by Pete Talbot

[What’s an emptive?  Lizard says he’s posted a preemptive strike (below this post) to a piece I’ve been working on.  Well, here’s my postemptive.  I’m finishing something I’ve started; not my strong suit.  Damn you, lizard.]

No one really needs me to defend this site.  The contributors do a fine job of responding to comments and criticism, and they even show a little introspection from time-to-time.

But I found this in my inbox a few days ago from someone I respect. For my own reasons, I’ll keep it anonymous but here’s the gist:

I hope you’re following what is going on at 4 and 20 these days.

It seems that there isn’t a Democrat they “like” anymore. Literally, not one.

I’ve been a lurking b’birder from the beginning but I think I finally may let it go.

I mean they’re even going after Pat Williams. I think we’ve got Senator Essman and the Montana Republican party doing enough of that, don’t we?

He/she has a point. This site has made many twists and turns over the years.  It started Democratically-centric, particularly in Jon Tester’s successful bid to unseat Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006. 4&20 has had many contributors since then from all stripes left of center, but it belongs to no one. The opinions are those of the writers and I appreciate them all. There are sites that espouse party line — left, right and center — and I’m grateful for those, too.

Now, the 4&20 reins are in lizard’s hands.  It’s great to see jhwy.girl in the mix again and a post now-and-then from JC.  But this not the site to visit if you’re looking for party talking points. After our founding father, Jay Stevens, I’m the closest to a Democratic apologist and I seldom post anymore.

I enjoy the unbridled ideology this site brings to the ‘sphere.  I can’t always embrace it because of life’s realities.  Example: I’m against coal trains, tar sands, the rape of the Bakken and the Keystone XL Pipeline.  If this was my platform for an upcoming bid for statewide office, how would I fare?  Piss poor, and having just returned from the Magic City, Montana’s largest berg,  where I did some unscientific polling, I say this with conviction.

So, I’ll continue to straddle that line between idealism and pragmatism while  absorbing the musings from the blogs, and hoping we lean to the left as far as feasible in this great state of ours.


  1. Big Swede

    “Don’t rape the Bakken” would make a great bumper sticker if you hated your car.

    Pretty please Pete. Give us those Billings informal poll numbers.

  2. When you live in an democratically-insulated city like Missoula it’s easy to forget there’s many other areas of the state where your views are looked down on, at best.

    But a lot of those same people have similar problems, and I think there’s more common ground than issues of division, however it may seem most of the time.

    When I was living in China I tried to figure out how these people that were so different from me were actually like me. They really loved their kids and I figured that was a good starting place.

  3. Oh, Christ – like no one here DOESN’T know who went whining to you.

    (They) – I’l be nice here – went to you to find an accepting audience.

    (They) could have came to me, but didn’t want to hear an opposing position.

    Pat Williams deserved being called out…and the public deserves to be reminded of it.

    Spineless strategy on their part and I, unlike they, will tell them next time I get the chance.

    {{rolling my eyes}}

    • Abe Froman

      I don’t know who it was that went whining. Who was it?

      • lizard19

        why do you think it matters?

  4. It’s also hard to have a lot of faith in democrats when you see Brian Schweitzer throw his lot in with MSNBC. Now, I think there are many worse networks, but I’m not sure more talking heads is the answer to anything. Guess that 2016 run is no more.

    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20140226/NEWS01/302260023/Politico-Schweitzer-joins-MSNBC?nclick_check=1

    • O.M.G. I know someone who called that 3 years ago!

      He’ll be there where he can safely lob bombs at Hillary. What a joke.

  5. d.g.

    Peter’s anonymous commentator states “….they’re even going after Pat Williams now…….” When did Pat become a gold standard of Democratic ideals? Where was Pat Williams on the Occupy movement? What has Pat had to say about Missoula City Council’s pejorative profiling of the homeless? Hell, Pat Williams hasn’t taken an issue-specific stand on anything local in so damned long he hardly qualifies as the Rubbermaid standard. Slippery is what he is. He AND Carol Williams walk awfully quietly in their compromised lives in Missoula (and then jump on a sure-fire positive-publicity issue popular with the KUFM pseudo-progressives. Peter’s point was????????

    • petetalbot

      My point, d.g., is that there are no sacred cows here. This site is what it is: a forum for contributors and commenters with various points of view.

      • I always say, if you want to see discord go to kboards.com. There you’ll see authors get into huge rows over nothing. A couple weeks ago we got into a big one when a very successful author started talking about suing his eBook reviewers.

        By the time the dust had settled a week later several people had been booted from the site, countless authors had received 1-star reviews on their books, and the battle lines dividing the haves from the have nots were widened even further.

        This is like a walk in the park to what I see on other sites.

        http://www.bigskywords.com/1/post/2014/01/should-you-sue-your-ebook-reviewers.html

        • lizard19

          the difference is the policies we are discussing have real impacts on people. if other people want to prioritize their party over the victims of sexual assault and the rights of people to sit silently on a sidewalk downtown, fine, but they should realize that there are people without party loyalties who will call them out.

  6. don’t do defensive. too busy working.
    not in the habit of explaining myself.
    none of my business what others think about what I write.




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