Confirming a story that was first reported here at the Cowgirl blog, TEA Party Republican Derek Skees, confederate sympathizer who has tried to set up his own Little South amid the ultra-right-wing colony in the Flathead, has announced his candidacy for State Auditor.
Skees will run against incumbent Monica Lindeen – D, and his candidacy will likely be based on a single issue: Say No To Federal Healthcare Reform.
It really fits perfectly into the broader themes so dear to Skees’ heart. He is a states-rights fanatic. He believes that the fifty states individually can, should and must override federal law when they please. He admittedly does not recognize the supremacy clause of the US Constitution and believes Abraham Lincoln was the villain and cause of the Civil War, that the Southern States had the right to do what they wanted, including own slaves, without interference from the federal government. Such ideas were explicitly expressed by Skees in an e-mail to a supporter in 2010, which was published in the Flathead Memo at the time but has so far received little coverage from major newspapers in the state (which raises disturbing questions).
As he views Lincoln, so does he view Obama. Skees believes Obama has no authority to enforce laws that seek to reform our health system and insurance system. His opponent Lindeen has taken the polar opposite view, putting the weight of her office behind legislation and regulation that would actively implement federal healthcare reform. She believes the state of Montana should maneuver into position to deal with reality, reality being the 2014 start date of federal health reform. And she believes, we can assume, that Americans cannot continue to empty their pockets on medicine, doctors and hospitals. (Given that the major hospitals in Montana are growing so fast and raking in such increasing profits that they appear to be impervious to the recession, she may have a point.)
Nevertheless, politics is about timing and Skees has timed his move smartly. He can’t win re-election as a state legislator in Whitefish, because he is a right-wing super-radical who got lucky in a GOP year and snuck into office representing a moderate district. And so he’s now made a move that will cast him as a major opponent of a federal scheme (health reform) and a federal person (the president) that are both miserably unpopular with Montana voters. And Skees has an opponent who has sided with Obama on the issue, courageously I think.
Lindeen’s candidacy goes beyond healthcare. As one of five votes on the land-board, she helps decide how state lands will be used (this includes things like timber sales, grazing, resource development and a host of other decisions). In this regard, Bullock, McCulloch, Juneau and the Bucy/Laslovich winner will also all face tough challenges in an uncertain election year. If GOP turnout is anything like 2010, the land board could be in jeopardy.
So Lindeen will have a fight on her hands. But fortunately she, too, is now positioned against something unpopular: right-wing lunacy. Skees is a national leader of a fringe of the GOP so far right that it barely considers itself Republican. He was actually featured in Time Magazine as the alleged leader of a national Nullification Movement. This movement has been strong in the South ever since the Civil Rights Act. It is appropriate that Skees’ be named the head of it, since it is his own people who started it. Every time the the federal government tried protecting or enforcing or granting equality for blacks, Skees’ folks did what they could to stand up for States Rights, lest they find themselves with what they would call “uppity negroes” on their hands.
Montanans aren’t very fond of right-wing radicals nor people who wear confederate flags. As for which thing–health reform or right-wing radicals–scares Montana voters more, we’ll know next November.