Montana Politics

Dispatch from Akureyri: John Bohlinger and Dirk Adams Say More Nonsense

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I really shouldn’t be posting this, as I am on vacation in Iceland, but the bullshit coming from the John Bohlinger and Dirk Adams Senate campaigns smells so badly that I can smell it over the sulfurous hot water in Reykjavik. Both Bohlinger and Adams, it seems, are angry that the Montana Democratic Party has chosen to endorse an actual Democrat for the US Senate race instead of either of them.

Bohlinger whined:

“I’m offended by that,” said Bohlinger. “I don’t know how one certifies their credentials as a democrat any more than I’ve done. In 2004 and 2008 I ran with Brian Schweitzer on the Governor/Lt. Governor ticket as a Democrat. I filed as a democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.”

Now that’s rich. Perhaps Bohlinger has forgotten it, but Montana voters surely remember the ads with Governor Schweitzer saying “I’m a Democrat” and Bohlinger saying “I’m a Republican” before Schweitzer put Bohlinger out to pasture following the election.

Democrats also remember that, in 2008, Bohlinger not only endorsed, but was the Montana chair for the John McCain campaign.

The first indication that Bohlinger was a Democrat came about four days before he announced he was going to run for the US Senate as one, and even that came after he announced that was an Independent.

And his voting record as a Republican legislator? Only problematic for Democrats if they care about women’s health, unions, education, and campaign finance. Or perhaps if they care about rights for the LGBT community.

Remember all the times that I’ve written that Bohlinger was an honorable man who would have been better served by simply sitting this race out? Only the latter half seems to be true any more.

And then we have Adams, who explained his donations to Republican candidates like this:

Adams has never run as a republican, but ended up in the same net as Bohlinger when Watt pointed to Adams’ past donations to republican candidates as a sign that he wasn’t a “true” democrat. Adams said that there were three old donations to republicans who were working across the aisle on important community banking issues.

Who did Adams donate to? Rick Hill, Mike Taylor, and bigot Ed Royce. While Adams is trying to spin and explain away those donations now, the fact is that he donated to candidates who represent the antithesis of what the Democratic Party stands for.

Why I find this posturing so infuriating is not even that Adams or Bohlinger are distorting their records in a non-stop effort to smear Senator Walsh; it’s that they seem to be so shameless about it.  I think it’s perfectly fine for Adams and Bohlinger to be in this race, but it certainly would be nice if their strategy was anything other than running attack ads for Steve Daines in the general election.

It’s damn disappointing–and further reason for the Montana Democratic Party to have done exactly what it has.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an 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.

34 Comments

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  • I realize you have a job to do, and the race is heating up unexpectedly, but was Baucus “an actual Democrat?” The only reason I ask is that it seems Republicans shed the most tears on his way out. I’m remembering Grassley and Hatch in particular.
    Bush tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, BaucusCare, tax code for the 1%, etc.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your vacation.

    • I’m not sure anymore who’s a true and false Democrat. The Democratic leadership are all in for the XL Pipeline, minimizing environmental impacts and accepting Big Oil’s jobs-created estimates. So, by the way, has the AFL/CIO.

      Kick-the hippies “Democrats” aren’t going to attract my donations or efforts.

      Adams probably will, despite having donated to a few Republican 18 years ago. He’s the only one who’s against XL. And he’s good on other issues, too.

      • So, a good Democrat chooses environmentalists of labor unions? That’s the problem – there are legitimate conflicting interests here, both of which are part of the Dem base (and one of which has been part of the Dem base a lot longer). So, choosing one or the other doesn’t make any candidate the ‘true’ Democrat.

        • The conflict is a contrived one not a “legitimate” one. Big Oil money has somehow bought the AFL/CIO and Democratic leadership. There’s no difference between TransCanada’s talking points and those of Tester, Bullock, et al.

          Deciding it’s OK to do great damage to our country — and our planet — in order to create maybe 50 full-time jobs is tragically stupid.

          There are plenty of jobs to be created in alternative energy, but few want to talk about it.

          • Keystone does damage to our country and planet only if you assume the alternative is no tar sand development. If the alternative is continued shipment of oil by rail, keystone could well be a net positive. And the thing about a political base is – even if they are wrong, you need to take them seriously. That’s what makes it a democracy, no a Platonic state!

