Archive for the ‘Ron Paul’ Category

by Pete Talbot

Dear President-elect Obama,

I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver our three electoral votes to you. You worked hard for them. You visited the state and talked western policy. You set up offices and hired staff and had the best ground game I’ve ever seen. John McCain never set foot in Montana.

You came close — only 12,136 votes separated you from McCain. And compared to the 20-point win that George W. Bush had here four years ago, what you did was miraculous.

I’m still scratching my head, though. In almost every other statewide category, Montana went blue: senator, governor and all four tier b’s (unseating the sole Republican incumbent with a new secretary of state). And two-out-of-three newly-elected PSC commissioners are Democrats.

Another confusing example is Gallatin County. I hoped for better numbers from there. It did, after all, almost go for Sen. Tester in 2006 (Burns won by less than 200 votes). But this year, Obama goes down by over 1400. Perhaps Barack should work on a flattop haircut for 2012. Even Gallatin County voted for you, by a 1609 vote margin.

I don’t believe race was a factor. I think most Montanans who voted for McCain did so because of issues like taxes or defense or the “experience” card or some ingrained conservative Christian belief.

And guns played a role. Even though you came to Montana and assured us you wouldn’t take away our guns, ugly rumors persisted. Next time through, make sure to get that ubiquitous firearm photo op.

We wish you well, Mr. President, and may you bring people together to help solve the numerous problems facing our country. Godspeed.

An unpleasant aside

After saying race wasn’t a factor, well, you still run into this: On my way to Bozeman on election day, I stopped by the Cardwell Store, there between Whitehall and Three Forks, for a cup of coffee and a Slim Jim. Two good-old-boys were at the counter and one said, “I better go vote.” To which the other said, “Yeah, I’d hate to see this election get nigger-rigged.”

I’m not even sure what he meant but I left my merchandise on the counter and walked out. Came up with some really choice things I should have said about five miles down the road.

Now I’m sure that everyone in Cardwell isn’t an ignorant racist pig but I won’t be stopping by again, ever, to find out.

It’s a sad anecdote, but there’s one good thing about it; the guy was old and will soon be dead.

I love Missoula

On a more upbeat note: Missoula delivers. One or two flies in the ointment: that HD-100 race where Willis Curdy is losing by a measly 33 votes to Republican incumbent Bill Nooney (provisional votes still being counted, final results Monday). But that’s democracy; you can choose the anti-education, anti-senior, anti-young person, anti-environment candidate if you want.

Same with SD-7, which has a little bit of Missoula County in it and where veteran lawmaker Paul Clark lost to anti-government zealot Greg Hinkle.

Otherwise it was a sweep: Gutsche over Mood for the PSC, the improbable county commissioner outcome, nine-out-of-ten state reps, and two state senators.

The Emergency Operations Center Bond going down wasn’t really a surprise. With property taxes in the mail and it being a slow economy and all, folks are tightening their belts. In better times, I think it would have passed. It also wasn’t one of the strongest campaigns I’ve seen run in this town.

Ravalli County blues

Is it too harsh to recommend a toll booth at the Ravalli/Missoula County line? Those Bitterrooters should pay extra to come and visit an eclectic town that values education and planning. Maybe we could funnel the toll revenue into preserving Ravalli County open space, while there’s still some left.

I know that there are progressives in Ravalli County but time-and-time again their issues and candidates get hammered.

Both West Fork Blues and Rebecca have excellent comments on the results in the Bitterroot.

Statewide conundrum

Despite Democratic wins in most of the big-ticket races, the Montana House is tied and the senate losses seats (R’s 27-D’s 23). Throw in a Democratic governor and I smell gridlock. But maybe not, lots of talk from candidates of all stripes wanting to “reach across the aisle.” We’ll see.

I, like Jay and others, have to wonder about this split ticket voting. How can our Democratic governor win by an almost two-to-one margin and still have the Montana Senate lose its Democratic majority? Did the Republican Party focus on legislative races because it knew most of the others were hopeless? Any insights?

We’re a two party country

Third parties didn’t fare well. Libertarian Don Eisenmenger received about 7 percent in the OPI race, which I believe was the party’s best showing. Presidential candidate Bob Barr got 0.3 percent. In the U.S. House race, perennial candidate Mike Fellows got 3 percent, and Stan Jones got 2 percent in the governor’s race.

For Constitution Party candidates, Ron Paul got slightly over 2 percent in the presidential race. That party’s best showing was in Missoula County with Kandi Matthew-Jenkins getting a little better than one-third of the votes against Cliff Larson in SD 50 (there was no Republican in that contest). And in the SOS race, Sieglinde Sharbono received around 3.5 percent.

