On Skeletons and Closets

When he was announced as Corey Stapleton’s runningmate yesterday, Bob Keenan took a whack at the entire Republican gubernatorial field, saying that all the other candidates “have skeletons in their closets” and thus Corey Stapleton “is the most electable.”

Whether this assertion is true or not, notice that Keenan expects the press to take care of his negative campaigning, to begin writing on the various problematic histories of each candidate simply because Keenan suggested it.

Asked at a press conference to elaborate about the “skeletons” in their opponents’ closets, Keenan declined.

“No, I won’t do that,” he told reporters. “That’s your job, and you’re good at it.”

There are several problems with what Keenan is trying to do.

First, in a big field of candidates, the media has to make some effort at fair treatment. Thus if they write about the scandalous past of one candidate, they must write about them all.  So the easier thing is to just stay away from the whole enterprise.

Second, the Montana press has an aversion to covering negative stuff, especially when it concerns Republican candidates. The conservative-owned newspapers in Montana will all be gunning for the GOP nominee in November.

Witness the hilariously absurd article in the Billings Gazette, regarding Rick Hill’s efforts to scrub his bio on his Wikipedia page (scrub it of any reference to his night club incident with a barmaid, and a subsequent press conference, while he was Congressman, in which his ex-wife burned him down as an abusive spouse).  The article refused to even state specifically what it was that Hill was trying to erase–describing it only as “details about Hill’s past campaigns and his 1976 divorce” but yet tried to report on the fact that he was trying to erase it.

Third, the press has an informal rule: you have to attack someone directly in order to make news.  That’s probably not a bad rule. It’s a spin-off of the age-old maxim, “if you have something to say, say it to my face.” Don’t go whispering it around town. Thus is Bob Keenan a sheep and a coward, for hinting at something but refusing to come out and say it directly. He’s hoping somebody else will do it.  Cowardice is not a quality we want in a leader.

I suppose that it’s not totally a bad thing that that Montana newspapers try to keep things clean.  There is something to be said for a positive news environment, especially in a special place like Montana.  But if you think about the way the press covers national politics, and the way that every little thing gets covered (a Tiffany’s revolving credit account, strapping the family dog to the roof of the car, failed marriages), one wonders if the Montana press’s self-censorship is really the way to go in a free and open society.  Nationally, the press rarely makes a concerted effort to cover things up.  Perhaps, too, should the Montana Press not be deciding what factual items about candidates are relevant.  That’s for the public to decide.

And the press is not always consistent in this regard.  John Morrison got skewered in the months before the primary in 2006, for an incident which occurred almost a decade earlier involving a bit of adultery.  The press simply decided that they wanted to write about it because it was juicy and timely.  Perhaps Democrats should be grateful that the incident was covered, because the issue surely would have been raised by Conrad Burns in the general election.  Morrison had been the big money leader in the primary, but went immediately down the tubes.  The stronger candidate (Jon Tester) thus ended up winning the Primary and the General election, and  thus did the media’s coverage of a steamy affair help ensure a meritorious election.   So maybe Democrats are quietly sitting by and hoping that Rick Hill’s several problems do not get ink until July.

It’s no secret that Keenan is pointing the finger at Rick Hill.  Numerous candidates, including Ken Miller and Stapleton and the now-defunct Essmann, have all been trying to get newspapers and TV stations to cover Hill’s flaws.

But Keenan should be careful what he wishes for.  Stapleton himself has a problematic past.  When he first put up his own Wikipedia page, it made a reference to his having suffered a “childhood addiction,” a term that I’ve never heard before.  (Presumably, this means that Stapleton was once a drug addict, probably as a teenager or young adult.)  A few weeks later, after this strange reference had been reported (and ridiculed) by my blog, the reference was taken down off the Wikipedia page.  But of course, it never made news.


29 Comments on "On Skeletons and Closets"

  1. Who cares about what anyone did 30 plus years ago. People get divorced. It usually ends somewhere between ackward and ugly. My parents divorced when I was very young, after infidelity on both sides. They ended up remarrying, living happy lives and being awesome parents and people. At my dad’s funeral he had dozens of people stand up and share how he changed their lives. My mom wasn’t one of them, but to be honest, she was never married to the incredible dad I knew and the man that became such a moving force for others. The reason the news does not cover these types of stories is that they are not newsworthy. It is a dog bites man story for anyone other than a politcal hack with an axe to grind. Either of my parents would wipe your ass in a character contest, with a hand tied behind their backs.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 7:44 AM at 7:44 AM |

      WHOOOOSH!, Scoop! Right over your head, dude. You simply don’t get it. We MUST have religeeeious, moral, righteeious, upright members. You heard right, upright male members, LEADING us in these troubled times! Oh sure, lil’ ricky is INDEED a perfect example of a huge upright male member, but is he righteeious enuff to lead? THAT is the question!

