As the Legislature winds down, the political news is coming thick and fast. Got several items worthy of comment including Gov. Phil Scott’s generic condemnation of persons unknown, a better use for the state’s “extra” money, three potentially interesting House races, and a depressingly rote report on last night’s Congressional debate. Let’s GOOOO!!!
Scott condemns… somebody. Perhaps because of the killing of Fern Feather, the governor (or his comms staff) took to Twitter and amped up his language condemning hate speech in the political arena. He cited “disturbing hostility toward the transgender community” and lamented that Vermont “is not immune to this.” It was a good statement, as far as it went.
But he failed to mention the source of all the hostility: his own Republican Party. He also failed to name the two individuals responsible for bringing the hate home: VTGOP chair Paul Dame and Burlington Republican Committee chair Christopher-Aaron Felker. As long as the governor refrains from identifying those responsible and refuses to step into his own party and deal with this garbage, his words are sadly empty, In the vernacular, it’s time for him to grow a pair.
Christopher-Aaron Felker, spectacularly unsuccessful Burlington City Council candidate and chair of the burning wreck of the city Republican committee, caused quite the stir Monday on the Twitter machine. He tagged the “groomer” label on Democratic and Progressive lawmakers who’ve sponsored a bill to allow minors to seek gender-affirming treatment without parental consent.
There’s hardly a more despicable word you could use to tar a political opponent. You’re basically calling them pedophiles.
It’s beyond the pale. It ought to make Felker persona non grata in polite circles. And in the Republican Party as well.
But it won’t.
It won’t because, Phil Scott notwithstanding, This Is Your Vermont Republican Party. The governor isn’t merely an outlier in his own party; he’s the lone inhabitant on an island that’s slowly sinking under the waves.
Felker took it beyond the pale, but the illustration and the talking point came straight from the VTGOP. Its chair, Paul Dame, might be a bit more restrained than Felker, but he’s operating out of the same defamatory playbook, fearmongering a bill that’s already dead for the session.
So why should we expect the party to punish Felker over one simple additional word?
Ericka Redic, ultraconservative wannabe YouTube star, is running for office again. In fact, she’s running for two offices at once! That might pose a problem if she stood the slightest chance of winning either one.
Redic is on the Burlington city ballot as a Fourth Ward candidate for school board. She’s challenging board member Martine Laroque Gulick and, unless something truly weird happens, she’ll be nothing more than a speedbump for the incumbent. But Fourth Ward voters should know exactly what kind of choice they’re being offered. To judge from her general worldview, it’s safe to expect she’ll oppose mask mandates, beat the critical race theory drum and call for inquisitions of teachers and school librarians. Just what the voters of Burlington are looking for.
Meanwhile, Redic has filed campaign papers with the Federal Elections Commission as “Ericka Redic for Congress.”
The campaign committee is a model of streamlining. The treasurer of the organization is “Redic, Ericka L., Mrs.” T designated agent is “Redic, Ericka L., Mrs.” And the Custodian of Records is “Redic, Ericka L., Mrs.” As far as can be told, Ericka Redic for Congress is a one-person operation. Cozy!
Amidst the endless parade of articles bemoaning the plight of poor businessfolk who can’t find enough workers to fill their low-paying, no-bennies jobs, let us take a moment to pour one out for the group that has by far the hardest time finding a few good people: The Vermont Republican Party.
You almost have to feel sorry for the VTGOP. They’re so underfinanced and disorganized, so out of touch and few in number, that their every ticket features a frightening quantity of blank slots. They’ll take almost anybody with a pulse who’s willing to step out in public with an “R” next to their name.
Two cases in point today. First, we have Christopher-Aaron Felker, the surprise entry into Burlington’s special election to fill the seat of former councilor Brian Pine. Second, Gov. Phil Scott’s latest nominee to the Vermont Commission on Women.