GOP caucus comments

by Pete Talbot

Where’s Denny Rehberg?

The Montana Republican caucuses are the biggest thing that the state GOP has going for it these days and Rep. Rehberg is missing. Earlier, Denny was not-so-subtlety pushing Rudy Giuliani. Whoops! Denny also wrote off John McCain as having no chance. Whoops again! And here I thought he was politically savvy. I wonder which way Denny is leaning now.

Bad choice

Conrad Burns is lending his name to the McCain campaign, which is too bad. Except for his unwavering support of the Iraq War, I think McCain is the most thoughtful of all the Republican candidates. Having Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger initially heading up the McCain effort spoke to McCain’s centrism. Having Conrad heading up his campaign tells me that maybe McCain isn’t so thoughtful after all.

Ron Paul for President

So who’s it going to be in Missoula County? An informal poll by Carol at Missoulapolis has Ron Paul with 80% of the vote! Now I don’t think RP is going to win it here in Missoula because, remember, it’s the vetted party faithful doing the voting. What the Missoulapolis poll does tell me is that there are computer savvy, hardcore, grassroots supporters for RP and he’ll have a presence in the outcome.

Anyway, here are my predictions for the Missoula County GOP caucus:

Romney 29%
McCain 28%
Paul 23%
Huckabee 18%
Other 2%

4&20 contributor Rebecca Schmitz and I will attempt to update our valued readers with results from the caucus.

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  1. I wonder if Carol will buy us a drink?

  2. MTSentinel

    Where’s Denny? He’s right where Montana needs him to be. The race is close, and he hasn’t endorsed anyone. An endorsement is great as long as your guy/gal wins, but if they don’t an endorsement can hurt later. Denny’s playing it smart for Montana; avoiding the temptation to choose too soon (a temptation that the media cannot pass up, much to their own embarrassment). Denny said that a Republican candidate was trustworthy – which is certainly not an endorsement unless you really want it to be so you can levy unjustified partisan attacks.

    As for McCain, as a leftist I don’t expect you to appreciate how much GuvBS’s lapdog is disliked among conservatives and Republicans. You Dems keep telling him to join your party, and in everything but name he has. Believe me, most Republicans I know would be happy if he stopped calling himself a Republican; we have plenty of Conservatives – we don’t need his kind of partisanship. You also underestimate how popular Burns is among conservatives. Even after all the lies you Dems threw at him in 2006, Tester won by a tiny margin. Now that he’s been cleared, his stock is increasing and the Republican Giant is awakening. That’s why you Dems are having such a hard time finding someone to run against Denny. McCain’s problem isn’t that he ditched BS’s lapdog; it’s that he demonstrated how little he knew about Montana by recruiting him in the first place.

    As for Ron Paul, there’s no doubt that he’s got a pretty big following in Montana. I’ll be interested to see how he fares. However, Carol’s poll should by no means be used as a cross section of Missoula or Montana. There are no restrictions on who can vote and as you’ll find if you post anything with “Ron Paul” in the headline, there are plenty of folks all over the place who have Google Alerts set up to notify them of any blog post about their Messiah; and they come out in droves.

    Your post makes a lot of sense if you read it from the perspective of a Democrat, but it also demonstrates very little insight into the mind of a Montana conservative. And it’s that insight that will matter today.

  3. They’re only “lies” if what we said is untrue. Burns has not been “cleared.” He did the things he did, and no one denies it. Good luck sleeping in that bed.

  4. MTSentinel

    “He did the things he did, and no one denies it.”

    What does that even mean Jay? You’re grip of the English language has been slipping lately – at least if you are to be judged by the ability to make a coherent argument.

    But you are right, he wasn’t cleared because there was never anything to clear. Not that it matters because the point of my post was that it doesn’t matter what someone like you thinks you know; Republicans I have talked to feel like the Democrats lied to them, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters for the sake of my argument.

  5. I’ll agree with you on the Ron Paul vote, MTSentinel. Just because he’s winning Carol’s poll doesn’t mean anything other than his supporters across the country found her site. She’s getting the Paulbots.

