James Pendleton breaks “the cone of silence”

by Jay Stevens 

Senator Conrad Burns’ communications director, James Pendleton, has written an excellent and sincere personal concession-post. In it, Pendleton praises Conrad Burns’ service to the country and state the past 18 years, and comments on the man’s character and legislative history.

Pendleton also congratulates Jon on the victory, but laces his praise with a warning:

There are rightful celebrations this week among his supporters, and I can’t say I blame them. I would offer a word of caution though. This wasn’t like winning the Superbowl. This is more like having a baby. A celebratory event for sure, but the work is just beginning. To quote Conrad, it’s going to be like drinking from a firehose as he gets his legs under him. He has a good man in his stable in Bill Lombardi, with qualified Senate experience and a thoughtful and articulate way about him. I hope Jon draws from that. I also hope that he is able to maintain his intention of making the Senate look a little bit more like Montana. We would all benefit from that.

That said, he’s got a daunting task ahead of him, as the problem isn’t the individual member, but the collective machinery that is Congress. The institutionalized mentality of superegos, fiefdoms, and inherent laziness that panders to the extremes; inevitably creating milquetoast legislation that accomplishes little other than to expand government, abdicate responsibility, and waste tax dollars. It’s going to take more than a Mr. Smith to change this Washington, and he’s going to need to make some converts on both sides of the aisle, and both sides of the chamber in order to accomplish real change.

First off, I wish this had been the tone coming from the Burns’ camp all election cycle. It is thoughtful and reasoned and meaningful. I don’t want to kick any dogs while they’re down, but I will say Burns’ other communications man was not so…communicative. Certainly Tester’s camp had its share of blowhard statements: there’s blame enough to go around for the negative tenor of the election.

I guess I’m saying I found Pendleton’s piece moving. It’s an excellent tribute to, in my opinion, a compromised man, and tinged with the fire of experience in its blunt warning to Tester and his supporters.

Give it a well-deserved read.

Thanks, James.

  1. jaxie

    James’ words are incrediby eloquent, thoughtful and gracious. I would guess that with his writing skills and background that he will have no difficulty in finding a good job quickly.

    May God speed, Mr. Pendleton. The world would be a better place if we all could show such grace in the face of defeat, thank you.

  2. Bill Cooper

    One is part of two worlds when in elective office, the pure world of light and the dirty world of the rough and tumble of the legislative process. Compromise is, in and of itself, a dirty business; and compromise is the life-blood of governing.

    One can do this while staying true to the higher goals for which one was elected. I am sure Sen. Tester knows this.

    One does need the wisdom of the snake in order to deal with the snakes. I am sure also that Jon will manage very very well; but these gracious words are most welcome.


  3. Bob Brigham

    As for the ‘other’ guy, Jason Klindt might be the dumbest person to ever set foot in Montana.

    A Republican would have to be a fool to ever hire him.

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