A Rundown of the Walsh Campaign Countdown

by lizard

The clock is ticking for the Walsh campaign. Politico brought out the long knives with this piece citing political opportunists excited to nibble on carrion.

To further feed the frenzy, Cowgirl drops some clues, like this:

There’s another thing I learned tonight, courtesy of an astute tipster: Nancy Keenan’s name appears to have been fully scrubbed from the website of the political firm that she works for, Hilltop Public Solutions. That’s a political consulting firm with an office in Billings as well as other cities around America. This cannot be a coincidence.

Followed a few paragraphs later with this:

One final piece of intrigue. Hilltop Public Solutions is, in addition to employing Keenan, the firm that has been doing all of Walsh’s campaign work, taking a hefty fee. The firm is a collection of former Baucus and Tester staffers. Much of what we are reading and seeing about Walsh today–the sources, the spokespeople, etc.–is the work of this firm. So if Walsh has reached the end of the line, he is, in his final hours, depending on a workforce with a serious conflict of interest. It’s interesting if nothing else. And it’s proof again that politics is a place where self interest always lurking. I suppose, however, that I can’t blame them for wanting to dump him in favor of Keenan, who will most certainly hire back the firm, which is her former employer.

In the comment thread of that post a commenter by the name of publius takes a shot a jhwygirl. I only draw attention to it because I think it’s unfair to extend the conspiratorial smear JC and I have received to an author of this site who has much more broad credibility and for good reason. She earned it.

I do find it curious that publius would say this:

Oh- oh, someone has alarmed the conspiracy theorists

just because jhwygirl tweets stuff like this:

Start talking about Wanzenried & Frankie Wilmer & immediately party blog drops the chosen one’s name. #MTPol

and this:

Walsh’s withdrawal will be timed so there is ZERO time for grassroots swell. Brought to you once again by Montana Democrats. #MTPol

Montana Democrats fucked this one up bad. I mean, even Don Pogreba is begging Walsh for a decision:

You’ve received absolutely unfair criticism and harassment from a press obsessed with a relatively trivial matter that’s easy to editorialize about. You’ve probably received criticism from people who are more interested in furthering their own agendas than in protecting yours. And you’re probably angry, understandably so.

But you need to make a decision about this campaign. Either way, I know that you’ll fight for the people of this state until the end of your term, because that’s the kind of person you are and the kind of person you’ll continue to be.

I’m trying to be charitable by not quoting more.

Fridays are good news days to dump things, so I expect that could be the day we hear the decision.

Until then, good time to generate buzz is being wasted.


  1. I hope it is Nancy.

    I got some great bumper sticker ideas.

    • lizard19

      I’m sure you excel at that medium.

      • Sure wish I could recite them here.

        • Steve W

          Why can’t you?

          Are they vulgar, violent or profane?

          Or did you have a senior moment?

        • Senior moment.

  2. A Big Fan

    It could be that Walsh is someone who has to make a difficult decision because he has an interest in other human beings and isn’t just a smug little troll who spews bile from his fearful anonymity.

    I could be wrong, though. Still a big fan.

    • lizard19

      using other people to further one’s career—and with Walsh, it’s a pattern of behavior—slightly tarnishes your claim that he has an interest in other human beings that supersedes the interest he has in himself.

      • A Big Fan

        Using other people to further his career? Like whom? I’m glad to see we’ve reached agreement on the second half of my premise, though, about the smug little troll spewing bile.

        That’s why I am a fan!

        • lizard19

          you forgot the anonymous part, “Big Fan” ;)

          • A Big Fan

            Sorry, buddy! That’s really central to your persona. Apologies!

            • lizard19

              anytime you want to scapegoat the messenger, I’m here for you, Big F.

              • A Big Fan

                I prefer when you uncritically spew pro-Putin propaganda, but I like this other role, too. An even bigger fan!

              • You might want to tone down the arrogance there, BF, as the stupid by itself works well enough.

  3. Eric

    The Dem party in Montana is pretty thin right now – I think they tell Walsh to stay in, take his beating, and hope the people forget about it by 2016.

