It’s gotten to the point where I feel sorry for Christina Nolan, the drug-enforcin’ former U.S. Attorney turned nudge nudge, wink wink moderate Republican candidate for Pat Leahy’s Senate seat. First, whatever she was promised in terms of financial and organizational support has failed to materialize. Second, she’s going to spend the next several months sharing the stage with a bunch of far-right zealots before like-minded audiences. The crowd and the stage will doubtless include people who don’t believe that Her Kind are entitled to equal rights or, for that matter, existence.
If these events get any coverage at all, they’ll torpedo her effort to campaign as a moderate. She’ll have two choices: play to the crowd and hope not to be quoted in the press, or stick to her campaign’s message and risk getting booed off the stage.
The first stop on this Trail of Tears is on Saturday at the palatial Double Tree Hotel, the flower of South Burlington, where the VTGOP will hold a luncheon (which is what they call “lunch” when they’re trying to sell expensive tickets*) and meeting to discuss and approve the party’s dog-whistly platform, in which the concept of moderation gains no purchase.
“Trying” is the operative word here. Last week, the party was offering a $15 discount off the $55 list price for those who bought tix before this week; then, on Monday and Tuesday it offered the same deal. In fact, on both days it sent an email saying the discount was still available but would end at “midnight tonight.”
And while we’re on the subject of Republican desperation, the party is STILL selling merch from the infamous “Let’s Go Brandon” rally held last November. Paul Dame’s garage must be full of that junk.
be forced to have the opportunity to share the stage with the likes of her little-known and veeerrrrryy conservative primary opponent Gerald Malloy and the party’s two hopeless Congressional candidates, Anya Tynio and Ericka Redic. Also sharing in the rubber chicken: the party’s two candidates for lieutenant governor, the estimable Sen. Joe Benning and the execrable Gregory Thayer, 2020 election truther and Vermont’s most ardent opponent of whatever he imagines critical race theory is.
Nolan and Benning should expect the crowd to be ideologically in sync with the True Believers on stage and skeptical (at best) of their professions of inclusive Republicanism. At least the two can commiserate about waging an uphill battle with no resources and feeling compelled to cozy up to the VTGOP’s far-right base.
After the jump: Coming Soon to a Grange Hall Near You
And now we spin the calendar forward to Saturday, May 14 at 8:30 a.m., when there will be a Congressional candidates’ forum organized by the Chittenden County GOP. The event is being held at the Milton Grange Hall. Because when I think Chittenden County, I think “Milton.”
The press release announcing the forum is a case study in Republican grievance.
First of all, in case you were wondering about the ideological bent of the Chittenden GOP, the forum’s moderator will be none other than Guy Page, chief cook, bottle washer and custodian of the Vermont Daily Chronicle, best known as The Right-Wing “News” Site That Isn’t True North Reports.
The candidates on offer are the four Republicans running for Vermont’s two Congressional seats. That’s Tynio, Redic, Malloy and Nolan.
Sing it with me: “One of these things is not like the others…”
Nolan’s best conservative credential, her tough-on-crime record as U.S. Attorney, is highlighted in the release, which might be a tad inconvenient since she’s trying to rebrand herself as a Phil Scott Republican.
Then we get some classic VTGOP self-pity. Wendy WIlton, former Rutland city treasurer who got her clock cleaned by Beth Pearce in the 2012 election for state treasurer, now resides in Milton and chairs the town Republican Committee. In the release, she moans about an unnamed “major Vermont media organization” (psst, it’s VTDigger) hosting a forum for Democratic Congressional candidates but nothing for the Republicans.
Well, Digger didn’t hold a forum for the Democratic Senatorial race either. It focused, understandably, on the only one of the four Congressional primaries to feature a competitive race among high-profile Vermont politicians. Otherwise, hell, it’s way too early to close the books on Digger’s primary-season program.
But hey, go ahead and grouse about “equity of coverage.” I bet if you gave us contests between serious, electable Republicans, the media would give you plenty of oxygen. If you give us fringey types who host unwatchable YouTube videos (Redic), lost a previous run for Congress by a whopping forty-three percentage points (Tynio), or advocate for the overturning of not only Roe v. Wade but also Griswold v. Connecticut (Malloy), forgive us if we don’t take you seriously.
Then we get an unintentional laugh line about a fully-informed electorate being crucial for a “vibrant democracy.” You know what else is necessary for a vibrant democracy? A Republican Party that eschews conspiracy theories and accepts the results of elections.
The release closes with more whining. Chittenden County Republicans promise to continue “to bring our message and candidates to the public’s attention in the absence of interest by the mainstream media.”
Good luck with that. Really, you ought to pray that the media continue to ignore your shitshow. The more light they shine on your candidates’ actual views, the less electable your ticket will become.
The press release in all its glory:
While she’s gotta past the primary, Nolan could evoke Diane Feinstein’s gambit where she engineered getting booed at her state’s party convention for supporting the death penalty. That was later featured in a dramatic general election campaign ad to show she was willing to buck her liberal wing on a policy that was then popular broadly. Nolan could similarly campaign as not the loony right…except she has to win primary election in the party they control.