Top Montana Republicans, including Betti Hill, say they are Done with GOP

Susan Good Geise, the Republican commissioner from Lewis and Clark County, announced on her Facebook page Monday that she is no longer a Republican.  She says she’s been constructively evicted from the party.

She cited two problems that led to her “excommunication as persona non grata,” as she describes it:  1) That the party’s nominee for president is a “narcissistic charlatan,” and 2) that the state party is “being led on a state level by a person convicted by a jury of his peers as dishonest and afoul of the law,” by which she means Art Wittich.

What Good Geise is referring to is not only that Art Wittich is crazy and broke the law, but that he was just elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.  That appointment happened after he was convicted of massive campaign finance violations, for which he has now been fined a record $68,000.  Along with Wittich, Jennifer Fielder, a legislator from Sanders County, is also being sent to the convention. Fielder believes that federal lands should be eliminated, the map that is the very logo of her organization includes sovereign indian lands among those that would be taken over.

Good Geise Facebook

Geise’s Facebook post received a string of comments from fellow Republicans expressing wholehearted agreement with Good Geise’s decision, including one from Betti Hill, a long time national Republican representative from Montana and wife of former GOP Congressman Rick Hill.   Hill’s comment is shocking.  She seems to be declaring that she in full solidarity with Good Geise, that she, too, is no longer a Republican now that Trump and Wittich are the standardbearers.

Lincoln said “A House Divided Cannot Stand.”  Someone else once said, “A House full of Nutcases Cannot Stand.”  I do not believe that an organization can long survive, or win many big fights, when the rank and file are departing en masse.  I expect that both Greg Gianforte and Donald Trump will be routed badly.   It’s not just that a bunch of loons have insinuated themselves into leadership.   The party activists spend their days calling for absurd things, as has been well documented here on the Cowgirl blog.  If you want to make contraceptives illegal, demand all federal land be ceded into private or state ownership, give tax breaks to people with a billion dollars, deny climate change, and eliminate rules and regulations from such areas as the Wall Street financial industry, your party is based upon a series of fringe beliefs.

At the state level, the GOP has lost 13 of 15 statewide races dating back to 2000.  Democrats keep a good sense of what voters care about, and they allow it to exert a pull, a force, on their thinking, their policies, their pronouncements, their speeches, their message.  It’s one of the reasons that you rarely see internal divisions in the same extent as what you see among Republicans.  Wittich having been convicted of a massive scheme to evade the law, it doesn’t matter. He is a true believer, and therefore welcome to be leader.  Winter is coming for the GOP, and it’s going to be cold, dark and lonely.


52 Comments on "Top Montana Republicans, including Betti Hill, say they are Done with GOP"

  1. I woke up this AM and read that AFP/Koch bros were going to be stuffing my mailbox again with distortions and outright lies ahead of the 8/15 date when they would have to disclose what they are really doing,smearing individual candidates. Until then it falls under the guise of voter education.I don’t need to be enlightened by anyone supporting a gubernatorial candidate who thinks people rode dinosaurs ala the Flintstones or Bundy cheerleaders. So it was a ray of sunshine to read about two republicans who had the integrity and intelligence to say enough is enough.We desperately need some leaders willing to break the gridlock that has plagued the last couple of sessions of the legislature. Thank you so much.

  2. I consider Susan a friend. I know that there are people who are unhappy with Donald. But the critical issue is the Supreme Court. There may be several appointments by the next President. These are the most critical positions in our Government. I cannot accept that those nominations could be made by Hillary Clinton. That is the most important issue in this election. I will vote for Mr. Trump

    • Art Wittich's Hot Tub Time Machine | June 30, 2016 10:15 AM at 10:15 AM |

      I appreciate your knowledge and willingness to engage in conversation, but you’re on the wrong side of history.

    • Remember, Dave, just because a President makes a nomination to the Supreme Court doesn’t mean the nominee will ever don the Court’s black robes. You need only look at the ridiculous behavior of Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Charles Grassley (both Republicans) with respect to President Obama’s lawful, Constitutionally-mandated appointment to the Supreme Court. Why would anyone think that President Hillary Clinton–if she is elected–would not be subject to some similar chicanery?

  3. The overall Bad that can happen with Donald Trump to America and it’s people is far more CRITICAL than who Hillary Clinton may or may not appoint to the Supreme Court.

  4. What a joke. First George Will, now these crackpots. There is no way, no way, these people will not eventually fall into line an vote for whoever runs on the GOP ticket. It is all they do, and will ever do.

