Montana Politics

When Has a Progressive Blog Jumped the Shark?

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While the precise moment a cultural phenomenon has jumped the shark is often difficult to pinpoint (was it when J.R. was shot?), there are moments when it’s absolutely clear. Every sensible TV viewer knows that The West Wing was never the same after President Bartlett fired Leo.

With political blogs, it might be easier to tell. I’d say when a leftist blog resorts to using a conservative news site that traffics in the worst kind of race baiting, gay bashing, nativist hate speech, and simple dishonesty as a source, simply because they’re so desperate to attack Democratic politicians in Montana might just be that flying Fonzie moment.

If you’re unfamiliar with World News Daily, the source cited by 4and20blackbirds today, they recently published a book called Negrophila, which discusses “an “undue and inordinate affinity for blacks” – to describe the mindset that he says is behind a pervasive manipulation expertly employed and exploited to divide and destroy American society.”

Just today, their site features headlines like:

  • ‘Gay’ Laws Set Stage for Pedophilia ‘Rights’
  • Rush: Racism worse under Obama
  • Transgender Indoctrination in Our Schools
  • Bachmann grills Bernanke over ‘extraordinary’ accounting measure

Hard to spend even an instant on WND without understanding exactly what it is.

4and20 blackbirds used to be the best, most thought-provoking, and most unique political blog in the state. I miss it, but no amount of my disappointment will bring it back to what I enjoyed—and the writers there today certainly aren’t under any obligation to meet my expectations.

But there’s a lot of Internet out there, and interesting and unique voices writing about politics in the state and the nation.  Those are the sources I’ll be engaging with, arguing with, and learning from in the future.

That said, best of luck to the current hosts over there.  There’s certainly an audience for their point of view, and I hope they continue to enjoy writing. One fewer member of the audience is certainly no big deal.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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  • Wow! Sad to see a supposed lefty site lose it altogether! Guess that they couldn’t handle the competition and had to go to the black market of ideas for news. But really, Jerome Corsi????? Jeebus. Might as well close up shop now, for after that piece, only jon “scoop” adams will be reading!

    I actually thought better of JC. What happened over there?? Now THAT would be an interesting read!

  • People on the right like Mark and Craig wore them out. Incessantly badgering them into submission. I saw it during the grizzly football scandal and every story after that.

    Lets face it as bloggers you only get a select few to speak there mind, a good 75 % Just LURK, its always been that way and dumb people mistake the ones who speak for the ones who lurk.

    Its a pretty stupid way to do blogging. selling out your soul to us loudmouths. And I am not saying that I not one of them, but if I see a blog I like I defend it for its original content and the writer, How long ago has anyone seen that for 4 and 20….I mean it got way out left for some time before it collapsed.

    The storytelling got worse and worse, and the writers were always defending themselves in the comments. Step 2 4 and 20 Bloggers never engage the enemy let your commenters do that.

    Short quips are one thing but you blog to empower others, to go out there way and say something.

    Thats why I like you Don. You put up with us, but you do not allow us to get the better of you, I Like Cowgirl for that reason as well.

    As for the Lurkers, they kinda feel the same way too. Nothing wrong with that!

  • I guess I’m slow this morning, but I couldn’t find the link to World News Daily in 4 & 20 Blackbirds. How are they the source?

    If Schweitzer is involved in a scandal, let’s hear about it. If he’s not guilty of anything, he’ll be able to show this.

    I hope his hands are clean of anything besides coal.

    • Turner, that form of thinking is precisely the problem with using WND as a source, and the tenor of JC’s post. It is a presumption (gross assumption/accusation) of guilt. And it carries with it the blithe dismissal that if Schweitzer hasn’t done wrong then he is obligated to prove it to the satisfaction of his naysayers. He’s not obligated to prove anything, to you, JC or the fine wingnuts in TeaPeep land.

      To further Pogie’s point (which Norma elucidated well), this very comment can and would be dismissed as a blind defense of Schweitzer. That’s par for the course at 4&20 anymore. It’s also incredibly weak sauce. What I defend is the presumption of innocence, which is the foundation of every civil right we have in a nation of laws. If you want to take a look at where many on the left have lost their way, start there.

      • Rob, I think public figures, especially politicians, need to go beyond claims of presumed innocence that might suffice for an ordinary citizen like me .

        I’m certainly not saying where there’s smoke there’s fire. I’m saying that Schweitzer needs to aggressively rebut charges made about him when they’re untrue.

        In politics, silence is an admission of guilt.

        By the way, I strongly suspect that Brian’s not dirty.

