By Guy Page
Two very different Republicans are firing back at a provocative anti-Republican op-ed written by the former head of VT Digger’s owner.
“The Sad Remnants of Vermont’s Republican Leadership” was published Friday, September 24 in VTDigger.
The son of a Navy officer who died in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944, Schubart was born in New York City and raised in Morrisville. The Hinesburg resident co-founded Philo Records and is the former chair of Vermont Journalism Trust, formed in 2012 to publish VT Digger, online news outlet founded in 2009 and now boasting 700,000 monthly readers.
Schubart is a prolific author of op-eds on Vermont politics and culture. A confident left-of-center perspective, rarely absent from his writings, is on full view in Remnants:
“The ragged remnants of Republicanism in Vermont largely follow the playbook of the national party and its titular head, former President Trump. It defines itself by what it opposes: Any tax increases, even against the wealthiest decile; any regulation of unchecked and often criminal business monopolies; broadening voter participation, as they openly admit that broadening voter participation reduces their chances of retaining power; women’s rights over their own bodies as it relates to abortion and even family planning; mitigating climate change, which many still deny; immigration, which in most cases conceals a racist fear of further diversifying this nation of immigrants; and even the honest and open teaching of history in our schools and colleges.”
Schubart hit a nerve. A day later, two very different responses by two very different authors appeared.
Russ Ingalls is a plain-speaking, straight-talking, self-made son of the Northeast Kingdom. The 1983 Lake Region (Orleans) Union High School grad has been a dairy farmer, worked in a dairy supply business, sold cars, and now operates a successful real estate firm. Ever since emerging from political nowhere to win a senate seat last November, he has been perhaps the most vocal spokesperson for the conservative, pro-Trump wing of the Vermont GOP.
A frequent guest speaker at citizen gatherings opposing Critical Race Theory, Ingalls was recently accused by a North Country Union Superintendent John Castle of “McCarthyism.” Even more recently, he published the publicly available work-email address of a middle school teacher espousing CRT-based ‘equity and diversity’ doctrine in the classroom. The teacher cried “doxxing” (even though the address was easily available on the school district website, an important fact that went unreported by VTDigger). Senate president Becca Balint scolded him for supposedly intimidating the teacher.
Here’s an example of Ingalls’ assessment of Schubart’s op-ed: “To be so wise must be a gift passed down through generations of liberalism told by elders around the table at Starbucks.” The entire response is published today in Vermont Daily Chronicle.
By contrast, Meg Hansen is a soft-spoken resident of the ‘Southwest Kingdom’ of Bennington County. She holds a master’s degree from Dartmouth College and two medical degrees from India, her native land. The healthcare analyst ran for lieutenant governor and Bennington County state senator in 2020.
Hansen, too, has been knocked around by VTDigger. During the 2020 campaign a political writer oohed an ahhed over her ‘bulbous cheekbones’ and other physical characteristics. Meanwhile Digger lauded her (older, white, male) centrist GOP competitor for his experience and ‘patrician’ bearing. Digger seemed to imply [falsely, given Hansen’s education and experience], “Hey Republicans – do you want a real candidate, or just another pretty face?”
Hansen’s popping of the Schubartian balloon reveals what fair, astute political observers already know: her sharp mind and pen place her – in those categories anyway – in the first rank of Vermont’s candidates for statewide office. Her first paragraph she calls out Schubart’s “pontification about the right entails straw man fallacies and a distorted rewriting of the state’s political history.” The rest is an articulate takedown of her facts over Schubart’s political fiction.
Conservative Vermont Republicans may be outnumbered. But their numbers are growing in town and county organizations. And like Hansen, Ingalls, and many others, they are not silent.
Wait–How many “former head(s) of Vt. Diggers owner” are there? Two? Four? In this case I’m unsure that “two heads are better than one” and reading Digger’s “articles” can be painful lately due to their very slanted editorials posing as straight journalism, as is their “descriptions” of immutable physical characteristics which should count for nothing as it’s what’s IN the head NOT what IT or the body looks like. As for the Northeast Kingdom’s “languishing” I kind of like it this way, otherwise even MORE towns would resemble Jay & Burke, overdeveloped w/empty (heated) homes in cookie-cutter look-alike formation bringing horn honking Flatlanders reminding us to hurry in the split second a traffic light turns green yet driving 20 mph in a 50 zone perusing foliage. I enjoy leaving my house unlocked & sharing a driveway (and veggies) w/my neighbors too who take my dogs along w/theirs for a walk when my feet aren’t cooperating. And being the son of a (legal) immigrant who enjoys skewering blowhards and the permanent political class I can only wish Ms. Hansen would pop more of their politically correct balloons in print, early & often. Same w/Ingalls, who but the Natives can remind us of what things were like (& still are outside of Burlington) and why they should remain, there’s a lot to be said for “traditionalism” and traditional values. Seems like the Lib’s & Prog’s sunshine days are waning as BOTH Natives & “Imports” remind us there’s something special being able to live where most can only visit occasionally, and the “values” dragged up here by big-city schmucks & hustlers are NOT majority ones at all. I’ve never been much of a flag-waver but what is wrong w/”America First”? And why must we fill scarce housing with “New Americans” when our “Old” ones (citizens) are camping out or sleeping in their cars? This has NOTHING to do with race at all. And teaching “honest history” may be fine for secondary schools but why indoctrinate the very young by constant reminder that ours is a horrible, rotten country? Did we just forget the Abolition movement began here in Vermont and other Northern states? Self criticism may be all fine & good but self flagellation can leave permanent scarring. Watching this country come so far just in my lifetime it’s a shame to see this retrograde thinking come to the fore but the good news is most “average” people have HAD it, which is why we now see a rise in the new “conservatism”, and it’s great, about time too.
Exactly the reason I discontinued VT DIGGER some years ago!
I’m a 6th generation Central Vermonter for a little over 5 1/2 decades. I say the Northeast Kingdom is not only a place, it’s a state of mind. My trips to Island Pond when I was a child is not forgotten – the Buck n’ Doe restaurant – touring Ethan Allen plant – falling into the prehistorically tall ferns walking into my Dad’s deer camp. Honestly, I don’t travel or spend any quality time in the bottom two counties of Vermont. The area, seems to me, is full of trust fund kids and mega-millionaires hiding from themselves. The Vermont today, corner to corner, is not the Vermont I grew up in. There is a heaviness everywhere. Chittenden County is far too leftist and has way, way too much influence on the rest of the State. Montpelier – the patients are running the asylum. A handful of Vermonters is not going to purge the scurge that has infiltrated into every corner of this State. If people here don’t push back and take back control from the foreign synidicate, the State is lost and no longer a republic. I am looking to jump the Connecticut river in hopes to Live Free or Die because the Freedom and Unity State is anything but that right now. Hoping for the best and prepared for the worst.
Clearly some people in our education system do not know the difference between a republic and a communist, fascist dictatorship.
This is a major problem, our educational system. We are 2-3 generations into illiteracy and lack of wisdom. They know not history or the foundational literature upon which this country is founded.
John Castle, here’s looking at you, I think this shoe may fit.