By John Klar
In a recent piece addressing Vermont’s Republican party, writer Jon Margolis displayed his usual contempt for conservatives by claiming that “the gadflies have taken over the party.” Mr. Margolis cites liberal professors for authority, while he infuses numerous falsehoods into his wishful narrative.
VTDigger prints this from Margolis: “Even in the unlikely event that the party organization supports John Klar or another Scott opponent in the primary, Scott should easily prevail. Vermont is not a party registration state in which only devoted Republicans can vote in a GOP primary. In the broader electorate, he would be favored.”
First of all, the Vermont GOP will not support any Scott opponent in the primary — it is not an “unlikely event,” but an impossible one. Deb Billado has made plain that she and the Party cannot favor one candidate over another — especially against an incumbent. But having set up that strawman, Margolis then asserts (from his dreams) that Scott “should easily prevail” because Democrats can vote in the GOP primary.
That is an extremely slender reed for Phil Scott and Jon Margolis to hang their collective hopes upon. Using Mr. Margolis’ derogatory term, I am the chief gadfly in the Vermont GOP — or as I like to say, I am the elephant in the elephant room. One definition of gadfly is “an annoying person, especially one who provokes others into action by criticism.” I will take that moniker gladly — I have already provoked many into action by my criticism, and I will be annoying state legislators and bureaucrats for the next full year, very much like a biting fly. In response, Margolis et al. scramble to assert that Republicans won’t support me, that Republicans are irrelevant because Dems will swamp the GOP primary, that Scott has more supporters than there are Republicans, and other dreamy musings.
When I announced my candidacy for governor, I highlighted my team’s three top priorities — improving the economy, keeping rural schools open and responding more forcefully to the opioid crisis. I specifically recited figures for state worker salaries compared to Vermonters as a whole, showing the dramatic disparity between working Vermonters and their so-called employees in government. I also highlighted the glaring shortfalls in Vermont’s pension promises to those workers, and to our teachers.
But VTDgger and Jon Margolis promptly printed a hit piece against me which did not address those issues at all — instead, he attacked me over an article I wrote criticizing the provision of transgender surgeries to minor children. And in his wistful hopefulness, Margolis stated that “a substantial chunk of Republican primary voters in Vermont are likely to recoil from that kind of talk.”
I think Vermonters are instead recoiling from this kind of gadfly journalism. I am grateful that Mr. Margolis continues in his latest piece to reveal his efforts to shape public opinion in what purports to be reporting. But as 2020 unfolds, he will be shown to have been grossly mistaken in his absurd predictions. For one thing, Margolis opines that “The governor, it seems, doesn’t approve of the way his own party in his own state is doing its job, either. … For Scott, assuming he runs for a third term next year, the lack of enthusiastic support or perhaps even opposition from the state committee looms as an annoyance.” Ah, if only Vermont’s conservatives were willing accomplices in the Scott-Margolis union.
Phil Scott has indeed treated his own base as exactly that: an annoyance. Margolis praises Scott’s popularity among Democrats as his great strength — even in his own primary! Next, Margolis fantasizes that the Dems will invade that primary to protect their own special RINO. But we who have been marginalized as annoying still possess annoying votes, and we can sting as hard as any Democrat gadfly — we can sting Phil Scott and we can sting the bloated state virus that is consuming our livelihoods and culture with arrogant disregard for working Vermonters.
Margolis quotes a handy fellow liberal to echo his elitist disconnect: “[Scott] doesn’t need them to get reelected,” said Eric Davis, the longtime observer of Vermont politics who is professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College. “The governor has his own personal base which is probably larger than the Republican Party’s.”
Dear reader, do you see how these folks are doing my job for me? As if Phil Scott openly declaring his contempt for Vermonters as racist, or ignoring his promises to his base about guns or abortions, weren’t enough, here we have two of his biggest cheerleaders from the left declaring how unbeatable he is because he is a Democrat, that he doesn’t need the base he has scorned. As head gadfly in the Vermont GOP, I am delighted that these gentlemen are aiding my campaign so ardently— but I must declare that I have not paid them a single cent for this assistance.
Here is how it works: In order for Phil Scott to run in the 2020 general election, he counts on the nomination of that party he holds in contempt — or else he can run as a Democrat (Margolis would be pleased!). Since Phil has burned his GOP bridge to the ground, a viable challenger (especially an intelligent and experienced writer and attorney who will relentlessly talk about the economy, pensions, government bloat and the need for fiscal conservatism to stave off economic collapse) poses a serious hurdle that he and his entourage did not reckon existed.
Mr. Margolis and professor Davis apparently cannot imagine a world in which a non-RINO GOP candidate could be considered for office. But their vain imaginings must bend to the 2020 reality. The damage done to the Vermont GOP by Phil Scott’s blatant and repeated betrayals is being reversed. New blood is coming into the GOP, including libertarians and Vermonters who traditionally don’t vote but whose wallets scream for protection. I work tirelessly to attract and embolden strong new candidates — something Phil Scott has eschewed.
Yes, folks — gadflies have taken over the GOP. We are going to annoy the bloated beast of rapacious government expansion and drain it of blood the way it has been sucking the wealth and life from Vermont voters. We will reduce the size of government, reduce taxes, increase liberties, and restore fiscal integrity to state government. Those goals terrify those on the left, who have imagined they could pick out our eyes with impunity and peck at our bones with victorious relish. They, like Phil Scott, have ignored us like we are mere annoying deplorables.
But we are still very much alive and growing. And when we hatch fully, we will swarm over the parasitic ideology that thinks it can use the media and our government institutions to dominate every aspect of every citizen’s life. Mr. Margolis and his cohorts can only swat in futility — they have no plans to reduce government, or taxes, or regulations. They have employed those very levers to enslave Vermonters — it never occurred to them that we are human beings, not flies, and that we wish to reclaim the lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness that they have usurped.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. He is running for governor in 2020.