A walk on the mild side

by Pete Talbot

Since I couldn’t get in to see my dentist about a wicked toothache, I threw on my best khakis, popped a hydrocodone and headed over to the Montana Republican state convention.

My Datsun pick up with ‘Buy Back the Dams’ and ‘Jon Tester’ bumper stickers was conspicuous in the Hilton Garden Inn parking lot amidst the Ron Paul signs and bumper stickers adorning the other vehicles.

And Ron Paul might be the biggest news to come out of this convention. He’s supposed to speak to the party faithful Friday night (along with Conrad Burns!). No sign of John McCain.

There also appear to be a number of folks who want to go to the national convention as Ron Paul delegates even though Dr. Paul has withdrawn from the race. And there’s talk that the Paulites might want to tweak the Montana GOP platform to conform to their policy desires.

But all-in-all it was a pretty staid affair on Thursday, especially compared to the Democratic convention held in Helena two weeks ago. There, a couple hundred people were packed into the basement of Jorgensons, vying for delegate seats to Denver on behalf of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

It was mayhem in Helena but as Lee newspapers state bureau reporter Chuck Johnson commented to me, the Republicans run a little tighter ship, with things actually happening on schedule and where they’re supposed to. Surprise, surprise.

Plus, the Hilton Garden Inn out on Reserve Street has all the ambiance of a government hospital (my take, not Chuck’s). I mean, if you’re going to hold a convention in Missoula, why not hold it downtown so visitors can get some late night Cajun food at Charlie B’s, or listen to some music at the Top Hat or Union Club. Hell, they might as well hold their convention in Peoria or Trenton.

Not much else report. The hydrocodone’s wearing off. I’ll stop by the ‘Inn’ later tonight or maybe tomorrow. One thing I did notice, however — Plum Creek is a Gold Level Sponsor of the convention.

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  1. goof houlihan

    “The Hilton Garden Inn out on Reserve Street has all the ambiance of a government hospital (my take, not Chuck’s). I mean, if you’re going to hold a convention in Missoula, why not hold it downtown…”

    Well, Pete, if you’d like a non Missoulian point of view, the rooms are at the HGI are great, for one thing. I have yet to find a hotel downtown that can compare.

    Secondly, the panhandlers and the bums and the sidewalk pukers don’t hang out at the Garden Inn.

    I would hardly pick Jorgensons over the Garden Inn, either.

    It’s Generica, sure. One of the problems that both Bozeman and Missoula have is that the modern comfortable motels are out in Generica. Nobody’s gonna pick the Lewis and Clark Motel on Main Street over the Hilton Garden inn. It takes some serious political risk to make that change. The Commission narrowly approved a six story modern hotel right on Main Street, with lots of opposition to height and “ambience”. It was the right thing to do: to have a big hotel for conventions and university guests right downtown. Got a few million in capital you’d like to risk?

  2. Knows

    Plum Creek is a Gold Level sponsor?

    No surprises. Who has a whole lot to benefit from with a Republican controlled Land Board? Needing all those clarified easements from the State?

    Plum Creek Timber.

  3. petetalbot

    From goof: “Secondly, the panhandlers and the bums and the sidewalk pukers don’t hang out at the Garden Inn.”

    I once saw a homeless person in Bozeman (goof’s stomping ground). That was shortly before the poor, lost transient was run out of town on a rail.

    It’s true, though, Reserve St. doesn’t get the wealth of transients and homeless that downtown gets — I guess they’re just not welcome at WalMart, Costco, Best Buy, Target, Home Depot … or the Hilton Garden Inn.

    Still, I’ll take downtown to Reserve St. any day.

  4. goof houlihan

    He was probably another UM graduate who’d lost his job at McDonalds, and we just made sure he had a ticket back, Pete.

  1. 1 A walk on the mild side II « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] It’s a gorgeous sunset to the west from the Holiday Garden Inn parking lot. I’ve donned another clean oxford shirt and I’m back at the Montana Republican state convention, as promised. […]




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