Posted: January 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Major Tea Party Rumble scheduled in Bozeman

Hunting with Silencers v. General Nutjob

A wild GOP primary will soon be underway in Bozeman, where two Tea Party hotheads are going to tangle for a state house seat in a very conservative district.  This will be a heavyweight bout.

The challenger is Matthew Monforton, who lost his job as a city judge.  Monforton made waves for a public remark that the prophet Mohammed was “a seventh-century pedophile.”  Monforton later defended Rick Hill in court, when Hill was on the ropes for having accepted an illegal contribution of $500,000.  He also represented Harris Himes, the Montana pastor who said gays should be given the death penalty (and who got busted for defrauding a member of his congregation, and is now in the pokey.)  All of which means that Monforton would fit in perfectly as a Republican legislator.

Washburn, meanwhile, is under investigation for having been caught up in the Meth House Scandal, in which documents found at a meth house in Colorado were found to implicate certain GOP lawmakers for illegally coordinating with a dark money group, the American Tradition Partnership.  Washburn also is the author of the famous bill to legalize hunting with silencers.  It made the venerated 2011 Montana Nutjob Bills list first published at Cowgirl Blog, and Washburn brought back the bill in 2013.   Washburn has also called for what is essentially a poll tax, a bill that would allow only taxpayers to vote (poor people often don’t have a taxable income, nor, for that matter, do many farmers and ranchers).  And he has often been the lead sponsor of bills that would make it more difficult for people to register to vote, especially if those people are likely to be democrats.

The race has already turned nasty, in a very comic way.  Monforton this week filed a lawsuit in federal court, with the help of the prominent conservative attorney James Bopp, of Citizens United fame.  The suit asks the court to please strike down a Montana statute which requires that candidates cite bill numbers when running ads that criticize their opponents for votes they’ve taken.  The brief argues that Monforton expects to be irreparably harmed by the statute.   Why? Here is an excerpt from the brief:

Candidate Monforton intends to mail letters to voters in House District 69, which encompasses the northern part of Gallatin County. These letters will contrast Candidate Monforton’s steadfast opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” and Rep. Washburn’s votes in the House in support of Obamacare.

Candidate Monforton has also rented a billboard facing westbound traffic on I-90 just west of Belgrade to convey the same message as the letters. His billboard advertisement will be posted beginning on February 26, 2014. Rep. Washburn opposed Obamacare in the 2011 session of the Legislature by voting against establishing a state-based exchange but later cast several votes in favor of Obamacare in the 2013 session…

Disclosing all of Rep. Washburn’s flip-flops would require Candidate Monforton to include in his letter at least one or two extra pages explaining each of Rep. Washburn’s conflicting votes, thereby distracting voters from other messages Candidate Monforton intends to include in his letters and forcing Candidate Monforton to spend more money on producing and mailing the letter than he otherwise would.

It goes on and on like this for 18 pages.   In other words,  Monforton is suing to invalidate a state law, and his brief in court is devoted mostly to talking about how this law is making it so terribly (and unconstitutionally) difficult for him to discuss how his opponent voted for Obamacare.  How, the brief asks the court, is Monforton going to have enough space on his mailers and billboards to list all of the terrible Obamacare votes that his GOP opponent took?  Hah! I encourage you to read the whole thing.  It’s a total scream.

As for the bills that Monforton claims Washburn flip-flopped on, one the republican “alternative” to the Medicaid Expansion bills, a bill that probably violated federal law designed to help the GOP quash the expansion altogether–another was a bill brought by the insurance industry to require state training for the “navigators” who help people pick an insurance plan–the bill was designed in part to keep the job of helping people buy insurance largely with insurance agents, who have experience and knowledge with Montana law. It is not a bill to support Obamacare, it is a bill to mitigate its effects.

Washburn also took procedural committee votes, floor votes and votes on amendments, which Monforton is arguing are flip flops because sometimes Washburn’s votes were pro, sometimes anti, depending on the GOP strategery at the time.  Expect Monforton’s theory to be duplicated in other primaries throughout the state.

Monforton has a problem of his own, which Washburn is no doubt planning to discuss.  He spent most of his adult life in Los Angeles, a place that Bozeman GOP voters believe to be Hell itself.   And he left under nebulous circumstances after supposedly filing a whistleblower report against his boss at the LA district attorney’s office.

23 comments

  1. Richard Miller

    I can hardly wait. Once again Montana will be the brunt of the jokes for the late night talk shows.

  2. Publius II

    So Washburn – champion of Voter Suppression – can claim Monforton is a genuine ‘Cali-Fornicator’, and that reminds me of the LEGION of out-of-state tea-birchers like Rosendale and others who spout Montana values when they’ve been nurtured far, far away in Texas, Colorado, Florida, etc.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Yes, but Pubbly, they all brought G-O-D to all you heathens here in the wilderness of Montany! They’re modern day Jesuits, bringin’ sal VATION to you sinners! And God knows we need it! Rosenfail says right in the newspaper that he brung GOD to Montana!

