Archive for February 6th, 2008

by Pete Talbot

I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Actually my predictions yesterday for Missoula County’s GOP caucus were pretty close to how the rest of Montana Republicans voted but I was way off for Missoula.

The two biggest surprises: McCain gets spanked and Ron Paul surges. (Jay has some good analysis here.)

Some comments of late at 4&20 hint at the fact that Sen. McCain misread Montana horribly – that by initially allowing Lt. Gov. Bohlinger to head up his campaign, he lost any hope of getting the conservative vote – and Montana Republicans tend to be a conservative bunch.

McCain’s last minute switch to Conrad Burns as campaign chair was too little, too late.

I thought Ron Paul would do well in Montana. I just didn’t think he’d do that well: first place in Missoula and second place statewide.

Lots of fresh-faced youths at the Doubletree last night waving Ron Paul signs. Is this the future of the Montana GOP?

4&20 co-contributor Rebecca, who is braver than I am, accepted a drink invitation with Missoula’s Republican leadership after the caucus was over. She convinced me to tag along. Our hosts (Carol from over at Missoulapolis was one of them) were gracious but guarded. We were offered some dandy, well-aged, single-malt Scotch, which helped put everyone at ease.

These local Republican leaders were celebrating a well-organized caucus where most everything ran smoothly. There seemed to be a mix of emotions, however. They were happy that so many young people showed up but concerned about the direction these youths were taking.

Let’s face it, Ron Paul is not going to get the Republican nomination at this summer’s convention in the Twin Cities. Will he then switch parties and run on a separate ballot line or will he ask his supporters to back another Republican candidate? And even if Paul throws his support to … Huckabee, Romney, McCain? … will the fresh-faced youths follow his lead? Will they stay with the party? Will they maintain their enthusiasm?

Time will tell, but there are cracks in the Republican Party’s façade. Is it the party of anti-government Libertarians, Christian evangelicals, business entrepreneurs or Iraq War hawks? I imagine that Republican Party leadership will trot out the old Democratic Party maxim: “It’s a big tent.” We shall see if it’s big enough to hold this four-ring circus.

Lord knows, I’ve seen the Democratic Party wrestle with its identity over the years. For me, as an observer, it’s fun to watch the other side of the aisle try to deal with its identity crisis, and also figure out what the hell to do about Ron Paul.

Update: Cece over at Montana Netroots has a good take on the possibilities facing the Montana Republican delegation when they show up at the convention this summer.  

by Rebecca Schmitz

If you want to know why I will never vote for a Republican, or why I loathe the Religious Right, you don’t need to look any farther than this:

The Rev. Harris Himes, pastor of Big Sky Christian Center in Hamilton, said this election was an important one for Christians. Since Republicans support the sanctity of life and marriage and “recognizing that any Democrat is entirely against those principles, there’s no way any Christian can sit out this election,” Himes said. By not supporting Republicans in the election, “you will do something absolutely that God abhors,” he said.

Pardon my French, but how has this asshat been able to keep his tax-exempt status for so long? Does anyone want to start taking a drive down the Bitterroot on Sunday mornings with me to document Himes’ political activity within the walls of the Big Sky Christian Republican Center?

Maybe we could pick up some brioche and coffee from Le Petit on the way.  Lord knows I’ll need the calming influence of delicious pastry just to sit through the sermon.

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