Tag Archives: Kurt Wright

Profiles In Courage, the Phil Scott Way!

Apparently, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott endorsed Marco Rubio for President yesterday.

I say “apparently” because he didn’t appear at the big endorsement extravaganza put on by top Republicans yesterday at the Statehouse. Nor has he released a statement of any kind.

This is pretty damn shameful. The details from VTDigger:

At a Statehouse news conference, GOP legislators touted what they called Rubio’s values-based campaign. Afterward, Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, gave VTDigger a list of those backing Rubio, which included Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, 27 representatives and one senator.

Scott was not present or mentioned at the news conference. He could not be reached late Thursday afternoon for comment.

Holy Hiding In A Closet, Batman!

The strategery had an effect — and I have to infer it was the effect Scott wanted: very limited coverage. I assume that the Statehouse media corps were covering the Senate’s debate on marijuana legalization. As far as I can tell, VTDigger was the only media outlet to report on the endorsement.

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Gnats to Fart in Windstorm

Oh look, a bunch of Republican lawmakers are belatedly getting off the pot.

Vermont state Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, says approximately 30 Republican lawmakers will endorse Marco Rubio for president on Thursday.

… “He’s the last best chance,” Wright said. “I think the window’s beginning to close.”

Err, “beginning” to close? More like “coming down like a well-greased guillotine.”

Presumably, at least some of these 30 Bravehearts also attended the John Kasich Town Hall last Saturday. None endorsed him, although they were all very happy to be on hand. But I guess they realize that Foxy Grandpa’s window was never open, let alone “beginning to close.” It’ll be interesting to see how many top Republicans show up at the just-anounced Kasich Town Hall on Monday at Castleton University.

The Rubot also got the coveted (cough, choke) endorsement of former Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, who praised Florida’s Usually Absentee Senator as a “strong conservative” with “bold conservative ideas.”

Yeah, that’ll move the needle. Look out, Trump: Brian Dubie is comin’ to get ya!

Also, gosh, I didn’t realize Dubie was such a fan of strong conservatism. I guess that Jim-Douglas-without-the-charm act he pulled in 2010 was just a load of horse hockey.

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Finally, Bruce Lisman.

Once again displaying his impeccable sense of timing, retired Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman let it slip today that he will, indeed, run for governor. As a Republican.

And he did so on the very day when Rand Paul was in town for a speech and fundraiser. Which he did not attend.

Way to step on the party’s headline, Bruce!

He did not actually announce anything, but he did notify various Republicans he was going to file his candidacy papers Tuesday, and he didn’t tell anyone to keep their lips zipped. Gee, Bruce, why not wait ’til Wednesday?

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The Speaker did it… in the hallway… with a soft cushion.

The New Hampshire legislature has a fine old phrase I’ve never heard anywhere else: “Inexpedient to Legislate.” It’s the graveside pronouncement uttered just before a bill disappears from view, perhaps never to be seen again. At least not for a long time. If Vermont had such a phrase, it’d be time to invoke it solemnly over the moldering corpse of H.76, the bill to ban teacher strikes. Neal Goswami of the Vermont Press Bureau:

Democratic leaders are maneuvering to amend a bill slated to hit the House floor Wednesday by replacing language that calls for a ban on teacher strikes and the imposition of labor contracts by school boards with a study.

Ah, the study. The favorite murder weapon of backroom dealmaking. H.76’s primary sponsor, Burlington Republican Kurt Wright, sees the writing on the wall and is not happy.

“I think that it’s time for us to act. This bill has been around for a long time,” Wright said. “We either want to ban strikes and the imposition of contracts or not.”

The answer there is “not,” at least not on H.76’s terms. As outlined earlier, most Democrats see the bill as fundamentally flawed because it sets up a long, drawn-out process for resolving disputes. And the longer the process, the more it benefits the employer. I doubt that Mr. Wright is mollified by Deputy Assistant Majority Leader Tim Jerman’s assurances that the study would be “unfettered.” Hell, the study itself is the fetter, tying up the inexpedient legislation for as long as necessary.

The House vote on H.76, scheduled for Wednesday, could be interesting. Republicans vow to strongly back the bill as it stands, and they might be able to skim off enough Democrats to make things interesting. On the other hand, the Democratic leadership might be wielding soft cushions when lawmakers gather for a vote.

Vermont Republicans adopt the Fox News playbook

I don’t know what the hell has happened to Vermont Republicans. With a couple of exceptions (Phil Scott, Kevin Mullin), they seem to have gone batshit crazy.

And crazy in a very particular way. They have taken up the chief weaponry of national Republicans and the Fox News crowd by distilling a complicated issue to a single word.

The issue is health care and the word, of course, is GRUBER!!!!!!

