Congratulations to Jeff Bartley, fresh off his unfortunate racist Tweet (“Dez Bryant is a monkey”) and his apparently successful stint as the VTGOP’s Victory Director in the 2014 campaign. Also, condolences to the VTGOP itself, because according to a hot tip, unconfirmed but from a source I trust, Jeff Bartley is about to be hired as Executive Director of the Vermont Republican Party.
I say “condolences” because Bartley is one of those Young Conservative blowhard types who keeps rising through the ranks without regard to merit or track record. Although, to be fair, if the VTGOP can actually afford a permanent full-time staffer, that’s a step up in financial terms.
Whether Bartley will be more effective than an empty chair, however, is debatable. Let’s take a look at his pre-2014 record, from a post I wrote on Green Mountain Daily in June of this year:
We last saw Jeffy in November 2013 as a candidate for state party chair. Somehow, he managed to lose the “battle” for the conservative wing’s support to John MacGovern, who blew a gasket and hit the wall in his 2012 campaign against Bernie Sanders.
Let that sink in for a moment. Jeff Bartley lost to John MacGovern. And now he’s the Republicans’ Victory Director.
Well, Bartley sure knows victory. Particularly, how to avoid it.
His political resume also includes a 2012 stint as political director for the Vermont House Republican Caucus. Yes, the group that somehow managed to lose seats even though it had previously achieved super-minority status.
Another example of Bartley’s “forward-thinking leadership” was his intra-party lawsuit against former U.S. Senate candidate Len Britton for unpaid salary and expenses. The whole schemozzle was embarrassing for both men, although moreso for Britton. But still, Bartley — then, as now, a Republican Party official — taking a fellow Republican to court? Not exactly 11th Commandment material.
Presumably, Britton was attracted to Bartley because of his previous experience in a disastrous Senate campaign: at age 20, Bartley was hired by the ill-fated Rich Tarrant for Senate campaign. Apparently he’s got a thing for hopeless causes — and for making sure they stay that way.
Bartley’s most notable contribution to the Tarrant effort was his embarrassing attempt to pull the wool over Vermonters’ eyes with a bogus political blog called “Vermont Senate Race,” which was ostensibly a straight news site, but was meant to be a conduit for Tarrant agitprop. Unfortunately, the late great Peter Freyne blew the whistle on Jeffy’s dirty trick by exposing him as the owner of the site. Plus, as Freyne pointed out, the founding of the VSR website corresponded almost exactly with the Tarrant campaign’s hiring of Bartley.
That is, as far as I can tell, Jeff Bartley’s entire political resume: just one damn failure after another. And this qualifies him to be the VTGOP’s Victory Director.
Every time I think they can’t possibly go even lower, they surprise me. When exactly does the Vermont Republican Party hit bottom?
Back to the present. If, in fact, the VTGOP is about to hire Jeff Bartley as its full-time leader, then I’m afraid it’s still trending downward.
Also, this news puts Bartley’s rapid-response Twitter apology in a new light. If he knew — as surely he must have — that he was about to get this big new job, then he had to be duty-bound and hell-bent to minimize any blowback from calling a black athlete a monkey.
And I guess it worked, since nobody else in the Vermont political media picked up on it. And now little ol’ Jeff Bartley is poised to become the Executive Director of the state party.