The Swiftboating Begins

This is the tiring thing that politics has become.

Yesterday, we learn that John Walsh was cited in 2010 with an incredibly minor infraction while he was Commander of the Montana National Guard. He used his government email account to do work related to his membership in the National Guard Association of the United States. This is a national non-profit composed of Guard members, which lobbies on their behalf and on behalf of the National Guard generally. This, an audit committee found, amounts to “using government resource for private gain.” How this amounts to “private gain” when the Association does work on behalf of the Montana Guard does not make sense to me. Anyway, Walsh was not punished or penalized because it was a minor incident.

But now we can look forward to sixteen million dollars of TV ads by the GOP in the upcoming Senate race, accusing Walsh of “private gain” and making it sounds like Walsh was running some sort of moneymaking operation or siphoning off funds to his personal bank account.

Reading between the lines, it can be seen that a political enemy of Walsh’s, likely a right-wing Republican member of the guard, filed a complaint against him, which the Army was required to investigate. A guardsman who got an email from Walsh, asking that the subordinate join the national association of guard members, complained that he “felt threatened” by the email. One would think that a guard member would have a tougher skin.

Posted: December 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm

34 thoughts on “The Swiftboating Begins

  1. Norma Duffy

    Slap his hand and send him back to DC. No Money changed hands, No backroom dealings, all of it for our veterans and fighting men…… who could only give a squat except for it in the Republicans.

    Heres the problem with Republicans no one seems to be talking about… 10% of our state are veterans, and they want a champion like Walsh.

    Real Veteran groups are pretty flush with cash. and they will be here in Droves for Walsh. They are gonna want a guy who is one there side in Veterans affairs, and Walsh is already their man.
    .
    Daines party affiliates want the military corporate complex to have money, not the soldiers.

    The tide is turning, Walsh already believe military tribunals are not the answer….. and neither has the NAtional Guard. All crimes against people including rape are handled outside the Military Courts. He is just the candle burner to carry that message to the hawks in either party.

    Sorry I like were this is going and I am hoping Gov Steve gets him in DC the minute Max vacates the spot!

    1. Publius II

      Guard associations BENEFIT all guard personnel, and at most, Walsh’s action is at best an indiscretion with good intentions. Membership in Guard associations is voluntary, but command influence is the only problem here if a command were doing ‘armtwisting’ for rank and file to join to swell associations.

  2. Norma Duffy

    Ah its not the case, or they wouldn’t have closed the case years ago. Everytime the republicans throw this up, someone is gonna knock it down with all the gop pedifle e-mails they captured. This shit is not worhtwhile to real GOP strategists, if there are any of those left. I don’t think Bush’s Brain, “Karl” would touch it.

    1. Publius II

      Aggressively encouraging guard members to join an association is trivial compared to the outright CRUELTY and IMMORAL behavior of guys like DAINES and ilk who think NOTHING of cutting nutrition programs for VETERANS DAMN IT!

        1. Moorcat

          Craig you are misrepresenting the finding you posted. The report stated that Walsh inappropriately used his position to solicite membership. There is no indication in that report that used “pressure” other than sending emails to nonmembers or expiring members to promote that membership

          This appears to be much ado about nothing but we will see.

          1. Craig Moore

            I hope you are right. He’s seems to be a decent man. As to my choice of words, I keyed off the IG using the term “solicit/coerce.” A synonym for ‘coerce’ is pressure. It involves an action that the receiver interprets as a force or threat to do something not voluntarily chosen by that receiver.

            1. Moorcat

              I can’t really blame you for that… I did the same thing until I remembered how military reports are filed.

              The best bet for Walsh would be to get in front of this and defuse it. It used to be politicians understood the value of admitting to mistakes but I am not sure about Walsh yet. As I have said before, while he would be my presumptive choice given the field, I really don’t know all that much about him. He has not been that forthcoming about his views, issues or stances and he took a backseat role in the Governor’s race (as he should have…). It remains to be seen where this goes but I would caution democrats that just blowing this off is likely to backfire. It is one thing to make an unsubstantiated claim against a candidate. It is quite another to be able to parade out an official military citing showing something that could easily be mis-interpreted. While this might not be as serious as some would make it, it isn’t something to be dismissed without answer either. Things like this tend to make people (especially in the middle of the road).. uncomfortable.