        • I accept that in politics the appearance of impropriety is as damaging as impropriety. The right has used that as a weapon far too often, to the point that a sitting President, and proud black American, had to *prove* that he wasn’t born in Kenya. It’s a simple process. Level a specious allegation, found it on misinterpretation and innuendo, manufacture the evidence if you have to, and then demand a response based on the idea that a politician has to EARN (morally purchase) your vote. That’s not representative Democracy; It’s insanity.

          The most painful part of that inhuman behavior is a simple truth of logic. You can’t prove a negative. Bill and Hillary Clinton can never prove that they didn’t kill Vince Foster. They can deny, but never prove, and I guarantee that you’ll hear all about how they really did it coming up to the election of 2016.

          Again, to the point of this post. When a progressive website/blogger accepts and embraces the very tactics and ill-reason of the Breitbart Boys, FOX and Friends and Rush Limbaugh? They have well and truly jumped the shark. I just figured that out a bit sooner than most. I am glad that others are seeing this as well.

          • Mind you. the GOP and the far left Emo progs don’t understand what Don or You are saying,… it is too nuanced, too reasoned with fact, too well thought out, too plain for the unreasonable to grasp.

            It amazes me how many of the right and left wing media uses the same bad source, to tell a story from. Each embellishes on a bad source until its a completely new story of absolute lies.

            Or rehash an old rumored story that never sprung legs first time around. and after breathing a little literary license into it… wingnut hysteria Blooms…….Because lets face it, except for republican obstruction, and left wing conspricy there is really not that much truth left for the Far right or left to tell.

            They don’t want jobs for the workers, they don’t want clean air and water, and they certainly don’t want a functioning Government to inoculate them from disease, or give them fluoride for strong teeth and bones, Climate change is a scientific conspiracy, and big banks will never fail again.

            Case and point: Obamas gonna take your guns they said it in 2008 and nothing happened except for Obama giving folks the right to carry guns in national parks. If anything the laws have loosened under his presidency. then in 2012 after 4 years of peoples guns never venturing out of their closets, except when they used them for hunting, plunking, or going to rallys against Obama…. they bring up the same sad reasoning in 2012.

            Mind you I would like to see the gun laws changed so would 92% of the country … but it hasn’t happened yet. because it is the peoples government though and the people want to see the change… it is all the black man in the whit houses fault… yep it is a pretty ridicuios

            It is just sad how the right wing world thinks now. They hate almost everything about America that made it great….. What a desperate group of Wackos they have become.

            ,

        • I think asking public figures to rebut every lunatic accusation against them is asking them never to do their jobs, but instead spend all of their time fighting these kinds of battles.

          I wouldn’t respond to this nonsense either.

          • Don, Should ain’t is. Politicians shouldn’t have to respond to specious charges. But since they depend on the electorate to trust them, they can’t not respond to these claims and expect to survive.

            That’s why Obama has, or used to have, a rapid response team. He was constantly being lied about and had to answer the lies quickly.

    • Nah watching Republicans fight with themselves is more like a double header of bad movies at the dilapidated Metro…. you know the kind of old Movie house I am talking about. where the floor is trashed and the armrests and seats are sticky.

      the first movie, is a thriller, written by Gingrich and choke full of inaccuracies of reporting and male dominated vibrato and chest pounding. the story makes little sense since they keep cutting back to Newt and his plastic hair styled wife Clarisa.

      The second choke full of “Way out” conspiracies and Gods second coming as told by a redneck who keeps calling the good ole USA, “Merica” ….. But then there is lots more chest pounding plus gun toting citizens with flags painted on their face, embroidered on their Jackets, and flag stickers on the back windows of their old ford trucks….. Never once is the flag displayed on its proper pedestal, a flag pole.

      Knowing most good United states citizens of today, they would walk out of the movie house and into the lobby inquiring for their money back!

  • I disagree with you, Norma. It wasn’t Craig, Mark, Ingy, or any one of the 10 or so other rightwing trolls that “corrupted” 4 & 20. It was the authors at 4 & 20 “buying into their own press”. Like Don, I used to like reading 4 & 20. As a moderate conservative, I often disagreed with their slant to many stories, but the writing was educated, and the discussions were more often than not, courteous. That all changed when Pete and Matt left the state. 4 & 20 took a HARD turn to the wingnut left and they started attacking anyone that had the temerity to disagree with them. It wasn’t Craig, Mark or Ingy they attacked first… It was Rob. Suddenly Rob became this demon that they must excise from the Democrat party politic. Yes, Craig, Mark, Ingy, Greg, and Eric were pains in their posteriors, but they had a simple solution to those guys – they simply banned them. Rob, they attacked for months (even when he was agreeing with them in principle on some idea) and to this day, they still treat him as some kind of evil overlord.