      It’s war, dude, the BIG battle! It’s comin’, and we need generals with real religeeious character, NOT horndogs like lil’ ricky! If’n a dude’s thinkin’ with his littel head, he WON’T be thinkin’ with his big head! And he won’t be able to recognize the Anti-Christ in the white house! Think about it, Scoop, for your immoral soul depends upon who we elect to do battle for us. Horndog or righteeious family values guy! The choice is yours! And rick’s a horndog.

      Here’s a good example of the type of generals we need, ricky santorscum! He nails it!

      “They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is the government that gives you rights. What’s left are no unalienable rights, what’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that. But if we do and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road.”

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 8:04 AM at 8:04 AM |

        p.s. And for you folks who may have missed it, if you want a good read on religeeon in Murca, pick up Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. Please do so before voting for Mittens. Very, very interesting stuff ’bout the Morons and the Book of Moron. (sp) HEY, if’n you want to make up your own religeeon based on nooky, why not, right?! Works for me!

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 8:12 AM at 8:12 AM |

          Obama caves! Old, white, male celibates now running gubmint! CELIBATE diversity!


          • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 11:24 AM at 11:24 AM |

            I dont think the Prez caved he just changed the sentence to read Church run Hospitals don’t Have to pay for contraception, but the insurance company they hire has too! Some big change, cause the insurance companies were always doing that for church run hospitals from the beginning…. until the GOP got a hold of it! It is the only spin narrative they have left before the election!

            • Norma, I don’t think you understand how it works for self-insured employers who pay for the healthcare costs of their employees and merely hire an insurance company to perform claim services. Merely saying “the insurance company has to” doesn’t get to the nub of the rub where it’s the employer’s money, not the insurance company. Forcing a claim services company to pay for the cost without receiving a fee or premium, creates other problems that Obama’s “smart people” have not thought through to enlighten the rest of us.

              • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 3:07 PM at 3:07 PM |

                I understand insurance very well, as I was an employer or employee! These are packaged group rate deals! and depending on the business you work for, you can take the co-pay (BASIC plan), you can buy more insurance through your employer if you wish, and in some instance with bigger companies buy less. any insurance from a company has to be part and parcel with COBRA Group health plans for employers with 20 or more employees on more than 50 percent of its typical business days in the previous calendar year are subject to COBRA! Even Small Hospitals in our town have hired at any given time more then a hundred people. And Almost every hospital I have ever used elsewhere has been a Catholic Hospital like ST James in Butte!

                But Larry and I started talking about Contraception, not insurance, because in this issue Insurance is not the problem!

                Contraception have been a part of Amercian womanhood since the late 1950’s! it has been a part of insurer packaging of group insurance, country wide since the late sixties, and it has been used in every Business Insurance group care package for as long as I have been working (Early seventies)!

                This is and has been nothing new until this election! This is and will always be considered a stupid argument.

                The church’s right to teach this untrue and Old white man dogma is not being challenged by Obama never was. Bishops, priests and schoolteachers will remain free to preach the wickedness of birth control. And the faithful will remain free to listen. Or not. This is an election year, and the GOP cannot pick a candidate, nor beat Obama… they have to go to social issues to gin their base….The controversy is not about religious conscience; it’s about politics.

                While the public is genuinely in conflict about abortion, it’s clearly in favor of contraception being legal and freely available. Medical Research has come to regard contraception essential to public health. So Much so that Insurance companies have handled it as an essential freedom among women that has driven down Hospital costs and numbers of teen pregnancy and abortion rates in almost every demographic group, in America, over the last 5 decades. Those is a good thing, right? Not to the GOP since 2010!

                It also bears noting that many Catholic-backed institutions are already required to provide their employees with healthcare options that cover contraception, BASED ON STATE LAWS These include major universities like Georgetown and DePaul.

                The reason the Churches have gone to media outfits and voiced their displeasure is because, they haven’t a win record on state Mandates in court! Any religious group can seek remedy in the courts. The Catholic Church has done so against state mandates before, similar to Obama’s, without success. They already know they haven’t a change in the supreme court because precedent lies against them all over the country!

                This is BS, It is an attack on womens freedoms, already won for over 50 years!

                • Norma, you only understand what you know. You have demonstrated you know nothing how self-insured risk with a contract claims administrator works for employers who go that route. Larger employers choose to self-insure the burning or working layer as it is the cheapest way to go. The Diocese of Helena has a self-insured health plan: http://www.diocesehelena.org/offices/financial/report-explanation.html Carroll College is included.

                  • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 3:56 PM at 3:56 PM |

                    Look I see your having the same problem as Mark does:

                    Just because you say I do not understand it, doesn’t make what you say true… about what I am saying!

