Bowen Greenwood, the head of the Montana GOP, emailed party faithful that he will be running as a write-in candidate for clerk of the Supreme Court this fall.
In the email, Greenwood wrote:
I am first and foremost a follower and friend of a guy named Jesus of Nazareth. Nothing else even comes close.
Aware that his missive would be picked up and transmitted around, Greenwood clearly is keen on sending a message to the holy rollers in his party that he is One Of Them.
As this relates to the governor’s race, it’s been previously assumed that Greenwood is not a Rick Hill supporter, because of Hill’s lack of right-wing bona fides, Greenwood’s appearance in a Ken Miller video, and Greenwood’s support of Rick Santorum. I would say the email supports the notion that Greenwood likes the Miller candidacy.
And recently Miller has become more direct, himself, about highlighting his own status as “A Christian,” on his website and in debates.
Greenwood might also be worried about a religious insurrection within his party, and wants to appear to be a religious nut so that he can keep his job when the wheels come off in November. Right now the Montana GOP is run mostly by Helena insiders, but is staring at the real possibility of twelve straight years of Democratic control of the Governor’s office and 16 straight years controlling the Attorney General’s office and Land Board. If this comes true in November, there will be a Republican Revolution, but not the kind that the GOP enjoys celebrating, unless you happen to be one of the ecstatic rioting Tea Partiers holding the pitchfork that is hoisting the asses of Greenwood and Will Deschamp, the Party Chairman).
And there is another more subtle thing going on here.
Right-wingers have been led into a self-reinforcing delusion, ever since McCain lost to Obama, that if a moderate Republican candidate loses an election it’s because the candidate made the mistake of trying to appeal to independent voters. Be a true right-wing conservative and you will always win, say Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to their daily audiences of twenty million foaming, gullible ignoramuses.
This thinking allows right-wing leaders and shouters to have their cake and eat it. They can say “I told you so” if and when candidates like Mitt Romney or Rick Hill get defeated. And the purveyors of this Theory of Conservative Purity themselves become more relevant in the off-season. Their followers, meanwhile, can take solace in the fact that arch conservatism is The Way, and that Republicans can only lose elections for failing to follow The Way. This is exactly the bed that has been made for Mitt Romney, by Santorum and Gingrich, Beck and Limbaugh. When Romney loses, they’ll say its because a false conservative, not a true one, was nominated.
For a Party activist like Greenwood, this delusion has a more practical application: it sets up a good position from which to dump on a GOP candidate who loses.
It’s an easy out. For when Rick Hill loses (and he will be the nominee, and will lose to Bullock), Greenwood will signal to the base of his party, “I told you so.” This, even though Ken Miller would himself strand no real chance of winning a general election. But how could this be disproven if Miller never gets the nomination? It can’t, and that’s the beauty of it.
The entire Greenwood email is pasted below the fold.