      1. Moorcat

        The two situations are completely unrelated. The Walsh accusations essencially boil down to the apparent fact that Gen Walsh used his position inappropriately and to gain a position of authority in the NGAUS (a Vice presidency). It does raise some questions about self serving actions on Walsh’s part that he needs to answer before this gets blown out of proportion (See Craig’s comment…). The finding Craig posted pretty much corroborates the story too.

        You are doing yourself no favors doing the whole (Oh ya… Well Daines did this so it is OK) two wrongs make a right argument. This should have been dealt with directly and I await to see how Walsh will deal with it.

        I think you are fooling yourself if you think this is a trivial matter though. This could very well come back to haunt Walsh.

    2. Moorcat

      Lynn, while all those things are true, they have nothing to do with Walsh or this issue. As I pointed out in another comment, two wrongs don’t make a Right (or left, depending on your viewpoint). This is a substantial issue that will haunt Walsh unless it is answered.

      I am tired of voting against a candidate (or as Mark would put it, vote for the lesser of two evils). I don’t think Walsh is evil, but I would like to hear his response to this. I much prefer to vote for a candidate I believe in (like Sen Tester and Monica Lindeen).

      1. Lynn

        Moorcat, what I was pointing out is in less than a year in the House, Daines has all ready done damage in one way or another to most working class Montanans. He has shown time after time that he only supports the 1%. I’m still on the Fence with Walsh and the others until I see some concrete policy statements. ie:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/us/politics/democrats-turn-to-minimum-wage-as-2014-strategy.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        and Banking “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon have called for a national infrastructure bank. The U.S. Postal Service would fund the proposed bank. The Postal Service—which from 1911 until 1967 provided basic checking and savings services to the public—”
        http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/20927-chris-hedges-overthrow-the-speculators

  3. Moorcat

    A few additional thoughts on this…

    First, I have an issue with the title of the article. Swiftboating is when you claim something about a person’s military career that simply isn’t true. This would not be swiftboating because even Lt Gov Walsh admits that the report is real. He claims to have contested the results of the findings but the findings stand as of this time.

    Second, another article on the issue –

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/report-lt-gov-john-walsh-improperly-used-adjutant-general-position/article_83cdab5e-703b-11e3-8712-001a4bcf887a.html

    It appears that Lt Gov Walsh’s take on the report is A) it isn’t a true reflection of the issue (a matter of perspective, I guess), B) it shouldn’t affect my candidacy because Bullock knew about it and still picked me for a running mate and C) I was just trying to help my people by getting them involved in a “professional organization”.

    I personally think that it is a simplistic view to think that this issue won’t become important. When Walsh supporters claim that this shows “Walsh’s leadership ability” I want to just laugh. You don’t show leadership by conducting illegal activity as a leader – regardless of how important you feel that activity is. Walsh downplays the election aspect of the report but he did get elected the Vice Chair – Army in the association shortly after his membership drive. This will be a sticking point for many people – the appearance of personal gain from his actions.

    As I have said before, downplaying this is an iffy prospect. I think this issue is likely to be more important than the article claims it will be. I also think it much more important – if Walsh is even to stand a chance in surviving the primary against Bohlinger, that he be appointed to Baucus’s Senate Seat. I am just not as comfortable with that idea as I was…

  4. ThinkFirst

    I think we should never be complacent about Rosendale — remember – this is the party whose electorate put Bob Kelleher on the ballot against Max in 2008 because of “name recognition” — not knowledge about who the guy really was — and he wasn’t really even a Republican.

    Unfortunately, too many people will just be looking for the R, not the name. Steve has got to have the backbone to put John Walsh in – even if it does cause some hard feelings.

  5. Dave Skinner

    Let’s see:
    Preponderance of credible evidence
    improperly endorsed
    personally instructing senior leaders
    improperly used his government position for private gain
    forwarded mails to officers and warrant officers
    The trouble here is, the military is supposed to be apolitical, and even if NGAUS is nonpartisan, the vice-chairmanship or whatever is a political position and clearly Walsh was looking to buff his metrics by claiming the MTNG had a higher NGAUS membership — therefore, elect Walsh.
    Thing is, in the officer corps, these kind of written rap sheets rather dent promotional chances. Never mind the rigid hierarchy of the military and the absolute requirement that officers not abuse their authority.
    Walsh has a problem here.