    The Montana Dems don’t have the spine to dump him anyway – the orders would have to come from Harry Reid.

    • If you are going to misunderstand politics, you might as well do so deeply.

      • Eric

        Mark – Are you of the impression that the powers that be in the Montana Democratic Party have developed a backbone ?

        Please cite some examples – LOL

  4. steve kelly

    One would think that after serving 35 years in the Senate, Baucus’s “retirement” might produce some quantifiable change in the lives of everyday Montanans. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/26/max-baucus-retirement_n_3163025.html

    I fail to see how Walsh, Daines, or any other newly-minted senator from Montana — regardless of party label — can or will move the needle. Am I missing something?

  5. Turner

    He just resigned.

    • It was almost immediately pointed out that “I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator” was directly plagiarized without attribution from a 1972 speech by Thomas Eagleton.

      • Steve W

        Oh Swede, that’s hilarious. How do you ever think them up?

        • Senior moment.

  6. steve kelly

    It may be too early to expect a review of the electoral system by Democrats charged with finding Walsh’s replacement, however, it might be a smart move without instant rewards.

    I am recalling the 1994 election, when “opposition research” conducted by Baucus’s campaign, and a headline-hungry media, effectively ended Republican Senate candidate Mike Taylor’s campaign. That same year, Democrats lost the House. Gingrich, flanked by Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition, exploited Perot voters, who were in no mood to support either major party. NAFTA was Clinton’s baby. Perot pounded the anti-NAFTA message, opening up a new “reform” constituency. It was the beginning of the “Era of (corporate) Big Money,” the Reed-Abramoff era of big-money-laundering, followed by Luntz, Norquist, and Rove. Democrats had a choice to make and chose: “If you can ‘t beat ’em, join ’em.” The tactics, the money grubbing, the outrageous campaign lies became the bipartisan norm.

    As in 1994, voters are disgusted by the whole mess, but now have no where else to go. They will stay home on election day and watch the “base vs. base” battles play out as they have for two decades now.

    Today, both parties play the same big-money game. They both play rough with opposition research and “gotcha” politics that works because the media will listen to anyone with a big bag of cash.

    Democrats have an opportunity, in Montana at least, to reject the path of corporate dominance, big money, and lies. I hope they will at least consider it before picking Walsh’s replacement. It’s not much, I realize that, but it could be a much-needed new beginning. If not here, where, if not now, when?

    • If the Democrats cared about the “electoral” system, why did they end-run it by appointing Walsh to office, thereby setting aside the party primary?

      From a higher distance, that we only have two candidates, and that we now have to look to the Democrats to supply a fallback since their first one was defective …this is not exactly democracy in action. We are still under their thumb. The system that gave us Walsh is now going to reform itself? Get real.

      But if they do, by chance, put up a good candidate, it is our consolation, our chance to at least vote for more than a lesser evil. I guess that is something, as opposed to nothing.

  7. Turner

    Even though I’m not very popular with Democratic party leaders, I might get to go to, and vote at, the nominating convention a week from tomorrow. I’d like to nominate Amanda Curtis. I wonder how far she might go in the convention.

    Anyone else here like Amanda?

    • petetalbot

      Should be a damn interesting convention. Of course, they’ll be looking for the most “viable” candidate to go against Daines and I’m not sure if there is one. I don’t know much about Curtis. I like both Wanzenried and Wilmer, and would support either one, but again, viability … Adams? Maybe. Bohlinger. No.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

      • Turner

        The Democratic Party in Montana needs redefining. Enough of the old farts, especially the AFL/CIO leaders who’s climbed into bed with the big corporations. We need younger, brighter people running things. We need candidates who’ll stand up for the non-wealthy, the non-male, financially insecure old people, and children.

        I like Franke Wilmer. But just go to YouTube and punch in Amanda Curtis. Her almost daily videos explaining what went on in the last session are VERY impressive. They show her to be articulate, spontaneous, and on the right side of every issue.

        If she campaigned strongly across Montana, making speeches and occasionally playing with her musical group (labor and gospel songs mainly), she’d make a huge impression on voters.

        • lizard19

          too bad Democrats are losing the youth vote to libertarians.

