Daily Archives: November 3, 2022

Stealth Conservatives: A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots, But It Can Try to Pass as a Cheetah

Meet Kathi Tarrant, mom, musician, teacher, and Republican candidate for the Vermont House in the Washington-Chittenden district currently represented by two Democrats, Tom Stevens and Theresa Wood.

Ms. Tarrant might not like it that I topped this piece with a picture of her at the August 2021 Patriot Rally on the steps of the Statehouse. The event was captured on video by the good folks at Orca Media, and you can see several speakers talking about the poor attendance. And you can see Tarrant talking about the federal lawsuit she filed against Gov. Phil Scott over his mask mandate. Yep, she’s one of them.

But that’s not how she’s presenting herself in the race for House. Instead, she’s donned the garb of a garden-variety conservative — to the right of Phil Scott, but not quite off the deep end. In a candidates’ forum sponsored by ORCA and another of my former employers, The Bridge, she managed to avoid subjects like the Covid vaccine and climate change denialism (“CO2 is NOT a pollutant”) and weather conspiracy theories and her membership in 802Freedom, the online community of anti-vaxxers and their ilk.

Instead, we got anodyne language about carbon taxes, ballot security, supporting law enforcement, fixing the housing shortage by unleashing the landlords, doubts about cannabis legalization, Second Amendment absolutism, and opposition to Article 22 over its wording, not its intent.

Now, it’s possible that she’s completely changed her political orientation in the past year. But it’s much more likely that she’s trying to pass as a standard conservative when in fact she’s way out on the fringes of political discourse.

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