Food Taxonomy for Beginners

Mmmm, donuts

VTGOP chair Paul Dame is out with his weekly rumination, which appears every Monday in your inbox if you’ve given the party your email address. (I gave them one that I only use for mailing list.) The latest installment is entitled “Donut Democrats & Gun Control.” The joke, see, is that the Democrats don’t have a middle, only two extremes! Just like a donut!

Yeah, I get it. But…

It’s not really accurate, izzit?

I mean, in a donut there’s a continuum of delicious, fatty, sugary pastry on all sides. What Dame has in mind is something more like a pair of parentheses. Now, there’s a hole in the middle.

Also, too. Dame’s conceit is that the Democratic Party (well, he says “Democrat Party,” but I don’t) has lost its moderate side. That’s not a donut; it’s more of a crescent roll.

I’m getting hungry.

Now, let’s see how Dame defines “moderation.”

His headline complaint is about the gun safety measure making its way through the Legislature, the one that would ban gun-totin’ in hospitals and close the Charleston loophole on background checks. Dame touts, as his model of moderation on gun issues, none other than Rep. Patrick Brennan, who’s one of the most strident anti-gun control members of the Legislature.

But the Democrats refused to consider his alternative, so they’re the ones lacking moderation.

To be fair, Brennan’s proposal isn’t outlandish. He would have cut the waiting period in half, from 30 days to 15. But we know what kind of game he’s playing, and so do the Dems. If they had proposed a 15-day waiting period, Brennan would have been against it, just as he’s opposed every single gun bill that’s come down the pike. All he’s doing is firing a PR shot against a legislative fait accompli.

Dame’s broader point: “Democrats have been in power so long they don’t feel the need to compromise.” Which, hahaha, they’ve done nothing but compromise in order to gain Gov. Phil Scott’s acquiescence. And if the governor has allowed the Democrats to enact a donut agenda, then Dame’s beef is with him, not the Dems.

But Dame’s idea of “moderation” seems to be “anything to the left of Attila the Hun.” His idea of a moderate stance on abortion, for instance, is “requiring parental consent before their minor child has an abortion.” The problem there is that some parents are involved themselves because of, say, incest involving Dad or another male relative. Some minors, unfortunately, need protection from their parents. Would Dame require parental approval for investigations of child abuse? I don’t think so.

Dame’s next case is that Democrats “have refused to properly fund our police departments and have caused major national retailers to abandon downtown Burlington because of the rampant organized theft.”

Yuh-huh. “Major national retailers” abandoned downtown Burlington long before Black Lives Matter or “defund the police” became rallying cries. The downtown mall was virtually abandoned several years ago.

His final indictment is over the legislative redistricting process, which in his mind is screwing over rural Vermont and Republicans. Well, redistricting is a political process, bucko, The conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court washed its hands of redistricting in 2019.

Dame knows this, and he knows why. Republicans want to exploit gerrymandering to the fullest extent possible in the states they control. This practically ensured Republican control of the U.S. House for most of the last decade, and the 2020s may be even less moderate.

The Dems have nothing to do with that. And while I’m sure they’ll do some strategic line-drawing to give them some edge — as they are entirely within their rights to do — the partisanship in Vermont redistricting pales in comparison to any state under Republican control.

So now who’s missing a middle?

I usually ignore Dame’s rants, but this one reveals how extreme his view of “moderation” is. And also reveals an inexact grasp of food taxonomy.

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