    4 & 20 well and truly jumped the shark and I haven’t been on their site in probably six months. I have no intention of ever returning as there is little I can learn about the issues from them.

      • I don’t depict Rob as a victim. In the spectrum of the Montana intertubes, Rob is about the least likely “victim” around. He is quite capable of giving far more than he receives and his ability to use simple logic is WAY above the level of most of the authors/commenters in the Montana blogspace – you included. I was simply stating what I witnessed as a reader and why I will never be a reader of 4 & 20 again. You are welcome to accept my comments for what they are or not. I know you won’t lose any sleep over me not reading your inane and often asinine BS. I really miss Matt and Pete. I enjoyed their writing and I enjoyed the many discussions I had with them at the time. You, on the otherhand come off as an arrogant, underhanded blowhard with nothing of value to contribute to me or the Montana political blog world. Sorry if that offends your fragile sensitivities, but there it is.

    • Oh no no no. According to JC and Lizard Larry Kralj and I are ‘dogs’. How sad an existence must you have when you can’t see how that’s a compliment? 😉

  • I miss having a better variety of writers as well, and I wish there was more content written by people other than myself, but it is what it is, and I don’t plan on pulling back any time soon.

    anyway, thanks for removing the link to our blog on your blogroll, Don. JC and I have both gone to the dark side, and while there is no hope for us, you can definitely save your readers from wondering over to our neck of the cyber-woods.

    • Just to be clear my concern is not saving readers from what you guys write. I just don’t want to give the impression that I endorse it.

      There are things written on other blogs on my blogroll that I don’t always agree with, but none link to hate sites that I’m aware of.

      • Two things. 1) I have linked to the hate site “Stormface” or some such. It was to mock them, not to spread their allegations.

        2) I once told Liz that I would post my argument for how trust is a gift, and can never be earned. I failed to do so. To the ‘new-and-improved’ 4&20, that failure means I was WRONG! No. It just means I didn’t care to do so. But when a website’s authors embrace the idea that all reason revolves around their magnificently huge heads, then obviously my failure was a personal slight, or admission of guilt in service to masters. Of course, when such magnanimous personages throw their words to the world, then all roads should lead to Rome. No.

        I don’t link 4&20 specifically because I think they write nothing of value that I would point my readers to. (Yes, Liz, despite the best efforts of lie and BS from 4&20, I still have readers. That’s the way the Internet works. Get used to it.) I still read 4&20, mostly for the LULZ, but I will not endorse it, which is precisely what sidebar links are for. No blogger, ever, should link on the side to a site they don’t care if others read. Lizard doesn’t seem to understand that’s not a point of shame, but rather a point of integrity.

        No one is hiding your bright light under a bushel, Liz. It’s just that no one thinks you’re all that and worth anything.

      • I certainly appreciate the clarity. the fact that just a few days ago you were defending Cowgirl’s lack of moderation when it comes to the garbage Larry spews had me confused.

        • If you can’t see the difference between moderating a comment and using a site like WND as a source, you’re more removed from reality than I thought.

          Yikes.

          • your comment:

            Now we’re calling out blogs for comments they don’t moderate over the weekend? Because nothing like “misogyny, emasculation, and attacking an entire town” has ever happened over here.

            Come on.

            you make it sound like if it wasn’t for it being “the weekend” the comment would have been moderated. I think that’s rather disingenuous. you know the lack of moderation has nothing to do with it being the weekend.

  • I can’t speak to Rob and Kenneth’s point of view, nor Liz for that matter…. wasn’t in the mix at that time there, and really wasn’t aware…. But I can say I will continue to read 4 and 20 and hope it gets better for Liz….. and this point its looks like a long walk from Anchorage Alaska barefooted for her, but anything is possible to make it get better sooner…. Good luck it will be a long slog, if you continue not to reign in the extremes

    • Just some background here: in the heady, early days of blogging in Montana, Left in The West and 4&20 Blackbirds were the go to sites for Democratic/progressive insights. Rob Kailey’s A Chicken is not Pillage was also a major contributor to the discussion. At least, that’s how I remember it. Matt Singer was the main contributor at LiTW and Jay Stevens, my mentor, authored 4&20. Jay went over to LiTW for awhile, until he moved away. Occasionally, Matt would write for 4&20. Intelligent Discontent, MT Cowgirl and Flathead Memo came into play a bit later — correct me if I’m wrong and feel free to mention other sites — these are the ones I follow.

