It’s been another wacky year if TEA Party nutjob antics. From voting to keep prison sentences for being gay to a slew of racist remarks and terrible ideas, Montana elected officials, TEA Party activists, and candidates brought the crackpot craziness to mainstream politics in an embarrassing way.
Here’s a look back at some of the most outrageous comments, craziest conspiracy theories, and just plain bad ideas proposed by our witless leaders in 2013, making these the blog’s most popular posts.
The blog crashed when this post ended up on the front page of Reddit. People were outraged that the chair of the Yellowstone County Republican party had posted a racist joke on her Facebook page. But local Republicans didn’t remove Jennifer Olson, who also leads the Billings TEA Party group. Olson later resigned saying she wanted to “spend more time with her family.”
Nor was 2013 a great year for another elected Republican official. Yellowstone County Treasurer Max Lengington was caught using the n-word in his government emails, plagiarizing other racist rants, and setting up an unauthorized $25k line of credit for himself–but in the county’s name.
In 2013, we learned of the Yellowstone County GOP leader’s racist Facebook post and that the Yellowstone County superintendent of schools in Billings is a barely literate, racist, plagiarizing, Tea Party ignoramus.
We also learned of another Billings official who needs to be removed from office. Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced a 54-year-old male ex-teacher to only 30 days in prison, for having been in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide. Judge Baugh, in issuing the sentence, declared his belief that the girl was “older than her chronological age.” Sentences usually seen in Montana for sex offenses like this one are in the dozens of years, with little chance for parole. In this case, perhaps the Judge decided that since the victim wasn’t quite white enough, that a lighter sentence was in order. I don’t know this to be the case, but I can’t come up with any other explanation.
A pair of TEA Party elected officials were caught on tape this year. The officials were recorded discussing–in front of their own organization’s running audio recorder–whether the room was bugged after they had a conversation about how American Indians were “not Americans.” Boone Cole and Jerry Laskody of Montana’s Flathead Joint Board of Control were put in office by TEA Party dark money groups to obstruct a water rights agreement with Montana tribes. You can read the whole transcript here.
In a segment called “The Sideshow, this week in GOP Jaw Droppers,” Chris Matthews shines a light the most ridiculous things actually said by Republicans across the nation. Here’s the video featuring Montana legislator Dave Hagstrom:
A white supremacy group leader who has called for a “peaceful ethnic cleansing” that would clear parts of North America for only white people was profiled on the Rachel Maddow show in 2013. Here’s the clip:
Richard Spencer, recently moved the group from Georgia to Whitefish. He says: “It is perfectly feasible for a white state to be established on the North American continent,” adding, “I have a dream.”
This past year, the Montana Senate voted, finally, to erase our “anti-sodomy law” which makes it an imprisonable crime to be gay. Although invalidated by our state supreme court in 1997, the law has remained on the books because Republicans always refused to go along with efforts to scrap it. SB 107, a measure to strike the offensive language from our statutes finally passed the senate. That said, the vote was far from unanimous. Ten Republicans voted no:
Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena; Sen. Scott Sales, R-Bozeman; Sen. Scott Boulanger, R-Darby; Sen. Dee Brown, R-Hungry Horse; Sen. Verdell Jackson, R-Kalispell; Sen. Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek; Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, Sen. Matthew Rosendale, R-Glendive; Sen. Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville; Sen. Roger Webb, R-Billings
If you thought Republican politicians got even more stupid in 2013, then you apparently were right because this leaked document from the National Republican Party in Washington spoke to them like they are imbeciles. The hilarious memo instructed Steve Daines and his House GOP colleagues on how to tour their districts during the August recess. Namely, it was chock full of advice on how to seem popular, how to blame “Washington” for all of our nation’s ills, how to frighten people about Obamacare and “red tape,” and how to use all of these techniques, and many others, to increase the chances of getting re-elected.
A birther blogger who once tried to organize a national “Usurpathon” to unseat President Obama is taking to the road as a water rights “expert” to help the TEA Party obstruct a water rights agreement between Montana and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Kate Vandemoer is most known for her unsuccessful campaign to unseat President Obama, with an event she called “The Usurpathon.” Vandemoer attempted to organize 10,000 TEA Partiers and birthers from across the U.S. to descend on Washington and unseat “the Usurper,” President Obama. Unfortunately for Vandemoer, only two people showed up.
One of the biggest news themes of 2013, if it is news at all, was the ongoing war Republicans in Montana have with each other.
Some juicy emails [PDF] were published by the Great Falls Tribune this year, showing the machinations of rightwing Republicans such as Jeff Essmann and Art Wittich as they try to vanquish the moderates, led by ousted Senate President Jim Peterson. Presumably, these missives were leaked by one of the moderate legislators in the scrum, who thought it would be good to publicize the schism.
UPDATE: Rep. Ed Walker (R-TEA Billings) was miffed that I didn’t that I did not include him in this year-end list of the state’s top nutjobs of 2013.
Rep. Ed Walker (R-Billings) argues that an imbecilic racially charged twitter rant he engaged in should have merited him a mention in the post.
“You left me out off your top 10 list?” Rep. Walker fumed. “I figured you would include our back and forth on the history of Democrat racism in American [sic]…..Also, I remember educating your progressive, low information readers (but I repeat myself) about how progressive policy = road to serfdom.”
And so, my sincerest apologies to Mr. Walker. At his request, I have revised the list to reflect that Rep. Walker is indeed a nutjob. Specifically, he became the subject of ridicule after he embarked on a major twitter rant about race. His thesis was that the Democratic Party is the party of racists, while the Republican Party is the party that fights racism. Many happy returns of the day, Rep. Walker….you’ve really outdone yourself.