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Neil Livingstone is the Best GOP Candidate for Governor of Montana

Some of you may prefer the idea of a Republican candidate for governor best known for his brigade of fluorescent-clad fans, while others may prefer the idea of a candidate struggling to defend his moral leadership given some quite public moral failings. Others may prefer the spectacle of a candidate who has chosen a secessionist for his running mate. It’s a loaded field.

But for me, the most entertaining  Republican candidate has to be Neil Livingstone, even if he appears to have abandoned his campaign some months ago.

No candidate better embodies the modern Republican Party than someone whose credentials for being chosen governor rest largely on his work on behalf of terrorist organizations, authoritarian governments, and CEOS who need paramilitary security details.

Neil Livingstone seems to have outdone himself lately, though, positioning himself in a $10 million dollar deal to keep Qaddafi in power in Libya, as the New York Times reports:

The papers contained a shock for the Americans: a three-page letter addressed to Colonel Qaddafi on April 17 by another partner in the proposed deal, a Belgian named Dirk Borgers. Rather than suggesting a way out of power, Mr. Borgers offered the Libyan dictator the lobbying services of what he called the “American Action Group” to outmaneuver the rebels and win United States government support.

The letter is especially awkward for Mr. Livingstone — described by Mr. Borgers in the proposal as the “recognized best American anti-terrorism expert” — who closed his Washington consulting firm in April to plan his campaign for governor.

Livingstone tries to backtrack in the article, but it’s worth remembering that he’s on record as trying to profit from the Libyan conflict:

While secretly lobbying Gaddafi, Livingstone was also advocating the personally profitable idea of a peaceful exit on CNN. He appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight on March 22, three days after NATO first launched airstrikes and cruise missiles against Libyan forces.

Livingstone’s actions raise uncomfortable questions about the role of expert guests on television news. While CNN presumably didn’t know about his attempted contact, Livingstone’s appearances on the news network in all likelihood would have allowed him to lobby Gaddafi more effectively, presenting an image of influence and sympathy to the Libyan ruler. But his actions were also a potential violation of American sanctions against the Libyan regime.

Maybe all of this explains why Livingstone’s campaign seems to have stalled. He was planning to fuel that massive bus with Libyan petrodollars.


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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