Elsie Arntzen: A Bold Montana Republican in One Sentence

Elsie Arntzen’s bold leadership for Montana in one sentence:

On another issue, Arntzen praised the two sides in Congress for coming up with the recently passed budget deal but said she wouldn’t have supported it because it spent too much.

At least Steve Daines has the good sense to wait a news cycle to flip-flop.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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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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  • Just saw her on TV, spouting, shouting and blowing the ‘dog-whistle’ for haters to pile
    on the ‘Obama the Bully’. As a public school teacher, I wonder if she knows how many of her 5th graders and their families HAVE healthcare, as this ‘gem’ wants to repeal O-Care while SHE has a general healthplan herself, so what’s HER solutions? Did she vote
    for medicaid expansion? What did she suggest to HELP people, not provide them hate

    • I too caught her on the TV news. Wow. What a creepy person. Hard to believe that she’s a teacher.

      • She even LOOKS like a teatard. She looks angry! What the hell kind of weirdo like that goes into education? I don’t get it. Wonder what the other teachers in her building think of her? Sumthin’ ain’t right here. Can a person that angry really have care and compassion for the little ones in her charge? I doubt it. Is there a comic book version of altlas shrugged that she uses in her classroom? I never met too many teachers that weird.


        • There’s reality, and then there’s Teatard reality, and the two shall never meet! But when your hubby’s a big time gamblin’ man, just WHOM do you think ms. arntzen’s gonna support, the Dems, the Pubes, or the really wackos?! Easy answer. It would be interesting to see how she progressed from fifth grade teacher to insane person! She must have had some compassion at one time, or maybe was simply too slow to major in anything but elementary ed.! Which just proves that you don’t need to be a genius to teach fifth graders! I’m thinkin’ that she’s the mental equivalent of Dopey Reeburp, another Teatard champeen! I can’t wait to hear her actual views on policy. I’m sure that she can see D.C. from the top of the rims!! Why heck, she’s qualified!

          She joins a growing list of very unqualified folks in the ReePube party who think that the meet the minimum standards for being a congressman. They don’t. Burns started the trend of sending idiots to D.C., and Dopey Reeburp kept it going. That is NOT really a Montana tradition. Except for Mini Barfus, the Dems have sent some outstanding people. NONE from the Pube side. We’re still waiting, and ms. arntzen ain’t the one!


  • Hmm. Interesting. Looks like her old man is doing his part to give back to society! Or not. Although I think the guy has great business acumen, I’m not sure that it couldn’t have been put to better use! But I think that all of this might help explain Elsie’s rabid teatardism! You see, making a profit off the misery of others, and saying to hell with the greater good, is pretty much what the teatards are all about! I got mine, screw yous guys!


  • It helps to understand the mindset at work here. She makes perfect sense to herself and her words are like syrup on the waffled Randian brains of the right wing. Government spending, in their view, is an evil force that is seeking to enslave us by sponsoring do-good programs as wolves in sheep clothing. Economics is no more complicated than a household budget. You balance the budget and end regulations, stop all public assistance, and the country heals itself.

    I could write her speeches, just as I could for the Democratic side of our two party nightmare. It’s all feathers in the wind, none of it mattering to those who hold real power.

  • But she isn’t a person who holds any real Power here Tolarski, none of the teatards do. The real power has always been one person, one vote. Teatards are hopelessly outnumbered

    Corporate leash holders of teatards don’t want the rest of America to know the power of the right to vote because that means “Inclusion.” Plus A true understanding of the constitution.

    Spoiler Alert:
    The republican party is dead. They now need three distinct, separate, conservative voices to respond to the presidents upcoming state of the union:

    A woman to soften their image of subjugating women. Because the women voters kicked Republicans nationally in the butt by overwhelmingly voting Democrat (It is basically the first time ever the GOP have let a woman speak on their behalf without a male present. the problem though is– she is the wrong color).

    A nut job for the tea party faithful from Utah…

    And Rand Paul who might be somewhere in the middle, but no one knows for sure where is jump off point is?

    Three distinct fissures in a hopelessly split party.,,, means the Grand Old Party is now broken.

