Category Archives: Montana GOP

Responsible Republican Blog

A deliciously silly item to report today.

There is a new blog in Montana, an anonymous one, by the name of and written ostensibly by self-proclaimed “responsible Republicans.”  It takes aim at the Tea Party and the extremist faction of Republicans.

The headlines are very amusing as is the content, and as are the targets of the blog’s ire.  “Fiscally Prudent” is the title, for example, of a July 10 post, containing the following paragraph:

Along with our balanced budget and healthy ending fund balance Montana is a shining example of government that works. Thanks in large part to Republicans that fought their own party to make sure pensions were funded!

Funnier still is that the blog apparently will employ a strategy of accusing extremists of being fiscal liberals.  A July 1 entry is entitled “Essmann and Fielder: Big Spenders.”  Fielder is state senator Jennifer Fielder from Sanders County, who works with militia groups, believes all federal land including national parks should be reverted to private status, and is a Cliven Bundy aficionado.  And yet this moderate Republican blog has decided to try to take her down, or weaken her, by accusing her of being a “big spender.”  Interesting choice.

The toughest part of this effort is that the blog finds itself arguing that the state is in solid fiscal health, something that Republicans hate admitting because it means crediting Steve Bullock.  But a May 31 entry is headlined “State Government is NOT Growing” and features plums like this:

The latest falsehood created by Art Wittich and being repeated by the extremists is that the budget blew up three times faster than private sector growth.  Nice fuzzy terms to hide the lies.

So the obvious question is, who is behind this blog?

I’d say there are a few possibilities. First, perhaps the responsible Republican faction in Montana, led by Kalispell Senator Bruce Tutvedt and company.   Perhaps they raised some money and hired an operation.   Lord knows that there’s no sitting Republican official in Montana who could even start a website let alone put together a blog.  Perhaps some money has come from  DC, from a group such as Karl Rove’s American crossroads which sometimes takes the side of establishment Republicans in primaries.

But since it’s anonymous, it tells me that the authors are afraid to admit that they are not extremists.  Might it then be Bowen Greenwood and Will Deschamps, the director and chair of the state GOP?

Loyalty Oath

It used to be that a sworn oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution was the only promise required to become an elected lawmaker in Montana. Not so if you hail from Ravalli County.

The Ravalli County Republican Central Committee has issued an edict stating that it will not reimburse Republican candidates and lawmakers who attended the GOP convention from Ravalli–unless they sign a loyalty oath pledging fealty to the Montana Republican Party platform.

Ravalli County Republican Secretary Sue Pyron sent out an email to Ravalli candidates and elected officials this weekend saying it will only reimburse candidates who sign on the dotted line that they will obey the Republican platform over the will of the voters.  The Cowgirl Blog has obtained a screenshot of the email, which you can see below (click to enlarge.) Or if you’re one of the thousands of people who read these posts through your subscription to the Cowgirl Blog’s emails, click here–and thanks for subscribing.

In response, Republican Rep. Pat Connell writes that the demand he and other candidates sign a platform oath is “rather unseemly quid pro quo for reimbursement. ” Rep. Connell also says that there are parts of the platform that he “cannot, nor would support.”

Good for him. Montanans expect their elected Representatives to represent all the citizens of their districts – not the tenets of a document moved radically to the right by TEA Party wingnuts and conspiracy theorists.



TEA Partier Hopes to Bolster GOP’s Ignorance Credentials with New Platform Positions


Matthew Monforton

A TEA Party candidate, frequent frivolous lawsuit filer, and gadfly of right-wing causes named Matthew Monforton is proposing two changes to the Republican Party Platform this month.  Here’s what’s happening.

After having the audacity to grudgingly support a very small number of measures that would be significant economic engines in Montana’s economy, some members of the Republican party suddenly found their ignorance credentials under attack by TEA Party challengers in the primaries.

This in spite of being members of a party which has long held a revered place for ignorance in its official party platform–a document which has gone so far as enshrined positions in support of birtherism and the gold standard and making being gay an imprisonable offense.

Enter the TEA Party hardliners, who refuse to believe that the Montana voters aren’t into their particular brand of nonsense.  They’re hoping they can blame Democratic “cross-over voters” for their inability to unseat GOP incumbents in the Montana legislature and for their failure to make a TEA Partier the GOP’s nominee for Congress.

TEA Party candidate Matthew Monforton is leading the charge. Monforton appears to lack faith that Republican voters can tell the difference between someone who’s truly uninformed and someone who’s just faking it to get elected on the GOP ticket.

He says he’ll push a resolution at the Republican Platform Convention on June 21 calling for closed primaries–which would prevent independents, the unaffiliated and anyone but GOP stalwarts from voting in the GOP primary.  Presumably this will help the electoral chances of the truly backward. Either that or Monforton believes that the fewer people who get to weigh in on the merits of the GOP’s candidates, the better. Below are a couple of screenshots of his Facebook posts.

more monforton

monfortonBesides closed primaries, Monforton is also seeking to enshrine more ignorance into the GOP platform itself.  He’s drafted a plank in support of a right to discriminate against LGBT Montanans and prevent local communities from making discrimination against the law.   Montana’s largest cities across the state  are starting to pass such non-discrimination ordinances, and Monforton wants to put a stop to it, quashing local control in favor of keeping discrimination legal.

