Category Archives: Montana GOP

Fact Checking GOP Hypocrisy on Federal Funds

The Montana legislature has proven itself to be more concerned with TEA Party orthodoxy than with our well-being, health, and economy. One of the most glaring examples of this is how they rejected free medcaid money for the Medicaid expansion–in a state where 16 percent of the population is still uninsured–in a state with the lowest percentage of employer-sponsored health care in the U.S.

When Montana TEA partiers and legislators try to explain why they refused money to pay for 100% of the health care benefits for 70,000 working poor Montanans for three years and never less than 90% of this cost, they try to make it sound like we’re taking on a “long-term liability” because they claim the feds will refuse to pay their. Even thought this share is mandated by federal law–and even though this has never happened with Medicaid which has been operating in Montana since 1965. They say that accepting Montana’s share of this federal money makes us “lemmings about to jump off the cliff” and demand “belt tightening” to end the “tyranny” of federal funding.

Yet there is a mind-numbing level of hypocrisy on this front. It seems that some federal dollars are tyrannical lemming bait and others are not. Montanans welcome billions in federal funds that build highways, bring c130s and f15s to Great Falls, fight fires, clean up asbestos in Libby, and of course hand out  farm subsidies for Montana legislators. But when it comes to providing affordable health coverage to our working poor neighbors, some lawmakers want to draw the line. Why? Because they believe that federal funding for health coverage is somehow different than funding for concrete slabs, cleanup crews, or wildfire fighting camps. Of course, there isn’t any difference between these federal funds and the supposed dependencies they create—except in what the money pays for, and who it helps.

When Montana obstructionists refuse to accept these federal funds, they are saying that Montanan’s federal tax dollars won’t be put to work to help Montanans but will be instead sent to other states. The money won’t be circulating in Montana’s economy at all. This is beyond hypocritical: it’s just stupid. If a state rejects federal funding, that money is reallocated to other states. That’s how it works – those funds don’t magically go pay down federal debts. In fact the Republican controlled house refused to even move a bill to change this out of committee, so you know this is true, and its not going to be any different.

Next time you here someone trying to make the anti-federal money argument to hurt working poor families, feel free to set them straight.



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.