    Im not saying the Democrats are the only party left standing, Im saying they are the only party left.

    Your conversation never gets past, the “Tribalism in America” to the problems of the day anymore. Your message Mark is hopelessly outdated … in reality you’ve become out of touch–sounding more like Mr Wilson’s “Get off my Lawn.”

    • Very hard to understand how you think you have a cogent view of politics when in the long diatribe on your moral and intellectual a superiority, you neglected to mentione the word “money.” It’s as if it does not exist, and yet you presume to know where power lay.

      When voters do not hold office holders accountable, as you Democrats do not, you have voluntarily ceded what little power you have.

  • Corporations are money! Secondly, personal attacks on me, yet nothing of substance, no rebuttal? How trite and petty! Justs goes to prove you can’t answer the one person, one vote argument anytime soon.

    • Might be useful here if you can separate the notions of voting, politics and power.

      Power is the ability to get others to conform to your will. This is done via force, bribery, propaganda and honest persuasion, the latter least used.

      Politics is the ability to use one group’s power to achieve its goals by organizing other groups to support it, most often without knowing the true objectives of the organizing group. Bribery and propaganda are most used in politics, brute force and actual persuasion least. People do not reason among themselves about emotional issues, but rather yell and scream about each other without actually exchanging ideas.

      Voting is an infinitesimal expression of personal will, usually cast after modest exposure to propaganda in the form of television advertising. It has no power of persuasion, and no force of bribery or physical force. It is a tool to keep you occupied while real power works the political system to achieve its goals.

      All of the activity surrounding voting is a means of social control, keeping the population preoccupied while the real business of powerful groups is carried on in private. Generally an election has two possible outcomes, and if power has worked the system properly, either outcome is acceptable. There there is a possibility of an Undesireable outcome, other tools used are election fraud, propaganda barrages (as Tester used at the last moment), scandal, bad publicity via controlled media (a Baucus specialty), and in the extreme, murder. Politicians should never ride on small aircraft.

        • mark always shares with us his morning constitutional! In fact, I believe that he belongs to the morning constitution party!

      • Wow man! “Voting is an infinitesimal expression of personal will” What the…?

        Voting is an established law given duty. Second a lot of people, like you squander it by not voting. People like you rationalize that it doesn’t count. You usually generalize to the point of nothingness –voters into two blocks of people as part of your Rationalism:

        1. Party identification
        2. General ideological Orientations

        Completely foregoing:
        1.Public policy
        2. Pursuing better Government performance
        3. Personal characteristics of the candidates that makes them worth — or not worth voting for.
        4. Social factors, race, religion, region, and social class appear to be the characteristics that have most closely related to voting over the past several decades Yet you never speak to them. because you’re either too lazy or not intelligent enough to speak to those issues.

        You bring forth no history citations to back you claims, past the obvious general word salad. The codswallop you usually throw out isn’t even based on anything scientific– on voter behavior since you never toss out links to back you opinion….. And since you don’t vote you can’t even speak to past personal voting behavior?

        LK is exactly right your conversation are only drubbings of absolute boredom.

        Your delivery is even under that of Fox News guidelines of fear and loathing.

        • I disagree with Mark concerning the value of voting, based largely on two factors: 1) his assumptions of ‘where I’m coming from’ and worse 2) his assumption that I don’t know where he’s ‘coming from’. That having said …

          Voting is *not* “an established law given duty”. It is a right. When a right becomes a duty then it is no longer a right, but rather a requirement, a restriction of rights. If we are to say that voting is a duty and hold to the ideal that it is a right, then we can only mean that voting is a duty to vote one’s conscience for what one believes is ‘best’ (for all if we are truly being pedantic). In that case, not voting is as much an expression of one’s rights as voting is, and should be held blameless by anyone else. That doesn’t mean the consequence of not voting can’t be reviewed or judged by others (hey, dude, thanks for helping get a total dickwad elected.) But the expression of rights are not open to anyone else’s judgment of “duty”. Rights are funny that way. You are welcome to judge what people do with them, but not judge whether people actually have them. Those are, as you point out Norma, guaranteed by law.

          And once again, I point out that if you want to make issue of someone else’s failure to post links, you should at least post one or two yourself in counterpoint.

