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Republicans Should Visit Vermont
Townhall.com ^ | October 4, 2007 | Cal Thomas

Posted on 10/04/2007 4:29:01 AM PDT by Kaslin

WOODSTOCK, VT. — The Wall Street Journal, no left wing publication, reports that Republicans may soon lose the votes of some economic conservatives. In part, it’s because of the unending war in Iraq and social policies they don’t like, but they might swallow hard and continue to vote Republican anyway if GOP fiscal policies did not mimic the Democrats when it comes to the deficit and spending.

Maybe what the GOP needs is a fall foliage trip to Vermont where there is an oasis in a desert of fossilized ‘60s liberalism. You might not think so at first glance because here, someone seems to have pushed the “pause” button on the Age of Aquarius.

A trip to local bookstores is like visiting Democratic National Committee headquarters. No, that’s not quite accurate. It’s more like visiting MoveOn.org headquarters. Buttons that say “Impeach Cheney First” compete with bumper stickers with messages like “Freedom of Religion Means Freedom FROM Religion” and “Never Have Sex with a Pro-Lifer.”

The most conservative book I could find was one by Jimmy Carter. There are “EmbarrassMints” with a picture of President Bush on the lid of the confection tin. I bought an Elvis Impersonation Kit just for fun. You get the idea.

President Bush has avoided Vermont during his presidency, but he might want to consider leading a pilgrimage of Republican candidates back to a little hamlet just down the road, which produced a Republican president with ideas his party desperately needs.

That hamlet is Plymouth Notch and that president was Calvin Coolidge. Today’s Republicans seem to have an identity crisis. Their focus groups and pollsters have been unable to tell them what they believe. Sen. John McCain is an Episcopalian who wants to become a Baptist, but won’t “convert” until after the election, lest it seem like opportunism. Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice, but promises to name judges who interpret the Constitution as written and doesn’t care if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Fred Thompson believes the opposite of what he said he believed a very short time ago. Ditto Mitt Romney. Those GOP candidates who have been consistent in their convictions — like former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sen. Sam Brownback and even Rep. Ron Paul — are back in the pack. Does that say more about us than it does them?

The president ought to visit Vermont and Coolidge’s birth and burial place. It looks pretty much the way it did when Coolidge lived there and visited as president. The state and private contributors (including me as I serve in an unpaid advisory capacity) have kept it that way.

Coolidge has received a bad rap from historians like Arthur Schlesinger Jr., comedian Will Rogers and the columnist H.L. Mencken. But his wisdom survives precisely because it transcends generations. At a time when people are busy looking for “new” ideas, Coolidge — whom historian Paul Johnson has called the last president of the 19th century — speaks immutable truths.

On taxes, how could any modern Republican improve on this pearl from Coolidge: “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

In a rebuke to the “progressives” who engage in class envy and class warfare, while seeking to redistribute other people’s wealth, Coolidge instructs: “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

There’s something for the “law and order” crowd that might reduce the prison population and improve neighborhood safety: “I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.”

One of my personal favorites is: “Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.” Ah, character. It was taught in Coolidge’s era. It has been largely abandoned in ours.

Maybe that’s why Coolidge warned in his July 5, 1926 speech on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence about the consequences of forgetting things that matter most: “we cannot continue to enjoy the result, if we neglect and abandon the cause.”

Yes, President Bush should lead his fellow Republicans to Vermont to study the thoughts and principles of Calvin Coolidge, though they might wish to stay out of the bookstores.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Vermont
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/04/2007 4:29:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
Its as liberal as Massachusetts. GOP candidates should skip Vermont.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

2 posted on 10/04/2007 4:35:16 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Kaslin

I liked yesterday’s article on Vermont better. You know the one about them wanting to secede from the United States.

To them I’d say, “don’t let the door hit you in the a$$”.


3 posted on 10/04/2007 4:38:11 AM PDT by Neville72 (uist)
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To: goldstategop
Its as liberal as Massachusetts.

Worse... full-blown, moonbat liberal.

4 posted on 10/04/2007 4:41:43 AM PDT by johnny7 ("But that one on the far left... he had crazy eyes")
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To: Kaslin

Vermont is pretty much hopeless. Even Giuliani doesn’t expect to take Vermont. This is the state that elected Bernie Sanders to the Senate, afterall. And the state where the judges give probation to child molesters.


5 posted on 10/04/2007 4:44:03 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Kaslin

The difference between the age of Coolidge and our present age is only incidentally a difference in character. The earlier age was still republican, but ours is imperial.

Coolidge was much like Cato or Cicero, a republican in a true sense, always careful to avoid the trappings of imperial rule; like it or not, GWB more closely resembles a Vespasian or a Titus. His intent may be good (or shall we say, “noble”), but the people demand an Imperator, and he can only work within the confines of his role.


6 posted on 10/04/2007 4:44:29 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: Kaslin

Good article, Cal.

