as far as the people who seem to want to “smash the fragile experiment in democracy into smithereens”, that seems to be coming more from the behavior of Bernie’s followers, more so than anyone else’s, including both Hillary C. or Donald T. Bernie himself started his run by calling for “an economic revolution” but has now changed his rhetoric to “a political revolution”. What does that mean?? He seems to be calling for socialism to replace the Constitution.

  6. chuck gregory

    Ms. Trudell’s response is an almost perfect example of what to expect from a constituency which for fifty years has fed on fear and hate mongering. Now fully believing that government is bad for them, they send to Cleveland the people who will vote for the man who, in the words of Thomas Frank, “when elected, [will] proceed to prove it.” Even the GOP establishment knows their planting is now reaping a terrible harvest.

    Reply
  7. Dave Katz

    Omigawd. Which low-hanging pinata of Kay’s Pure Derp should I whack first? a)”Liberals”? Never said anything about ’em here, don’t hold with that distinction anyway. Purely talking politics, as in using your enemies’ own words and deeds as levers to oust them from power and influence, and if deserved, into prison for war crimes–no L.vs. C. false dichotomy there; b)The Yam’s followers have been clearly demonstrated by exit polling and interviewing to be, in significant measure, above average income white people who live outside urban cores, i.e., the suburbs, where we find there are lots and lots of, y’know, gated communities, where Others, aka Them, aka The Takers, aka Muslim Kenyans, I could go on, you get it, are not allowed to transit freely because of the gates. c)Bernie’s security manger has not, as far as I know, been charged with assault on a woman reporter at a campaign event, as has Heinrich Lewandowski, The Yam’s CoSec, nor has Bernie offered to pay the legal fees of people arrested for beating up other people who come to his rallies, which are open to the general public, last I knew; d) “Fascist steaming brains” such as The Yam’s BFF Alex Jones, who publicly claims Michelle Obama is a transgender who ordered Joan Rivers killed to prevent the world from knowing The Truth….oh. Wait. You may think that’s true; e) you don’t seem to understand that the devil Socialism is a political and economic structure which the United States, operating as what is called a “mixed” economy, already engages in to a fairly large extent, while the Constitution is America’s foundational document of core functions and enumeration of powers for its self-governance and cannot ever be “replaced” by a political and economic structure–apples over here, oranges over there.
    Whew.

    Reply
  8. Kay Trudell

    Dave K. and John and other oh-so-politically correct contributors to the discussion of transgender bathrooms on this site, you need to know about this breaking news story. Maya D. Smith, a liberal African-American woman who had been currently serving as the Director of the ACLU in the state of Georgia, has just quit her job with the ACLU over their stand on the issue of transgender bathrooms. But wait until you hear why.

    Why? Well, Smith has two young daughters (apparently younger than teenage) who were together in a public restroom using the toilet when three grown men entered their women’s restroom. The men were all described by Smith as at least six feet tall and adult males. It is as yet unclear whether they were genuinely transgender or just pervs. The girls were terribly frightened and ran out of the bathroom to their mother with fear, bewilderment, and questions. Their mom suddenly (apparently) realized that this is not merely a theoretical question, or a philosophical political debate, but that it has implications in the real world where her children live. She had apparently supported Obama’s position on this issue earlier.

    She realized she could no longer support the ACLU’s position on this issue because she saw the emotional trauma her two young daughters had just experienced, and so she resigned. Suddenly she was a mom first and foremost, and protective of her children. A political commentator once opined that “A conservative is a liberal who suddenly got mugged by reality.” That is certainly the case here from what I read. The story only broke today, so that is all the details I have at this time. Check it out if you want to.

    Reply
    1. John S. Walters Post author

      I have checked it out, and here’s what I think.

      First, it’s one person and one incident. It doesn’t outweigh broader concerns about fairness and discrimination.

      Second, Ms. Dillard Smith appears to have had significant problems with the ACLU before this incident, which she described as “the last straw.” It sounds like she and the ACLU were a poor fit in any case.