  5. Well, I won’t vote for either Trump or Clinton. Sad state of affairs when we have such odious choices presented by the two major political parties.

  6. This would be good news, except that there are too many people expressing Linda’s sentiments, which will mean tilting the playing field to Trump. This should be an easy election in the face of such an odious GOP candidate for president, but it’s not. The GOP has done an excellent smear campaign on Hillary, and the DNC mucked up the primaries, creating a whole heap of resentment.

    Look at the Brexit vote. We can’t underestimate the tendency of angry people to vote against their own interests.

  7. At one time the Democrat Party had a “conservative” contingent. Democrats pride themselves on having a big tent so that policy can be evaluated from all perspectives. If the MTGOP is too restrictive, give the Democrats a try.

  8. “Wittich having been convicted of a massive scheme to evade the law, it doesn’t matter. He is a true believer, and therefore welcome to be leader.”

    That’s how they know they are among their peers. Seriously, Rick Perlstein wrote a great article in the Baffler a couple years back that describes the reasons behind Conservative’s affinity for charlatans and snake oil purveyors. I couldn’t do the article justice here, but it is as relevant now (even more so) as it was then. Here’s the link:

    • Thank you for the link. It is a long read, but I think I will probably read it over again, many times. I found it an insightful look into the basics of insanity.

  9. Athna-May Porter | June 30, 2016 9:02 AM at 9:02 AM |

    If you do not vote you have given up your right to complain about ANYTHING concerning our government.

    Do you really think you can keep your mouth shut as your life style and investments go down the drain?

    AND if the Republicans control Congress, Democrats will still have a hard time accomplishing the good that Democrats do for most of America.

    My question is why can’t we get Democrats to run for office in Montana’s local races?? We have way too many uncontested races with no Democrats showing up! I wish my husband could run, but can not due to his reoccurring cancer!

    The Montana Democrats need to take this on as their main project for the next election in two years.

    • Art Wittich's Hot Tub Time Machine | June 30, 2016 12:17 PM at 12:17 PM |

      Because the Democrat Part offers very little to rural Montanans.

      • Absolutely true! I ran twice and the party answer to me asking for help and guidance was wow we’re sorry but we have all of our favorites picked already.

        The Dem party, as long as Larson runs it…. they won’t work in Areas and counties they think are still red when in all actuality there is lots of purple out there.

        We have a strong platform, but not enough people in our ranks want to make sure it is followed. So Now like others we have become unaffiliated progressives.

  10. I agree with and applaud Susan Good-Giese’s stand.

  11. Grandma Jeannie | June 30, 2016 2:11 PM at 2:11 PM |

    Susan is a woman of personal integrity- if only more of our leaders had the courage to stand up- how the party could make corruption poster boy Art Wittich it’s figurehead is beyond me. I won’t vote for Gianforte, Trump, or Clinton.

    • My apologies in advance for what will most likely seem a ridiculous question, but will you please tell me EXACTLY what it is that HRC DID that gives so many such a case of heartburn. It seems to me that she has very little ACTUAL history to recommend her at all and if anything is more conservative than liberal.

  12. Perhaps some who read this message will doubt my sincerity …but I believe our country needs two strong political parties.
    The current condition of the GOP is not in the best interest of either party and certainly makes more difficult the necessity of appropriate issue discussion and thus progress in facing the nation’s and the world’s problems.

    • To some extent, the same could be said about the Democratic Party’s ability/willingness to seriously address the issues facing the ordinary citizen, especially at the national level. Far too much dependence on big money interests. This is the real issue that is destroying our political process in both parties, not just the GOP.

    • I believe the two strong parties are hurting our ability to make more positive changes. When there are only two perceived sides of an issues then a lot of nuance and cooperation get tossed out the window in favor of catchy slogans and propaganda. Many voters feel ignored by their own party.

      • I think that “voters feel ignored by their own party” is driven more by the way that we fund political campaigns than by having only two parties. Voters get ignored because the attention is on the people and organizations that fund campaigns.

        We need to change the way that we fund political campaigns, so that people in congress can get their attention back on people in the states and districts that they were elected to represent, rather than on the tiny fraction of wealthy people and special interest organizations that fund their political campaigns.

        • I agree with everything you said and would go further. Not only do we need to change how elections are funded, but we need to change how we elect. Strategic voting, spoiler effects, and gerrymandering dilute the amount of attention we can focus on real issues. Election reform has to be considered along with campaign finance reform.