To those Republicans with long track records of ignorance on this issue, Monforton probably seems a little late to the hoedown. In 2011, TEA Party Rep. Kris Hansen tried to pass a law preventing Montana communities from exercising local control. But the Montana legislature, which in 2011 was controlled by Republicans in both houses, declined to pass the measure, HB 516.

And don’t forget that TEA Party Republicans have been fighting to keep being gay an imprisonable offense for years, although in 2012, they finally lost the battle when the GOP removed its support in its state platform for making it illegal to be gay.

If Montana Republican party really wants to move forward and do better in elections, a closed primary and a return to bigotry and hatred isn’t going to help.  They need to realize that their party is packed with lawmakers whose vision is morally bankrupt–that hatred and punishing the working poor and middle class isn’t a viable ideology.  If they can’t do this, they’re going to continue to repulse more and more people and they will continue to shrivel and shrink and lose.

This obvious fact is unlikely to persuade the likes of Monforton however. A look at his Facebook page shows he’s about as fringe as you can get.  It turns out he’s been helping out a radical national anti-choice activist, the head of an extreme anti-choice organization named Cal Zalstrow, who goes around getting arrested to get attention and free press.   Cal Zastrow brags about helping Operation Rescue, the domestic terrorist group behind abortion clinic bombings, murders, harassment and threats across the U.S.

Here’s a link and screenshot of what you’ll find at the link where you can see Zastrow bragging about supporting the domestic terrorist group.

Here’s a screenshot from Monforton’s Facebook page.

Zastrow says Monforton supported him when he came to Montana, and did his legal work for him.

Cal Zastrow Matthew Monforton

(By the way, disgraced racist Judge Cebull was the judge in that case.)

Monforton wrote a letter to the editor in the Bozeman Chronicle recently denigrating the elected body he himself is seeking to join as a “parliament of whores.” Rick Hill hired the Bozeman Tea Party hot-head Monforton to give him legal advice. Monforton was Rick Hill’s attorney in the matter of the infamous $500,000 donation which probably destroyed Rick Hill’s career.

He 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 was sentenced to the pokey).




TEA Party Republicans Outraged Over Bill to Require Consensual Sex

TEA Party Republicans are none too pleased about a bill proposed in California that would acknowledge that women aren’t consenting to have sex with you just simply by being alive and of a legal age. Senate Bill 967, the Student Safety from Sexual Assault bill ,would mean that silence or not protesting enough is no longer considered sexual consent on public college campuses.  It would mean women aren’t consenting to having sex with you by not saying no, rather they consent by saying yes.  The bill also requires colleges to implement comprehensive prevention programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Most men want to have sex with women who want them back and would welcome rape and domestic violence prevention programs on campus.  But that didn’t stop TEA Party Republican Mike Miller from rushing to his Facebook page to express his outrage over the bill this week.  Miller also posted this article, which grossly distorts the purpose of the bill.  He calls the proposal an unwanted intrusion and “control” over “what happens in the bedroom.”

GOP candidate for legislature Joe Dooling of East Helena couldn’t resist joining in.  He responded that consensual sex “might be a bit of a ‘mood’ killer.”   To be sure, it could be that it is the domestic violence prevention programs that Dooling is calling a “‘mood’ killer.” Dooling doesn’t specify. Here’s the screenshot: Miller Facebook   Miller tweeted his shock at the proposal too, screenshot here. Miller Tweet   He’s claiming to be upset that the law would be “tough to enforce” while omitting that when women are considered to automatically consent to sex at any time, rape laws are tough to enforce. The feminist blog Sasha Said writes:

The [current] law presumes women old enough to legally have sex to exist in a state of perpetual consent. Unless you are able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt–a very high standard–that you did not consent to sex, the law assumes that whatever dude came along and forced himself on you had the right to do so.

The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has called for Miller to be removed from the ballot for political practice violations.   Dooling will face the popular former democratic candidate and former state Rep. Jill Cohenour in the November.

TEA Party Justice Says Punishment for Judge Who Blamed 14-year-old for own rape too harsh

A TEA Party justice on the Montana Supreme Court says that public censure and a month suspension for  Montana judge who said a 14-year-old rape victim appeared “older than her chronological age” is too harsh a penalty.

The Montana Supreme Court last week ordered Judge G. Todd Baugh be publicly censured, as the Judicial Standards Commission had recommended.  They also gave him a 31-day suspension without pay for his misconduct.

All the justices agreed except one.  The Montana Growth Network backed justice Laurie McKinnon thought censure AND a suspension was too harsh.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled that censure wasn’t enough because:

“There is no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them.”

Yet Laurie McKinnon penned a dissent longer than the original ruling.  McKinnon objected to the harsher sentence the Montana Supreme Court handed down.

It was revealed last month by Michael Beckel for the Center for Public Integrity  in a story that Lee Newspapers ran statewide, McKinnon raised only $42,000 for her own campaign, but Montana Growth Network, ran by disgraced Sen. Jason Priest (R-TEA Red Lodge) and Rep. Ed Walker (R-TEA Exxon Mobil), spent over $690,000 on the race (and some attack mailers against any Republicans Priest and Walker thought might support health care for working poor using federal government funds from taxes Montanans are already paying.)

Ed Walker is running the legislative campaign effort for the Montana GOP.

Jason Priest is not running for re-election as he faces charges for parter and family member assault, although it is not known what involvement he still has in the dark money movement. His trial is set for August 12.