    • Steve-

      I think your willingness to believe the press releases and spin from “Democratic” candidates with very conservative records, simply because they aren’t the mainstream candidate, says a great deal about your actual political position.

      I don’t have a job to do. That’s a cute insinuation, but, of course, untrue.

      Not everyone is motivated by personal gain when they write about or discuss politics. I’d think you would understand that.

      • Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersault when there is no whip. (Orwell)

  • Please, June 3, get here fast so we can start figuring out how Walsh will beat Daines.

    I will say that the airport there in Reykjavik is about the most boring I’ve ever been to.

    Maybe we should send the Democratic strategists there – they’ll have few distractions and might be able to come up with some kind of plan. Right now I don’t think they have one.

  • Both parties were long co-opted by financial centers. I mean long, long ago, even at the turn of the 19th century both candidates were JP Morgan men. There have been times when Democrats eased away from the power magnet and offered real alternatives, but they are quickly brought back into line by the money. With the small-d democratic uprising of the sixties and early seventies, we got the Powell Memo and later the Democratic Leadership Council, the sole purpose to marginalize progressive elements within the party. We are “New Democrats,” said Clinton, meaning “Republicans who smoke pot.”

    It is often said that Democrats now function to merely lower our expectations of politics, and you guys do that indeed. I take it a step further, and say that your party exists to prevent the rise of a second party. That is your effect as well.

    But there is also the ratchet effect, where Republicans while in office advance the agenda as far to the right as humanly possible, and then Democrats come into power and cement that rightward movement in place.

    I buy into that as well with this caveat: With Obama, there has been continued rightward movement, and not just a ratchet. He’s gone total neocon on us, and you support him, meaning you are neocons as well. Which is OK. You could be neoliberals. As far as the rest of the world knows, there’s no difference. Neocon bombs on Iraq, neoliberal bombs on Serbia. Who can tell what’s what?

    Whatever. You guys, your politics, your haggling, all pretty much useless. Look at you now, bearing down on the only slightly progressive alternative in a three way race, your support lockstep behind the cloaked Republican, Walsh. It could be that Adams are Bohlinger are just doing primary positioning, so that there is no real choice anyway. But still, Pogie, when you and PW come out as the right wingers you are and yet still insist that Democrats make a difference, I laugh a cynical laugh.

    • Corporations buy and sell candidates from both parties – what do you expect?

      If a guy gives me $100 and a company gives me $10,000 then who do you think I’m going to listen to?

      But we don’t want anyone without political experience, a healthy business background, or the ability to kiss-ass to run for office. When they do we do everything we can to stop them.

      • “If a guy gives me $100 and a company gives me $10,000 then who do you think I’m going to listen to?”

        I expect you to tell both of them, and the voters, that you are neither for sale nor for rent, and that all citizens have your ear equally whether or not they contributed to your campaign, and no matter how much they might have contributed.

    • “Neocon bombs on Iraq, neoliberal bombs on Serbia. Who can tell what’s what?”

      I mean, one killed literally a hundred times more people than the other, and one left a country in shambles while the other ‘victimized’ country has regrown its economy to a much higher level than ever before.

      Fun story about Mark – he thinks Serbia and Iraq were comparable because he lacks the part of his brain responsible for detecting two orders of magnitude. Every time he goes through Whitefish, he’s convinced he’s in Seattle, not realizing it has 1/100th the population.

      • Both Serbia and Iraq (and Libya and Syria and Ukraine) were unprovoked, naked aggression. With both, the true impact of the violence has been kept from view in the US and our amazingly submissive and incurious news media. With both, the agitprop machine kicked in full gear, manufacturing a demon for your consumption, putting a face on the brand new enemy, giving the dog a bad name to justify the beating. Then ensued cold-blooded murder.

        With both, the true objective of the war planners has been kept secret, and in the media is no moral courage to try to understand the true nature of the aggression. That’s understandable. They lose their jobs. The selection process for news media yields low caliber people. They are laughable fools, self-important, like you, but at least they are in the pay of the masters. You are a volunteer.

        With one, because a Republican happens to be the apparent head of the executive, you are skeptical of some of the playacting. With the other, because a Democrat appears to be in power, you are without guile, credulous and shallow.

        You are not a person to be taken seriously. Most annoying is that you write as if you have gravitas. You do not.

        • Incoherent rambling is certainly more valuable than the lives of 99,000 people, or the standard of living of millions. Lets keep electing Republicans because ‘ in principle’ the result are the same.

