Tag Archives: Rand Paul

Donald Trump is the apotheosis of modern Republicanism

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise that a super-wealthy real estate developer would run for President promising to turn America into a gated community.

Really, this is where Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been pointing since he launched his campaign by calling for “the greatest wall you’ve ever seen” to keep out Mexican criminals and rapists. His latest stand, for a ban on Muslims traveling to America, is of a kind with the Mexican wall. It’s just one tick crazier.

But after all the crazy shit Trump has said, the ban on Muslims was the straw that broke mainstream Republicans’ backs. Some Republicans, including a lot of Vermonters, sensing that the Crazy Line has been crossed, have finally criticized Trump as being out of step with true Republicanism.

Well, there’s a problem with that. It’s not true.

Donald Trump is, in fact, the inevitable end product of the past two decades of Republican and conservative politics.

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Oh wait, there’s some leadership now!

My previous post called on Lt. Gov. Phil Scott to show some leadership on the issue of Planned Parenthood, and noted that neither he nor the VTGOP had responded to my Tweet inquiring about their stance. Well, I missed something.

Unfortunately, it’s not good.

Jay Shepard is one of Vermont’s two members of the Republican National Committee. (The other, Susie Hudson, is known in these parts for drawing paychecks from the VTGOP as a “fundraising consultant” while the party’s fundraising continues to suck, and also for accepting a free trip to the Holy Land chaperoned by leaders of the American Family Association, the notoriously anti-gay, anti-choice ultraconservative Christian organization.) He is, in short, one of Vermont’s two representatives to the national party.

And he revealed his position on Planned Parenthood in an August Facebook post:

Jay Shepard and Rand Paul

Well, hooray for leadership. Too bad it’s the wrong kind. Wrong for Vermont, certainly.

I’ll also mention a comment Shepard made in January to the Wall Street Journal, concerning then-fringe candidate Ben Carson. Yes, the guy who doesn’t believe a Muslim should be President.

“I think he was fantastic. A breath of fresh air,” said Jay Shepard, GOP national committeeman from Vermont.

Oh, goodie.

Now, I realize that Phil Scott isn’t directly responsible for the views of his fellow Vermont Republican. But this guy holds one of the most important, influential posts in the VTGOP. And the other RNC representative thinks it’s perfectly okay to travel on a hate group’s dime. If these are the two people chosen to represent Vermont on the national stage, then tell me again: exactly how is the VTGOP different than the national version?

The evidence of things not seen

Several Republican presidential candidates, previously characterized as “top-tier,” have been withering away under the reflected glare of the Donald Trump campaign, or whatever it is. One of those unfortunates is Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky. Previously, he looked like someone who could bridge the chasm between the GOP’s nuttier precincts and the mainstream. Now, he looks like someone who’s fallen into that chasm, his poll numbers barely above Rick Perry/Bobby Jindal territory. (RealClearPolitics’s averaging of recent polls: Paul in 10th place with 2.6%. He’s been on a steady downward trajectory since late June, when he briefly topped the field at 13.8%.)

But have no fear, Aqua Buddha fans: State Rep. Paul Dame is here to tell you differently.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party is in need of revitalization. … And while a number of candidates talk a good game about building a “big tent” party, it has been largely empty rhetoric. Everyone agrees that we need to do more – but I only see one candidate for president who is actually DOING it. And that is Rand Paul.

Dame, one of three Vermont lawmakers to endorse Rand Paul, paints an astoundingly rosy picture of his candidate heroically venturing into Democratic* strongholds and converting the unenlightened (read: liberals) to his Libertarian-Lite banner. He is “winning support from minorities” and “young people” and “many independents and even some Democrats.” His recent appearance at a VTGOP fundraiser attracted “nearly 100 people who attended their first-ever Republican fundraiser.” Dame praises Paul’s “boldness” for daring to visit Vermont, as though he had to smash through a Liberal Police checkpoint to get in.

*Well, Dame uses the pejorative “Democrat” formulation, as do most Republicans. It’s “Democratic,” boys.

Reading Dame’s piece, you can see Rand Paul as the contemporary embodiment of the Ayn Rand hero: the granite-jawed Braveheart inspiring the benighted commonfolk with his steely boldness and plain-spoken wisdom.

Yeah, but then you look at those pesky polls and face the fact: Rand Paul is not leading a movement. He is tanking, big-time.

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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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Pathways to Electoral Failure, Fringe Republican Edition

We have two stories today touching on a common theme: how not to appeal to the Vermont electorate. One involves a presidential candidate allying himself with a Republican moneybags with deep pockets and imperceptible electoral appeal; the other involves a young lawmaker on the rise who seems to be an acolyte of America’s Crankiest Novelist and America’s Most Notorious Ophthalmologist.

First, the candidate and the moneybags:

Yep, that’s Florida Senator Marco Rubio believing that Skip Vallee will “do great things” for his campaign. (Tweet was first noted by the Free Press’ Emilie Teresa Stigliani.) Well, Skip will probably do great things for Rubio’s bottom line. But as for strengthening his campaign, not so much. Rubio can be forgiven for not knowing the details of Skippy’s political rap sheet, being from Florida and all. But just in case he’s reading this blog, God only knows why, let’s do the numbers.

The high point of Skip Vallee’s political career was when he donated enough money to the Bush 2004 campaign to wangle himself the ambassadorship to the Slovak Republic. Aside from that, Skipper’s political career has been purely a figment of his own imagination. In his only bid for elective office, Vallee lost the 2000 race for State Senate in Chittenden County, despite what must have been the most expensive State Senate campaign in state history: he spent $134,000. And still lost.

Vallee has never run for office again — although he keeps hinting and nosing around, as if he can’t believe his proven unpopularity.

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