Tag Archives: Bradford Broyles

A Curious Erasure

Chelsea Edgar didn’t have an easy assignment. The Seven Days reporter was given the task of writing a comprehensive take on the life and times of the late Peggy Luhrs, pioneering feminist, antiwar activist and, in her later years, a loud and unapologetic TERF. Luhrs lived a long time and accomplished many things. But she was a source of hate for the transgender community.

Doing right by all of that is a tough balance to strike. But there was one big area where Edgar and her editors absolutely fell down on the job.

Not a single transgender person was quoted.

Five friends were quoted, as well as five community activists, some of whom work in the LGBTQIA space. Luhrs herself was quoted at least seven times, and there were multiple examples of her harsh rhetoric. (One of her friends uttered a toned-down version of the TERF point of view.) The conservative Republican Bradford Broyles even got the chance to call trans women “biological males.”

But no room for transgender people. We should have heard from trans women at least; many of them were directly affected by Luhrs’ hateful actions.

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The Moral Panic Merchant

Has my old frenemy Bradford Broyles become a pillar of purity? Or does he simply see a marketing opportunity in fanning the flames of hate? It’s hard to tell, but my bet’s on the latter. Either way, he’s jumped with both feet onto the book-banning bandwagon, hectoring a Vermont high school for including a transgender person’s memoir on its library shelves.

Oh, you need some background? Broyles is a wannabe Hollywood producer of tediously unfunny right-wing “comedy” in partnership with Len (billed as “Lenny” because comedy?) Britton, former ski resort operator and very unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010. (Pat Leahy spanked him by a better than two-to-one margin.)

Brad and Lenny are best known around these parts for producing “News Done Right,” a series of short videos critical of Vermont’s left, Phil Scott included. The “stars” of NDR were a couple of aspiring actors willing to don flannel shirts and pretend, not convincingly, to be Vermonters.

Last I heard, Broyles and Britton were flogging a sitcom starring Kevin Sorbo, the guy who played Hercules for five years on the teevee and went on to became a QAnon-style conspiratorialist. Sorbo plays a politically incorrect (read: asshole) suburban dad in “The World According to Billy Potwin.” A handful of episodes have been produced; somehow, it has yet to be picked up by any major media outlet. (You can find clips and a whole episode on YouTube if you’re a glutton for punishment.)

Lately, Broyles has been making waves, or should I say ripples, here in Vermont. Last summer he was the campaign manager for Republican Burlington City Council candidate Christopher-Aaron Felker. I don’t know why Brad bothered; Felker was a sure loser in a Prog-heavy ward even before his history of transphobic remarks on social media was uncovered. Afterward? Well, he finished with 14% of the vote. (And he is now, because desperate times call for desperate measures, the chair of the Burlington GOP.)

Broyles’ latest caper involves sending a letter sent to the Essex-Westford School Board (and sharing it for publicity purposes with Vermont Daily Carbuncle), decrying the inclusion of “Gender Queer,” a graphic memoir by Maia Kobabe about Kobabe’s search for gender identity, in the high school library. (The story was picked up by, you guessed it, John Klar on True North Reports.)

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YOU Get a Veepie! And YOU Get a Veepie! And YOU Get a Veepie!

Once again, the ocean trawler of political commentary has dredged up a boatload of dead things, old boots and trash… and now we get to display it proudly at our unofficial stall just outside the fish market.

First of all, the What On Earth Did You Think This Would Actually Accomplish? Award goes to everybody associated with the candidacy of Christopher-Aaron Felker for Burlington City Council, from Felker himself to the entire Burlington Republican Committee to our old bicoastal buddy Bradford Broyles, who took a break from developing D-List TV and movie ideas to sign on as Felker’s campaign manager.

Setting aside Felker’s horrifically offensive stance on transgender folk (i.e. that they don’t exist), let’s focus on the practicality of this enterprise. Felker, who looks for all the world like a character from an Ayn Rand novel, is a libertarian-type conservative with views that would make Steve Bannon blush — and he’s running for council in Ward 3, which has been a Progressive stronghold for four decades. How on Earth does he think this is going to end?

Maybe he’s doing it because it’s a great way to be a real-life concern troll. Maybe the party was so happy that someone — anyone — stepped forward that they didn’t do their due diligence. (Or maybe they share Felker’s views.) As for Broyles, I have no idea why he’s bothering with this. I’m sure he’ll inform me and his 324 followers via Twitter. Anyway, congrats, Brad. I’m sure you’ll find a prominent place to display your Veepie amongst all your Oscars and Emmys.

After the jump: Media misdeeds and covering the blue ass.

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Everything’s Coming Up Phil

Speaking in purely political terms, things could hardly be going any better for Gov. Phil Scott.

His solid record on Covid-19, while flawed in some respects and overstated by him and his officials, continues to receive widespread praise. He dominates the political news with his thrice-weekly marathon briefings. His popularity appears to be as high as ever, and many Democrats have already — quietly — conceded his re-election.

