Montana Politics

A Few Last Thoughts on Today

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A few last thoughts upon more reflection about the MT Senate news today.
I feel terribly for John Walsh and his family, because a good man was treated so poorly. A man whose career defines service deserved better.

I feel badly for the people on his Senate and campaign staff who have certainly had a difficult time.

But I feel proud to be a member of a Democratic Party that will, even if the task seems impossible today, fight as hard as possible elect a candidate to the Senate who will have the real interest of Montanans in her heart.

My thanks to all those people inside campaigns and the Party who rarely get the thanks they deserve for the enormous effort they put in every day.

I’d probably go have a few drinks tonight, but get back to the fight tomorrow. We’ve got a Senate sea to win, a House seat to win, reason to restore to the PSC, and a Legislature to take back for the people of Montana.

Thank you.

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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.

8 Comments

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  • I blame one thing and one thing only. The Baucus legacy, the legacy that max corporate America left us! If any good comes from all of this, it’s that we must try like hell to get our state politics back out of the sleazy, cheesey, venal hands of any Baucus confederates left out there! This could be a very good new day for Montana!

  • Too bad Max couldn’t have WAITED a year, since he had a ‘lock’ on re-election and THEN he could
    have gone on to China in Jan 2015!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • I wasn’t Walsh’s biggest fan — voted for Adams in the primary — but to dump Walsh because he didn’t attribute parts of a paper he wrote for the War College over seven years ago?

    This makes me sick.

    I used to have respect for journalists and their editors. Now they’re whores for headlines, from the NY Times down to our local rags. There’s Daines: sue the President, fuck the poor and immigrant kids, and a woman’s choice, and health care; deny climate change and, oh yeah, Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Where’s the journalistic outrage on that?

    Journalists used to do their own research. I know times are tough in the industry but to rely on opposition research to do your work for you and then make it a big story? Pathetic. Of course, ramp up the pablum on the editorial pages, too: call for Walsh’s resignation. Bold move.

    And Montana Democrats are screwed. No big name is going to step up to the plate for the Senate race and the down party ticket is going to suffer; nationally, statewide and locally. It’s a mess.

    Nationally, get ready for a Republican controlled Congress. To plagiarize TPM: … the Paul Ryan budget with its huge cuts to safety-net programs and fundamental changes to Medicare … a bevy of limits on access to abortion and birth control, harsh and punitive measures aimed at immigrants and lower-income people who get public assistance, and repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety (and) a whole lot of ideological grandstanding, including, most recently, the attempt to sue the President.

    Same statewide and in your own hometown.

    On that note, I’m having a shot and going to bed.

  • I agree. I’ve always been a pain in the ass critic of the media in Montana, but this has been astonishing. The worst I can remember.

    I don’t know that I’ve been angrier, or more worried about the direction we’re headed, in a long time.

  • As near as I can tell from reading and listening to what Sen Walsh said, he committed plagiarism, admitted to plagiarism and apologized for plagiarism Plagiarism is punishable by academic expulsion in many places. He got away with it for quite a long time until it was exposed.

    John Walsh has no one else to blame and neither should you.

    That doesn’t mean the Sen Walsh wasn’t also a wonderful man who did many good things.

    It just means he was his own undoing in this particular case and not a victim. I think your attempt to convey victim hood on Sen Walsh is both misguided and self defeating. It sends a very mixed message to voters, students, and troops both active and retired.

    There is however a certain tragedy to the whole situation. And I’m a strong believer in redemption. I would certainly understand compassion and community support for Sen. Walsh and his family and supporters. I would also expect condemnation for the act of plagiarism.

    But victim-hood? No one buys it no matter how hard you try to sell it. And if they did, it would be that much worse, politically speaking.

    Do you want a Senator who can be pushed around and abused at will and forced to quit for no good reason? A victim? Or would you prefer a Senator who would stand up against injustice for themselves and for you?

    • I think you’re putting thoughts into what I wrote. You’re right that Senator Walsh plagiarized SEVEN YEARS AGO, was outed, and criticized. But to even suggest that the media’s response in Montana was responsible, appropriate, or proportional is insane. He had no choice but to leave the race, because there was no way he could recover from a hit like the one he got from the newspapers. Some wrote two editorials about this matter. Two. Yet they haven’t found their way to write a single editorial about Representative Daines’s prolific obstructionism, Senator Zinke’s unethical fundraising, or even former Representative Hill’s $500,000 donation in 2012.

      In what universe is a seven year old plagiarism case even equal to those misdeeds, much less far worse?

      It’s an embarrassment to the media in this state that they behaved the way they did.

    • Well, Steve, Walsh was a victim — a victim of huge money. We have a system now of million dollar campaign contributions, Super PACs and dark money, much of it aimed at negative campaigning and opposition research. A campaign that has the resources to go through War College archives looking for plagiarism? Good Lord.

      I’m particularly upset with the NY Times. You know it wasn’t the reporter who poured over the archives. It was a paid Republican operative who tipped off the press, I guess, but no mention of that in the Front Page article. And then the Montana media and editorial boards pick it up and run it with no critical eye. Why? Because it’s easy.

      Since I’m not a saint, it’s hard for me to fathom just what sort of indiscretions are tolerable anymore. To me, hypocrisy is a way bigger sin. You know, things like chanting “family values” and then getting caught with prostitutes, or supporting anti-gay legislation while trying to get a knob job in an airport men’s room.

      Yes, “he was his own undoing.” I just don’t believe the punishment fit the crime. Besides the hypocrisy, the crimes being perpetrated on the American poor and middle class, on the environment, on women by the Bachmanns, Ryans, Daines, Cruzes, etc., are unforgivable and plagiarism pales in comparison.

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