          • petetalbot

            So how do you woo them back? With Libertarian policies of Social Darwinism; including no government, no regulation — basically anarcho-capitalism?

          • You woo them back by giving them something to come back to. Here’s an idea: A clean party that eschews corporate, dark and lobby money, that puts up smart people of integrity as candidates and doesn’t end-run losers around primary battles.

            Just a thought Pete. I know that winning comes first, everything else second. Just a thought.

            • petetalbot

              Surprise, surprise, Mark, I agree with you, for the most part (except your “winning comes first” line — I’ve backed a number of dark horse candidates in my time). But we do need a reason for younger voters to get enthusiastic about the Democratic Party.

              And JC, who commented below, I basically agree with you, too, as you may have expected. The Dems need to be more progressive, more aggressive, less Republican-lite.

              I don’t believe Obama has disenfranchised young voters as much as you say, JC, but young people want a panacea and that ain’t America right now. The science-denying, hate-the-poor, war-mongering Republicans are getting close to taking over Congress. Can you explain that?

              Sure, Obama has disappointed to some degree on some issues, but it’s the whole damn system: a do-nothing Congress, absurd Supreme Court rulings and corrupt campaign financing that have really turned them off. Most of the blame, but not all of these failings, lies with the Republicans, don’t you think?

              I suppose I can’t blame youngsters for looking at an alternative party. I did. But the Koch funded Libertarians? Shit.

              The more I think about it: the wars, the free marketeering, the safety net cuts; assaults on the environment, women, children and immigrants — I repeat myself for the umpteenth time — fall mostly in Republican laps.

              So in the interim — until we get the progressive policy and candidates, and, maybe, the party we want and need — I’ll stay with the Democrats. And keep pushing them toward the ideals y’all advocate in your comments.

              Tell me what the alternative is, please.

            • I pay attention, as do most who comment on blogs. Obama is not a “disappointment.” He is Bush III. He just talks a different line, now bombing Iraq again, supporting Israel and the Ukrainian putsch, was part of the attack on Syria and the genocidal strikes on Libya and murder of its president. He is pushing free trade deals, protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan, pushing the Russians into war. We still got Gitmo, he openly murders American citizens (foreigners was bad enough), habeus corpus gone, surveillance rampant. This is not different. It is not change. This is what Bush did, what Clinton did … we bomb people, attack civil liberties.

              Democrats talk different while they do it. That’s all.

              Tell me how we stop a Democrat from doing what we could not stop Bush form doing?

  8. JC

    Pete,
    Part of the problem is self-inflicted. Liberals have used Libertarians as a way to split the republican vote more and more, lately. Of course, when they fund Lib candidates, it tends to help build their political aspirations, and work against dems’.

    Sure, it might have helped swing Tester’s race, but third party candidates, union withering, and youth apathy in the process portend the slow death of the Dem party in Montana, unless they can come up with a new generation of politicians that reject the party’s slide to the right.

    And the other part of “woo-ing”, is that traditional meat-and-potatoes pandering politics doesn’t resonate with young voters like it used to.

    What do young voters want to hear? Do something serious about student loans. Develop the economy in ways that provide more than service sector jobs for overqualified college grads. Wind down the empire and all its wars that are fueling national debt. Quit spying on people. Do something tangible about income inequality.

    Young people wish that the dems would give more than lip service to those ideals. Having to endure the disappointment of the Obama years has done more to disillusion a generation of voters than any simple “woo-ing” might fix.

    • Insert quote here……

      “You put them first, and they put you last — ’cause you’re a chump. A political chump! … Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that Party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you are dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that Party — you’re not only a chump but you’re a traitor to your race.” – Malcom X- 1964

      • Blacks were far less bought into our system of government than whites, and so Malcolm’s words carried weight, and the government did fear a racial uprising. Ergo, Malcolm, MLK and just about every other black leader of that time were murdered.

        Oh, wait, Swede, you’re looking for party validation here? Sorry. My bad. As you were.

        • I’m thinking that’s about as close of a compliment I’ll ever get from you.

          • Insert quote here.




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