      Third, we only have her side of the bathroom encounter — which, by the way, you greatly exaggerate in your retelling. Her account raises quite a few questions itself, like for instance:

      — How did she know the three individuals were transgender? They were too deep-voiced, like Lauren Bacall? They were too tall, like Rebecca Lobo? Did Ms. Dillard Smith jump to a conclusion based on her own fears?

      — Did the individuals behave in a threatening manner? How, exactly? Were they checking out the young’uns, or minding their own business?

      — How were the individuals dressed? If they were in women’s clothing and appeared to be female (aside from suspiciously deep voices and excessive height), then how do you think they would have fared in the men’s restroom? That’s where the vast majority of the “pervs” are hanging out, and trans folk are far, far more likely to be victimized than to be the instigator.

      Reply
  9. Kay Trudell

    John, I read your response carefully. I notice that you have done your best to redirect from my main point. The two children and the situation they were forced into. “Bad fit” or not, their mother was in the post of ACLU Director. You don’t get there by having a political view such as someone like me does. You must have your liberal bona fides. You have focused on the adults. The woman. The ACLU. The three men. And the “law”. But not one word to comfort these children. You have an excuse for everyone except the scared girls. The children were frightened by something which was way out of place in their world. You will not allow yourself to put yourself in the place of the two girls in the bathroom, which is the whole point. That seemed to matter hardly at all. And I think that is the whole problem with this issue. Adults are demanding that children change as well as adults.

    One of the big arguments I have with liberals on this issue is that liberals often use children as props. Everything seems to be “for the children” to advance their agenda. Especially when it can be funded by Big Government. Obama used children as props when he signed his signature healthcare legislation. When we want government-expanded-funded daycare and preschool it is “for the children”. Children are often used as props by liberals when they are trying to expand the reach of government. But not in this case. Children are being used. The issue here is what adults want and the direction they have decided the whole nation MUST go in. Children and their fears and feelings be damned. They can suck it up just like the rest of the nation’s adults better suck it up and get out of the way of the Progressive worldview, which is the only one that counts.

    You are using words like “discrimination” and “fairness” but you use them in only one direction. Liberal policies are not good for children in every case. This is one of them. This is not about “fairness” because there is a whole class of people for whom this newest liberal cause is unfair. That is, the VAST majority of the population who do not want this. And certainly Obama has no Constitutional authority to order such a sea change. I have proposed the simplest of solutions many times, as have others. The installation in schools, malls, etc. of the private, one-toilet restroom with the locking door, that ANYONE can use. But liberals say no no no to that easy solution and demand all sexes share all open facilities. That takes it out of the realm of simple reality-based problem with handy solution and into the realm of agenda.

    What is your solution for the benefit of ALL of the children and ALL of the people? You CANNOT focus only on the transgender people here. Too many other people are negatively affected, and there is a simple solution which you do your best to avoid. This issue is not going to go away. Parents are starting to remove their children from public schools and place them elsewhere or begin to homeschool over this. You can follow those stories as well because they exist. Children do not belong to the State. Children do not belong to an agenda. And incidents of pervs using this new Obama mandate are already occurring. You can read those news stories as well. Interesting that the first one of these inevitable consequences happened in a Target women’s changing room.

    Reply
  10. Kay Trudell

    John, I re-read my post carefully. Those words you strongly implied that I used are nowhere in my post. Liberals don’t hate children (I never said that), but they often USE them to further a liberal agenda. And they are being so used in this transgender bathrooms issue. Did you miss my whole point? Also, again, I ask, where is Obama’s Constitutional authority to mandate this for an entire nation??

    Reply
      1. Kay Trudell

        He did, which is why I was questioning where in the U.S. Constitution Obama could cite his authority to do so. Congress has not mandated this. The SCOTUS has not even legislated it from the bench. Obama told the Dept. of Education he would consider withholding federal funding from all public schools which did not implement his genderless bathroom policy. Some schools complied immediately. Others told him to stick it. The governors and legislatures of a few states have now also told him to stick it. Some stores rushed to comply, such as Target and Starbucks. Target has already had problems with pervs entering women’s areas using this new mandate as cover, as have others. The bureaucrats in the Dept. of Education are reading Obama’s mandate as covering not just bathrooms, but showers and locker rooms as well. And I predict, probably high school sports teams in the future.

