On Mike Lange’s outburst (parental discretion advised)

by Jay Stevens

Remember way back when there was a little debate about civility here in the Montana blogosphere? You remember! First there was criticism of the left bloggers’ use of a nickname for the Montana Legislature’s Speaker of the House, in which our antics were compared to racism. Apparently our constant mocking of Sales irked some, despite the Speaker’s bitter partisan rhetoric and promises to obstruct this year’s session. (If nothing else, he at least follows through on his promises, eh?)

And then came Corey Stapleton’s criticism of the blogs, calling us “angry, unaccountable, anonymous media.” Ignoring for a moment how untrue those characterizations are – are any of us left bloggers anonymous or free from libel laws? – and ignoring that Stapleton’s attack was a smoke screen for his racist remarks – the lawmaker’s remarks dislodged some self-introspection from bloggers. We abandoned the nicknames, this blog dropped its “creep” category, and a modicum of civility descended.

And now comes this expletive-laden rant from House Majority Leader Michael Lange, in which he tells Governor Schweitzer to use his ambition as an anal suppository, implies the Governor’s mother is a dog, refuses to offer feces to the Governor, implied the Governor offered Lange financial compensation for his intent to engage in sexual congress with the citizens of Montana, and frequently mentions his urine – all in terms a bit more vulgar, of course. The scene was the Republican Caucus, and Lange’s vituperative obscenities were roundly applauded by House Republicans, who chanted “Stay till May! Stay till May!”

The odd thing is that this outburst came in reaction to Schweitzer’s offer of compromise on some of the spending and tax bills that has bogged down the Legislature:

At the caucus, Lange said Schweitzer asked him at an early morning meeting if he would vote for House Bill 833, a 14-bill Democratic omnibus tax relief and loophole-closing package, in exchange for Democrats supporting a version of Lange’s House Bill 678, a school funding and property tax relief plan.

Such horse-trading over bills is commonplace during the closing days of any Legislature.

“The governor can go straight to h*ll as far as I’m concerned for trying to do that,” Lange told his caucus.

It’s not surprising that this outburst had provoked responses from leftys — we’ve been pointing at the House Republicans’ angry and divisive rhetoric since day one – but it should alarm the state GOP that Lange’s puerile grandstanding has upset some Republican lawmakers, not to mention rightys, like Jack the Blogger:

Is this another embarrassing and political harmful moment for the Republicans? Yes.

My Mom and Dad always said that, “Cursing at someone and calling people names make you sound really stupid and uneducated.”

You know, Mom and Dad were right and this was a classic example.

Apparently, some of Lange’s followers in the caucus applauded him for his speech. They’ve surely been locked up in Helena for too long drinking the partisan Kool-Aid and have lost touch with what they were sent there to do.

It was also supposedly caught on tape by a news crew. I smell a campaign commercial!

As The Western Word (TWW) has contended before, this whole session has been nothing but one big three-ring circus (Governor, Senate, House). Montanans are sick of it. Please just go home on Friday. Pick up your toys and go home. Please.

So let’s put this whole blogs-are-angry-and-uncivil thing to a rest, okay? Apparently we’re the most reasonable and civil folks in Montana politics today.

  1. Big Swede

    Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.

  2. They got it on film. Makes for nice campaign ads. That’s going to go a long way towards retiring Lange and taking his party down with him. He appeared irrational, like he’d been hitting the bars and not getting enough shuteye.

    Republicans control only one body, and not the governorship, and like clueless politicians that they are set out to get everything they wanted. It’s some of the worst politics I’ve ever seen. They really don’t know how to play the game.

  3. ok, its not funny, but it is. Great translation of Lange’s rant.

  4. Bonny

    It sounds to me like Wulfgar has starting writing speeches for Mike Lange. Of course, obscenities like calling our Democrats “communists” and “socialists” are a little over the top and certainly nothing we want our children to hear.

  5. I guess for me the worst of it is that his lines were met with applause. To my untutored ears, it even sounded like raucous applause. It seems to me that anyone with even a passing interest in Montana, the rule of law, and/or normal human discourse would have sat in embarrassed silence, left the room, or pulled the guy off with a shepherd’s crook.

    But in a country where the vice president of the United States can tell a U.S. senator to go f*** himself on the floor of the Senate, I guess we shouldn’t expect more of our provincial legislators.

