Other than denying women access to reproductive health care, nothing seems to unite Montana Republicans more than their hatred for anonymous political blogs attacking their candidates. They whine and caterwaul and complain about blogs like Montana Cowgirl and the Montana Streetfighter, but not without their typical hypocrisy. Despite their drumbeat of criticism on social media, they’ve repeatedly tried—and failed—to develop anonymous blogs of their own. I think they may just be bad at it.
Two weeks ago, just as the campaign season began in earnest, a new conservative-leaning site called the Montana Pundit appeared on the scene, with some specious attacks on John Walsh appearing to be its only content.
In 2012, a mostly anonymous site called Treasure State Politics served up a breathtaking mixture of support for Sandy Welch, Corey Stapleton, murderous syntax, and the most egregious violations of the English language this side of a TEA Party poster making party. The site still exists, but got very quiet after the near-Democratic sweep in November 2012. While these authors occasionally used their names on posts, they certainly didn’t when it mattered.
Back in 2011, before Steve Daines decided he would get his ass handed to him by Jon Tester, a blog called Common Sense Montana attacked the Senator using specious claims and trumped up nonsense. Daines, of course, was behind the blog.
In 2008, the Montana GOP endorsed a racist, classist piece of tripe called the MTPundit which offered up a barrage of some of the worst writing and Fox News talking points imaginable. It lingered sadly on for a few years, but never reached the glory of its early, hate-filled days.
Back in 2007, the Republicans offered up a professional-looking anonymous site called The Hardliner, which was so infrequently read and so little regarded that its proprietors had to fake comments to give the illusion it was being read. It lasted about two years, but probably had two readers in its entire run.
There have been others, of course, from Big Sky Cairn, 2nd Grade Bike Rack,, Havre Daily Corrector, The Viceroy’s Fuguestate, and more. One can’t forget Conservative Cowgirls (which is now a porn link), either. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the others that have briefly flickered for a moment before fading away faster than Neil Livingstone’s political career.
None of these even addresses the fake news sites like the Montana Statesman, which lived and died with the Rick Hill campaign against Steve Bullock.
I’d say Montana Republicans don’t have any real problem with anonymous blogs at all. It’s just that they’re terrible at running, writing, promoting, and proofreading them. I’ve made my feelings about anonymity clear a number of times, and while my preference would be for all content to be published under real names, I understand why some can’t—and I don’t give any credence to people who complain about successful anonymous blogs simply because they lack the skills to develop their own.