        It is important to note that Congress has passed no such law. It is not a federal issue anyway, according to the Constitution. It is more of a state or local issue. And the people should be allowed to vote on it if they want such a change for their local areas or state. But they won’t be allowed to do so. It will be a mandate from on high. In Vermont, the legislature did pass a same-sex marriage bill, but the people asked to be able to vote on it because it was a sweeping change, and they were denied that right. This is the same thing, IMHO. The U.S. Constitution is utterly silent on the issue of marriage of any kind, or on transgender issues. It is not a federal power according to Article I, Section 8, where such federal powers are set forth.

      2. John S. Walters Post author

        More misinformation.

        The President cannot mandate a bathroom change, but he is absolutely within his rights to issue an executive order making federal funds contingent on following the rule. States can continue to set their policies, but they run the risk of forfeiting federal funds.

        And Target has not had any problems with “pervs,” which is apparently Ms. Trudell’s label of choice for transgender folk. It has had problems with conservative men demanding to be let into women’s restrooms. That has nothing to do with transgender people; it’s all about conservatives being douchenozzles.

      3. Kay Trudell

        John, this is in reply to you because of your reply to Chuck. (1) Oh, I see, Obama can issue a law but just call it a “mandate” and even though the effect is the same it’s not really a law. Maybe he should have called it an executive order. That would have been so much clearer.
        (2) Target absolutely has had a problem already with a pervert using the new “transgender inclusive” law to get inside the women’s changing area at Target (as I recall it was in Florida but not 100 sure of the state) and photograph a naked woman who was trying on bathing suits. He stood on the bench and took photos of her over the dividing wall. She reported it to Target, the police, and went public on social media. The police did catch the man, and he is a perv with a criminal history. (3) A little girl was attacked in a public bathroom in Chicago by a man who went into the women’s restroom under cover of the new law, grabbed her, and tried to pull her into a stall. One of her parents was waiting outside the restroom, heard her scream, and rushed in and stopped the perv.

        If you have read my posts, I have been forthcoming in saying that PERVS will use this law to pass as transgender because no one will question them, and so gain access to (mostly) female bathrooms and other areas to carry out their crimes. You did say that there has not been a case where a real trans person attacked someone in a bathroom. But my argument has been (aside from the moral one against this move on its face) that perverts will pretend to be transgender and will use the law to gain access to commit their crimes. And so they have. See? I really do read what you have had to say. We just disagree.

        And finally, you simply will not agree to my solution to this whole brouhaha: that the solution is to simply also provide a “family restroom” with one toilet and a locking door that anyone can use. Three restrooms. Male, Female, Unisex one toilet. End of problem. Why will you not support this? It is such as easy solution.

      4. John S. Walters Post author

        The third bathroom option is a good one. It’s just, what do we do in the years it will take to build all those new bathrooms? Will there be a nationwide mandate that all public accommodations supply a third bathroom? Will there be an exception for existing facilities? (If so, the requirement is essentially meaningless.)

        And in the meantime, where do these people pee?

        Your other arguments are recycled b.s. Indeed, if you force transgender folk to use the bathroom that conforms to their gender at birth, that’s how you get a whole lot of men in women’s rooms and vice versa. A transgender man is someone who was assigned female gender at birth, but now looks, for all intents and purposes, like a man. If you ban him from using his restroom of choice, then he’ll have to use the women’s room. Is that really what you want?

        And it’s sad that you still don’t get the difference between a law and an executive order.

      5. Kay Trudell

        John, I do see the difference between a law passed by Congress under the authority of the Constitution, and an executive order. Both parties have done the latter, but it is being over-used and needs to stop except in rare instances. The Constitution does not provide for it.

