….TEA Party Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, of Culbertson, MT.
Knudsen rushed out with an op-ed he hoped would prop up flat earther Greg Gianforte, who has been soundly castigated for claiming that state officials and not the federal government oversee refugee resettlement. This is false.
You see, Gianforte’s understanding of what it is a governor actually does appears to be as hazy and limited as his campaign’s ability to pronounce our capital city. Indeed, Gianforte has demonstrated a lack of basic civics understanding that would make any Oregon Standoff loon’s heart thump with pride. Perhaps he has been dipping a bit too frequently into his own private stash of Petra Academy “textbooks.”
But Knudsen has honed the dull edge of his own hypocrisy a few times too many. He failed to make the case that Gianforte’s falsehoods were accurate and instead sought rail against allowing anyone not from the U.S. to enter our nation. Knudsen wrote:
“Our culture doesn’t require our women to cover themselves head to toe.”
Yet he conveniently left out his own special dress code, which Knudsen issued not just for women in the Montana legislature, but also those who visit it, and for this he is this week’s Hypocrite Supreme.
Knudsen’s dress code became the subject of national mockery after the Cowgirl Blog first reported it here. Knudsen ordered female lawmakers to “be sensitive to [their] skirt lengths and necklines.” Also banned for women: cardigans, fleece, jersey, leggings, flip-flops, and open-toed sandals. The code also mandated that all women who visited and appeared before the Legislature–not just lawmakers, but also reporters, interns, and aides — wear a “suit or dress slacks, skirt, jacket, and dress blouse or suit-like dress.” As Rep. Jenny Eck, a member of minority leadership, pointed out, the dress code was mostly geared toward women, with only a sentence or two on men’s attire.
Knudsen is long overdue for this most singular award. He shut down the legislature early so as to prevent a vote on the infrastructure bill his own party negotiated with democratic lawmakers and the Governor, then claimed that Dems were to blame for his failure to pass the infrastructure measures.
Today’s burn-it-down hardliner types like Knudsen, Gianforte, and Trump have moved the GOP so far into the realm of the ridiculous that GOP leaders of the past would be run out of town for good: infrastructure-loving Dwight Eisenhower, environmental regulation loving Richard Nixon, tax-increaser of the 1% Gerald Ford, debt-tripling cap and trade founder Ronald Reagan, Medicaid-expanding George H.W. Bush.
In the words of Tennessee Williams, there’s only one thing that’s worse than a liar, and that’s a liar who is also a hypocrite. That’s why Austin Knudsen has the well-deserved dishonor of being the Montana Cowgirl Blog’s GOP Hypocrite of the Week.