A few interesting things came out of the Vermont Republican Convention on Saturday — besides revealing that Phil Scott can’t take a rhetorical punch.
I thought it shone a harsh and unforgiving light on the idea that Vermont Republicans are a breed apart — the last surviving redoubt of moderate Republicanism. That’s largely a fiction created in a desperate effort to appeal to the liberal Vermont electorate. It takes on the veneer of reality thanks to the thoroughly moderate image of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. But the party ranks are full of garden-variety 21st Century Republicanism. Vermont Republicans may have thrown in the towel on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights*, but they are a stoutly conservative bunch when it comes to brass-tacks issues like government spending, regulation, and taxation.
*Well, let’s say they are withholding the towel. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts they’d change their tune if they ever achieved political power.
After all, this is a party that eagerly embraced John Kasich, a man whose tax plan would make Ronald Reagan blush with embarrassment. George W. Bush, too, for that matter.
But there were signs aplenty at the Convention that this is a party with a strongly conservative core.