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        “Montana represents the best of what we as a family believe in: God, liberty, and an individual’s right to rule himself without the pressing hand of an intrusive government,” Rosendale stated in a news release. “There is the war going on for the heart and soul of our country. A war between the belief that government is best which governs most or the government espoused by President (Ronald) Reagan who taught that government is best which governs least”

        And really, I’m just SURE that most Montanans want THIS asshole to explain God for them! What a dipshit! Guess he never read much Montana history. God was NOT a major player! In Butte, for example, it was drinkin’, fightin’, fornicatin’, and tryin’ to make a living to survive! I DON’T think that this little outta state pissant has much to offer!

  3. Greg Strandberg

    A few years back Iranian president Ahmadinejad came to New York for a speech. Before he spoke president of the university got up and chided him for a good amount of time. When Ahmadinejad got up he made a fool of himself, as many here knew he would.

    But he didn’t make a fool of himself back home. Why? Because that man had gotten up before him and insulted him. Instead of going back to a country that had some doubts sown into it from the words their president said, he went back to a country fixated on the insults their president had received.

    Let these people in Bozeman say all they want, just don’t say anything before them – don’t put words in their mouth or give them other verbal ammunition with which they’ll use to shoot down their own incompetent performance, and any dissent of it later.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Huh? Think that we should ignore assholes? And not inform people of their beliefs and records? Hmm. Just hmm. When some assholes moves here from back east, and the first word out of his mouth is God, you just KNOW that he’s an asshole!

    • Moorcat

      Well said. No, Larry, we shouldn’t ignore them, we should point out how the voters would be better served by another candidate or another viewpoint without resorting to idiocy and threat. By lowering ourselves to that level, we “prove” everything they are saying about us.

  4. larry kurtz

    Speaking of teabaggers: Rehberg will stay a lobbyist, won’t seek office where ethics involved.

    • Moorcat

      Is that a prediction or do you have some reason for saying that Rehberg won’t enter the race? All the most recent stories I have seen in the media indicate that he is serious about this and is talking to people about staffing a campaign.

      • Moorcat

        Nevermind.. the story in the Billings Gazette just came across my feed –

        http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/government-and-politics/rehberg-won-t-run-again/article_7c042b49-a9d6-5210-95f8-a5606ead7589.html

        That puts this race squarely in the toss up category. Lewis is a good candidate and he has actually been campaigning hard. He stands at least an even odds chance of beating either Zinke or Stapleton. We will see who else enters the race (the article on Rehberg claimed there were two other candidates looking at entering the race).

        What I did find interesting about the article is that there is no mention of Shawn White Wolf – the Independent who has declared for this race. Did he back out in the last few days? He has been very active on social media (he took Bohlinger to task on a statement a few days ago on Bohlinger’s page) and he has sent me at least three campaign statements.

        This brings another dimension to this race that I will be following. If Shawn is still in the race and if he pursues a legitimate campaign, how will this effect Lewis? In a close race, Lewis would not need to lose many votes to Shawn to give a win to the Republican candidate.

      • Moorcat

        My take on how this changes the Montana US House Race. I also want to express my disappointment that the Billings Gazette failed to mention Shawn White Wolf as the Independent in this race. His candidacy is well documented and he is currently trying to get the signatures required to enter as a third party candidate. This oversight does not show that the reporter did a good job of researching his article.

        http://www.moorcat.com/roadlesstraveled/?p=332

    • MTNativeEyes

      Hooray!!!! One begins to thirst for rationality – this is certainly heartening news. Sorry if it’s not on point.

  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

    USA! USA! USA!
    Well it’s one, two, three what are we fighting for,
    Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is IraqNam!
    And it’s five, six, seven open up the pearly gates,
    Well ain’t no need to wonder why
    Woopie we’re all gonna die!

    A must read from a vet who was there. Young dudes, next time a bush or a dick like cheney says it’s your patriotic duty to go kill folks who have done NOTHING to you, shove that American flag right UP his fat ass!

    Six billion a year for defense, for WHAT? So that you can’t have health care, education, clean water, infrastructure, good jobs, etc. Yes, shove that flag right UP Draftdodger Dick’s Codger ass! Do it for your country!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-mcnulty/the-true-cost-of-blind-pa_b_4590912.html

    THIS is what you were fighting for, vets! It meant nothing! It was all for shit! Some of us tried to warn you, but the chickenhawk chorus of patriotism overwhelmed the country! Never again. Never again. Now, do you duty. Tell the chickenhawks to go next time!