Tag Archives: Paul LePage

It’s summertime, and racism is bustin’ out all over

Perhaps in honor of our nation’s birthday, there’s quite a bit of sobering news for those who believe that Vermont is above all this racism stuff because, well, we’re Vermont!

Actually, I’d compare us to Scandinavian countries before the first waves of darker-skinned immigrants. They didn’t have racism because there wasn’t any reason for it to spring forth. But you add in some brown people — or even the idea of adding in some brown people — and boy howdy, turns out your attic is full of spiders.

We have, of course, the ongoing disgrace in Rutland, where opponents of setting 100 Syrian refugees might go so far as to eject the best damn mayor their city has ever had. And don’t try to sell me that the anti-refugee contingent are upset over process. That’s an excuse. No, they’re afraid of dark-skinned people wearing heebie-jabbies.

Exhibits B and C are separate reports detailing “stark racial disparities in Vermont policing and incarceration,” per VTDigger; Exhibit D is a series of truly disturbing incidents of racism in, of all places, Craftsbury — the summer home of Bill “Spaceman” Lee and an epicenter of Northeast Kingdom counterculture.

And the cherry on top of this shit sundae: Governor Shumlin urging federal authorities not to harass or “hassle” members of the Rainbow Family Gathering. I wonder if he’d express the same sentiment if it was, say, a Hip-Hop Nation event at Mount Tabor.

Call me cynical, but I doubt it.

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Drug-inspired racism: it’s not just a cartoon

Oh, here comes Maine Governor Paul LePage, the gloriously unfiltered hambone, with his typically offensive comedy stylings. This time, he’s explaining the causes of Maine’s drug epidemic:

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty… these types of guys… they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

Hahaha, what a clown. Can’t believe the voters of Maine have chosen that schmuck as their chief executive — not once, but twice!

Good thing we don’t have any of that ignorant nonsense in Vermont, right?

Right?

Well, actually, it reminded me of something I read a few months ago in Seven Days.

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Failing LiberPublican Settles for Vermont

Wow, what a get.

The Vermont Republican Party today announced that U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul will keynote a fundraiser on Monday, August 31, 2015.

Well, well. Acqua Buddha himself will grace our verdant land. Gosh, I hope he brings his chainsaw.

The VTGOP press release strangely promises “more details on the event… in the coming weeks.” Hey guys, you’ve got less than three weeks ’til go-time. Found a banquet hall yet?

Party Chair David Sunderland praised Senator Paul for coming to Vermont “even though we are not an early primary state.” Which, yeah, but that’s less about Paul’s graciousness and more about his desperation. After entering 2015 as a solid contender, the good Senator has faded badly. RealClearPolitics’ national polling average gives Paul less than six percent support. He’s not disappearing like Rick Perry, but he’s stuck in limbo behind Tea Party-oriented candidates like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and of course Donald Trump.

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Vermont conservatives step out onto an invisible bridge

What do you do if you’re a small frog in a big pond? Well, you can be content with your lot and get along with the bigger frogs; you could move to a smaller pond; or you could drain the big pond until you’re the biggest frog left standing.

The third course is the preferred option of Vermont conservatives. The likes of Mark “Little Snell” Snelling, Brady Toensing, John McClaughry, and Wendy Wilton have seemingly opted out of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott’s party-broadening operation; they’re backing the longshot write-in campaign of Libertarian Dan Feliciano for the VTGOP gubernatorial nomination. They’re likely to end up with egg on their faces and crow on their plates when the votes are counted; Scott Milne is virtually assured of taking the nomination if only because his name is on the ballot and write-ins are hard.

But their strategery does have a certain logic, an internally consistent reading of history. It’s dead wrong, natch, but there is a narrative. It’s like this: over the last 50 years or so, the Republicans have done best when they lean right, even when it means short-term defeat. (This storyline is the subject of Rick Perlstein’s three-volume history of the rise of the right; the just-published third book, “The Invisible Bridge,” chronicles the years between Richard Nixon’s resignation and Ronald Reagan’s national ascendancy.) Nixon killed the Sixties; Reagan established the rise of the right; George W. Bush took it even further. On the other hand, temporizers like Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney proved to be electoral dead ends.

Which is why so many conservatives truly believe the best course for the Republican Party is to nominate Ted Cruz. And why a small cadre of Vermonters are backing Feliciano.

It’s a coherent, logical view of national political trends. But it doesn’t apply in Vermont and the Northeast. Conservative Republicanism is pretty much dead in New York and New England*; the rare Republican winners are all moderates.

*Maine Governor Paul LePage is a Tea Partier, but an electoral fluke; he won with less than 40% of the vote in a three-way race.

In Vermont, it’s been decades since a true conservative won anything important. Republican winners have all come from the center or center-right: Dick Snelling, Jim Jeffords, Jim Douglas, Bob Stafford. And in the latter days of the Republicans’ Hundred Year Reich, the George Aiken wing led the way.

In short, that long national arc has completely bypassed Vermont – and the Northeast, for that matter. The national conservative ascendancy is based on four factors that have nothing to do with the Northeast: the GOP’s co-optation of southern whites, growing anti-government sentiment in the West and Southwest; Christian conservatism; and the generous support of deep-pocketed One Percenters like the Koch brothers and Foster Friess. None of that applies in Vermont. If anything, the trend in this neck of the woods is to the left. Even in hard-bitten old New Hampshire. To see a growing conservative movement in Vermont is to see dancing cartoon unicorns or pink elephants. There may have been an Invisible Bridge between Nixon and Reagan; but usually when you step onto an invisible bridge, you wind up all wet.