      Jhwygirl took over for Jay at 4&20 and I joined a bit later, followed by JC, problembear, duganz, carfreestupidity and lizard, All these folks are/were good writers, although we certainly didn’t agree much of the time (which kept things interesting, IMHO). I appreciate lizard’s commitment to the site. He’s kept it going. His politics remind me of myself, at a younger age. His sometime attacks on Obama, Tester, Schweitzer, et al. an be troubling because in this political climate, the guys he’s attacking are about as left as this country/state can go. But he’s entitled to his opinion. Same with JC.

      Most of 4&20’s writers have dropped by the wayside. I’m guessing it’s because of real life obligations and some burnout; not because of any great internecine squabbles. My life got hectic; my daughter gave birth to twin boys and I’ve been helping her out, for example. They go to bed at 8 and I’m in the sack by 9, exhausted.

      I will admit, though, that the infighting that occurs from time-to-time within the circle of friends I’ve mentioned above has dampened my enthusiasm for blogging. As Pogo said (not the Pogo who comments, but I’ll bet he’d agree): “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Time to focus on the real enemy. We know who that is, and it isn’t us.

      • Pete,

        I appreciate the comment–and I think your history is pretty accurate. I was surprised the other day to realize that I have been at this (on and off) for eight years.

        I absolutely understand feeling like life and exhaustion get in the way of writing, but I hope you’ll offer some insights when you get the chance.

        As for the fighting, I definitely agree. It’s exhausting. I think break represents a desire to eliminate one source of fighting from my life. 🙂

      • I do agree with you Pete and good to see you posting again.
        A fellow I know in the Republican Party jokes at times that the most important thing any first time political candidate should do upon winning an election is to make friends with people in the opposing party so she/he will have someone to talk to after taking office, knowing that the most vicious criticism and condemnation often comes from within a party and not from the outside. Lizard is learning this advice should also apply to anyone who decides to become a regular contributor to a political blog.

        It looks like Don has found it easier to use the old “mountain out of mole hill” strategy and criticize JCs web site link than address the real issue that national Democratic leadership finally took a long look at Schweitzer’s growing ugly baggage, thanks to the help of some pissed off Montana Democratic insiders with thick files like John Lewis, and pulled the plug on him.

        • I think it’s probably fair to invalidate an argument entirely based on a link to a site not only known for its insane conspiracy theories, but it’s factual challenges.

          Get back to me when someone goes on the record about Schweitzer or you’ve got a better sources than WND.

          • Got it. No questionable news sources and only using “on the record” sources.

            I am sure Lizard and JC will help you follow these rules on ID.

            • I think 4and20 has a different view of the world than I do. That’s fine, and this was just the last piece of evidence I needed.

              Your concern is duly noted, though.

      • Allow me to add a little to that history. Not Pillage predates LitW by some time, not that I was blogging before Matt. He was blogging elsewhere, most notably at Not Geniuses with some schlub named Ezra Klein. When Matt would vacation away from LitW, I was his guest blogger until he brought in additional authors (V, Jay and Bob Brigham.) But my website was the magnet for the hatred from the right. I was fine with that, because the leftward community knew who the enemy was.

        A truth of human activity is that when many people engage in a unique endevour, they sometimes tend to think that the activity itself began with their involvement. Witness Mark T. Almost from the beginning of LitW, Matt faced accusation that he was a Democrat, and not a progressive. This really wasn’t a problem until Democrats started winning things, like say, Jon Tester and then the Presidency. That’s when the strain between the words ‘Democrat’ and ‘progressive’ became untenable. And strange but true, that’s when many of 4&20’s authors came into the blogging world. Some did so with water-skis, leather jackets and a shark circling below. Great entertainment, but not something anyone really wants to commit to anymore.

  • Don, did you read James Conner’s latest? http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2013/july_sept_2013/2013-07-19_why_Tester_stabbed_Schweitzer.html

    Brian Schweitzer campaigned hard for Jon Tester in 2006. And Tester needed the help, defeating incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Conrad Burns by just 3,562 votes.

    Last week Tester returned the favor with dirty dealings — rumors of dark money sins by Schweitzer and allegations that Schweitzer wasn’t a team player — that persuaded Schweitzer to suddenly decide against running for the U.S. Senate next year.

    Tester’s official response is, of course, “Who? Me?” But I no longer consider his denials credible. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and the emerging picture is of a frightened politician who loves being senator so much he’s willing to sacrifice Democratic control of the U.S. Senate to improve his own chances for re-election in 2018.

