The Havre Daily news has written a must-read, in-depth story about the national (and negative) media attention that the Repubs in the Montana legislature have brought upon themselves and our state, with their various nutty bills on secession, nullification, allowing guns in school, hunting with silencers, birth certificate requirements for candidates, returning the state to the gold standard, encouraging global warming, and so on and so forth.
(On Thursday the GOP voted to keep “sodomy” an imprisonable offense, by the way).
But apparently a bunch of GOP legislators believe that this national embarrassment was caused not by themselves, but by “the media”. They feel they did nothing wrong, but have been unfairly represented in the reporting. Wendy Warburton, for example says the media is “sensationalizing” the story while “ignoring important bills.” Warburton even trashed her own hometown newspaper by saying that it was “being political” for even doing a story on how she, herself, has helped bring national ridicule. In response, Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos says:
“Now, Republicans can whine that the coverage is unfair because not everything they do is crazy, but that would be like a death row inmate whining that his punishment is unfair because he didn’t spend all his time killing someone.”
I believe “The Code of the West” says something about taking responsibility for your actions rather than blaming everyone else for a mess you create. But to show how absurd the GOP’s reasoning is, the Havre Daily story even has Bob Wagner complaining about how the media is to blame.
That’s especially hilarious because Wagner booked himself an interview on CNN to promote his new policy he is advocating, that not only must a candidate for office in Montana produce a birth certificate, he or she must also prove that both parents were born in America. His leader, senate president Jim Peterson, also booked himself a national spot, on Fox News, to promote his bill to “adopt the The Code of the West as the official ‘Code of Montana.'”)
Rowlie Hutton, another nutjob, says in the article that “these bills are all good for our future” and says it “must have been a slow news day” for them to get national coverage.
Also complaining in the article is Carl Graham (occasional contributor here), head of the conservative Montana Policy Institute. Graham offers up this gem, blaming Schweitzer for the negative attention that the legislature is getting. He says it’s all the fault of the liberal elites back east, portraying Montanans as “ignorant rubes” and that:
“Our governor, by the way, only reinforces that stereotype when he does his ‘aw shucks, that dog won’t hunt’ and ‘there’s critters need’n brand’n’ routine for Bill Maher and his other friends in the national media who look at us as their cultural inferiors….(These stories) are merely cases of the cultural and media elite playing to their mostly urban and liberal fan base by pulling out an old stereotype of rural states like Montana.”
So to be clear, it is not the GOP who are to blame; it is the way Schweitzer speaks that is causing the problem.
Graham, it could be argued, is not as far to the right as some of the wingnuts who have created the mess for the GOP. But he’s feeling the sting of what has transpired. He, and others in the “mainstream” GOP (if there is such a thing), have been dragooned into a swamp of humiliation by the Tea Party takeover of 2010.
And you know what? Too bad, so sad. The Code of the West also says “you ride with outlaws, you hang with them.”
If the Repubs wanna be divorced from the lunatic ravings of their fringe, they need to act on it, just like they said Obama should have “denounced” Jeremiah Wright and all that stuff. Otherwise they are riding with the outlaws, and they are a part of the shenanigans and will (and should) be held to answer for them.