Tag Archives: Republican National Committee

The Trump Trickle-Down Financial FAIL

More and more signs every day that Donald Trump is spectacularly unsuited to be a major party’s standard bearer. There’s the constant screech of dog whistles, the obnoxious comments flying in all directions, the persistent failure to stay on-message for more than about 15 minutes, and oh, that hair.

But perhaps more important than all of that is… money. Or the lack thereof. Trump’s coffers are nearly empty and his fundraising “machine” practically nonexistent.

This has repercussions far beyond the Trump/Clinton campaign, because a major party candidate usually provides money and organization for candidates up and down the ticket and the state parties.  Talking Points Memo:

As the Republican National Committee — which also saw a drop in its May fundraising compared to 2012 — is forced to prop up Trump’s rickety campaign apparatus, it means less money will be passed down to congressional committees and to state parties. It also means less money to finance the party’s crucial but costly get-out-the-vote efforts.

Which is really bad news for the perennially impecunious VTGOP, whose own federal filing shows a piss-poor $11,190 in cash on hand. It can’t afford any significant campaign push, and it shouldn’t expect any help from the national party.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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?

RNC leader thinks better of Israel trip

Hmm. Apparently Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee, ducked out of that big trip to Israel arranged by the hateful bigoted folks at the American Family Association.

Priebus was one of the many top Republicans, including Vermont’s own Susie Hudson, who were booked on a nine-day trip to Israel paid for, and guided by, officials of the American Family Association and its subsidiary, the American Renewal Project. The voyagers left last weekend, but Priebus was spotted this week in Washington, D.C. after a meeting with Senate Republicans. Talking Points Memo:

His appearance in Washington came as something of a surprise after the founder of the American Renewal Project, David Lane, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz last week that he would be taking Priebus, Priebus’ wife and about 60 other committee members to the Holy Land.

The trip was scheduled in November, but became a source of controversy last week after the Israeli media outlet Haaretz spilled the inconvenient beans about the AFA’s extreme Christianist positions.

You know, it’s funny how the Republican Party doesn’t mind offending Americans with its close ties to a hate group, but it’s afraid to offend Israelis. Yeah, funny.

I guess Priebus decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and quietly canceled. Hudson and the others made the trip, and are currently getting their heads filled with AFA dogma about Middle Eastern politics. Perhaps when Hudson comes back on Sunday, someone from the Vermont media will ask her what she learned, and about the appropriateness of the Republican National Committee accepting the lavish hospitality of the American Family Association.

Let’s hope so. To date, Seven Days’ Paul Heintz is the only reporter to pursue this story. How about it, VTDigger, Burlington Free Press, Vermont Press Bureau, Associated Press, VPR, WCAX, and WPTZ? The Vermont Republican Party actively distances itself from the more extreme provinces of national conservatism; how do its leaders explain one of their own, who holds a top position with the national party, taking an expensive AFA junket and absorbing its poisonous worldview?

Top Vermont Republican still consorting with hatemongers

Susie Hudson is still going to Israel on a trip paid for by the American Family Association, the far-right Christianist organization. She sees nothing wrong here.

Predictable, but disappointing.

Hudson, a resident of Montpelier and newly-elected secretary of the Republican National Committee, is one of many RNC members going on a nine-day trip to Israel paid for by the AFA and guided by AFA leaders. The trip made news when the Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported the many bigoted comments by longtime AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer. In response, AFA fired Fischer as its spokesman — but retained him as a talk-radio host.

Yep, they’re still paying the guy for equating Islam with Ebola, asserting that the First Amendment only applies to Christianity, and that gay Nazis were responsible for the Holocaust because homosexuals are inherently savage.

He may not be their spokesman, but as a talk radio host, he remains their public face. And they’re happy to pay him for that. Plus, his comments were barely outside the usual poisonous stream of AFA demagoguery.

After I revealed Hudson’s travel plans in this space, Seven Days‘ Paul Heintz reached Hudson, and she gave him a heapin’ helpin’ of weaksauce.