    Unlike Schweitzer, a strong campaigner and candidate who won his 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial campaigns with majorities, Tester is a weak candidate whose victories by plurality resulted from Libertarians’ peeling off conservative votes from the Republican candidate…

    • I got to hand it to you Craig, your lot, of Uninformed sources have even gotten to james. But the story is not even credible coming from him….. it just has too many holes in it.

      First of all Tester will be the senior senator from Montana, even if Brian won that seat. Even Brain knows that, again he would be playing second fiddle, something he doesn’t want to do. Secondly, and I have it on good authority should Clinton decide to not run, that leaves Brian who has been groomed for the presidency since 2007 by some of the old money Democrats. Clinton has a year left to decide.

      Brian wont move for another seat… it wont happen till she makes her move.

      Thats a fact you cannot change no matter what bullshit someone pours in your ears like honey. \

      This tester crapola story is and has always been a republican made scandal, written directed and staged by the GOP to sow distrust in the Montana Democrats. the reason no ones saying anything on our side is to not give it anymore wing time it deserves before failing on the bad Idea trash heap it is heading for right now!

    • I did, but I just don’t see it. The idea that Tester is planning ahead about Daines in 2018 seems pretty implausible to me.

      I suspect there is certainly some bad blood between Schweitzer, Tester, and Baucus, but I think that James goes too far in his claims.

      • Why is it implausible to think that Senator Tester and his staffers might be thinking about the next election they have to win? And that they may take some steps or actions now to make their 2018 election bid, perhaps, a bit easier? For me, what’s implausible is that any current member of the US House or US Senate isn’t thinking about their next election.

        • Matthew, It is a LARGE jump from thinking about the next campaign to torpedoing a popular and hard working member of your party. Like others here, I just don’t buy it. I get that you don’t like Tester – he isn’t “pure enough” for you. Too bad. This story stinks to high heaven and it only rings true to the emo-progs like you.

        • I’m sure he’s thinking about it. I’m also equally sure that he wouldn’t jeopardize his position in the majority in the VERY short term to plan for a series of probablistic events six years from now.

          Believing that about Tester probably depends on having a very different view of the man than I do, a topic we’ve rehashed a few times.

          • “Implausible” is one of those weasel words. It bullies one into thinking that just because something is plausible it must have some truth. No. Is it plausible that unicorns exist? We’ve seen creatures with horns from their foreheads, we’ve seen horses. Of course it’s plausible. I find it implausible that a horse wouldn’t want a horn on it’s head. That doesn’t make it likely, or stand as any evidence of fact. I can’t wait until Koehler defends Intelligent Design using the ‘plausibility’ argument.

            • I’m sorry, but not surprised, that responding specifically, and kindly, to Don’s opinion about about the 2018 election has generated some name-calling and insults from the Brothers Kailey. I stand by my belief that all members of the US House and Senate are thinking about their next election. That’s the only point I was trying to make. Read into it, if you will. And tell me what I really think, if you want.

              My own brother Mike would likely come to my defense, but apparently he’s too busy being interviewed for NPR’s All Things Considered RE: GlaxoSmithKline Embroiled In Bribery Scandal In China.

              P.S. Love me some ‘Happy Days.’ Also, ‘Laverne & Shirley.’ Growing up in Wisconsin during the 1970s, long before 100s of TV channels, I just assumed that all TV shows were filmed in Milwaukee.

              • I stand by the belief that all politicians think about their next election as well. Funny that, we agree. But that isn’t what you promoted. What you imply is that Tester’s ‘thinking about his next election’ causes a behavior towards the ambitions of Brian Schweitzer. My brother is correct. There’s a BIG ol’ jump between those two, one you seem to want people to ignore actually exists. I think that was Don’s point. I think that was Kenneth’s point. I know that was my point.

                Just because we agree on *a* point does not obligate anyone to agree with your assumptions well beyond that point. The one doesn’t lead to the other. Just because Tester thinks about his 2016 election (if he intends to run) does not imply he would sabotage Schweitzer without a whole bag of hidden and unfounded assumptions.

                I glad for your brother. It seems he, at least, has some talent.

                • Rob: Seems like your comment is best directed at James Conner. I haven’t implied anything or made any “Big ‘ol jump”….about Schweitzer, Tester or anyone else, except to state that I think everyone in the US House and Senate is thinking about their next election. Please don’t hold me accountable for Mr. Conner’s writings, especially when I haven’t even commented on his article. I’ll pass along your compliment to my younger brother, as I agree that he has some talent.

                • As is the way of blogs, I’m certain James will have read my critique. I certainly don’t hold you accountable for your comments on his website; he doesn’t allow any. But you did defend his thesis here, did you not?

