Montana Politics

General Marbut’s Home Guard Bill Rides Again

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I’m not going to waste a lot of time writing about “General” Gary Marbut’s decision to bring his crazy bill for a Montana Home Guard to the Legislature again, but it would be nice if the Republicans in the body could politely ask him to stop wasting the Legislature’s time with his schoolboy dreams of becoming the first General of the Montana Home Guard. Maybe he could take up fantasy football or something, but the annual spectacle of Marbut wanting to dress up his Patriot movement, anti-government views in the garb of an armed or unarmed superhero militia force is growing a bit tired–and distracts the Legislature from more important bills like Marbut’s efforts to require that state officials obstruct law enforcement.

Today, the Senate State Administration Committee had the opportunity to discuss the bill thanks to the efforts of Senator Roger Webb, proud supporter of ALEC and determined opponent of harmless dogs.

In the course of the hearing, we learned that:

  • Senator Webb did not even reach out to the National Guard or Sheriffs Association in Montana to seek their views.
  • Senator Webb did not reach out to a single tribal government, even though seven have law enforcement agencies who might have to interface with the unorganized Home Guard.
  • the bill does not provide any details about who would bear financial responsibility in the event that some overly enthusiastic member of the Home Guard did real damage to someone.
  • the members of the Home Guard could, at various times, provide emergency medical assistance, firefighting, prison riot control, and search and rescue function, among a million other tasks.
  • the members of the Home Guard, who might be running around the woods “drilling” could be identified with t-shirts, badges, or caps, clearly sufficient to assuage public safety fears.

Rachel Carroll Rivas, testifying for the Montana Human Rights Network, had it just right, when she noted that Home Guard proposals are little more than window dressing for anti-government activists to legitimize their efforts to disassociate from the federal government–and the Legislature should, but sadly, probably won’t, resist this effort one more time.

Enjoy General Marbut and Senator Webb trying to defend this bill in the face of logical questions:

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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.

12 Comments

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  • Wouldn’t it be great if the “Home Guard” did useful things in Montana: serious work with the disadvantaged and homeless, conservation and environmental efforts, volunteering at schools, delivering food to seniors … Then I’d support them.

    But this is a Marbut front group. When is the legislature going to ignore MSSA’s ridiculous proposals and do the business that matters to Montanans? I’ll die happy when that happens.

    Excellent piece, Pogie.

  • I heard that they’re gonna do a movie ’bout general Marsbutt along the lines of American Sniper, except to be called American Diaper! It’s about an inbred who brings a pant load of sh*t every time he shows up at the Lege! What a couple’a panuccis!

  • I already possess a “home guard”. My local sheriff, the Highway Patrol, my local (well-trained) volunteer fire department, my local (well-trained) volunteer EMS responders, and even better, my neighbors; and last up, my own personal responsibility. I own weapons & know how to use them; I have fire hoses and a good well in the event of fire. An “internal” National Guard? What is that? I am listening to the Senate hearing; Senator Webb cited a Bull River incident in which the local fire department ran out of personnel. Has he never heard of mutual aid agreements? And yet another “organization” of what? And the sheriff would “supervise” these people? I don’t know about other counties, but I think Flathead County’s sheriff has enough on his plate. And how would any sheriff or deputy recognize there people? In their Minute Men 1776 uniforms? And the governor can call out the National Guard when he deems it necessary, especially in cases of natural disaster or extreme emergencies.

    Here’s a suggestion…just as there are laws about frivolous lawsuits, can’t there be at least one about truly frivolous bills? My taxes are paying Senator Webb’s per diem & health benefits…let him perhaps propose something that truly elevates life in Montana. It is absurd to have to spend time on such a, quite frankly, stupid bill.

    • I like the idea. We need a law about frivolous bills. Someone should really consider introducing the Marbut Prevention Act in the 2017 session.

  • Say what you will about Gary Marbut, but take a look at his record – he’s probably been the most effective lobbyist in Helena for the past several sessions. He must be doing something right.

    Pogie, have you ever fired a firearm?

  • Eric: I’ve fired a firearm and I consider Marbut to be a menace to Montana’s health and welfare.

  • Nothing to do with you Pete – I just like to remind everybody to take Pogie’s insight on firearms in their proper context – the opinions come from a man who knows nothing about them.

    Marbut has worked hard to protect and expand our freedoms. And most Montanans, and the majority of our legislators agree with him. If you can name a more effective lobbyist in Helena over the course of the last few sessions, please name him or her for us.

    • Just because someone has never used a gun certainly doesn’t take away their right to have an opinion about the laws regarding their use. Unless, of course, you and the other Republican men will stop telling women what to do with their bodies. I’d make that compromise.

  • It’s kind of like somebody who’s never had a girlfriend giving marital advice – Ha Ha.

    BTW – I guess nobody told you that the imaginary war on women was a loser, and the Dems have dropped it from the playbook Pogie –

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