Hey, it’s another Essex Republican! To be specific, Roger Drury, retired member of the Vermont National Guard, proud dad, hunter, maple sugarer, and beekeeper. Now, those are some impressively Vermonty bona fides! Almost as good as fermenting your own kombucha!
Aamong all the stealth conservatives I’ve profiled in this series, Drury comes closest to actually pulling it off: Maintaining a veneer of reasonable conservatism and keeping the extreme stuff safely hidden.
But he can’t quite do it. Spend enough time looking at his record and public statements, you start to see stuff. He’s a climate change denialist, he’s against abortion, he thinks our southern border is wide-open, he’s in favor of parents getting into the weeds of school curriculum, he thinks a lack of “personal responsibility” is the cause of high health care costs.
Oh, and he thinks cannabis legalization may be a cause of our opioid crisis.
Yeah, there’s actually quite a lot.
Drury is challenging incumbent Democrat Alyssa Black in the Chittenden-24 district, which includes a goodly chunk of Essex. This used to be pretty safe Republican turf, but not if the Essex Republicans continue to be a hotbed of far-right conservatism and conspiracy theory. They’re surrendering this ground to the Dems.
But let’s get into the Drury Details.
His campaign website and Facebook page are full of Republican boilerplate: taxes are too high, there’s too much regulation, too much bureaucracy, not enough parental involvement in the schools. (And you know what that’s code for, don’t you? Book banning and critical race theory hogwash.) The campaign Facebook page mostly consists of bland-ish statements followed by “What do you think?” Like this:
He’s given a lot of thought to how he dog-whistles: concealing extremism from mainstream voters while still letting the insiders know he’s with them.
Like this on climate change, taken from one of his brief YouTube clips.
Anytime you have a system with so many inputs, it’s very difficult to say that one thing or another is affecting it and one thing or another isn’t affecting it. So to say that man has no effect on climate I think would be just as improbable to say as man has every effect on the environment
Clever, eh? Emitting a dense cloud of scientific hoo-ha to avoid coming right out with “We shouldn’t do anything about climate change.” He goes on to make it clear he doesn’t want any limitations on fossil fuels except that “we should get off foreign oil.”
In another Facebook entry, he posed a question about the opioid crisis. A commenter blamed the wide-open southern border and all that Chinese fentanyl coming into the country via Mexico. Drury responded, “Definitely worth looking into. I also believe we should seriously look at the numbers since Vermont decriminalized marijuana.”
There you go! The demon weed leads users down the path to perdition. It’s scientific!
Drury has appeared twice in more extemporaneous platforms: a candidate forum with Black and a brief interview with the Essex ReTorterTM. On multiple occasions, the mask slips.
He has a… unique… take on crime and policing issues.
Politicians have created a situation where citizens don’t trust the police. There are reasons why, but at the same token, putting up rhetoric, calling our police names, defunding them, is not the right and proper way to address some of the problems we’re having.
Oh, politicians have made people mistrust the police? It’s not all the shooting people of color and other abusive incidents we never saw before everyone had a smartphone. It’s the politicians!
As with all the other stealth conservatives, he doesn’t take issue with the intent of Article 22 — only the language. The wording is bad. That’s all.
His solution to high health care costs? Personal responsibility. Heart failure, diabetes, and many other illnesses are “self-inflicted,” which seems a little harsh to all those with genetic predispositions. He looks like he’s probably in very good shape. People like that are the most likely to judge the rest of us for lacking willpower and, in his words, “eating ourselves to death.”
My favorite bit is this: When asked about divisions in the Vermont Republican Party between Trumpers and non-Trumpers, he unloads a real whopper.
I haven’t seen that conflict. We do not harp on it. There are a lot of varying views in the Republican Party. Conservatives’ nature is to listen to each other and respect each other’s opinions.
Oh yes, Republican tolerance is so widespread that the entire party is in a pell-mell rush to the right. It’s so open and tolerant that Republican Congresspeople who voted to impeach Donald Trump have been driven from office.
This little swath of suburbia ought to be fertile ground for Republicans but it’s not, and they have no one to blame but themselves. When they nominate people like Drury and Seth Adam Manley and Maryse Dunbar, they’re ceding the center and even the center-right. If there are Democratic supermajorities next biennium, it’ll be because the VTGOP relies so heavily on right-wing ideologues who can’t win general elections.
I don’t get to vote for or not for this guy and I think the only thing I have to say is to boast about 36 years in the VT National Guard is a real turn-off for me.
Thanks so much for doing so much work in outing these people for what they really are underneath the veneers. I can’t vote for this guy either, but if I could I would definitely would not mark the box next to his name.
The Vermont National Guard is one of the better Guard orginaztions in the country. It is our neighbors and not over run by politic ideology like Texas.