              • Whoops, excuse me. That’s 2018 re-election for Tester. Yeah, plotting my enemies list and strategic assassination for the next 5 years would be first and foremost in my mind, no doubts …

              • Mathew,

                Why would a man target a money horse like Brian, a guy who could pack a full house at any campaign fundraiser???

                You guys are out of your mind here right now. the left has bought into the whole draft Schweitzer BS.

                Your all mad because Brain said no, and now people are looking for any excuse to either protect him or throw more Rocks.

                The story broke in Australia first. A country run by conservatives and the countries newspapers are owned by Murdoch.

                I smell a rat fink from down under causing all the stink here.

                • Rob: Seems to me that James Conner’s thesis was that Tester stuck his shiv in Schweitzer’s back. I know nothing about that, and I certainly haven’t defended that thesis or even commented on it. My only opinion at this time is what’s above. Again, read into it what you want, if you want. I could care less. Same goes for you Norma. Please don’t hold me accountable for what James wrote. I was never part of a Draft BS movement and I wouldn’t have supported the guy anyway. Big deal. So please, Norma, kindly direct your “You guys are out of your mind” and your “Your all mad because Brain said no” somewhere else. Thanks.

                • Mathew you have been to every blog and left a post about James peice, even retweeted it and cowgirls now erroneous story because the Info came from a barred stock trader’s online mag…. Crap I almost fell for an Australian piece myself…. so Robs right on this you are Claiming “Plausible deniability.”

  • Thinking thats what they might be doing… 7 months after an election, but all the other crappola supposedly done??? Nah

    Has Brian cooked his own goose with the Democratic party? Well, I don’t just see it yet. He has too much pull with constituents and fundraising for anyone in the upper Democratic cloudsphere to hurt him. He is a cash cow for the Dems even if he never ran again!

    And Brian’s eyes are further up the food chain, always has been, do you honestly believe Tester would burn a guy who might run for president? Honestly? I Don’t.

    This is looking more and more like a republican or Daines made story. I’m guessing since it started in Australia its a gop storyline. Conservatives run that country there. and Murdoch owns the papers.

  • ~sigh~ When i shared the link to this post on FaceofEvilBook, I wrote:

    “Take a look at what defines the extreme of the right-wing. Comforting paranoia that you are important enough that those who disagree always mean you harm. Slavish devotion to the notion that you have the highest religious or pseudo-religious ideals. Demand that you are right until someone proves you wrong, with dismissal of any proof of such a thing. Creation of personal drama as a means to justify that dismissal.”

    JC, in his rebuttal to this post by Pogie writes:

    “Hot on the heals of my post earlier this week – which raised the call for my public lynching, and the ostracizing of 4&20, by dem party loyalists, apologists and hand-wringers for having the temerity to quote a source from World News Daily …”

    I think I’m just going to continue calling JC a Drama Queen, until he quits fricking acting like one.

      • A public lynching:

        You are dragged from your house, in front of your family if you have one, and thrown down in the street. You are beaten and kicked until you are immobilized. Then, your hands are tied, usually in front, so that you can be tied to a horse and dragged to a tree. There you are strung up by the neck with a thin rope, so children can beat you with sticks like a pinata as you slowly choke to death. Ohh, cool, now we take pictures with the corpse. Then comes the picnic while flies hover around the cooling carcass of ‘the other’.

        Yeeaahhh, being chastised on the Internet is a whole lot like that.

          • From my point of view, the most frustrating thing about my repeated arguments with the 4and20 crowd is their oft-repeated assertion that I have more influence than I do or that I am some kind of mouthpiece for the Democratic establishment.

            I’m one guy who writes a blog. I don’t have the power to ostracize anyone. I just don’t find their work credible, or frankly, interesting.

  • ” Yes, Craig, Mark, Ingy, Greg, and Eric were pains in their posteriors, but they had a simple solution to those guys – they simply banned them. ”

    Wrong – as usual- I’ve never been banned anywhere.

    The blogs peaked several years ago, back when newspaper reporters were calling me to discuss politics – and the Montana blogs have been dying a slow, lingering death ever since.

    Rob, I’m surprised at you that you didn’t mention City Lights in your blogger-history lesson – because Ed Kemmick ruled the blogs for years. He got tired of blogging, which I can understand, but I still miss seeing him around because if you knew him you would see that he’s a terrific guy –

    Otherwise – It’s been a long time watching the blogs die – and I’m calling it a day.