Nadar’s Independent ticket garnered slightly less than 1 percent.

And finally

Who ever thought we’d have a president with a name like Barack Obama? It pales in comparison, though, to the candidate from HD-15 — my favorite name on the ballot — Frosty Boss Calf Ribs. I’ve met some of the Boss Calf Ribs clan up in the Browning area but don’t know Frosty, who was unopposed. Kind of makes our Anglo names like John Smith and Jane Doe seem rather lame. Congratulations, Frosty.

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by jhwygirl

Consider this an open thread, too, folks….

One-man show Gary Marbut, self-professed President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has been a busy busy boy. Earlier this week he was in town to kick off his campaign against the statewide mill levy that supports the university system, and then on Friday he was in the paper endorsing NOT John McCain, but Ron Paul for President of the United States. Paul, on the other hand, wants off of the ballot here in Montana.

Gee…maybe Marbut and I agree on something. I mean, if you absolutely are NOT going to vote for Obama, Ron Paul certain is a better choice….that would be if you don’t want more of the same, John McCain.

Deepak Chopra weighs in on the election and what the McCain/Palin ticket means for America. Some highlights:

–Small town values
— a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
–Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
–Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.
–Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
–Patriotism — the usual fall back in a failed war.
–‘Reform’ — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

The Clark Fork Journal – that free paper in business lobbies around the area – has some great pieces in its September issue. Here’s just two of their fabulous offerings:
The Original Man: The Life and Work of Architect A.J. Gibson, and Fruits of Labor of Sweet Success, a piece on a Missoula fruit farm and its unlikely crop of blueberries.

Wulfgar! (out of Bozeman) reminds us that candidate for HD-96 Steve Eschenbacher thinks that Missoulians who are supporting Obama are igner’t pups.

Vote Teresa K. Henry for HD-96.

Retired Army Major General Paul D. Eaton, who served in Iraq as the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) commanding general will be in Montana campaigning for Barack Obama. He called for Rumsfield to leave, saying “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America’s armed forces.” He has been critical of the Republican-led congress for “refusing to hold the necessary hearings and investigations the Army desperately needed…The result is an Army and Marine Corps on the ropes, acres and acres of broken equipment, and tour lengths of 15 months because we have too few troops for the tasks at hand.” Eaton was an adviser to Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He will be coming to Helena, Great Falls, Anaconda and Missoula.

I wonder how I can get that invite?

Finally – Here our our allies. Bush’s buddies. A country of war lords and and wealthy landowners. The people who champion brutal, brutal honor killings, protect Osama Bin Laden and threaten reporters. Yep…there’s democracy a-brewin’ in the Middle East.

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.

by Jay Stevens

While I’m busy bashing Ron Paul…did anyone see the latest from the Paul Bearers? Paulville!

A group of ardent backers of Ron Paul, the maverick congressman and Republican presidential candidate, are flocking to Paulville.org, a Web site that promises to help them set up exclusive residential enclaves open only to the like-minded — presumably to help them replicate in the physical world the comfortable feeling they’ve experienced online, of being fenced-off from the rest of us.

The Times’ blog has a clip from Ron Paul Television — Ron Paul television??? — highlights include:

…what would make people want to give up their jobs and move to Paulville?

(laughs) Freedom and liberty?

I don’t know! I mean, that’s basically it, to be around other supporters and to be in a town that is of supporters of freedom and liberty? Kind of a freedom and liberty oriented town?

…it can’t be a town, it has to be privately held, because then you can control who can and can’t come into it, so if somebody, let’s say somebody comes in that’s a…a…total socialist and wants to come in and rock the boat, you could say, no! This is privately held, you can’t come in!

I wonder if they have a plan for booting anyone out that deviates from the officially sanctioned version of Freedom and Liberty over time.

Hilarious.

by Jay Stevens

You may remember that both Pete Talbot and I went to see Ron Paul when he made his appearance here in Missoula, and we both liked some of the things he was saying.

Pete:

Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has a seductive message: get the U.S. out of Iraq, get the government out of personal lives, and put the country on a sound financial footing….

To probably the biggest applause of the evening: “End this war!” — it’s hard not to agree with that.

“How you spread democracy is by setting an example” and, hinting at the current administration, “we should teach a few people in this country about democracy.”

He’s anti-Patriot Act. He opposes FISA and warrantless searches. He’s against torture: “We’re known around the world as torturers.”

Our current economic policy “destroys the middle class and sends money to the Wall Street rich.”

