There’s a notion prevalent among Vermont Republicans that the Progressives are secretly controlling the Vermont Democratic Party.
Now, you run that by any Progressive and the response will be a bitter laugh. They only wish.
This idea recently came at me from two directions: VTGOP Chair Paul Dame in one of his weekly “newsletters” sent to the party’s email list. I would have ignored Dame, but then it was repeated in the comments section of this here blog by none other than H. Brooke Paige, Republican candidate-at-large.
Dame’s version was the more colorful, by which I mean revolting. He chose a horsehair worm (seen above), which grows inside the body of a cricket or other large insect and drives a host’s behavior in ways beneficial to itself.
See, the Progs are the worm and the Dems are the hapless host.
(Also, side issue, but is Dame hoping to win friends and influence people by talking about disgusting parasites in his essays? He refers to it as “a fascinating creature,” so maybe he thinks everybody would be equally fascinated rather than repelled.)
Again, bitter laugh from any Prog who sees this.
In Dame’s mind, the Progs have already reached the mind-control stage. But in actual fact, the Progressive Party has been in a years-long struggle for survival. Its preferred strategy is to allow their candidates to also seek Democratic nominations. But that’s not a parasite entering a host; it’s more like a skateboarder grabbing the bumper of a fast-moving truck.
“There is no longer any room for Democrats who want to think for themselves, or take a more centrist tact,” Dame writes, misspelling “tack”. As proof, he cites the banishment of former Reps. Cynthia Browning and Linda Joy Sullivan, “centrists” forced out by the Progressive Parasite.
In actual fact, Browning and Sullivan fell from favor because they were willfully and repeatedly disruptive, not because of their centrism. There are plenty of Democratic centrists who tootle along undisturbed even though they make it tougher for leadership to wrangle votes. Especially on veto overrides.
Indeed, there are times when I think leadership uses the centrists as an excuse for not getting stuff done. But then I’m a cynic.
Dame’s other example is outgoing Rep. Thomas Bock, who switched his vote on the clean heat bill override without telling leadership, who were blindsided when the override failed by a single vote. Leadership can live with a vote switch, but only if you let them know in advance so they can work around you.
Oh, and he wasn’t pushed out of the Legislature. He had already announced his retirement.
If anything, there are more centrists than ever in the Democratic caucus. That’s because moderates turned off by Republican extremism have either exited politics or have become Democrats. Many of them win elections. The VDP is fine with that, especially when a centrist wins a seat that might otherwise go Republican.
The Progressives hate the ideological dilution of the legislative caucuses. They are a tiny band trying to influence things occasionally a little bit. They are not the puppet masters of Dame’s (and Paige’s) imagination.
Dehumanizing people who aren’t like the in-group is a primary tactic of fascists. Dame certainly showed his colors and his lack of understanding of what is actually happening under the golden dome.
“Dame’s version was the more colorful, by which I mean revolting.”
Dame is a clever blackguard. He knows that his hokum is not true, but he knows that his base, that his people most likely believe this horseradish so he’s feeding it to them to capitalize on it.