Tag Archives: Planned Parenthood

“But I’m not that kind of Republican”

Every time I talk with a Vermont Republican (which is happening more frequently now, by design), I hear a variation on the same tune: “I’m not that kind of Republican.” Meaning, I’m not like those extreme conservatives on the national level; I’m a moderate, Vermont kind of partisan.

Well, maybe, but what do they mean by that?

It seems to be roughly this: they don’t share national Republicans’ extreme views on social issues, which is a no-brainer; espousing the creeds of the Christian Right is a sure loser in Vermont. They don’t deserve much credit for tolerance on reproductive rights or marriage equality.

Things get fuzzier when it comes to fiscal issues.

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When the truth isn’t truthy enough

The Phil Scott and Sue Minter campaigns are in full froth over alleged negative advertising. Each accuses the other of willful distortion: Team Scott is upset over ads questioning his pro-choice credentials; the Scott campaign, meanwhile, is slammed for tying Minter to a proposed carbon tax.

Funny thing is, they’re both right on both counts. The attacks are based in fact, but are designed to mislead.

The pro-choice ads were produced by the Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund. They cite two pieces of evidence that call Scott’s abortion stance into question. The first: his past support for some restrictions on access to abortion. The second: the fact that Right to Life Vermont “recommended” Scott.

Both are accurate. But still misleading.

Second point first. RTL did not endorse Scott, but it did “recommend” him as, basically, the best of an inadequate lot. RTL doesn’t particularly like Scott, and they’d much prefer a harder-line candidate, but he was, in RTL’s view, the least bad option.

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Here’s another sign of the VTGOP’s “moderation”

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s one guy who tends to provide comment and reaction quotes to the media on behalf of the Vermont Republican Party.

No, it’s not Phil “Mr. Leadership” Scott. It’s usually not Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning. Sometimes it’s VTGOP chair David Sunderland. But more often than not, the Republican quote machine is none other than House Minority Leader Don Turner.

Meg Hansen, from her LinkedIn page. (Fair use!)

Meg Hansen, from her LinkedIn page. (Fair use!)

And there’s a person at the controls of the Turner Quote Machine. Her name is Meg Hansen. She handles “strategic communications” for the House Republican Caucus. And she has a very enlightening Twitter feed, for those who still think Vermont Republicans are really a different breed than their national counterparts.

This is the kind of person who’s crafting the Vermont Republican message these days.

She’s been harshly critical of Syrian refugee resettlement, invoking the myth that refugees are a big fat drain on the public treasury. (In fact, the vast majority of refugees quickly become productive members of society.)

Stick around. There’s lots more.

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Kelly Ayotte should be ashamed

New Hampshire’s junior senator, like the entire Republican caucus, is refusing to give any consideration whatsoever to anyone President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court. And, like the entire Republican caucus, she should be ashamed of herself for abdicating her sworn duty — and for, as usual, undermining the legitimacy of our (twice) duly-elected president.

But Ayotte has an additional, very specific, reason to be ashamed. Her entire political career has its roots in a very unusual act of nonpartisanship. If it wasn’t for a pair of decisions by a Democrat, there would be no Senator Kelly Ayotte.

First, a bit of essential background. New Hampshire’s Attorney General is not elected. It is an appointed position with a four-year term. The governor chooses an AG with the approval of the five-member Executive Council (itself a wacky feature of Granite State governance, go Wikipedia it if you’re curious).

Back in 2004, then-AG Peter Heed resigned. The governor at the time was Craig Benson, a Republican so feckless that he was actually defeated in his first bid for re-election. Yup, served one term and got kicked to the curb. But he was governor at the time, and he nominated a young, ambitious attorney named Kelly Ayotte to replace Heed. And she got the job.

After Benson’s ejection, Ayotte’s partial term ran its course. Democratic Governor John Lynch chose to nominate her for a full term.

And, at the end of that full term, he nominated her once again.

And she ducked out of that term early on, to run for senate in 2010, thus reneging on a promise to Lynch that she would serve her full term as AG.

It is a certainty that, if not for the generosity of Democrat John Lynch, there’s no way Kelly Ayotte would be a U.S. Senator today.

Is she returning the favor? No. She is joining her colleagues in essentially spitting in the President’s face.

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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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The Kasich Files: rabidly anti-choice

Now that John Kasich is planning a Town Hall in Vermont, I’ll be exploring his extremely conservative, and not very successful, record as Governor of Ohio. Enjoy.

Best of times, worst of times for Vermont Republicans. The good: they’ve finally got a credible, plausibly centrist candidate for governor — one who, in the mold of Jim Douglas, can put a smiley face on biz-friendly conservatism.

The bad: Oh, those presidential candidates.

Many in the VTGOP, glumly scanning the field, are latching onto Ohio Gov. John Kasich as the alleged “adult in the room,” the technocrat, the non-ideologue. I suppose we’ll see plenty of Vermont stalwarts at Kasich’s town hall on Saturday.

But to see John Kasich as anything other than a cookie-cutter conservative firebrand force-feeding the ALEC agenda to his home state, takes quite a bit of squinting. And wishful thinking.

Previously, I wrote about his fraudulent (literally) school-choice push, woeful jobs record, and how he has put the squeeze on local governments to save his state-budget bacon. Today, hey, it’s Planned Parenthood.

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A happy ending

Well hey, looky here:

Scott opposes efforts to defund Planned Parenthood

That’s the headline on a newly-minted story by the Vermont Press Bureau’s Neal Goswami, who reached out to Lt. Gov. Phil Scott for comment on the Planned Parenthood foofaraw. Don’t know whether Goswami’s inquiry was sparked by yesterday’s disgraceful Congressional “hearing” or by my earlier post calling for Scott to exercise some leadership, but the important thing is, Phil Scott stepped up and delivered.

“I’m pro-choice. I always have been and I believe that Planned Parenthood provides very important health services that go far beyond abortions for women,” he said. “They provide great services and needed services.”

Can’t say anything bad about that. It’s a strong and straightforward statement, and it puts Phil Scott at odds with the national party and all the Republican Presidential candidates. I do have one quibble:

Scott said he did not know if the videos that have inspired conservatives in Congress to cut funding for Planned Parenthood are reputable.

“I don’t know anything about the allegations, whether they are true or not, but I’m sure we can all agree that no organization should be profiting from abortions,” he said.

Well, he went a little Sergeant Schultz on us there at the end. But the rest of his position? Commendable.