    I.M. Owdaheer – adios compadres, vaya con dios, and if anybody shows up claiming to be me, it’s not –

    • Kemmick is a delightful writer, but no one mistook his for a standard blog. It was newspaper sponsored, and he mostly wrote of the fascinating places and doings of his work as a journalist. What is under discussion here are personal blogs that to whatever degree advocated a particular political stripe, something Ed tended strongly to avoid.

  • I’ve had a couple of days to mull it over, and I’m just not sold on Jame’s Connor’s idea that Tester shived Schweitzer. The idea is most certainly plausible in a totally Game of Thrones manner, but the assumptions are … irksome. Since I can’t comment it on James’ site, I’ll just post my musings here.

    The first assumption is that Tester is a ‘weak candidate’ and he knows it. This is based on the idea that Tester has won his only two state-wide races with a plurality. Fair enough. Except, in the business community one tends to learn fairly early that percentages are a wonderful tool for obfuscating or promoting agenda. For them to have any real informative value, you have to look at them in relevant comparatives. Yes, Jon Tester looked awfully weak against a sitting incumbent Senator, and again against a still popular House member. Yet, from a point of weakness, he still won. But how did those two fare in their previous elections? Conrad Burns defeated a somewhat popular sitting Senator by 5% in an environment dominated by conservative thought. He crushed his next challenger by 24%. He ‘narrowly’ defeated Schweitzer by 4%. In Montana, that’s not that narrow. Schweitzer was a surprisingly strong candidate, and lost. And still, in 2006, Burns lost to a dirt-farmer who is supposedly a ‘weak candidate’. I’m not buying that one.

    Rehberg, on the other hand, never faced an incumbent. He defeated the popular Nancy Keenan and then totally crushed his next 5 opponents, obliterating Steve Kelly even worse than John Driscoll who didn’t run a campaign. I’m considering it fair to say that Rehberg when he went against Tester was still a popular and powerful candidate. Tester won. So the assumption that Tester is a ‘weak’ candidate has a few holes in it.

    The second assumption that is problematic is that elections hold consistency over time. They really don’t. For most of Rehberg’s career, Libertarians voted the L candidate at about 2%. That went up in 2010 to about 7%. In his loss to Tester, the Libertarian candidate also garnered close to 7%. James uses that as evidence of Tester’s weakness. I see it as a trend of voter dissatisfaction. Both views are plausible, but given the obvious evidence, I find my view more convincing.

    The third assumption James makes is that Libertarian voters would vote Republicant if they did not have a viable candidate. This has been proven … never. It is a widely held belief that liberals will not vote Democratic if no viable candidate presents, yet somehow libertarians are by default afforded the R ticket. I know too many libertarians to buy that one. The losses of Rehberg and Burns are their own to bear.

    A fourth assumption that needs examination: James holds that Tester is a weak candidate because he was the weakest in 2012 on the state wide ticket. Again, I remain unconvinced. A simple counter-example is this. In 2000, Burns won against a strong candidate, Schweitzer, with 51% of the vote. Dubya, on the other hand, won 58% of the state. Given the 3% Libertarian vote, that would imply that Montanans don’t always vote party ticket. In 2012, Montana overwhelmingly favored Mitt Romney 55% to 42 % over Barack Obama. Montanans frequently vote differently on national races then they do on state races. I would also point out to James that Tester was not the worst among state candidates. Pam Bucy was. He was just the worst among the winners. This factoid tells us nothing, or a great deal concerning Tester’s strength as a candidate.

    Yes, the plausibility that Tester stabbed Schweitzer in the back still exists. But the dominoes don’t line up as neatly as James and others would wish. The final assumption at play here is that candidates will commit acts of evil in hope of winning elections 5 years down the road. That may be true, but it’s going to take a whole lot more evidence than James has provided to convince me, especially since he’s already insulted me by assuming and claiming that I will forget all of his unfounded allegations come the election of 2018. That bit of tripe is simply CYA. If he proves to be wrong, then it’s all our fault.

    There will be those who want desperately to believe that James is correct and I am simply attacking him as the rabid dog I am. Use your fricking heads, people. I am not attacking him; I simply find too many holes with his thesis. Of course, James Conner has double sources to verify his claims. Those sources are not known to me, or you, or anyone, save James. So the demand is that we all just accept his authority concerning these matters. Sorry, James. I don’t. Do you have more to offer? That would be a scoop, and a win.

  • I will always defend your right to disagree with me, but sometimes, as in this case, I will not defend your disagreement. If Tester didn’t do it, who did? And how do you know?

    • I know your comment wasn’t directed at me, but my concerns about your argument are really twofold.