          • I think that multi-member districts would take care of those issues. Instead of each district electing one representative, make the districts larger and each district elects three or four representatives. More info at:

    • The Democratic state party had no Business taking money from Hillary Clinton’s Victory fund last year. It showed a Bias against Bernie that people in this state came to oppose. Also since Bernie won in this state, the party had no business putting a Clinton supporter as the leader of our Delegates…. even if it is your nice wife Pat.

      Carols is a fine progressive but it smacks of Favoritism. This is not what a democratic Party does. Larson is making all the wrong moves backing establishment Dems in a state that progressives do not like where the establishment is taking them.

      One of the reasons Steve Bullock does not look like an establishment Dem is because he has kept a lot of Schweitzer’s policies and thoughts alive….. because it is good for Montana. This state progressives fiercely loves its rowdy Independence, even if we have some batshit crazy GOP mixed in, and they have always dreaded joining establishment Ideas without a little bit of Montana Solution in the mix.

      Larson is making a mistake by also using Gumshoe DNC rookies at the office as well. it smells of Carpetbagging from afar. The State party is way too beholden to the DNC and it is gonna bite the establishment in the butt when they really need us Progressives one day.

      Trump won’t win here, because a lot of republicans feel the same as Susan Good Geise. But if you keep poking a stick at the progressives like they are some wild bee hive, pushing for lesser evils to vote for…..your just looking forward to getting stung sooner than latter.

  13. If HRC is elected, she will put her brand on the Supreme Court. The Clintons are much more effective than Obama. They will get their way and that is what I fear.

    • We know one judge will be Obama. I am pretty sure you will set your hair on fire with that pick. Besides the GOP doesn’t follow the constitution anyway. or they would be vetting picks for a Scalia replacement, if not picked Mercer already.

      THats the problem for you GOP now. You have told so many Extreme right lies and pulled so many Stunts that the American Public doesn’t like you anymore. Nor can it follow you off that Fascist cliff your running at.

    • What exactly are you afraid she might do?

      • I did set my hair on fire at the thought of Obama and other dangerous liberals on Supreme Court. Dangerous liberal should actually be one word. Anyway the hair burning incident was a non event due to my advanced age. Hair is fire proof at age 75. Seen it all by now so will not burn.

  14. Pat, the Republicans were long taken over by the Whigs. The alternative is the Libertarian Party. Their presidential nominee is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and the VP is William Weld, former governor of Mass. With Johnson getting 10–percent in the polls, 15 percent seems reasonable and a place in the debates along side Clinton and Trump. The two party system isn’t working and must be killed off. Voters in all 50 states will have another option.

  15. Susan and Betty are absolutely right. The right wing nuts of the party are doing everything possible to drive out moderates and those with common sense . A big thank you to both of them. We need a strong republican party as well
    as a democratic party that includes ones who know when compromise is a good thing to get things done for this state. As a former representative of mine , Dave Lewis does not fit in this group of moderates. Right now the republican party itself is doing everything to destroy the party from congress down to the state legislature.
    their are still way too many republicans ready to use any thing possible to justify in their minds whats wrong including blaming demos., funding , Hillary, moderate republicans,schweizer, and on and on. And they choose to elect these extreme right wing (teabags) continue to support court convicted criminals like Wittich etc. Too me Its an absolute disgrace that the party chose to send Wittich to the national convention to represent the party . I could go on but will stop and repeat we need both parties to be strong andcary out what is in the best interest of ALL Montanans and what the majority of what all Montanans want not just vote for support of what extreme ideology either party wants. vote informed and vote smart. As for the poster who said democrats never do anything for farmers and rural american , nothing coiuld be farther from the truth regardless who is in power. Quit listening to rush limbaugh , glenn beck an fox news and do your research


  16. Dan Hutchinson | July 3, 2016 6:02 PM at 6:02 PM |

    The Democrats party seems to ignore the influx of new blood at conventions this year. They looked at some of the old McGovern supporters who along with some new young delegates arrived full of optomistic energy. Bernie Sanders seems to have created some new interest in political involvement. The new delegates were polite but they did seem to notice the party faithful were herded into a smaller room to see who would be sent to speak for those who voted for Ms Clinton. The feeling I got from the State Convention this year, was the new participants were just a flash in the pan. My brief discussion with Jean Dahlman showed me the party was not all suspicion and disdain for the newbys, she announced that she would endorse Bernie after the Convention was over. I do not want to sound like an insoulent punk, after all I did work to promote the candidacy of McGovern. but perhaps the Democrats party leadership should accept the input of Sanders supporters, along with their candidate, or die of old age.