He’s right about character not being taught. I have a 19th century book about character on my shelf, and it’s filled with uplifting stories about people with good character throughout history.

Such a book would be alien and incomprehensible in some segments of today’s society.


7 posted on 10/04/2007 4:47:05 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Tofu burgers are the last gasp of a dying society)
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To: Kaslin

I’m a Republican. I used to visit Vermont quite frequently, but the last time I was there about 10 years ago, I could not help but sense that it had changed. It really feels like a foreign country now. Haven’t been back since, and don’t plan to be anytime soon.


8 posted on 10/04/2007 4:50:13 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Kaslin

Fred Thompson is no flip-flopper.

A total lie.


9 posted on 10/04/2007 4:51:34 AM PDT by Enduring Freedom (There are NO gays in Iran)
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To: Kaslin
But the seeds of disunion have been growing since the beginning. Vermont more or less sat out the War of 1812, and its governor ordered troops fighting the British to disengage and come home. Vermont fought the Civil War primarily to end slavery; Abraham Lincoln did so primarily to save the Union. Vermont’s record on the slavery issue was so strong that Georgia’s legislature resolved that a ditch be dug around the “pestiferous” state and it be floated out to sea.
10 posted on 10/04/2007 4:52:15 AM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: Kaslin

All is not lost in Vermont...read on a Vt. bumper sticker-”abortion, the ultimate child abuse”, and on the back of a Catholic church weekly bulletin, “abortion-America’s terrorism against the unborn, pray for the overturn of Rove v Wade”. The northeast kingdom portion of Vt. seems to be the most conservative.


11 posted on 10/04/2007 4:58:13 AM PDT by liveoak4 (Abortion, the ultimate child abuse!!!)
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To: Kaslin

The title shouldn’t read “Republicans Should Visit Vermont”
It should read”Republicans Should Visit Vommit”


12 posted on 10/04/2007 4:58:24 AM PDT by cavador (LOL from the other side of the room!)
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To: ItisaReligionofPeace
Vermont's history has been an interesting one. Among the colonies in the Northeast, it was conspicuously missing among the original states that ratified the Constitution -- mainly because its legal status had long been in dispute going back even before the American Revolution (the area had been subject to competing claims by the colonies of New Hampshire and New York for years).

And there is some dispute about whether the legendary "Green Mountain Boys" of American Revolution fame were even supporters of the colonial cause against the British. The "Boys" were originally formed as a quasi-independent militia in the region between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut back in the 1750s -- primarily to enforce the legitimacy of New Hampshire land titles against competing claims by title holders from New York.

For all of its radical leftism, the state still has a serious libertarian streak that is honestly quite refreshing in the Northeast. There are probably more gun owners per capita in Vermont than almost anywhere else in the U.S., and the pro-gun track record of that crazed leftist himself (Howard Dean) never got much attention during his short-lived presidential campaign in 2004.

13 posted on 10/04/2007 5:12:32 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: Kaslin

Consider the phrase “purge Vermont. It has a savory ring to it.


14 posted on 10/04/2007 5:17:31 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Moveon is not us...... Moveon is the enemy)
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To: Kaslin

Vermont is a lost cause to the Republican party.

Between the left over hippies who settled there and the imported socialists from NY and Mass, there’s no hope of switching it back to the Republicans any time soon.

As to gun rights, Bernie Sanders saw that his socialist agenda would never be swallowed by the original Vermonters if he ever proposed changing the gun laws. He wisely supported Vermont’s liberal gun rights and the native Vermonters swallowed his promises of free money from Washington. (never mind that he’s been singing that tune for years and has yet to deliver anything to Vermont).

Office holders in Vermont have a history of job security and seem able to keep their elected positions as long as they want them. Challengers are rarely successful.


15 posted on 10/04/2007 5:24:18 AM PDT by Vermonter
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To: Alberta's Child
The major problem with Vermont is not the descendants of the Yankees who settled the state in the 1700s, or of the French Canadian, Irish, and other European immigrants who came there in the 1800s and early 1900s, but of the post-1960 wave of people from southern New England, New York, and New Jersey who transformed the state from being socially conservative and Republican to socially liberal and Democrat. Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean were born and raised in New York, and the current governor and sole state representative to Congress are natives of Massachusetts. Of course, Patrick Leahy is a native Vermonter.

What may be interesting is how Vermonters will react if Hillary Clinton is elected President next year with a Congress with a larger Democratic majority and she pursues an essentially socialist European agenda combined with corporate welfare of the type her husband dealt in. There is something of a left-libertarian streak among the transplants that may be as unhappy with her policies as economic and limited government conservatives were with Bush's so-called compassionate (big government) conservatism.

16 posted on 10/04/2007 5:49:16 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: Kaslin
Vermont is a beautiful place.

But then, so is Zimbabwe.