        There are already lots of private, one-toilet family bathrooms with locking doors all over the nation. Starbucks has them and has always had them, for example. It was pretty easy for them to comply. Schools already have private one-toilet bathrooms in preschool and kindergarten classrooms so the little ones will not be bullied by the bigger kids in school restrooms. There are private bathrooms in school nurses’ offices for students to use. Many stores and gas stations have them. It won’t be that big of a deal to have a third option for many places. And since Obama has made this a MANDATE, the federal government can possibly give funds to establishments to help them refurbish and comply. Seems to me that instead of threatening people right from the outset for not complying, he could have offered funds instead. He was all stick and no carrot.

        Under the Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse strings and the say over the budgets of government agencies. When the President submits a proposed national budget to Congress, they can agree with it or alter it. That is the Constitutional process. Not threatening schools with the loss of federal funds. But I am sure this one-toilet room is not as big a deal as it sounds. Funds could be made available to help businesses comply. Gas stations have the best solutions. Most of their restrooms are one-toilet affairs with locking doors. I have used one-toilet restrooms all over the country in schools, hospitals, gas stations, churches, parks, restaurants, tourist boats, etc. They are everywhere. No one asks, no one cares, and everyone’s privacy is protected. You must allow for freedom of conscience and association. That’s Constitutional.

      6. John S. Walters Post author

        “funds could be made available.” I eagerly await Congress’ swift passage of The Unisex Bathroom Appropriation Bill. Sometime after Hell freezes over.

      7. John S. Walters Post author

        Well, yeah, but they’re not going to do that, are they? And like it or not, Obama is within his powers in issuing an executive order. And as for the conservatives’ conniptions over Obama and executive orders, here’s an inconvenient truth for you:

        President Obama has issued fewer executive orders per year than George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Dwight Eisenhower. )per the American Presidency Project)

      8. Kay Trudell

        Regarding executive orders, John, I did address that several comments previous to this one. I said both parties do it, and the eo’s were being over-used, and they should all stop it. The original intent was that eo’s were to be used for relatively minor affairs and infrequently. Never for sweeping change. That requires Congressional action. Because both parties issue them on an almost daily basis if you average the numbers, it in effect creates two legislative branches of government when the Constitution provides for only one legislative branch. The Constitution does not provide for eo’s. They are not a fourth branch of government.

      9. John S. Walters Post author

        How far back are you willing to go? Barack Obama has issued 33 orders per year. That’s the lowest number per year since Grover Cleveland’s first term! XO’s were very rare until after the Civil War. They were roughly in Obama territory (20-40 per year) until Theodore Roosevelt, when they exploded.

        The Golden Age of XO’s was from TR through Harry Truman — including beloved conservative hero Calvin Coolidge, who logged a brisk 215 per year — “an almost daily basis” if you don’t count weekends. Truman was the last president to average more than 100 per year.

        If anything, Obama has done his best to curtail the use of XO’s, despite dealing with an obstructionist Congress. All numbers from the American Presidency Project, an academic institution headquartered at UC-Santa Barbara.

  11. Kay Trudell

    I “listened to you” because I have read all of your postings right from the beginning of this discussion and interacted with you. I also asked you several questions in return which you were unable or unwilling to answer. One of several was “….where is Obama’s Constitutional authority to mandate this [sweeping law change] for an entire nation?” That was a factual question, not a subjective one. You could have cited the relevant section of the Constitution to me. But instead of answering me, you took your football and went home (“I see no point in continuing [this] discussion”) with two somewhat ad hominem parting shots “([Kay] you are not listening to me and I think you’re way off the mark.” It’s your blog and so you can end this discussion if you want to, but on this issue I happen to think both you and President Obama are way off the mark because this sweeping law change he proposed has no Constitutional authority and I think you know it. It is part of an agenda which could care less about Constitutional authority and the rule of law.

    Reply
  12. chuck gregory

    What Kay Trudel misses here is the government’s obligation to protect the constitutional rights of citizens. When the courts rule that the Constitution protects the rights of minorities, we don’t find Southern states suddenly giving the vote to the descendants of slaves, Western states respecting the tribal customs of Native Americans, or Northern states respecting the hygienic privacy rights of transgendered people. It is the Constitutional duty of the executive branch to use whatever power it has, from sending in the National Guard to escort a six-year-old into a school to cutting off funding to a state which wants to station Hoo-Hoo police in front of every public restroom.

    Reply

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