  6. It sounds to me like Wulfgar has starting writing speeches for Mike Lange.

    Well, to defend Wulfgar! from association with Mike Lange, I’ve always said that different context demands different language. People don’t speak the same way at 2am in an all-night bowling alley after a couple of pitchers the same way they speak in church the next morning, nor do we expect them to.

    Remember, Wulfgar! is a blogger, an opt-in commentator. That is, readers have to seek him out. A voluntary interaction. He’s not representative of anything other than his own opinions.

    Mike Lange is the only House Republican majority leader we have, and he represents not only the constituents he serves, but House Republicans, the Legislature, and the state of Montana. Plus, he’s serving in an institution with certain traditions, and we expect him to honor his seat.

    That he doesn’t get it — or doesn’t have the self-control — to me represents why the Legislature is malfunctioning.

    I’ve met Wulfgar! There’s no way he says something like this if he were a House majority leader. So one can only imagine what Lange would sound like if he were a blogger and free from all restraints of etiquette…

  7. cass

    Wow, Lange’s getting love back at NRO for this.

    Of course, they think we’re all cowboys out here anyway.

  8. Mr. Natural

    1. “I’ve always said that different context demands different language.” –Oh really? Sort of like having a multiple personality disorder? What’s the context Wuflgar is speaking in, the potty-mouth-leftwing-political context?

    2. “Mike Lange is the only House Republican majority leader we have…” –What’s this “we” stuff? You’re pretending Mike Lange represents you? Whatever you are trying to insinuate, he belongs to my party and not yours, and I am damn proud of him for calling a spade a spade.

    3. “I’ve met Wulfgar! There’s no way he says something like this if he were a House majority leader.” –I don’t think “we” need to worry about Wulfgar getting elected to anything.

    4. The “Legislature is malfunctioning” because Mike Lang ripped “our” buffoonish governor? Go on.

    Get off your high horse, Jay. And by the way, your use of f***ing asterisks whenever you swear in this blog is transparently fraudulent.

  9. 1. Ow, Mr. Natural! That’s some pent-up aggression! If, indeed, you think using different language in different situations is the result of a “mulitple personality disorder,” I hope you don’t have children! Story time would be downright scary with you around.

    2. You’re also arguing that Mike Lange should represent only Republican Montanans? That he should devote all his energies and influence to create laws and a budget that benefits only Republicans? Ouch! All the more reason Republicans should never be elected! Apparently they don’t understand government!

    3. Wulfgar!’s got twice the charm as “your” House majority leader. If that’s a detriment to his getting elected, shame on the voters for preferring an *sshat.

    4. If Lange responds to an offer of compromise with an invective-unhinged-off-color rant like this, then, yes, as House Majority leader, it’s quite obvious he’s not skilled enough politically to navigate us out of this budget morass.

    You can call it a “high horse,” but I prefer the word, “principles.”

    As for the asterisks, they’re for Internet work filters. But you can count ’em. How many asterisks do have I have in, say, the last month? I bet not as many as Lange needed in one three-minute speech. But I’m not the symbolic representative of Montana’s Republican party.

  10. Thank you, very very much, for the defense, Jay. Simply put, you point to the truth. There is always a time, a place and a reason for anger. Anger itself remains profane. I expect that I’ve always found reason and argument for my anger. Mike Lange … not so much. Not so very much at all.

  11. Mr. Natural

    Touchstone said, “If, indeed, you think using different language in different situations is the result of a “multiple personality disorder,” I hope you don’t have children! Story time would be downright scary with you around.”

    On careful reflection, and after doing a little research, I have concluded that you are correct in your assertion. It seems that Hillary Clinton uses at least two, and possibly as many as four, different speaking voices, each with their own peculiar lexicon. Whether she thinks her speeches are “story time” and her listeners are children is not clear to me, however.

  12. Oh, did Hilary tell someone to “stuff it up your *ss?”

    BTW, she’s on your side. I don’t fancy corporate shills.

  1. 1 "Honor" and "dignity" according to Mike Lange « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] is that a surprise from lawmakers whose supporters say things like this? “Mike Lange is the only House Republican majority leader we have…” […]

  2. 2 Links... « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Legislature’s inability to agree on a budget. While some of the right’s most ardent supporters deny it, you legislators represent us all. Git ‘er done, […]

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