17 posted on 10/04/2007 5:49:19 AM PDT by Gritty (When a Liberal speaks, between the lines the rhetoric is a map back to the Dark Ages-Hermann Cain)
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To: Kaslin

Visit Vermont, see the 60s hippies in the full regalia.


18 posted on 10/04/2007 5:52:35 AM PDT by Tarpon
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To: goldstategop
Its as liberal as Massachusetts. GOP candidates should skip Vermont.

If you look at a breakdown of their state legislatures, MA is far more liberal than Vermont,

MA--House: 141 Dems/19 Reps; Senate: 35 Dems/5 Reps

VT--House: 93 Dems/49 Reps/8(I); Senate: 23 Dems/7 Reps

19 posted on 10/04/2007 5:57:16 AM PDT by kabar
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To: Brilliant

I was there back in the late 1970s. You could see then what was happening, the poor agricultural locals were being bought out by the trust fund NYer kids. The locals and the NYers did not get along nor share any similar values. It was woodchucks versus pampered suburban tots seeking a real back to the earth experience. Too bad, the fishing was somewhat good. Haven’t been back since, nor do I intend to return. I go to upstate NY every summer to sample yankee socialism. It has totally debilatated upstate - what a basket case.


20 posted on 10/04/2007 5:57:18 AM PDT by Jigajog
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To: Wallace T.

I went to school there back in the early 60’s and I remember VT being much as you stated. Once the hippies realized just how sparsely the state was populated, the handwriting was on the wall.


21 posted on 10/04/2007 6:05:29 AM PDT by Roccus (Hillary........brought to you by the PRC)
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To: Kaslin
I have been to Woodstock (the Woodstock Inn) three times. They have this great family package where the kids get their own adjoining room, unlimited (and I mean unlimited breakfasts), free use of the beautiful Spa and golf course, a beautiful dining room and tavern. If you have kids they will love this place. Very classy!

That said, the town is as leftist as they come. The galleries and bookstores are basically run by left-wing homosexuals. A special word of caution. The police department there is corrupt. They target out-of-state plates and run speed-traps right in the downtown area. They once follwed us ten miles out of town to a restaurant, then waited in the parking lot until we left and followed us back. When I pulled over and stopped he passed me, went ahead and set up a speed trap a mile ahead. I coasted by at 5 under the limit. The manager at the Inn warns people but they still get you! Watch out for the crooked cops!

22 posted on 10/04/2007 6:06:37 AM PDT by Doc Savage (I have a fever,... and the only cure is more cowbell...)
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To: goldstategop

Unfortunately Vermont’s exhippies and NY/MA liberal transplants have moved there in large enough numbers over the last 40 years that they exceed the number of oldtime conservative Yankees.
The owners of the family farm are now outnumbered by the Ben & Jerrys liberals. The “northeast kingdom” is still extremely rural and unpopulated except by cows. Most of the liberals live in Burlington(college town) and the southern part of the state.
We are seeing the same thing happen in NH where we are just beginning to get outvoted by MA transplants.


23 posted on 10/04/2007 6:27:50 AM PDT by woodbutcher1963
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To: Brilliant
Reagan took Vermont. It could be done. Even though there has been a migration to VT by Hippies and many NYC liberal types like Bernie Sanders. (A Brooklyn boy, from a predominately liberal neighborhood.) He is also an alumnus from the same HS as Chuck Schumer and SCJ Ginsberg.
24 posted on 10/04/2007 7:51:50 AM PDT by Bringbackthedraft
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To: Kaslin
"Fred Thompson believes the opposite of what he said he believed a very short time ago."

He misspelled Precious Willard, otherwise this is bull$hit.

25 posted on 10/04/2007 12:00:31 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~~~Jihad Fever -- Catch It !~~~ (Backup tag: "Live Fred or Die"))
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To: goldstategop

Vermont is probably about as liberal as Massachusetts with the added disadvantage as they don’t get out as much and lack the social interaction and camaraderie Boston’s Irish pubs and eateries.


26 posted on 10/04/2007 3:58:45 PM PDT by zerosix
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To: Alberta's Child

Interesting history lesson. I actually lived there for 5 years and I highly doubt the highest gun ownership per capita. The native Vermonters (dairy farmers and the such) are good people and this may be true among them. The trust fund baby hippies have squeezed out the natives, and it certainly isn’t true with for them. It doesn’t take many people, because the population of the entire state was around 700k last time I checked (several years back). It is a beautiful state and people are very friendly. Nice place to visit!


27 posted on 10/04/2007 4:02:35 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: Vermonter

It is good that he has not delivered our federal dollars to vermont. I highly doubt VT has a tax base enough to warrant a return of many dollars.


28 posted on 10/04/2007 4:04:18 PM PDT by ItisaReligionofPeace
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To: Kaslin

Vermont and New Hampshire could potentially be conservative again some day since the liberals aren’t having any children and the conservatives there are having children. That is, if inmigration slows, which I believe it has.


29 posted on 10/04/2007 4:09:23 PM PDT by WashingtonSource
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