    1. Abe Froman

      Walsh doesn’t seem to know how to use the internet very well, but if this is the worst they can come up with that’s kind of weak. This is about as important as when he “liked” big breasts on facebook.

    2. Norma Duffy

      All of the things Republicans throw out the window when doing an investigation……. you actually know About??? Amazing! So when are you actually going to start using these real research evidence tools on Climate change, and suppressing the right to vote, or even womens health issues?

  6. larry kurtz

    What: Cowgirl relevant again, Montana? Pick a lane, Mr. Kailey. Gov. Schweitzer shit-canned the report on Walsh. Skinner: go torture and kill some four-legged.

      1. Moorcat

        If that was what you are referring to, I certainly couldn’t parse it from your comment. As far as the “picking a lane”, I completely agree with both Lizard and Mark on this one – Cowgirl’s site is pretty useless at this point and the “Larry and Norma” show have turned the comments section into a toxic waste dump. I have actually said that on multiple occasions, on this site in the comments just in the past two weeks. I don’t see the inconsistency you are alluding to, Larry. Norma and Larry are killing this site just as sure as the commenters the unmoderated commenters at others sites have caused their demise.

        1. Norma Duffy

          Again Kenneth look in the mirror.

          All a person has to do is see who started the most arguments on this site, is read.

          Announcing as if it is Sports: And the winners would be the Kaileys hand down and the MOst vulgar again?….The Kaileys are winners by a landslide!

          No truth, though, biting like rapid dogs when cornered. willing to call someone fat when your not winning the argument by reason…. and then you complain when you get tested? When someone fires back you act all appalled? Really?

          Hell even Mark …. Though vague as hell on where his information comes from too…. doesn’t have the mouth on him you two do.

          Ill take the Larry’s any day of the week. Fun, Informative, truthful. and you can keep the Lizard and Mark conspricy party.

      2. Rob Kailey

        Larry, James is right. His comment was this: people who do not believe as others do should simply shut up so that ‘we’ get the result ‘we’ want, won’t get the result we want. There are people who are to the middle. Their ideas should be influenced, not silenced. Or does somebody have an Harry Potter spell which can yank that huge crowd in the middle to the left?

        1. larry kurtz

          Rob and Kenneth: useless is in the eyes of the beholder. Perhaps it would behoove the readers and contributors of the Cowgirl Blog to integrate the myriad opinions of Democrats rather than exclude those of us who are devoted to our party.

          Cowgirl, herself will find ways to manage the discussion if or when particular readers overwhelm the comment thread. Otherwise, fuck off and get a life.

          1. Craig Moore

            kurtz, I don’t see where your ilk, the rolling sun, stiff-arm saluting, goose stepping, heal clicking democratic socialists have been excluded. Who has been chopped?

  7. Publius II

    As a veteran, I can say Governor Schweitzer said it best here and recognized the cheap shot it is, and thanks Governor for standing up
    for John Walsh:

    Former Gov. Schweitzer has now also weighed in. The Billings Gazette reports,

    As governor, Brian Schweitzer said Monday he threw away the 2010 U.S. Army inspector general’s report concluding that Adj. Gen. and now Lt. Gov. John Walsh had improperly used his position in the Montana National Guard for personal gain.

    “I treated it with the respect it deserved,” the former governor said in an interview. “I put it in the round file.

    “I might have said I don’t give a damn what the Department of Defense thinks. It would certainly not be the only (federal) agency that I had a run-in with.”

    Schweitzer called the inspector general’s report “much ado about nothing” and ignored it.

    Schweitzer blew off the investigative report as “a completely partisan end run in the National Guard attempting to embarrass him (Walsh).”

    “Whoever it is in the Montana National Guard that’s trying to stir this thing up, they ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Schweitzer said. “He was a great adjutant general, a wonderful leader and Montana ought to be proud that he led Montana soldiers to war.”

    Could this attack have backfired? Perhaps. It’s certainly not a bad thing when the former Governor, who may be running for President and remains incredibly popular in Montana, comes to your defense and shames those who are attempting to smear you.

    And while Daines and Bohlinger have taken a hiatus from the campaign trail, Walsh has continued to march on.

  8. larry kurtz

    If Cowgirl was useless none of us would be here, Rob. Design a work-around if this isn’t working for you.

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