          • Please note, of course, that we don’t disagree on the importance of the right to vote, or not vote, but rather on the value of a vote in the current atmosphere. Money is the center of the problem, and until its force is subdued in some manner, voting will have little intrinsic value.

            Ground up organizing impacts public policy, as we saw with the rise of enviros, feminists, and African Americans last century. Roosevelt was both held to account and given power to act by organized labor. Those were truly democratic forces at work, and with those in place, voting mattered.

            • Again, Mark, I do not think we disagree on the value of voting, even in the current atmosphere. (Given the current environment) You contend that voting has no impact on progression. I contend that at the end of the day, it’s the only thing that ever has or will. We do not disagree about the impact of money save to this degree: You think money buys votes, a general and absolute statement. I reject such universals, even in the current climate, and that’s why politicians fear voter dementia. More to the point, that’s why you argue that Democrats would be more effective if they held their own accountable. You agree with me, not vice versa. Yes, money buys votes … in Congress. But people are fickle and often swayed by narrative. There are too many examples where money can’t buy that narrative, many offered by you. Ground up organizing is precisely an effort to buy votes through money and barter. Ultimately, it is the votes that matter, the votes which put people like Elizabeth Warren in power.

              • Movements precede progress. How long as NARAL been at it? In the meantime, no elected official in DC dared touch that subject. Once public opinion is safely in place, they come out of their hiding places and go along.

                The critical point is accountability: Financial backers pay close attention, and demand service in return for cash. The public does not. If you were an office holder, and if you wanted to stay in office, who would you serve? Who would you try to fool?

      • I get it. You’re in it for personal validation. But I don’t understand why you think politics can change anything when you don’t even understand how it works. The only politics that matters is ground-up.

        What happens with you is top-down – the party and the media decide on a “viable” candidate or two and feed them to you and you slowly begin to believe that their running was your idea. The candidate polls you to find out what words and symbols will inspire you to vote for him or her, incorporates them into ads, and you begin your laughing and shouting and have great satisfaction or huge disappointment on election night.

        Then you go to sleep, and they go to work.

        How the hell is that anything to be concerned about? What on earth makes you think any of this matters?

        • Your a guy who handles numbers — and yet you can’t add two sentences together to validate your voting opinion? Or even stay in the conversation without wandering to candidates?

          First of all the party, has nothing to do with someone filing to be a candidate. The person running decides that– and that has nothing to do with voters at that time. Being a candidate, is an individual decision. You can ask for party help, after you file, but it isn’t necessary either. A party can and often does not help the candidate out unless they ask either, and a party can’t strip your affiliation of them either, only you as a candidate can do that.

          None of this has to do with voter behavior as a subject, though the action of becoming a candidate dovetails into seeking votes from the voting public, it isn’t the same thing. Stop muddying the waters of politics with your overreaching generalizations.

          Stay on point for goodness sake Mark.

          • You’re talking about how it would work in a functioning democracy with fully informed and vigilant citizens. The US is mostly poorly educated low-information voters, and again, Democrats do not hold candidates accountable anyway, so you make it easy for them to lie. And the two parties choose their candidates, and once every ten years, their voters. Get real. The hurdles to running outside the parties are insurmountable. No. 1 is, of course, money.

            And honestly, as a member of the leadership class, the 1%, all you need do is spend half a hour on the internet before deciding that public opinion is not worth anything and needs to be managed, not heeded. Ten minutes, actually.

          • Uhhh, no. You can’t actually “ask for party help” after you file unless you have reasonable assurance that party will assist you in the moneyed efforts. In theory, you can file as whatever and then ask any party for money. In practice, you can’t file as an ‘independent’ without the required signatures, and then turn to the Democrats to fund your campaign with any reasonable assurance that a) you will get funding or that b) you will win. As example, the Batcrap crazy Teapeep Mike Comstock filed for the Democratic nomination for Senate district 35. He appealed to the Republicant party for money and got a minimal amount because his role was to garner a win for Scott Sales. He performed that role admirably.

            Mark is correct. “The Party” has one helluva lot to do with who is nominated, who files for the seat and why.