    As for the rest, well, nothing you diehard Republicans say will ever change the fact Conrad Burns accepted money from Jack Abramoff’s clients to change his vote on a number of issues. Nothing will ever, ever change the fact that, after receiving money, Burns voted to support sweatshop labor in the Northern Marianas Islands. His “stock” is increasing only among people with a high tolerance for the output of stock–bullshit.

    When you eagerly accept the bullshit of the local boy, you’ll accept anyone’s lies. Which is why, I suppose, you guys are putting up with such terrible presidential candidates this year. I’ve got my own words to describe one or two of them. But since they’re completely un-PC, I’ll use Pogie’s description:

    a serial flip flopper with no political convictions, a unrepentant war hawk who promises hundreds of years more in Iraq, or someone who doesn’t believe in science. Oh, and someone who doesn’t think we should have interstate highways.

  6. petetalbot

    So Mt. Sentinel, all my liberal rhetoric aside, what did you think of my prediction for the Missoula County caucus? Do I have my finger on the local conservative pulse? A little side bet, maybe?

  7. goof houlihan

    I don’t know Missoula county. But statewide, I think Paul will do better than that.

  8. MTSentinel: he took money from lobbyists, changed his vote afterwards, was in Abramoff’s pocket, larded budgets with pork, and rubber stamped all of the president’s worst policies.

    There, was that clear enough for you?

    Those are the facts. You and your “ideologically pure” brethren can clap each other on the backs and hold up Burns as the paragon of virtue, but that doesn’t wash the dirt off of his — and your — hands.

  9. MTSentinel

    he took money from lobbyists, changed his vote afterwards, was in Abramoff’s pocket, larded budgets with pork, and rubber stamped all of the president’s worst policies.

    He really did that changing vote for money thing? Because I’m pretty sure that’s illegal and if it happened we can expect him to go to jail or at least have some charges filed against him. When’s that going to happen Jay?

    The rest of that is policy disagreement, which won’t win you any converts from the right.

    petetalbot, I have no idea what to expect in Missoula – or Montana for that matter. Carol over at Missoulapolis is calling it for Paul and I think she’s got a point – I’m not sure anyone else invokes any excitement. But I’d go Mitt over McCain – although my guess isn’t that scientific. There are a lot of variables; too many to predict.

  10. Jim Lang

    Well, if McCain does win the GOP nomination, hopefully Burns will be a highly visible campaigner for him.

  11. He really did that changing vote for money thing? Because I’m pretty sure that’s illegal and if it happened we can expect him to go to jail or at least have some charges filed against him. When’s that going to happen Jay?

    He changed at least two votes we know of after receiving a campaign donation. It could be coincidence. It could be that he voted against a bill that would have ended sex slavery on principle.

    It’s pretty telling that, not only do you tolerate someone like Burns, you laud him. And people wonder why our country is facing so many problems…

  12. goof houlihan

    You called it, Sentinel.

  13. goof houlihan

    Candidate Percent

    Huckabee 15.03%

    Keyes 0.12%

    McCain 21.96%

    Paul 24.54%

    Romney 38.34%

    Didn’t Ralph Nadir (yes) get the highest percentage in Montana? Now Ron Paul comes in second. We are an independent bunch.

  14. “I wonder if Carol will buy us a drink?”

    I had to borrow $10 from DH just to get a drink myself, Rebecca.

    My poll wasn’t meant to be scientific, of course. I also did a straw poll in my precinct and they were mostly undecided. I think the early votes were local then the rest piled on.

    I was surprised by how few McCain got here. I think it’s more the influence of Sean Hannity, Rush et al than anything else.

  15. We were surprised too. Apparently the united message of talk radio reached its audience–which, in and of itself, is not a surprise.

    It was fun to see how excited the Paul kids were last night. Now if only Republicans can hold on to their enthusiasm and their votes in November.

  1. 1 In the rearview mirror: Missoula’s GOP caucus « 4&20 blackbirds

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