“I mean, I know there’s been some stuff that’s been out in the press yesterday, but it’s my understanding that there was an individual who made some inappropriate comments, and I certainly don’t agree with them, and it’s my understanding they are no longer with the organization.”

Okay, stop right there. Fischer is still with the organization, still holds a prominent position. His public statements have arisen from his radio show, not from his duties as AFA spokesman. If they wanted to punish him, they’d take away his media platform.

… Asked whether she was familiar with AFA’s beliefs, Hudson said, “I mean, obviously I’m somewhat familiar with them, yes.”

But, she said, “I did not know that whatever group you said has called them a hate group.”

Wow. Just wow. That’s an almost Palinesque cavalcade of ignorance. Now, I’m sure Ms. Hudson is just acting stupid to avoid taking a stand on the AFA, but I’d expect someone in her position to do a better job than that.

“Somewhat familiar” with the American Family Association, a leading power-broker on the Christian Right? “Whatever group you said”? Yeah, just the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of America’s leading crusaders against hate groups for more than 40 years. “Stuff that’s been out in the press”? In the words of Katie Couric, what newspapers do you read?

To top it all off, “Hudson… repeatedly declined to say what she understood AFA’s beliefs to be.”

Come on. That’s not credible at all. The Republican Party’s top officials have to know the lay of their land. That includes groups like the American Family Association, who have a lot of influence in Republican politics.

There, of course, is the rub. Hudson can’t afford to publicly distance herself from the AFA because it is so influential. And because AFA members and sympathizers form a substantial part of the Republican base, even in liberal old Vermont. She’d rather come across as an uninformed dunderhead than utter a word against the AFA and the extremism it stands for.

Which brings us to the Vermont Republican Party itself. VTGOP leaders like to downplay social issues, but they don’t want to actively contradict the views of the Christian Right. No matter how extreme, hateful, and downright unAmerican those views might be.

Top Vermont Republican traveling to Israel on hate group’s dime

A big hairy mess exploded today in conservative political circles. One of the most prominent far-right Christian spokesmen was suddenly fired.

Bryan Fischer had been the front man for the American Family Association for years. He holds some very extreme views: he has equated Islam to the Ebola virus and claimed that the Holocaust was conducted by gay Nazis, because gays were the only Nazis vicious enough to take such extreme measures.

He has also said that religions other than Christianity are not protected by the Bill of Rights.

Because of the views held by him and the organization, it’s been named a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Fischer has been saying hateful stuff like this for years. But he suddenly became political poison after the Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported that the AFA was funding an all-expenses paid trip to Israel for top Republicans, and related — for its Israeli and global Jewish readership — Fischer’s incendiary remarks. The group is scheduled leave on Saturday for a nine-day visit, and the AFA is picking up the tab.

It seems the AFA suddenly realized that Fischer might be a colossal embarrassment, and he was let go.

Fischer’s departure doesn’t absolve the group; its new spokesman, David Lane, told Haaretz that “America was founded by Christians for the advancement of the Christian faith.” Which might also prove embarrassing, especially if the Israeli media start questioning the AFA’s representatives and their Republican guests.

Those guests include roughly one-third of the Republican National Committee. And according to the Haaretz report, one of those eager to suck at the AFA teat is one Susie Hudson, prominent Vermont Republican who was just elected Secretary of the RNC.

Which brings us to the question: Ms. Hudson, how do you justify accepting the American Family Association’s hospitality? And do you agree with its views, which include the imposition of its brand of Christianity on American culture and politics, denial of equal rights for the LGBT community, opposition to reproductive rights, and climate change denialism?

I’m sorry, you’re probably too busy packing to answer such impertinent questions. Enjoy your time in the Holy Land and the hospitality of a far-right hate group.

In your absence, perhaps VTGOP Chair David Sunderland or Executive Director Jeff Bartley could take a swing at those questions. Hmm?