March 9th, 2009

Herald Letter: When Shepards Attack

by Philip Baruth

I suppose I should have realized that with the return of gay marriage as a pressing legislative issue, we’d see the inevitable return of Mark Shepard. After all, along with the occasional symbolic run for Congress, the Bennington Rep is still best known for his adamant opposition to same-sex marriage. But who could have predicted that when Shepard slipped out of the shadows this time, he’d be gunning not for Shap Smith or Peter Shumlin or Euan Bear, but for me?

But there it was in Saturday’s Rutland Herald, from Shepard about an interview I conducted with him during his failed attempt to deny Martha Rainville the GOP nomination in 2006.

That interview, for those of you who’ve never read it, I called “The Initially Amusing, Unexpectedly Queasy Interview With Mark Shepard,” because what began as an attempt to let Shepard lay out his Congressional aspirations soon turned into a serious one-on-one over same-sex marriage. Shepard was of the opinion that allowing same-sex marriage would lead inevitably to polygamy and “whatever else.” I disagreed, and we tussled about it over omelets.

Shepard lost to Rainville, and Rainville lost to Welch, and that was that, as far as I was concerned.

But apparently that interview has been sticking in Shepard’s craw for the last three years — or more specifically, the editorial lead-in and lead-out of the interview have been sticking in his craw. In his Herald letter, Shepard calls those 2006 comments “bizarre,” “nonsensical,” and “slander,” which is a good deal more than I’m ordinarily labeled on a quiet Saturday afternoon in March.

So I went back to the interview, and searched that editorial framing, and it’s hard to believe that most of it would find such a firm purchase in anyone’s mind. But if I had to guess I’d say that the following sentence is actually the nonsensical and bizarre material Shepard has in mind:

“Because for all of his pleasant demeanor and entrepreneurial savvy, Shepard strikes me as Vermont’s version of Rick Santorum: ambitious, well-spoken, and more than just a little disturbing when you take the time to really listen to what he has to say.”

Granted, no one wants to be compared to Rick Santorum.

But in this case, I stand by those words: Mark Shepard, like Santorum, has tried his best to frighten his constituents and others with talk of a slippery slope, and a running, implicit comparison between same-sex couples and polygamists, not to mention “whatever else.”

Santorum, of course, was impolitic enough to carry that comparison to bestiality, for which he’s been everlastingly and righteously mocked. Shepard has always been a bit more circumspect, but his ideas run down the same muddy trough.

You’ll notice, if you click through to his Herald letter, that in 2009 he’s dropped the polygamy argument, resting his case solely on the inability of same-sex couples to produce children. It’s a weaker argument, one that buckles under even cursory logical scrutiny, given that we routinely wish infertile and elderly heterosexual couples all the best should they decide to tie the knot.

Still, we should note real progress here.

In 2000, Shepard would have gone ahead and run down his more radical arguments for the readers of the Herald, in the same way that opponents of civil unions once flocked to the State House to distinguish “Adam and Eve” from “Adam and Steve.”

But now, in 2009, with legislative approval of same-sex marriage pending, those arguments would sound both out-of-touch and over-the-top. And the hopeful thing is that Shepard has been forced to moderate his rhetoric.

Except, of course, his rhetoric about me. Bloggers are still in season, no matter the year.

22 Responses to ' Herald Letter: When Shepards Attack '

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' Herald Letter: When Shepards Attack '.

  1. on March 16th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    […] If you thought that Mark Shepard had in mind a single crazed attack on VDB over the issue of same-sex marriage, think again: apparently Mr. Shepard plans to retail his plucky little missive to as many outlets in the state as will have him. Yesterday, the Rutland Herald; today, the Bennington Banner. Well, at least we’ll have something to tell the grandkids, when they ask what we did during The Marriage Wars: “Well, Scotty, your grandpappy endured the sharp little teeth of a strange little man from down Bennington way, for many weeks . . . and by Jesus them teeth hurt, Scotty. Oh, them teeth hurt like the dickens!” […]

  2. said,

    on November 11th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Fioricet info pain medication prescription.

    Fioricet info pain medication prescription. Fioricet prescription.

  3. said,

    on November 19th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Advanced book by fioricet guest powered.

    How long does fioricet show up in blood work. Fioricet. Cheapest fioricet. Fioricet plain pill.

  4. said,

    on November 20th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Buy soma.

    Buy soma.

  5. said,

    on December 5th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Buy amoxicillin.

    Buy amoxicillin.

  6. said,

    on December 9th, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Ativan pregnancy.

    Ativan. Ativan headaches. Ativan side effects.

  7. said,

    on December 11th, 2009 at 4:55 am


    Phentermine no prescription. Phentermine. Phentermine result. Phentermine forum. Cheapest phentermine online.

  8. said,

    on December 15th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Buy oxycontin.

    Buy oxycontin. Buy oxycontin online. Where to buy oxycontin.

  9. said,

    on December 17th, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Canine tramadol.

    Taking tramadol while pregnant. Tramadol side effects. Tramadol.

  10. said,

    on December 17th, 2009 at 12:38 am


    Ptsd and meridia. Meridia overnight. Online doctors prescibe meridia. Meridia. Meridia without prescriptions. Do meridia phentermine wo. Meridia side effects. Order meridia pill.

  11. said,

    on December 24th, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Buy oxycodone online.

    Buy oxycodone without a perscription. Buy oxycodone without a prescription. Buy oxycodone online. Buy oxycodone. Buy percocet oxycodone online. Buy oxycodone without prescription. Buy online oxycodone codeine. Buy oxycodone without rx.

  12. said,

    on December 24th, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Get cheap phentermine no prescription req d.

    Phentermine no prescription. Phentermine without prescription.

  13. said,

    on December 25th, 2009 at 10:24 pm


    Percocet addiction recovery. Percocet. Effects of long term percocet use. Percocet withdrawal symptoms. Buy percocet and greece.

  14. said,

    on December 26th, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Buy alprazolam 2mg bars.

    Buy alprazolam. Buy alprazolam uk. Buy alprazolam 2mg bars.

  15. said,

    on December 27th, 2009 at 5:07 am


    What does vicodin look like. Vicodin no prescription. Vicodin. Vicodin detox. Vicodin statistics.

  16. said,

    on December 27th, 2009 at 3:54 pm


    How long does 1mg of xanax stay in your system. Xanax. Xanax addiction.

  17. said,

    on December 28th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Start soma.

    Soma next day delievery. Soma online next day. Cyclobenzaprine buy prescription soma zanaflex. Soma. Soma without prescription. Fatal dose of soma carisopradol.

  18. said,

    on January 2nd, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Is oxycodone or hydrocodone stronger.

    Is oxycodone or hydrocodone stronger. Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone online. Hydrocodone euphoria. Purchase hydrocodone online. Ic hydrocodone apap 5 500. Hydrocodone withdrawal.

  19. said,

    on January 3rd, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Buy adderall without a prescription.

    Purchase adderall without prescription. Buy adderall without a prescription.

  20. said,

    on January 4th, 2010 at 4:15 pm


    Lorazepam siezure r. Lorazepam .5. Lorazepam order online consultation. Lorazepam.

  21. said,

    on January 13th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Cheap oxycontin.

    Cheap oxycontin. Buy cheap oxycontin.

  22. said,

    on January 16th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Buy phentermine mg.

    Where to buy phentermine. Buy phentermine.