(Guest Post) Politicians and Horse Pucky

By Brenda Wahler from Wahler Law Blog

Are Politicians familiar with horse manure? Or…are they full of – it?

Greg Gianforte, the tech billionaire who lost the 2016 Montana gubernatorial race  in a year that otherwise went well for the GOP, is well on his way to becoming a perpetual candidate as the Republican nominee for the May 25th special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s seat in Congress.  Sadly, like Zinke, Gianforte seems to think that he can put on a pseudo-western persona to win Montana votes.  So here is my plea to politicians: please do not fake it; most of us know the difference.

Here’s the Gianforte installment:  Following a 2016 Gianforte TV ad, the Montana AFL-CIO created the following image, comparing Gianforte’s clean new farm cleanup togs to those of Senator Jon Tester, who is from Big Sandy, Montana, photographed in his obviously-real work clothes.


Image credit: Montana AFL-CIO via Montana Cowgirl

Gianforte, originally from Pennsylvania by way of New Jersey, is posing in a horse corral with a shovel, implying, apparently, that he was going to clean up  . . . something.  Aside from the clean white shirt, there was one other problem: he didn’t have the right tool for the job. Gianforte was holding a small scoop shovel, usually used for heavy, loose material such as gravel — useless for horse manure.1  Once again, a politician—or his PR team— waded into a subject where they . . . well . . . don’t know their equine excrement.

Under normal circumstances, this story would have ended with Gianforte’s loss last November.  Except he’s ba-a-a-ck, this time challenging Rob Quist.  Quist is a Cut Bank native and  University of Montana alum who lives up the Flathead, famous as a member of Montana’s iconic Mission Mountain Wood Band.

So Gianforte is running TV ads to portray Quist, a liberal Democrat, as “out of touch” with Montana. This while “Jersey G” has no idea how clean up horse manure.  Of course, as a tech billionaire, he probably hasn’t had to clean up his own messes for a long time.  I’ll let the pundits debate political issues—I’m going to discuss the real stuff.

This, Greg, is horse manure:

Horse manure

A pile of horse manure on straw, a couple days old. Photo credit: Brenda Wahler

Here are tools to pick it up.  These are called “manure forks”:

Manure forks

Plastic manure fork (left) and steel manure fork (right). Photo credit: Brenda Wahler

And here is how they work:

I wish the political mess in Washington could be cleaned up in as straightforward a fashion as a messy pile of horse manure.  But, just like some manure-cleaning jobs, many political messes are just too big for hand tools.  When you are greeted with a lot of horse manure, there is only one real solution: Get out the skidsteer (horse people really like skidsteers).

It might take even more work to dig through the morass in Washington, but the place to start is at the ballot box, starting with Montana’s May 25th special election:  Pick Quist.

Horse manure accumulated in pen

This is a large accumulation of horse manure; fire up the skidsteer. Photo credit: Brenda Wahler

The moral of this story is simple: Vote for the candidate who knows how to clean up a mess, avoid the one who doesn’t.  When it comes to phony political ads claiming a candidate knows horse pucky when he sees it, well, call him on his, um, crap.  That goes double when a candidate tries to duck his own positions on the issues and uses proxies to blow dog whistles and take cheap shots at his opponent.

Gianforte needs to be told that he fools no one and that he can’t buy an election.

I guess we can at least be grateful Gianforte didn’t try to ride horses. Here he is last year riding some sort of cross between a jackalope and a mechanical bull. He’s curling into the fetal position; perhaps a typical response for someone who has never ridden anything except other politicos’ coattails.


Photo source: Montana Cowgirl

1. For those who care about the technical details of rural life, a square scoop shovel is good for loose material that is not stuck to the ground. Manure is sticky and often mixed with straw, shavings, or other bedding material, so a square shovel can’t get under it very easily—if at all. The shovel Gianforte was holding was also too small to pick up a pile of manure. For removing manure and soiled bedding from a non-porous surface, some folk  use a much larger aluminum shovel designed to move lighter weight material, like this one:

Scoop shovel

Aluminum scoop shovel


5 Comments on "(Guest Post) Politicians and Horse Pucky"

  1. I like the term “bull pucky” better when describing Greg’s contributions.

  2. Here’s some more hard packed manure to skidster up Mr. Candidate!

    From 28 April: Breaking news

    Following is an excerpt:
    “Tina Olechowski, a spokesman for Gianforte’s opponent, Democrat Rob Quist, used the investments to attack the Republican candidate. “Montana voters deserve to know why Greg Gianforte held on to his shady Russian investments after Putin invaded Ukraine, and again when Russia was accused of interfering in the presidential election,” said Olechowski. “Instead Gianforte kept his Russian ties secret during his failed run for governor last year.”
    She also emphasized Quist’s strong stance again Russia. “Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine and interfered in last fall’s presidential election,” said Olechowski. “That kind of aggression is a clear threat to our democracy and global security, and in Congress Rob would evaluate all of our options including whether it makes sense to step up military aid to Ukraine.” “

  3. skidsteer? Is that where you ride your pony along and jump on the cow and twist it’s horns? just checkin.

  4. Frank N Furter, thankyou very much for moving the ball way forward.
    And not moving the goal posts as others are want to do.
    Here’s Big Sky Rising at Fbook with a short read on a few key issues
    as seen by Mr. Gianforte and Mr. Quist.
    Plus comments from Big Sky Rising.


  5. Frank N Furter | May 2, 2017 6:45 PM at 6:45 PM |

    @ MTcowboy.

    Was there a problem with that quote?

Comments are closed.