And I even gave Paul kudos for speaking out for traditional conservative values, like sane fiscal policies:

And, while I certainly don’t share Paul’s vision of a crippled government, of regressive taxes and deregulation of business, it was at least refreshing to hear a Republican genuinely embrace those issues, and to see his supporters passionately voice their support to those ideas. It was certainly a marked contrast to the actions, voting records, and deeds of the current incarnation of the GOP at the state and national levels, which seems dedicated to bloated, inefficient government, irresponsible fiscal management, and authoritarianism.

It should definitely come as a surprise and a disappointment to Paul fans that his rhetoric appears to be just that: hot air.

Why, do you ask, am I saying this?

He endorsed Dennis Rehberg.

Can you think of a Republican who more embodies everything that Ron Paul was speaking out against in the UC Ballroom? Does Rehberg support the war, and has he supported it since its inception? Check. Did he gladly support the administration’s illegal “anti-terror” policies? Check. Is he one of the “spend-and-run” Republicans? Check.

I already quoted Rehberg from the Choteau shrimp peel, but it’s worth repeating in context of Paul’s endorsement:

Rehberg, giving an overview of national politics, defended George W. Bush’s policies and “You bet I defend George Bush.” The current president’s policies will someday be viewed as successes in a historic perspective, he said. Rehberg said Americans have enjoyed safety and no more attacks on U.S. soil since 9-11 because Bush took the war on terrorism abroad.

Really, what else can we possibly think of Ron Paul after this move, other than he really didn’t mean much of what he said here in Missoula? I mean, really? You support Dennis Rehberg?

by Pete Talbot

Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has a seductive message: get the U.S. out of Iraq, get the government out of personal lives, and put the country on a sound financial footing.

The words “liberty” and “freedom” are often invoked in his stump speech. Paul, also referred to as the “Doctor” or “Dr. Paul,” praises the free market, wants waaay less government, insists on self reliance and supports a strict immigration policy. (A sign in the crowd read, “Our Ailing Nation Needs a Doctor.”)

He spoke to about 1000 people at the University Center Ballroom on Monday night. It was a mix of shaggy college-age kids, some young movers-and-shakers in suits, a few home-schoolers, a smattering of cowboy hats and blue-collar Montanans, and some seniors. Compared to the Obama and Clinton events, there weren’t as many little kids or women. The level of enthusiasm, however, was just about as high as Obama and comparable to Clinton.

He plays the part of the rebel. He says he’s “the biggest thorn in the establishment’s side” and he wants people to “stand up and resist!”

Paul promotes a tasty recipe for his supporters: blending the most appealing talking points from progressives, libertarians and constitutionalists. Voila, you have something that almost everyone can like.

Being the progressive that I am, there were a number of things said that I had to agree with.

To probably the biggest applause of the evening: “End this war!” — it’s hard not to agree with that.

“How you spread democracy is by setting an example” and, hinting at the current administration, “we should teach a few people in this country about democracy.”

He’s anti-Patriot Act. He opposes FISA and warrantless searches. He’s against torture: “We’re known around the world as torturers.”

Our current economic policy “destroys the middle class and sends money to the Wall Street rich.”

This is all good stuff. Scratch the surface, though, and you see some problems.

For example, instead of “wasting our money overseas” rebuilding war-torn countries (like Iraq), we should be “taking care of the bridges in our country.” It’s a popular message but he goes on to say we need to “get rid of income tax” — a line that brought big cheers. But, how are you going to pay for bridges without taxes?

We “shouldn’t be the policeman of the world” (to more cheers) but he wants us out of the United Nations (even more cheers). So, I guess nobody is going to keep on eye on the world — genocide in Rwanda and Darfur, peace negotiations in the Middle East … Tibet, Haiti, Pakistan — hey, you’re all on your own.

According to Dr. Paul, our government says “we’re not smart enough to know what to put in our own bodies” and he wants to scrap laws that deal with marijuana, food labeling, even raw milk. Our bodies are ours to do with as we please — except for a woman’s right to choose. “I’m pro-life,” he says.

Another thing that troubled me was what he didn’t say — no mention of the environment or global warming or energy issues. I guess the free market will take care of those things, because it has addressed those issues so well to date. (Sarcasm mine.)

“Restore liberty to America” was his closing line. Nothing wrong with that. But again, it sounds like the politics of fear being ramped up even more: fear your government and its institutions, and trust only in yourself, your family and (maybe) your neighbors.

I still prefer the politics of hope.

(I attended Paul’s speech with Jay Stevens, 4&20’s founding father. He currently does most of his writing over at Left in the West. Although we had many similar observations, he came away with a bit different, and less cynical, conclusion. But then he’s young. Read it here.)




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