This weekend, local Republicans used speeches, displays, and fundraising gimmicks to showcase the state of the current state of the Montana GOP. Anyone who stops to consider the Montana GOP’s 2012 Convention can only find the party a complete embarrassment.
First, there was the raffle to win a gun, duct tape, and a shovel. Then there was “the bullet-“pocked” outhouse,” that was labeled as President Obama’s presidential library. Lee Newspapers reported that these “might have pushed the envelope” for what’s acceptable to regular people. For Republican candidates, these didn’t seem to be a problem.
Then, things really got weird. The Missoulian reported that Rick Hill and his wife had wanted to ride into the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula on their motorcycles.
“The lawyers and the fire department said we couldn’t,” Hill told a lunchtime gathering Saturday at the Montana Republican convention.
“Motorcycles are a metaphor for freedom. … The people who would take away our freedom do it by introducing the concepts of risk and fear.”
Put aside for a moment the fact that a retired insurance executive and his wife trying to ride into the GOP convention of blue hairs only makes the GOP’s gubernatorial aspirations more ridiculous.
Rick Hill is clearly trying to tie the fact that he was prevented from embarrassing himself thusly to his rusty belief that it is government regulation that is the enemy of freedom. But the metaphor doesn’t work. Hill’s shame was blocked by the private business at which the event occurred–and the insurance policies for the GOP convention and hotel. The insurance concept of “risk” is one with which Hill is intimately familiar. As an insurance executive he made his living preventing people from taking it–and making a hefty profit doing so.
As an aside, the Missoulian also reported that the bike Hill had wanted to ride was a Harley, though Hill is more well known as a BMW rider. He has been frequenter of BMW motorcycle forums, as these screenshots below indicate.
These are forums where people look to meet up with other BMW riders:
Hill’s BMW is the bike he seems to prefer, as it is the one he takes with him to California for his annual four month vacation to the state.
It’s also a place where BMW owners can discuss their bikes.
Finally, the Convention planners made a poor choice for the keynote speaker in Newt Gingrich, whose presence only highlighted the problems with the candidates at the top of the GOP ticket and did not fit the bill very well, as I wrote about when the choice was first announced.
Besides Gingrich’s personal foibles, other prominent Republicans have pointed out that Gingrich humiliated the party when he was House speaker, citing Gingrich’s $300,000 payment to resolve allegations of giving misleading information in a 1997 ethics probe.
When Hill entered the House of Representatives, Gingrich served as Speaker, and they reportedly were close while serving together. In fact, Hill and Gingrich were so close that Hill was accused during his 1997 re-election campaign of selling his vote to make Newt Gingrich Speaker of the House again after Gingrich’s Committee donated $10,000 to Hill’s campaign. And, Congressman Hill voted for Newt Gingrich’s re-election for Speaker of the House despite accusations that Gingrich had made false and misleading statements to the House Ethics Committee in 1997.
When Speaker Gingrich decided to step down from his position while embattled by controversy in November 1998, Hill told the Associated Press: “It’s sad to see a friend step down.”