by Pete Talbot


Keep Montana Beautiful. It’s one week past the election and time to take those signs down: small yard signs, big signs and really big signs (billboards). I realize that you buy billboards by the month, so Elaine Sollie Herman and the rest of Montana are stuck with those pink-and-black billboards that dot the Montana landscape until Dec. 1. But the rest of you can pull your signs — just save those wickets and that rebar for the next election.


I saw a couple of blogs, one left and one right, calling for a house cleaning of the Montana Republican Party. One comment said that state party chairman Erik Iverson should resign after the party took a drubbing in most of the big-ticket races.

Ain’t gonna happen.

IMHO Iverson did a decent job. Sure, he would have liked a couple of the “Tier B’s” and maybe another PSC seat. Considering the political climate and a fractured Montana Republican Party (Ron Paul, Roger Koopman, et al.) he did well to, basically, hold the Montana House and make significant gains in the Montana Senate.

There was a lot of head scratching over Montana’s mostly Democratic wins in the up-ticket races while handing the Montana Senate a Republican victory. In an interview with the Lee state Bureau, Iverson said Republicans spent $750,000 in targeting 21 legislative races they thought they could win, and “it paid off.”

There were a couple blemishes. One has to wonder just how involved Iverson was in the failed voter suppression ruse. He was also one of the main contributors to the sleazy “Obama will take your guns away” campaign. But that campaign worked and was partially responsible for the 12,000 vote deficit that cost Obama our three electoral votes.

If Iverson wants to stay around Montana, I’ll think we’ll continue to see his hand in state Republican politics.

Speaking of Iverson

It’s rude and juvenile to poke fun at candidates and their supporters when they lose. I’ll make an exception. One big mistake of Iverson’s was his claim that Obama would lose Montana by eight-to-ten points. Try 2.5 points, Erik. I even challenged him to a wager right here at 4&20 but the big scaredy-cat didn’t respond.

Messina on the move

It should be noted that former Missoula resident Jim Messina has an important role with the Obama transition team. Messina went to UM and actually worked on some local campaigns before moving on to the big leagues; first with Sen. Baucus and then with the Obama campaign as chief of staff.

According to Politico, ” … Messina, will serve in the influential role of personnel director … ”

Hey Jim, I’m probably a bit under-qualified for a cabinet post but would take an ambassadorship to, say, Fiji or Tahiti.

(UPDATE: Messina has received an even better job assignment: deputy chief of staff.  It’s the job that Josh had on the TV show West Wing.)

New to me

It’s been around a couple months but came to my attention last week. It’s a local, progressive political blog site called Bunk in the West. It’s main contributors are Binky Griptight (great name) and Megan. Binky has been a frequent commenter at this site. A belated welcome to the ‘spere.

  1. please republicans- keep erik iverson as state chairman of your party. he’s done a fine job as far as i am concerned.

  2. JC

    And along with Iverson, please push for Palin in ’12!

  3. I bet problembear is a big fan of this one:

    (thanks for the welcome guys … y’all stop on over, y’hear!)

  4. Einstein Eaton didn’t dream up that voter suppression-Republican wetdream on his own. Further, it took MT GOP money to hire the firm that ran the software and came up with the name. Eaton sure didn’t pay for that on his own either.

    Hopefully some attorney – county or AG – will follow-through with doing something about that. There are laws. They needed to be followed. Damned fools couldn’t even follow the law.

  5. goof houlihan

    It’s not just campaign signs.

    What really needs cleaning up are these humble and uplifting words from Ron Pulcini, prominent local democrat and letter writer to the Nov 12th Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

    “The Republican party has been reduced to a squealing knot of white only inherently racist righteous evangelicals…”.

  6. Pogo Possum

    “IMHO Iverson did a decent job…..Considering the political climate and a fractured Montana Republican Party…..he did well to, basically, hold the Montana House and make significant gains in the Montana Senate.”

    Pete your assessment of Iverson is succinctly on target.

    To take it a step further, I think he did an excellent job considering all the money and manpower the state Democratic Party, Baucus’ paid staff, Forward Montana and various other polical groups put into the effort to knock off Republicans in these targeted House and Senate races. Oh…..and let’s not forget all those hard working people making phone calls from Romania.

    Eric is an exceptionally bright person with a promising future and the Party is very confident in his ability.

    The state Democratic party, the Obama supporters and the local organizers (for the most part) did an admirable job in registering voters and turning out the vote. They also livened up the downtown social scene on more than one occasion. I respect hard energetic work and my hat is off to all of them.

    I would disagree with your comments about Republican criticism of Obama’s positon and voting record on 2nd Amendment rights as being “sleazy” especially considering some of the attacks I saw come out of the Democratic camp this year that set new lows for sleazy (e.g., the personal attacks on Nooney in HD 100).

    I have to compliment Willis Curdy on how hard he worked in the HD 100 race. I give credit to anyone willing to put in the endless hours and untold miles spent knocking on doors and running a campaign. It is hard to lose a race after working so hard regardless of which party you claim.

    Ironically, according to those in the Nooney camp, it was Bill Vaughn’s over the top slimy personal attacks that may have cost Willis the race.

    The Nooney camp said they kept track of all the voter responses to their GOTV telephone calls, phone surveys, emails and door to door efforts. They said they counted 87 identified swing voters in the last 7 days of the race who specifically told them the major reason they finally decided to vote for Nooney was they couldn’t vote for someone who would attack a candidate’s children or his religion or make such outlandish personal attacks in general.

    So in the end, (considering Nooney won by 78 votes) the Nooney supporters want to give one great big thank you to Bill Vaughn in helping re-elect Bill Nooney for a second term.

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