                    The Diosese of Helena doesn’t run a Hospital. so your argument doesn’t hold water! I know you would like it too, but they do not have to deal with people who work outside their faith, working in the hospital! Let alone run a public hospital, where people of non catholic faith are cared for!

                    So this group hits the church exemption, that’s been around for years cause they do not work outside of their faith! No Obama is not drama for this Catholic group!!!!! Nice try at BS, but it doesn’t cut the argument! Next time you throw in a link make sure it is relevant to the conversation

                    • Carroll College. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

                    • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 6:09 PM at 6:09 PM |

                      Craig the Conversation was Contraception!

                    • Norma, I gather you don’t grasp the issues or even what you wrote:

                      I dont think the Prez caved he just changed the sentence to read Church run Hospitals don’t Have to pay for contraception, but the insurance company they hire has too!

                      What makes you think only church run hospitals were affected? What makes you think only insured versus self-insured religious employers were affected? There is much to sort out here. Start with understanding that the original HHS reg would have affected religious institutions beyond hospitals. Then try and grasp the issue with self-insured religious employers. Sheesh!!!!

                    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 6:50 PM at 6:50 PM |

                      Against birth control, are you Fr. Moron? Now THAT’S really sad. Well, pathetic actually. BTW, padre, just WHO out there is really against contraception? It sure ain’t the sensus fidelium now, is it?

                    • Larry, once again you proudly parade around in your ass hat of foolishness. Where have I ever said I was against birth control? How is that even an issue when this is a matter of separation of church and state, and that state staying the hell out of matters of deep faith as per the body apostolic? Would you judge Muslims so harshly since they don’t believe in any insurance of any kind?

                    • Looks like self-insurance as it relates to mandated contraception coverage has caused a reaction: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577217181415407806.html

                      Catholic bishops said Friday night that they would not support the Obama administration’s proposed compromise on a controversial rule that requires most employers to fully cover contraception in their workers’ health plans…

                      The bishops had earlier expressed cautious optimism about the announcement, saying that it was “a first step in the right direction” but that they would have to study it.

                      In their later statement, they said they still had “serious moral concerns,” noting that the proposal didn’t contain provisions for religious employers who self-insure, meaning the employer takes on the underlying risk of covering employees’ health care.

                    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 11, 2012 12:41 PM at 12:41 PM |

                      YOWZA! I suggest you read the comment section for the article you posted, Fr. Mooron, for it seems that even the readers of the WSJ have had it with the catholic talibanners in robes! Not a good sign. Funny how that works, but you see, medieval scare tactics just ain’t what they USED to be! ‘specially from freeze dried old flatulent clerics in robes who have a history!….of their OWN sexual deviancies. Sorry, padre, but they lost their credibility long ago. You moorons best find some new values issues!

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 5:49 PM at 5:49 PM |

          Good religeeous wackjobs.


          • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 6:07 PM at 6:07 PM |

            What the Heck… just when I thought I read it all….

            • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 6:23 PM at 6:23 PM |

              To oppose birth control is to be VILE beyond medieval! And these vile old bastards in robes have NO business admonishing folks who use it. And I’m ashamed of Catholics for not getting up and walking out of church in protest when they are forced to listen to the bishops’ bullshit regarding birth control when a full NINETY-EIGHT PERCENT of them admit to using it.

              The Catholic church will never change unless the supposedly celibate old farts in robes are given a lesson in reality! And that’s really sad, for there are Catholics out there doing good work. The bishops speak for NO ONE except other old farts in drag and the ex-nazi pope.

              I believe that we are much like Spain about 1934. If folks don’t fight back against the insanity of the religious fanatics and the fascists, we’re headed for trouble.

              • Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 11, 2012 1:37 AM at 1:37 AM |

                Bishops Were Prepared for Battle Over Birth Control Coverage: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/us/bishops-planned-battle-on-birth-control-coverage-rule.html?pagewanted=all

                “The ruling issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, said that only religious organizations that primarily employ and serve their co-religionists would be exempt from the requirement to provide insurance that covers birth control. Churches are therefore exempt, but Catholic hospitals, service agencies and colleges are not. The White House said that 28 states already had such mandates, so this federal rule, which is part of the health care overhaul, just applies the mandate uniformly.”

                “On the other side are religious Americans and clergy members who are unmoved by the religious liberty theme, and who regard the administration’s ruling as sensible health care policy.

                The public policy arm of the United Methodist Church, which like the Catholic Church, runs hospitals and universities across the country, has applauded the mandate to cover contraception. And a coalition of mainline Protestants, Muslims and Reform and Conservative Jews released a declaration on Wednesday supporting the ruling.”

                The GOP Knew this battle was coming, Like I said before it is Political stunt, to go after women and gays!

              • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 11, 2012 7:54 PM at 7:54 PM |

                Uh oh. Here are your moral/spiritual advisors on all matters sexual in action! Naughty naughty! No WONDER ninety-eight percent of all catholic women don’t listen to these “godly” bishops! What is worse, using birth control or boinking innocent kids?! I already know!


            • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | February 10, 2012 6:44 PM at 6:44 PM |

              As Catholic ethicist Daniel C. Maguire has noted, “the American bishops say the administration’s [birth control] decision on Jan. 20 was a case of religious freedom. In that, they are right but not in the way they intend it. The bishops are claiming the religious freedom to violate the religious freedom of those who are employed in their institutions or who are served in their tax-supported hospitals. By denying contraception as part of employee health plans, what the bishops seek is more like religious fascism than religious freedom.

              “Furthermore, traditional Catholic teaching rests on a tripod, including the hierarchy, the theologians and the sensus fidelium, the experience-fed wisdom of the laity. These three sources of teaching are, as Cardinal Avery Dulles said, ‘complementary and mutually corrective.’ An accurate look at Catholic teaching on contraception today shows strong support for the position that contraception is not only permissible but even mandatory in many cases.

              “Catholic theologians overwhelmingly support contraception. Dozens of Catholic hospitals and universities cover prescribed contraceptives. Ninety-eight percent of Catholic women have used contraceptives. Only 2 percent of Catholic women use the ‘rhythm method’ of birth control favored by conservative Catholics.

              “Therefore the decision of the Obama administration, rather than threatening Catholic teaching on contraception, is actually more attuned to actual Catholic teaching than are the American Catholic bishops with their idiosyncratic taboo on contraception.”

  2. Norma Duffy AKA ILIKEWOODS | February 10, 2012 2:31 AM at 2:31 AM |

    Everyone has dirty laundry, but it is how you air it, wash it, air it again, then fold it back into your life that makes you a better, more humble person!

    I am a divorcee, and it wasn’t very pretty for me! I did feel used, and vulnerable for a long time after that! My daughter who was five when it happened had to deal with it too! It broke both of us for a time thirty some odd years ago…. a cheating husband….. Being told about it by a friend who couldn’t sit by and watch it happen anymore! These kind of things do rock the world of women everyday who commit themselves to one man…. I am sure it also hurts the guys who invoked this kind of commitment of heart also(when their woman cheated on them)!

    So what can you do with the cheaters of life? …. In the case of marriage, really nothing! Someone is fined who does the Moral infraction in a court of law, almost the same as a football player gets fined spiking the ball in the end zone! Is it fair? No it isn’t…Is it a crime? No it is a morality of life, and allowed since the days of Moses in christian faith!

    It is still a part of whatever unlucky person it happens upon, it is still a path a person must walk down!

    I lived with it cuz I promised I would never allow myself to Hurt people, like I myself was hurt…. You make it a cause within your life! you carry the scar as a badge of overcoming… you carry on best as you can! I think that’s the better, morally right thing to do. I didn’t need religion to figure that out!

    Martial Cheating only shows a person is morally bankrupt in personal affairs… some use it as a bell-weather, in justifying a persons job performance… I cant speak to it because I am not as Pious as republicans candidates who erase their wiki pages of infidelity, or scrub Wikipedia of there Business crimes … I am just a regular person, who believes republican personal crap, doesn’t help my Community find Jobs, and economic growth in this recession!

    I also don’t think pushing their christian Hypochondria regarding religions of others, as substandard moves us forward either as a society!

    This is why religion has no Business in Government, The forefathers were not a perfect lot either, but a majority didn’t call themselves Christian or use it as a platform, like the GOP of today use it!

    The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a sermon preached in October, 1831 said:

    “The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity….”
    John E Remsberg, Six Historic Americans

    “Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism.”
    quoted in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15

    Lastly a Quote from James Madison in 1785:

    “Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.”

    The Business of the people in this state is that of Jobs, Economic justice security, and equality! There should not be anything more important then that! That is the true heart of a real Moralist in society!

    Since we have all been drug down the path of christian Morality, in the last 4 years the government has cease to work for the people!

    Anyone else notice that trend also!

  3. It wasn’t just the first five presidents, Norma, but the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800’s had an effect, more or less closing the Enlightenment in the US. Presidents were more or less forced to profess religious faith to get elected. But don’t kid yourself – few of them, including the current one and the one before, are or were religious. The degree of cynicism needed to hold that office forecloses genuine belief, not that belief matter to me.

  4. one scream in this whole fliberty jibert…
    the catoles are filing banko as hard and fast as possible…
    to avoid compensating victims of kid-diddle…
    in most of those instances…
    there was no NEED for birth control so…
    all good, right?

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