              • “Independant” is not by law considered a political Party in Montana, Because Dan Cox took in more than 5% in 2010 for statewide office as an independent… Another independant running for statewide office wont have to file signatures. For counties or cities though — its totally different. You do have to file signatures showing enough people are interested in voting for you in a primary.

                Neither is Tea party, or Constitution party considered real parties, nor is the Green Party.

                According to the laws regarding Political Parties in Montana:

                ” Political parties must meet certain statutory requirements in order to nominate candidates for the ballot in Montana. A party automatically qualifies for the ballot if it had a candidate for statewide office in either of the last two general elections and that candidate received a total number of votes that was 5 percent or more of the total number of votes cast for the successful candidate for governor.”


                You might be better off to stick to what you know — which is usually nothing but harassing other commenters– with the wrong information. Just like you did here.

                Just point it to other people, who aren’t as exasperated with your bullying as I am!

                • You’re talking about formal, or legal requirements, and in Montana, where independent parties have an easier go of it. But reality is that if you don’t have party approval, you can howl at the moon, but you won’t get the backing you need, and will likely be stabbed in the back if you threaten the power structure.

                  The two parties are top-down power structures, and hold monopoly power because independent movements do not have enough money to fight them. Further, they are controlled by large financial interests, and those interests do not work in the open. Power, real power, is always a quiet entity.

                  When you ran in whatever county that is down there you were likely a sacrificial lamb, token opposition in a Republican district. What you felt might have seemed like support, that you were pursuing a noble cause, but believe me, no one at the state level gave a shit about your campaign. The districts were carved up and that one was given to the Republicans.

                • Again Mark complete untruth. I got tutors, money from other Democrats in office. Donations of time from and from my county party. Again as I said to Rob, If you never ran, never got invited to workshops as a candidate, never got help from your party….. it is because you never asked. Obviously you are parroting the republican side from someone republican and how republicans treat their candidates?

                  And since you also don’t vote, this is another reason, you have no understanding of democracy. Keep trying though, I am sure that by 80 years old or so — you might finally understand it — or just might stay as senile as you are now

                • I did run, as a democrat, as you know. I got some financial support, a few hundred bucks, from the party, but most of my $5,000 came from enviros. I was much too rebellious to know if I would have gotten better support had I been more docile. I was not very good at politics, and so cannot know what was possible there. I did, however, poll a larger percentage of the vote and far more votes than you, so hush.

                • Really Mark? you agree with everything I just said in your last comment… or did you actually not notice that as you were deflecting. And this is the first time you said anything about running so where was it at? Cuz I seem to keep getting no results at the SOS Montana Page?

                  Lastly, I much to rebellious to hush for Coloradans in general

                • 1996, Yellowstone County, beaten by Peg Arnett, Christian conservative, nice person, good person, smart politician. I’ve written about it frequently at the blog you’re not welcome at. I learned a lot about politics and myself, including that I should not run for office. Hope you did too.

                • What blog am I not welcome at Mark? because I wasn’t banned from Cowgirls I just left in disgust over commenters who tend to tell tall fairy tales…. like you usually pen. YOu can ask her if you wish, I emailed my apologies before I left. Now, I just read her postings and leave.

                  Sorry I find you too boring and conspricy driven to even get a look at your blog. So you cant possibly have banned a person who never showed up at your site…. well maybe you could and I wouldn’t care? Michael was thinking of trolling you once, but after he read a few of your articles… he felt it would be inhuman to Point and laugh.

                  So my son and I have decided to speak from our perspectives elsewhere…. on a custom Blog that will be up in part tomorrow, yet we’ll continue to hang out at great Montana blogs like Don’s here.

                  I will check on the 1996, but that was ancient history back than. So I can understand if your definitely out of the loop regarding politics….. And lets face it, Beaverhead county only had about 6000 residents to 20 thousand plus for Yellowstone county in those days…. Quite a big difference than, and still in voter population today.

                • It was a reference to my blog. You would especially enjoy the recent piece on postmodernism and Shakespeare, written with you in mind. Normally, however, I do try to keep the rabble at bay.

