Tag Archives: Paul Dame

Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa

Turns out that in writing my post “Paul Dame Measures Once, Cuts Twice,” I myself was guilty of measuring once and cutting twice.

In his weekly screed to VTGOP members, Dame had some complaints about how the Democratic majority had reshuffled committee memberships and structure. One of them was about the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. Dame bemoaned the absence of Republicans on said committee, and I snarked back that Republican Sen. Richard Westman was on SNRE.

Well, he’s not. Dame was right. No Republicans. What’s more, the new committee looks to be substantially to the left of the previous version, thanks to the additions of new Senators Anne Watson and Becca White.

Dame remains wrong about the other stuff, but that doesn’t excuse my mistake. I was wrong, and I apologize. I’ll add a correction to the post itself.

Paul Dame Measures Once, Cuts Twice (Updated with CORRECTION)

Update! Dame’s essay has been posted on True North Reports. The “Donahue” typo is fixed, but nothing else.

Update Update. I got something badly wrong. I wrote that Sen. Richard Westman is a Republican presence on the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. He is not. Dame was right about that, and I apologize for my mistake.

I could write a blogpost every week about VTGOP Chair Paul Dame’s weekly email to party members, but that would be a big waste of my time and yours. Once in a while, though, it’s too good to pass up.

Take this week’s message. Please, take it. It’s entitled “Democrat Steamrollers” because (1) he’d rather be ungrammatical than refer to the Democratic Party as “Democratic,” and (2) he sees the Democratic majorities in the Legislature running roughshod over everything. In his essay, he takes three big swings and misses all three. Yer Out!

Dame’s complaints begin with the reassigning of Rep. Anne Donahue from the Health Care Committee to Human Services. The House majority had “punished” Donahue “by stripping her of her [Health Care] Vice Chair position and assigning her to another committee entirely.”

A few things. First, he’s deeply concerned about Rep. Donahue’s status but he couldn’t be bothered to spell her name correctly. That’s right, he called her “Donohue.”

Second, exiling Donahue to Human Services is a pretty damn soft landing. That committee is also heavily involved with mental health care, so she’ll still have a chance to put her knowledge and passion to good use.

Third, the Dems’ alleged machinations are picayune compared to what Dame’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. House are doing with their majority. So far, I’ve heard no hint that Speaker Jill Krowinski has ordered a bunch of investigations of Gov. Phil Scott’s family.

Finally, whatever the Democrats may have done to reduce Republican influence is nothing compared to what the Republicans did to themselves by running an incompetent campaign and allowing the Dems to win a supermajority!

Enough of that. Let’s get on to the real whoppers.

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Broke. Destitute. Insolvent. Beggared. Strapped. Bust. Pauperized. Skint. Embarrassed. Down at Heel.

The Vermont Republican Party doesn’t have much money to spend right now, but here’s a suggestion: Invest in a metal detector. You might improve your fortunes by finding some spare change and, who knows, maybe a pirate doubloon or two.

This isn’t exactly new for the perpetually impecunious VTGOP. But if anything, it’s gotten worse — especially when compared to the Vermont Democratic Party, which had a gangbusters 2022 by comparison.

The latest Federal Elections Commission filings covered the month of November. It’ll be a few days before we get the year-end reports. But I doubt the situation will change all that much, and the situation merits exploration right now.

(Reminder: Although the VDP and VTGOP are state parties, the vast majority of their financial activity is under federal jurisdiction. The figures that follow are all from FEC filings.)

The VTGOP ended November with a paltry $2,204 in cash on hand. The Dems: $207,060, nearly 100 times as much. And that was after generous Democratic expenditures in the run-up to Election Day. The VDP’s goal was to enter the off-cycle period with enough resources to avoid post-campaign staff cuts. They’ll have to maintain a solid fundraising pace to accomplish that, but so far things are looking good.

Meanwhile, the VTGOP just suffered its worst legislative defeat ever and couldn’t sniff a statewide victory for any candidate not named “Phil Scott.” They need some serious rebuilding, and they have no resources to even begin the work. The numbers tell the tale.