  17. And I thought we had some nuts in NC. You win.

  18. Harold Johnson | July 4, 2016 9:44 AM at 9:44 AM |

    TRUMP. Like him or not, he is the only choice.

    • No he isn’t “The only choice.” Thats the scare tactic the GOP always use, and the establishment Dems started using last year. Clinton is not the only Choice, Trump is a the spitting reincarnation of Hitler….Clinton likes TPP, The Pipelines, Wars,and oligarchy.

      Sanders is the truly viable alternative who will promote peace, get us out of Corporation Proxy wars for Oil, and set us upon the path to clean energy, with jobs you GOP cannot send to other countries.

    • Or you could join the many important people in the Republican party who don’t consider Trump the only choice, and have endorsed Clinton. For example:

      Mark Salter, former top adviser to John McCain — “Whatever Hillary Clinton’s faults, she’s not ignorant or hateful or a nut. She acts like an adult and understands the responsibilities of an American president. That might not be a ringing endorsement. But in 2016, the year of Trump’s campaign, it’s more than enough.”

      There’s a list here (currently more than 20):

      • I think you could add many more names to that list if they were willing to subject themselves to the wrath of their fellow partiers.The ballot is a sacred secret and I am hoping that the reasonable Republicans will submit a vote for the sane candidate Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately,the most sane candidate, Bernie Sanders, won’t be available.

        • Yes, the list is only Republicans who have publicly endorsed Clinton. It doesn’t include Republicans who have declined to endorse Trump, but haven’t said what they are going to do, or who have said they won’t vote, or will vote third party or write-in.

  19. @Webstir, thank you for the link. It is a long read, but I think I will probably read it over again, many times. I found it an insightful look into the basics of insanity.

  20. Yes, vote for Hillary……

    HELENA — About 35,000 Montanans could see huge increases — some up to 60 percent or more — in what they pay for health insurance purchased on the federal marketplace.

    On Friday, the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance released the proposed rates for the three providers that sell insurance to Montanans through the marketplace Those companies are PacificSource, Montana Health Co-op and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana.

    The increases won’t affect everyone who buys insurance on the marketplace, since about 85 percent of Montanans who purchase insurance there receive a premium tax credit that will offset the rate increase. However, about 35,000 Montanans do not receive this credit and could have to pay the full increase. The companies also increased rates last year.

    For individual plans, Blue Cross had the highest requested rate change at an average of 62 percent, taking effect at the start of 2017. The company said overall increases could range from 40 to 108 percent.

    Blue Cross said the increase is needed because claims and health care costs have been higher than expected. The company collected $174.7 million in premiums for individual plans and paid out $220.6 million in claims in 2015 for a loss ratio of 126.3 percent, according to a rate change request summary.

    All three companies took in less in premiums than they paid out in claims for individual plans. Montana Health Co-op, which requested a 22 percent increase, took in $73.5 million in premiums and paid out $102 million in claims in 2015.

    John Doran, a spokesman for BCBS, said that this is the first year the company is working off current data to file its rates and that’s part of the reason for the increase.

    “It’s really the first year we ever had actual data for the ACA marketplace,” he said.

    “When we’re filing 2017 rates, we’re finally able to use two years’ worth of data to gauge what our medical expenses actually are,” he said. “It’s a much more accurate picture. The marketplace population is using far more medical and pharmacy services than we anticipated.”

    Doran said for every dollar BCBS gets in premiums, it paid out $1.40 in claims. “What that adds up to is about $24 million in losses in the individual marketplace last year.”

    PacificSource, which requested a rate change of almost 20 percent, took in premiums of $37 million and paid out $48.5 million in claims. That company is also planning to eliminate some of their catastrophic plans and limit the sale of other less expensive plans to only five counties around Missoula and Billings. People enrolled in the less-expensive plans who renew with PacificSource will be placed into a higher plan and see rate increases that will average 51 percent.

    All three companies expect medical and prescription drug costs to go up around 8 percent, another reason they said the increases were needed.

    Montana Health Co-op and PacificSource also cited the sunsetting of a federal program that helped stabilize premiums in the individual marketplace as a reason for their requested increases. The transitional reinsurance program expires at the end of 2016.

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    For small-employer group plans, Blue Cross again requested the highest rate change at 32 percent. Montana Health Co-op proposed a 3 percent increase and PacificSource requested a 6.5 percent increase.