                  Politics has not changed an iota in the intervening time since I ran. Baucus tried to steal my volunteers, as he didn’t have any to speak of outside his paid staff. He did that to all candidates all over, I was told. At one point we were told to gather outside a nightclub where Republicans were meeting for a staged event, and I was to speak to the TV cameras. The state people gave me a prepared statement. Then , just like now, they were to taking credit for Clinton’s right-wing accomplishments, at that time putting police on the streets and other stuff – you know how it goes, right? D’s run as progressives but the party is run by right wingers. I looked at the statement, said “I can’t read this,” and walked around deciding what to do, in a quandary. I either sold out at that time, or became my own man. I left. That may have been the last time I thought of myself as a Democrat. The whole thing creeped me out, giving me that not-so-fresh feeling. I needed to get clean and away from them.

                  I ran on minimum wage and clean water, and was in favor of legal abortion, and was known as an environmentalist. I was advised to stay clear of those issues but was too stubborn and promoted them instead. I had a wonderful debate with the CofC folks, as if they would endorse me. I secretly wrote Jim Bennett’s campaign material, as he was an imbecile – just for the hell of it – we were supposedly running against each other in the primary. Those things were fun. In the end, after losing, I decided that I was not a person who could bring factions together, as I was too forward about my views, and that I could not change and therefore would not run for office again. But I was also proud that I was my own man and did not let the party wad me up into an intellectual jelly roll.

                  I was still early in development of my views and did not clearly understand how the parties functioned. It’s a long process, understanding this country, takes a life time. I like where I am at now, though I’ve miles to go, and understand the sneers from dabblers like you and Mike. I was there once too years ago. You have to move forward, you know, make hamburger of sacred cows, if you’re going to have any intelligence in a nucking futs country like this.

                • So Like I said, sometimes Mark you tell some pretty tall Tales. Yes you did run in 1996 but you only got 756 votes a tiny percentage of the population there, which is only about a half of what I got. Nice try though, apparently you weren’t very well liked in Yellowstone County.

                • Your usual diligence, I see – the same by which you discovered that I am not a CPA and never did business in Montana. But I’d be curious about the numbers, as it’s been so long ago.

                  You should understand that I ran for state house of representatives for one of 100 districts at that time. This was not a county-wide election. Whatever votes I got were something in the area of 35-40% of the vote. There were perhaps 2000 total ballots cast – I’m thinking more like 1,700, very large turnout for that district. I caused that – that is, I brought out the opposition in droves.

              • Yes, you can ‘ask’ for party help, with predictably the same results you would get by asking your minister to bless your extra-marital affair. You might get party assistance if you are running independent against an uncontested person of the opposite party. Rick Jore garnered a lot of Republican party assistance running against a Democrat. That was after a long history of serving as a Republican and two failures running against Republicans as a Constitutional candidate. Now, I might agree with your blanket statement if you can come up with even one example of how a third party candidate gained Democratic support against a Democratic candidate. This should be fun …

                Norma, you have a nasty habit of demanding that others satisfy your demands for experience else they can’t know what you think they should know. That’s not only the weakest form of a fallacious appeal to the authority of experience. It’s downright stupid. It stating that one can’t know murder is wrong if they’ve never tried to murder. The obvious flaw in your vaunted reasoning is this: You never filed as a non-Democratic candidate, so how in the hell do you know that “they” can ask for party help and actually receive it? By your own reasoning, you’ve never been there, so how do *YOU* know?

  • Oh Lord Jesus, if You happen to be watching, I have just one simple request. SAVE US! NOW! It’s gettin’ ugly down here, Lord. And I was thinkin’ that maybe if You’re not too busy at the moment, maybe you could rapture a few of the inbreds early, for yes, Lord, they really ARE nuckin’ futz! That’s all I ask, in Your name, Amen. Can I get an Amen?!

    THIS is what happens when the inbreds from down south start the great northward migration to the Great White Homeland of Montana, the land of the free and the land of the tea, Montana Blanca! Watch the following video, and tell me there ain’t sumthin’ REAL wrong with these folks!


    Read it, the Family, by Jeff Sharlet. It’s probably the most important book of your times. Christofascism is alive and well!

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