Republicans have not been deterred in the last by Gov. Shumlin’s renegotiation of Gruber’s contract, cutting off further payments to Gruber and thus saving the state $120,000 — some of which will go to independent checking of Gruber’s work.

But it doesn’t matter, at least not to Republicans. They’ve decided “Gruber” is an all-purpose cudgel to attack Shumlin, the Democrats, and the cause of health care reform. Their entire health care focus is on Gruber.

It was only a couple weeks ago that the VTGOP had a big post-election news conference to call for repeal of Vermont Health Connect. We don’t hear that anymore; it’s all Gruber, all the time.

It’s the first time I can remember that virtually every notable Republican and conservative activist seems to be singing from the same hymnal. Kurt Wright sounds just like Rob Roper, and Heidi Scheuermann’s doing her best Darcie Johnston.

This fact hit home for me while reading Rep. Wright’s opinion piece in the Sunday Freeploid. Wright asserts that Gruber’s work on single-payer “will undermine the entire process and debate going forward.” When there’s no evidence that Gruber has done anything more than provide top-flight economic modeling. No matter; as ACORN allegedly poisoned the electoral process and Lois Lerner allegedly proved an Obama conspiracy against the right, the mere presence of Gruber fundamentally undercuts everything about single-payer.

So I guess, by Wright’s logic, we have to throw out all the work that’s been done on single-payer over the last three years and start over? Or is he arguing that by axing Gruber now, when the work is virtually complete, the entire process will be purified as if by cleansing flame?

Wright’s words are identical in meaning to Rob Roper’s. Over at his Koch-funded nonprofit, the Ethan Allen Institute, he claims that Gruber’s entire body of work is useless and cannot be used at all. And Darcie “Hack” Johnston, Tweeting out her policy stances, pronounes Gruber’s work is “tainted” and…

Just watch him, Darcie.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Benning is clearly intoxicated by his sudden Fox News fame, referring on his Facebook page to Gruber as “the gift that keeps on giving.” Which sounds disconcertingly like naked political opportunism. He goes on to brag that “FOX wants me back!”

Of course they want you back, Joe: you fit right in with their agenda. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

On another front, House Republicans have filed a public-records request for Gruber’s work for the state and for communications between Gruber and the Shumlin Administration, I’d applaud them for trying to learn the truth, but given all their public remarks, it seems more like a Darrell Issa-type fishing expedition. What they’re really hoping for is more Gruberisms.

And then there’s the proto-Republicans at Campaign for Vermont, still flogging their online petition calling for Gruber’s firing. Too bad that since Shumlin’s termination of payment, CFV’s petition has pretty much stalled out. As of this writing, it’s at 233 signatures, and it’s been in the low 200s for several days now.

This isn’t about the truth. It’s about using a handful of remarks by Jonathan Gruber to try to undermine the push for single-payer health care.

The weird thing about this is, we just went through an election that provided two object lessons (Phil Scott and Scott Milne) in how Republicans can win in Vermont: by presenting a moderate, inclusive image. Now they’re all foaming at the mouth as though the election never happened and “Angry Jack” Lindley is still running the joint.

They would be well advised to rein in their inflammatory rhetoric lest they alienate the very voters they just managed to attract.

The Milne campaign does something smart. Stop laughing, I mean it.

Do Not Adjust Your Set. It’s True, It’s Damn True.

Scott Milne’s people, a.k.a. Brent Burns, put out a press release listing the names of prominent Republicans who have endorsed his candidacy.

And it’s an impressive list. 42 names of current and former officeholders. It puts to shame the tiny number of dead-enders and no-hopers who’ve opted for Libertarian Dan Feliciano.

It begins with former Governor Jim Douglas, the shining star of contemporary Republicanism. Unlike other people I could name (ahem, Phil Scott), Douglas has come out of his hidey hole and actually campaigned for Milne. His endorsement alone is worth approximately 1,000 Darcie “Hack” Johnstons.

After that, you get most of the VTGOP’s Senate delegation – Bill Doyle, Joe Benning, Norm McAllister, Peg Flory, and Kevin Mullin. From the House, add Kurt Wright, Heidi Scheuermann, Patti Komline, Chuck Pearce, Tom Koch, and Duncan Kilmartin and many more, plus former Rep and current Senate candidate Pat McDonald. A couple of interesting names: former Representative and current Senate candidate Dustin Degree and current Rep. Tony Terenzini, neither of whom are particularly moderate folks.

This primary-eve blast should put to rest any talk of a Feliciano groundswell. A couple of state party officials may have turned their backs on Milne, but the bulk of its officeholders – those with proven appeal to actual voters – are solidly behind him.