Vaughn on Nooney, me on Crumley

by Pete Talbot

Contributors at 4&20, and a few other Montana political blogs, try to maintain some semblance of objectivity — either in the posts themselves or in the comments section. I believe allowing the opposition the opportunity to weigh in goes a long way toward site legitimacy and civil discourse. Otherwise, blogs are just personal rants.

The occasional personal rant, on the other hand, can be quite informative.

Some would call Bill Vaughn’s attacks on Rep. Bill Nooney (R-HD 100) personal. So what? If my representative gave the sand-and-gravel industry the wherewithal to put a gravel pit next to my house, I might get a little personal, too. Check out Vaughn’s latest, entitled, “Denials and Delusions” with the subhead, “The website of Montana Representative Bill Nooney is a place where something besides the truth has beaten out everything else for control.” That sort of says it all. It’s vintage Vaughn and vintage Nooney.

(You might have to scroll down a bit on Vaughn’s site to get to the story. It’s below a fine piece on author James Crumley.)

Remember the name Willis Curdy out there in West Missoula when you step into the ballot booth on Nov. 4.


Others have waxed more poetically than I about the death of James Crumley. (Here’s his obit in the Missoulian, L.A. Times, and N.Y. Times.)

You can still see him down at Charlie B’s, amid the legendary photographs taken by Lee Nye, during Eddie’s Club heyday. That same photo graces the dust covers of Crumley’s first few novels.

In my youth, I fancied myself a writer and Crumley had great influence on my prose. I’d sit on the periphery while the writers and poets like Crumley, Hugo, Ganz and Kittredge would shoot the shit at Eddie’s or East Gate.

Later in life, I’d join Crumley for the occasional drink, etc. Ran into him at the Depot one time and I ordered us a couple of shots of Glenlivet, which I thought at the time was exceptional Scotch.

“Swill,” he said and then proceeded to buy many rounds of Lagavulin, Oban, Glenmorangie, and other single-malts. I don’t recall what we talked about.

I dated his stepdaughter, Mary, for awhile. She had a wild soul, like Jim, and soon tired of me. In those days, she was a stunning redhead.

He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. This mellowed him, somewhat, in his later years. He was a friend to the down-and-out and a mentor to the up-and-coming. He was a good Democrat, too.

Crumley captured the ethos of Montana and the West like few other writers. His writing lives on but his presence at the workshops, watering holes and soirees will be greatly missed.  Condolences to Martha, Mary and the rest of the Crumley clan.

  1. Pogo Possum

    “Some would call Bill Vaughn’s attacks on Rep. Bill Nooney (R-HD 100) personal.”

    Actually, most would call many of Vaughn’s attacks on Nooney sadistic, disgusting and the sign of a deranged person.

    Apparently, Willis Curdy and his apparent campaign manager Bill Vaughn are not afraid to sink to the lowest levels of personal assasination to attack an opponent.

    Vaughn bragged in one of his rants about going to the court house to dig out old divorce papers so he could find out Nooney’s religion then made caustic remarks about it. Since when is it considered acceptable to attack someone’s religious beliefs? When is it acceptable to go after someone’s family? What’s next, creeping into the bushes outside Nooney’s house and peeping in the windows so he can watch his children?

    Another time Vaughn intentionally distorted a property tax issue but never mentioned that someone else owned the property and owed the taxes for the majority of the years he blamed on Nooney. Everyone appeared to pile on until Ayn Rand used the same web site to point out Curdy and a long list of local Democrats were in the same boat.

    Yet again, Vaughn made wild charges against Nooney’s Hi-Noon Foundation and the people who run it. If I remember correctly Pete, you thought this was out of line after you or someone else did some simple investigation. Even the words you chose in this post reveal you think Vaughn is crossing a severe ethical line.

    Apparently Curdy feels that personal assasination is the only way to win this election. I doubt Gary Brown would have been running this type of campaign.

  2. Pogo Possum

    On another note, Pete, I appreciated reading your personal comments on the passing of James Crumley. He was a one of a kind individual and a great talent.

    You might find it interesting that another one of Crumley’s hold haunts, The Depot, put of a picture of him on the wall by his favorite corner chair at the bar with a few Crumley quotes. Check it out the next time you are there.

  3. petetalbot

    Pogo, I appreciate the info on Crumley’s photo at the Depot. I’ll check it out.

    I have to disagree, for the most part, on your comment about Vaughn, Nooney and Curdy.

    Except for Vaughn’s occasional column on the subject, he has no role in the Curdy campaign. I know this for a fact. Vaughn just hates Nooney, mainly for Nooney’s support of gravel pits in people’s back yards (namely Vaughn’s back yard).

    While I agree that some of Vaughn’s criticism is over the top, many of the points he brings up are valid, particularly Nooney’s far-right voting record.

    Vaughn’s website is not a political forum and he doesn’t allow comments. Who knows, some of his attacks on Nooney may come back to bite him in the butt. However, it’s Vaughn’s personal site to do with as he pleases.

    You call Vaughn deranged, which isn’t very nice, although Vaughn himself might agree with you. You should read some of the stuff that people write about me! When you enter into the world of politics or blogging, prepare yourself for some mud.

  4. Pogo Possum

    One thing we can agree on Pete is that there have been times when you have been used as a whipping boy on some issues and unfairly maligned. Just because one belongs to an organization does not mean he/she is responsible for the actions of all its members.

  5. may not always agree with Bill Nooney on all issues – in fact hardly ever but he is generous when it comes to giving to deserving charities in town. he doesn’t tout what he does but he does make a difference in the lives of the very poor in missoula. when you start vilifying someone with their personal lives, marriages, religion etc. that is very much over the top. I do not know Bill Vaugn or Bill Nooney at all and have no axe to grind, but as an independent progressive I have to say I am embarrassed to see people act this way toward any other human being. it seems immature and petulant and does not reflect well at all on the assailant. there’s being small and there’s being big about things and Bill Vaugn looks pretty small here.

  6. petetalbot

    There’s no question that the Hi Noon Foundation is generous toward the organizations that help the poor in Missoula. I just wish Bill Nooney would vote for bills that would help the poor (and the middle class) when he’s up in Helena.

  7. Pronghorn

    “I just wish Bill Nooney would vote for bills that would help the poor (and the middle class) when he’s up in Helena.” Amen to that. Instead, he votes to help horseracing…and he’s a racehorse owner, according to past newspaper reports. (HB390, Telephone account wagering on internet horse racing)

    I agree that the “fat-cat Mormon” remark of yore was inappropriate. If Nooney is running on Republican family values, then perhaps the number of divorces reflects some hypocrisy, but personal stuff like that is best left alone. Hey, who needs to dig dirt when you’ve got this, courtesy of the Montana Environmental Information Center (which gave him a 10% rating for 2007):

    -voted to make MEPA purely advisory
    -voted to allow continued disposal of coal combustion waste without permit
    -voted against requiring the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    -voted to allow radioactive waste disposal in MT

    Click to access MEIC_2007_Leg_Score.pdf

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