And now, the July 1 campaign finance filings are full of good cheer for Scott and bad news for his would-be opponents.

Scott’s own campaign barely raised any money between March 15 and July 1 — a mere $8,000. (He’s raised only $80,000 for the entire campaign cycle.) Not surprising, since he has said he won’t campaign or fundraise until the pandemic is over… which may be sometime in 2024, by the looks of things.

But while he is refraining from the dirty business of politics, his campaign is humming right along. It is deficit spending, mainly to pay Optimus Consulting, a D.C. firm that has done all his strategerizing and media buys in each of his gubernatorial campaigns, a cool $114,500 for its services this year. That represents the bulk of total Scott spending.

Meanwhile, the Republican Governors Association waits in the background to inject however much money is needed to ensure a Scott victory. So far, the RGA has funneled $126,000 into its “independent PAC,” A Stronger Vermont. It can easily pump in enough money to overwhelm all other bankrolls in the race, as it did in 2016, when Scott first ran for governor. The RGA spent more than $3 million that year, and effectively knocked Democrat Sue Minter out of contention with a late-summer/early-fall ad blitz. That’s chump change by RGA standards.

(The RGA’s expenditures are purely independent of Scott’s campaign, but paid for so much TV time in 2016 and 2018 that Scott barely had to run any ads of his own.)

And now we know where Scott’s Democratic challengers stand money-wise. It’s not a pretty picture.

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A familiar face is sent to the rescue in Kansas

In case you haven’t been following the Pat Roberts saga… he’s a longtime Republican U.S. Senator from the deeply red state of Kansas, whose re-election bid is, amazingly, in serious trouble. This week, the Democratic challenger Chad Taylor withdrew from the race in favor of popular Independent Greg Orman. 

In response, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach identified a legal technicality for keeping Taylor on the ballot in hopes that a three-way race will save Roberts’ bacon. 

But just in case that bit of legalistic chicanery isn’t enough, a well-known campaign consultant has been parachuted in by the national GOP to take the reins of Roberts’ troubled campaign. 

And the name of Pat Roberts’ would-be hero, according to Politico.com? 

Corry Bliss. corrybliss1edt

Corry freakin’ Bliss. 

Good God in Heaven. 

Bliss, for those with short memories, is widely credited with bringing the Jim Douglas era to a crashing halt by piloting Brian Dubie’s gubernatorial campaign straight into the ground. He’s a prime example of a Republican campaign consultant who loses every time but somehow continues to get new gigs. And I mean every time: Bliss’ record is a stunning 0 wins, 7 losses. 

A brief recap of Bliss’ appalling career: He graduated from law school in 2006, and managed the re-election bid of a Virginia congresswoman into defeat. In 2010 he came to Vermont and took control of the Dubie campaign. Refresh my memory; how did that turn out? 

“Corry Bliss took a candidate that was up 20 points and turned him into a loser by election day,” said Bradford Broyles, a Republican activist from Mendon, a town in the central part of the state, near Killington. “We’re still repairing the damage to the Republican party.”

Bliss ended his Vermont tenure by writing a court-ordered letter of apology to settle a libel suit. 

After that, Bliss returned to his native Virginia where he took a State Senate candidate with a nice-guy image, trashed said image with negative campaign tactics, and — you guessed it — lost the race. Sound familiar, Brian?

He then failed upward to pro-wrestling magnate Linda McMahon’s very expensive and unsuccessful 2012 bid to win a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, earning fresh criticism for devious campaign tactics: 

Doorhangers call on voters to cast their ballots for President Obama as well as McMahon, promising the pair “will fight for us.” T-shirts mimicking the election gear worn by members of the Service Employees International Union are being donned by pro-McMahon forces at polling places, again tying McMahon to Obama. They read “I Support Obama & McMahon November 6th.” And “sample ballots” bearing McMahon’s campaign bug are being handed out at some urban polling places with just two names on them: McMahon and Obama.

 

Nowhere does any of this material say McMahon is a Republican or is herself voting for Mitt Romney.

Good times. In spite of Bliss’ Super Genius skulduggery, McMahon lost the race by 12 percentage points. 

But that didn’t stop Corry Bliss, no sirree. He hightailed it back to Virginia, where he signed onto the re-election bid of five-term incumbent lawmaker Joe May, who, yes indeedy, had a reputation as a good guy. May lost in the Republican primary, and Bliss’ “nasty, vicious, dark” tactics took the blame. 

This year, Bliss signed on to the Senatorial bid of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel*. Whoops; she came in third in a five-way primary. 

*Handel, by the way, was fresh off a disastrous turn as a top executive at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She was the one behind the decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood that nearly sank one of America’s most popular charities. 

And now, after compiling an 0-7 record as a campaign manager, Corry Bliss is Pat Roberts’ designated savior. 

All I can say is, good luck, Mr. Roberts.