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He Knows When You’ve Been Bad or Good, and If You’ve Been Bad He’s Giving You Something From the VTGOP Gift Collection

I hope you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet because now’s your chance to please the Coolidge lover in your life. And we’ve all got one of them, haven’t we?

Pictured above: Two items from the “Coolidge Was Cooler” line of VTGOP merch. All five items feature the same hastily-photoshopped image of Calvin Coolidge sporting a pair of aviator sunglasses. See, Coolidge was cooler than Joe Biden of aviator sunglasses fame. Ha ha, cough.

This is the best design available from the Vermont Republican Party’s online “SHOP” page. Hard to believe I know, but the rest of the collection is even sadder.

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Congratulations to the Progressive Party on its Hostile Takeover of Vermont Politics

There seems to be a popular delusion among Republicans in these parts, even the non-fringey types. In the words of outgoing Rep. Heidi Scheuermann,

…the Progressives have taken over the VT Democratic Party.

This same belief was expressed a few months ago by VTGOP Chair Paul Dame, when he compared the Progressive Party to a parasitic horsehair worm that had taken over the Democratic Party from within.

Outgoing Sen. Joe Benning said much the same thing in his post-election post-mortem: “Ideologues in the Democratic/Progressive supermajority,” he wrote, are driving policy that “runs counter to Vermont traditions and fiscal capacity.” At least he put the Democrats first, but still he’s conflating the Dems and the Progs in a way that’s far from the truth. The two parties sing from different hymnals on many of our most contentious issues, and the Dems always sit in the right-hand pew. Top Democrats are fond of styling themselves as small-P progressives, but they are definitely not the capital-P kind. Not at all.

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Stealth Conservatives: Trump Was Anointed By God to Save America

Ah, the last dying embers of Republican power in Vermont. Jim Douglas and Brian Dubie. Those were the days, eh?

Now, who’s that nice little old lady between them? That would be Maryse Dunbar, Essex resident and two-time candidate for the House. Lovely, right? Nice of Brian and Jim to lend her a hand.

She’s also gotten a big assist from VTGOP chair Paul Dame, who sent an email blast soliciting support for Dunbar. Cool. I assume he’s fully informed about Dunbar’s political views, and they must be consistent with his vision of Republicanism.

Now let’s take a look at Dunbar’s Facebook page and… oh dear.

Yep, that’s Our Lord and Savior guiding the hand of God’s Chosen One, Donald J. Trump. Funny thing, this is not an outlier on Dunbar’s Facebook page, a melange of conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism, and Covid denialism of the rankest sort.

In other words, she’s just another Vermont Republican candidate in the year 2022.

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Like It Or Not, This Is Your VTGOP

Taking a pause from my ongoing series about stealth conservatives and other extremists who litter the Vermont Republican Party’s ticket this year, to note that these people can’t be classed as the exception. They are the norm. It’s Phil Scott who’s the exception. The party he once knew and loved is no longer with us and it ain’t coming back.

For example, take the above photograph and focus on the four centermost figures. The fellow with the bright red bowtie is Samuel Douglass, stealth conservative candidate previously uncovered in this space as a guy who thinks Fox News isn’t conservative enough. The gent to his right is the Patron Saint of Plausibly Moderate Republicanism, Jim Douglas. Behind Douglas is VTGOP chair Paul Dame. To Douglas’ right is state Rep. Samantha Lefebvre, one of 2020’s successful crop of stealth candidates.

Oh, and she’s now the vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

Yeah, I missed the memo. The VTGOP website includes no information about party officials, presumably to avoid embarrassing any of them. But the original caption to this photo identified her as vice chair.

It’s another sad step toward the outer boundaries of political sensibility for the once-dominant party. Its top positions are held by extremists of various kinds, and its slate of candidates is lousy with election truthers, QAnon adherents, Covid deniers and hard-core Trumpers. And maybe the odd militia type. Not to mention the virulently anti-trans chair of the biggest city party in the state.

