Much Ado

The media is abuzz today because they have discovered a few memos that Bullock received from his staff, advising him on how to handle the press in the lead-up to the appointment of John Walsh to fill Max Baucus’s seat. In the memos, Bullock is advised not to be drawn into having to explain himself before the actual appointment, but to wait until after Walsh is appointed to explain his choice to the press. And these documents also show that Bullock had made up his mind about Walsh a week or so before appointing him.

The Republicans have seized the story and are trying to claim that this is a major revelation of wrongdoing or mischief.   And the press believes, without explanation, that it is newsworthy that Bullock receives strategic advice from the people who work for him.

All of this is very silly.  First, Bullock was allowed to make his personal decision how and when he chose, and share it at a time, and in a manner, of his choosing.  True, memos on political strategy should be written sparingly (or perhaps created orally) so that the press and opponents cannot make hay over them precisely like they are now doing.  But this story is nothing more than a way for the press to make a big deal about very little.  The fact that a governor is getting advice on paper from his staff is nothing new or unusual and the advice was pretty sound.  And no, contrary to what the GOP seems to think, Bullock did not violate any law, rule, or public trust by making his decision in private and revealing it on the day that he made the announcement.

Posted: March 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

11 thoughts on “Much Ado

  1. W.H.

    Sounds to me like reporters are just miffed because they expect Bullock to drop pre-packaged stories into neat parcels and drop them regularly in their laps, and he doesn’t believe that’s a Governor’s job. He’s right. A Governor shouldn’t have have to do your job for you. You reporters should go out and do investigative journalism instead of being the glorified stenographers you actually are. Had to be said.

  2. Craig Moore

    Shouldn’t that title be Much Ado About Lying? http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Walsh-ID-d-as-pick-12-days-before-announcement-5307358.php

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Documents released Tuesday indicate Gov. Steve Bullock was planning to replace departing U.S. Sen. Max Baucus with former Lt. Gov. John Walsh at least 12 days before the governor announced the appointment in February.

    Bullock Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin O’Brien insisted Bullock didn’t make his decision until Feb. 6, the day before the Walsh announcement, and he described the Jan. 27 memo as the staff preparing for “scenarios that might present themselves.” However, no other scenarios or timelines for other possible appointees were outlined in the Jan. 27 memo or in any documents that followed….
    The memo and email from O’Brien were among hundreds of documents released Tuesday by Bullock’s office in response to public-records requests made by The Associated Press and other news organizations.

    The requests included any correspondence to and from the governor’s office about Baucus’ resignation and how Bullock planned to replace him.

    The documents don’t include any correspondence between Walsh and Bullock.

    Walsh said in December he asked Bullock to appoint him to the post, but said the governor made no commitment. Bullock said the day of Walsh’s appointment that he had only informed the lieutenant governor of the decision the night before.

    Now , it’s the press that is making a big deal about this, especially since it took a formal action to pry it out into public view.

  3. Troutman

    There isn’t much in the way of political brains in oval office lately. A one-termer. Who the f– writes memos about this stuff knowing that the press can request it and what kind of politician needs this type of advice in writing in the first place. It is amateur hour in that office and that is for sure. The Walsh campaign is using the same staff as advise Bullock so that race is a loser too. Everything these people do is a dud. I never thought I’d miss the the days of BS and his horse shit act.

  4. MTNativeEyes

    Shocking. I guess . . . There are weird things that stick like cockleburs, then there are things like this. Here today, gone tomorrow.

    1. Craig Moore

      Probably not. It seems both Adams and Bohlinger have an axe to grind here, especially Bohlinger being told by Harry Reid last year that “they” already had their candidate. Watch the sparks fly in this intramural struggle. Could it be that Bohlinger had some wind of this news which encouraged him to stay in the Dem primary race?

  5. Snowdog

    Not surprising but a seat in the US Senate should be taken more seriously. Montana has only 3 people representing us so they should be the best. It just gives the Walsh campaign a dirty feeling.

    1. Jamie

      Besides that, this is what comes of thoroughly bungling not just this process, but of refusing to talk to the press on pretty much every occasion, for God only knows why.

  6. James Conner

    Bullock did nothing wrong or unusual. He’s a smart guy who didn’t need his staff’s advice on a matter so simple and straightforward. And his staff didn’t need to put in writing advice that’s better delivered orally. This doesn’t even qualify as a tempest in a teapot.

  7. Tim in MT

    “First, Bullock was allowed to make his personal decision how and when he chose, and share it at a time, and in a manner, of his choosing.”

    The fact that you’re even trying to pass that sentence along without breaking into laughter and rolling on the floor shows just how much of a partisan hack you are. LOL I’m sure Obama/Reid had NOTHING to do with this “choice.” That’s probably also why he even admitted DC called him, and Bohlinger admitted he was called and urged to drop out of the race. C’mon. You can be liberal and not be stupidly making up blatantly false talking points. It undermines your (already thin, if nonexistent) credibility.

  8. Dallas Reese

    13-25-202.”Vacancy in office of United States senator. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, an election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next general election. If the election is invalid or not held at that time, the election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next succeeding general election.
    (2) The governor may make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until the election.”

    This is the entire section of Montana Code Annotated regarding the Governor’s ability to make a temporary appointment. I don’t see anything in there that says he has to consult with anyone else or let anyone else know who he’s going to choose. It’s his decision and his alone. You can jump up and down, foam at the mouth and spin around all you want but it’s still his decision, regardless of when he made it.

    He didn’t tell you about it beforehand? He didn’t consult with you? He didn’t ask your permission? Too bad, put on your big boy pants and move along.

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