      1) I reject the premise that Tester is a uniquely weak candidate. In fact, I’d argue, given his defeat of a sitting Senator and 10 year veteran of the House and former Lt. Gov, he’s done remarkably well. I’m not sure how useful it is to compare his vote totals against candidates who ran against people like Derek Skees, for instance. The opponent matters.

      2) While I have no doubt about your credibility on sourcing, I have a lot of doubt about the credibility of these sources running around talking to whomever they can. Without asking you to disclose anything personal, did they have any kind of documentation or proof beyond their word?

      • Don,

        (1) I said he was the weakest of the five who won, but not that he’s uniquely weak. He hasn’t been able to muster a majority. He’s won because first Stan Jones, and then Dan Cox, attracted conservative votes that otherwise would have gone to Conrad Burns and Denny Rehberg. And that’s what’s driving the GOP scheme to inflict a top two primary on Montana.

        Burns and Rehberg were weaker than their on paper credential suggest. Burns was over 70, weary, less sharp than before, dozing at meetings, and clearly losing his mojo. It didn’t take much imagination to picture him as a doddering old fool in his late 70s. I’m convinced that Stan Jones received the votes of a lot of Republicans and conservatives who always voted, but cringed at the thought of returning Burns to the senate.

        Rehberg spent 10 years in the house building seniority and a reputation for not overwhelming his colleagues with proposals for new legislation, in the process converting himself from a promising new congressman to a broken-arched time server. He damaged himself by suing firefighters in Billings, and by joining with the tea party crazies to sponsor legislation to turn a 100-mile strip south of the Canadian border into a police state, angering Libertarian leaning Republicans, Late ads leveraged that anger into votes for Cox.

        (2) I appreciate your vote of confidence on my credibility in sourcing. I’ve worked hard to build up that credibility, and to build a reputation for not burning my sources. It would be a violation of trust on my part to reveal anything about my sources other than that the sources exist. I know that’s not the answer you and others would like, but it’s the only answer I can provide without violating my sourcing standards or the trust I’ve established with sources.

        (3) In comments elsewhere, some have described me as a Democratic blogger — but that’s not how I see myself. I’m a Democrat, a very liberal Democrat, but I’m an independent blogger; independent not just in the sense of political affiliation, but also independent in the sense of not serving as a conduit for information supplied to me by Democratic or other partisan sources. In fact, I’ve never been on the press release list for the Democrats, Democratic candidates, or any political organization. So the belief among some that I’ve betrayed the Democratic Party, or Sen. Tester, or that I’m a Democratic insider who’s now persona non grata with the party is based on a false premise.

    • It would be easy to say ‘Colonel Mustard, in the Library with the Candlestick’. The fact is, I don’t know who did it, or if any real “it” was actually done. The situation at hand is not one in which I am certain you are wrong. I just don’t see a foundation, as many others seem to, for any certainty that you are right.

      Jon Tester has already defeated the state’s two most powerful Republicans, one in a race that was the most expensive in state history. These are not the hallmarks of a candidate prone to seeing himself weak enough to manipulate an election 5 years out. The numbers as we agree on them, do not tell me the same story as they tell you. If a source would go on the record, that would make a significant difference in the credibility of your argument. But none have and none will, and as you indicate, Schweitzer ain’t talkin’.

      Others have referred to my skepticism as simply a ‘faux-progressive’ knee-jerk defense of authority. That’s kind of ironic since much of the progressive will is spent criticizing the press for anonymous sources and obfuscation. Conjecture is a poor call to action, yet it seems to the rage in modern America. What we have here is more conjecture, and I find myself simply uninspired by it.

  • Not taking anything away from you James… Usually you are spot on, but after every election is a group of second guessing, people who worked for a campaign that seem to think they weren’t patted on the back enough. This is the M.O. I smell here. everyone vying for a Steve Schmidt Job at a big network.

    And then there is the lack of evidence, just the scuttle butt supported by more scuttle butt…. I realize you are just giving us what you heard, but their story is incomplete, somewhat Taudry, and with little else.

    Think about it, why hasn’t this been grabbed up by national news?? Why in the ghist of Weiners sexting, would anyone jump out into the light and speak from a personal point of view about his junk picture… Yet nothing from guys who speak of some Mysterious democratic scandal that should be earth shattering news????

    Sorry, I wont bite. I realize we have a lot of disgruntled folk on our side too, but I haven’t seen Brian, Tester or Baucus seem to care, or even speak to the allegations….Now think of this, seems none of these three politician have a grudge against each other, none of them are pointing fingers.

    If it was all this bad blood between them, don’t you think someone would have said something by now???? Just saying!

    I still believe it is a ruse, of the republican side.

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