Ladies, gentlemen and others, this is your VTGOP. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

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Stealth Conservatives: Fox News Is Too Liberal

Whether you want to or not, meet Samuel A. Douglass, Republican candidate for state Senate in the Orleans district. He’s challenging longtime incumbent Democrat Bobby Starr, which would seem to be a hopeless enterprise. But the district’s boundaries changed quite a bit in reapportionment. There are hopes in Republican circles and a wee bit of fear among Democrats that this guy might actually win.

So it behooves us to get to know Mr. Douglass, because he is one of the most stealthy of this year’s crop of stealth conservatives. He portrays himself as half crunchy-granola country boy and half “commonsense” Republican. The reality, however, is much different. “Fox News is only sort of right-leaning” is a thing he said. He thinks 80% of American journalism is “left-leaning,” and has a favorable impression of Newsmax.

Oh, and he thinks the acquittal of triple murderer Kyle Rittenhouse constituted “justice.” So no, he’s not your grandfather’s Republican.

Douglass’ campaign website is heavy on pictures and light on text. The words he does employ are ambiguous at best, with the faintest of dog whistles penetrating the fog. The closest thing to an agenda is a page entitled “My Focus & Goals,” which runs a bit under 800 words and contains no specifics whatsoever. Still, the nutbaggery can’t be completely concealed.

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Know Your Parasites

There’s a notion prevalent among Vermont Republicans that the Progressives are secretly controlling the Vermont Democratic Party.

Now, you run that by any Progressive and the response will be a bitter laugh. They only wish.

This idea recently came at me from two directions: VTGOP Chair Paul Dame in one of his weekly “newsletters” sent to the party’s email list. I would have ignored Dame, but then it was repeated in the comments section of this here blog by none other than H. Brooke Paige, Republican candidate-at-large.

Dame’s version was the more colorful, by which I mean revolting. He chose a horsehair worm (seen above), which grows inside the body of a cricket or other large insect and drives a host’s behavior in ways beneficial to itself.

See, the Progs are the worm and the Dems are the hapless host.

(Also, side issue, but is Dame hoping to win friends and influence people by talking about disgusting parasites in his essays? He refers to it as “a fascinating creature,” so maybe he thinks everybody would be equally fascinated rather than repelled.)

Again, bitter laugh from any Prog who sees this.

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The Great VDP Reboot of 2022

When you add up a number of things previously reported in this space — new leadership at the Vermont Democratic Party that seems to know what it’s doing for a change, the emergence of Becca Balint and Mike Pieciak as formidable political forces — plus a few more, a clear picture emerges. The Vermont Democratic Party has risen from a long dismal period and is now moving from strength to strength. If the Republicans thought they might be closing the gap in any meaningful way, well, they are sadly mistaken.

The party’s internal organization is stronger than it’s been for years. Fundraising has improved greatly. And now there’s an impressively deep bench with numerous officeholders capable of climbing the ladder. In addition to Balint and Pieciak, there’s also Attorney General-in-Waiting Charity Clark and All But Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas. And we should not forget House Speaker Jill Krowinski, no sirree.

(Say, has the Vermont Republican Party found some patsies to run statewide yet? No? Yes? Does it matter?)

(UPDATE! They found guys for auditor and attorney general, still looking for treasurer. And no, it doesn’t matter.)

This is a stark change from the stasis of the past decade, when some really good people with no political upside held these offices. Plus TJ Donovan. (Well, Beth Pearce had political upside but she didn’t want it.)

The latest fundraising figures, studiously ignored by the tattered remnants of the political press, show the VDP continuing its upward trajectory. In July, the party took in $84,121 and spent $56,833, improving its cash balance to $267,095. At the beginning of 2022, the VDP had a mere $43,238 in the bank. And boosting their reserves is a real accomplishment when simultaneously gearing up for an election campaign.

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