    BCBS is committed to staying in the marketplace for the long run, Doran said, but for that to work four things need to change.

    He said health insurance companies must run more efficiently and need consistent marketplace rules that are enforced. He said companies can suffer when people sign up outside of open enrollment periods to get insurance to deal with emergencies like a broken leg and then drop coverage once they’re healed. Better enforcement can help make sure insurers don’t pay out high claims for clients who only pay premiums a short time.

    Doran also said insurers should work to promote what’s called value-based care over fee-based care, or paying doctors for better health outcomes like people losing weight or stopping smoking over treating more patients. He also said companies like BCBS need adequate rates.

    State Sen. Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, criticized Democrats, specifically U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, for allowing the Affordable Care Act to become law.

    “It’s sad to see this huge increase,” Thomas said. “We’ve already seen premiums doubled in Montana since this new Obamacare law went into effect.”

    Thomas said Republicans predicted the cost increase from the start of Obamacare. “It will skyrocket and skyrocket up until it crushes this program,” he said. “It must be repealed.”

    Thomas said tax credits that offset the increase for some Montanans can be maxed out. “It’s a disaster for Montana families,” he said.

    In a statement Friday, Tester said: “It is outrageous that a major corporation is trying to raise insurance rates on Montanans as they hand out lavish bonuses to their executives. In order to lower the costs of health care, it’s going to take all folks working together to come up with solutions. I am glad that Commissioner Lindeen is holding a public hearing so folks can be held accountable for these unprecedented rate hikes.”

    The Commissioner’s office does not have the authority to disapprove rates or prevent them from taking effect. It can review the factors insurers use in setting rates and if increases are found to be unjustified or excessive, the insurer can voluntarily lower the rate increase. If the insurance doesn’t lower the rate, the commissioner will issue a public finding announcing the increase is unjustified.

    The Commissioner’s office is holding a public hearing on the rate increase on July 26 at 9 a.m. at the Scott Hart Auditorium, 302 N. Roberts St., in Helena, Pubilc comment can also be submitted at through Aug. 5.

    About 78,500 Montanans have individual plans from the three providers; Blue Cross is the largest provider with 55,000 customers About 47,500 have small-employer group plans through the three providers, with Blue Cross having the most customers. Open enrollment for 2017 begins in November.

    • Instead of a lengthy cut and paste how about links instead. The repubs have not come up with any viable alternative to ACA only the same old talking points, repeal, repeal, repeal.

  21. Good lord. Benghazi, uniforms changed/no help sent. Clinton Foundation with Middle Eastern Donations, soon to be investigated for perjury, no classified emails. what else? Ask what you can do for the Clinton’s, not what they can do for you. What did Bill Clinton do for you or your State? Trump supported by the Boarder Protection Unions, AFL-CIO members defecting. We will see…….

  22. The Clinton’s. A good read. Watch the Polls when Trump start naming his team to assist him in achieving his goals. Emigration, stopping illegals flooding our schools, jails, hospitals. Fair Trade not free trade stealing our jobs, stricter emigration vetting for high risk country’s, Aggressive action to eliminate ISIS, a non-monopoly heath care program with a 45% to 90% cost increase in two years including increases in deductibles.

  23. oh and….in a terse submission to the federal district court in Washington, D.C., the Obama Justice Department has announced that it will not seek the death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khatallah. He is the only terrorist charged in the Benghazi massacre of September 11, 2012, in which U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other American officials were killed in an attack carried out by dozens of jihadists.

    A death-penalty prosecution would call into question many aspects of Benghazi that the Obama administration has long sought to keep under wraps: how Obama-administration policy empowered the jihadists who carried out the attack; how those jihadists were linked to al-Qaeda, which the president was then ludicrously claiming to have defeated; how those jihadists attacked Western targets in Benghazi several times before September 11, 2012; how, despite that fact, the State Department led by Hillary Clinton reduced security at its Benghazi facility; how there has been no explanation why the State Department had a facility in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world for Americans; how there were American military assets in place that might have been able to rescue at least some of those killed and wounded in Benghazi, yet they were not used.

    Read more at:

    • Reagan’s carelessness let 300 marines get blown to bits in Beirut and the republican propaganda machine turned Reagan into a saint. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  24. But Reagan did not have Drones above providing real time video and no help was sent. They had to be rescued by the survivors making local phone calls and getting rescued by Gaddafi Loyalists.

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