          • When I first came into the blogosphere I tried to reason with Mark regarding this thinking. I tried to explain to him that right and wrong are not coded domains, But are only words that humans use to describe both moral values and descriptive accuracy, and they exist on a continuum. I put up a Very relevant quote on rationality from Isaac Asimov .

            ” When people said the earth was flat they were wrong. When people said the earth was a sphere they were wrong. But if you think saying the earth is a Sphere is as wrong as saying the earth is flat than you are wronger than both of them put together.”

            He then proceeded to talk about magical government death rays and Exclaim that the deaths of many children at the hands of a lunatic were nothing but Propaganda from our hyper rational overlords and I realized that He Doesn’t care about rationality. And is usually wronger than the two parties put together.when it

            • It takes a lot for me to get belligerent enough to go to the blog of a man for whom 99,000 living Serbians and 99,000 dead Iraqis is not an argument – who already predicted a US invasion of Syria and nuclear strike on Iran. Next time I get there I hope I’m having more fun than reading your blog.

              • Kralj has but one attack weapon for me, that back five or six years ago, I fell for an op-gen rated book that pinned JFKs murder on tech Mafia.

                You’ve got two things going, that the attempt to invade Syria didn’t work, and that Iran has not yet been nuked. You two make good bookends, but otherwise, PW, you really, really got nuthin’.

                I am less impressed with you with each passing day. Your studied ignorance is no substitute for curiosity and intelligent inquiry.

                • Mark, is it possible for you to just discuss the topics without interjecting your arrogant judgments of others?

  • So, if neoliberals bomb Whitefish we should thank our lucky stars that neocons did not bomb Seattle? Moral of the story: Neoliberals good, neocons bad?

    I suppose that fits the original topic, which was ……. oh that was days ago, who cares? It fits because its simplistic, personal and insulting to would-be commenters in a way similar to the author’s demeaning tone about who should and who shouldn’t be permitted to run for public office. Peas in a pod.

    In a time when voter turnout is approaching pathetic, it seems to me that insulting legitimate candidates and undecided voters with another Washington coronation is counterproductive and downright stupid. Authoritarian tactics do not go unnoticed in Montana. One thing about Montanans, they’re not natural “goose-steppers.”

    • “Authoritarian tactics do not go unnoticed in Montana. One thing about Montanans, they’re not natural “goose-steppers.”

      Geez, what a conclusion. Where did you pull THAT one out of? (don’t answer that. it was rhetorical. not looking for a biological description!) Look, any state that would elect judy mars, marky ratco, sen. cornhole burns, dopey reeburp, rick hill, and a WHOLE list of nutjobs to our Lege, etc., are INDEED natural born goose-steppers! Goose stepping is our state dance!

    • The best thing about this ‘coronation’ is that there’s a still an election afterwards – so if Montanans really hate it, they can put Bohlinger in! Wanna put money on whether they do?

  • Larry,

    I’d like you to reconsider. Roughly 50% don’t vote. We pretend they don’t exist. Even Republicans who won by so-called large margins, represents a tally of 30-something % of eligible voters. Haven’t had coffee yet, maybe my math is screwed up.

    Tester beat Rehberg, but by less than 50% of the total votes cast. That’s in the high-20-something % of Montanans eligible to vote.

    You be the judge.

  • In my opinion James Connor gets it right. http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2014/march_2014/2014-03-29_democratic_purge.html
    ===Quote
    Democratic leaders should not be bashing Bohlinger and Adams

    But they are, led by the party’s executive committee, and with a glee and meanness that tarnishes the party and probably helps Steve Daines shine more brightly. A determination to punish Bohlinger and Adams for having defied the wishes of the party’s grand pooh-bahs not to have a U.S. Senate primary in Montana is driving this foolishness, which sends to the rank-and-file, the Democrats who vote in the primaries, the message that they are not to be trusted with their votes.

    The leadership’s argument that Bohlinger and Adams are not true Democrats stinks of moral decay. Bohlinger and Adams are, figuratively speaking, lately-come-to-Jesus Democrats, sinners who renounced their transgressions and now embrace the true faith. They’re being flogged not because of a past flirtation with the Republican Party, but because they didn’t genuflect to Harry Reid and the other Democratic honchos who fear a primary.
    ===End Quote

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