Maybe, Considering the Circumstances, They Just Prefer to be Anonymous

Team Nolan (Not Exactly As Illustrated)

On May 20, VTDigger’s Lola Duffort graced our #vtpoli feeds with an “it’d be funny if it wasn’t true” story about Christina Nolan’s campaign team. Or lack thereof.

Nolan’s campaign doesn’t list a contact person. It hasn’t identified any staffers. It communicates with the media through an anonymous email account with no phone number. The only name officially on board the Nolan Doomcruiser is former governor Jim Douglas, who’s serving as “campaign chair.” Otherwise, nada.

A perusal of her latest campaign finance filing shows no trace of paid staff. Lots of big checks for consultancies, including $16,000 to political sea lamprey Jay Shepard, but no actual campaign team. Which is sad, really, for someone hoping to compete with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch’s near-universal name recognition and nearly bottomless war chest.

But when you take a look at Nolan’s tone-deaf Twitter feed, the explanation is obvious: Nobody wants to take “credit” for this catastrophe-in-the-making.

Nolan, or her anonymous ghost-tweeter, has been stinking up social media of late with attacks on Welch that will resonate with no one. Like this:

Peter Welch. “Extreme partisan.” Sounds just like U.S. Senate temp Kelly Loeffler, who couldn’t stop referring to her Democratic opponent as “radical liberal Raphael Warnock.” C’mon. If Welch is known for anything, it’s his persistent efforts to work with rural Republicans in the Problem Solvers Caucus. Besides, nobody who knows Welch thinks he’s a radical. If you’re going to attack someone’s character, the attack has to be grounded somehow in reality, or at least in perception of reality.

Enough kicking that dead horse. On to the next one: Peter Welch, Enemy of Law Enforcement.

Every word in that tweet is pure horse hockey. Crime isn’t rising unless you tease out a convenient subset. Police forces aren’t shrinking, except where they have trouble with recruitment and retention. Finally, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Welch supports “the defund the police movement,” which has been thoroughly marginalized by, uh, moderate Democrats like Welch.

But that’s not all when it comes to first responders. Turns out Welch is an enemy of our firefighters as well!

I don’t know if the lower-case “congressman” is a deliberate act of disrespect or a careless typo, but the substance is equally offensive. Does anyone really think that Welch doesn’t “support first responders”?

What’s next? Pediatric cancer nurses?

Thanks to his decades of familiarity and studied nice-guy persona, no one outside the hardcore Republican base will be swayed by this kind of characterization. This is the kind of political Super Geniusness you’d expect from Shepard, a hamfisted Trumper who’s incapable of subtlety or nuance.

I’m honestly surprised that Nolan, a native Vermonter, is so completely clueless about the politics of her home state. Cookie-cutter conservative attacks don’t work. They just make you look mean, when your only ticket to success is by presenting yourself as a caring, considerate moderate who’d make a lovely next-door neighbor. (See also: Scott, Phil.)

Not that Nolan ever had a chance. But this campaign strategy is an anchor tied firmly around her neck. I don’t know if she’s so naive that she can’t see this, or if she has no choice but to accept any help she can get.

No wonder her campaign helpers are staying in the shadows. They don’t need the taint by association.


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