If any Montana Democrats doubted that appointing Lt. Governor John Walsh was the right choice, the apoplectic and astonishingly hypocritical response of the right wing should make it clear they see Senator Walsh as a real threat in 2014.
The Montana Republican Party, fresh off creating a phishing site inspired, no doubt, by their party’s efforts to deceive potential Democratic donors, repeated the same tweet criticizing John Walsh somewhere between 13 and 301 times today. I guess what they lack in creativity and consistency, they make up for in dogged determination.
Montana Senate President Jeff Essman, who has apparently forgotten his secret caucus orchestrated by the Republican family values champion Jason Priest and himself during the last legislative session, attacked Governor Bullock for neither calling every voter in Montana and asking her opinion nor letting the GOP the candidate of their choice:
One of those GOP leaders, Montana Senate President Jeff Essmann, criticized Bullock for what he called an “arrogant and high-handed” approach to picking Baucus’ replacement.
“Instead of doing what would have been easy, setting up an open and transparent process to listen to the people of Montana, Gov. Bullock ducked and weaved so that he could fulfill his duty and complete a backroom deal that was hatched in Washington to benefit Washington, not Montana,” Essmann said.
The notion that the Walsh appointment was some kind of D.C. conspiracy dominated Republican criticism today, no doubt because a party so committed to the interests of East Coast elites can’t imagine any other scenario. It’s a problematic narrative, though, given that those same entrenched D.C. elites were soon seen actually trying to influence the Montana electorate—on behalf of Republicans.
Noted Montanans like the spokesman for Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the National Republican Senate Committee, and other D.C. insiders immediately jumped into the fray, making any Republican complaints about D.C. involvement as hollow as their criticisms of the Governor’s entirely legal and responsible choice.
In fact, the National Journal’s Adam Wollner reports that Karl Rove’s American Crossroads will open its 2014 campaign of sleaze with an attack on John Walsh:
American Crossroads, the Republican super PAC cofounded by Karl Rove, plans to welcome Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh to the U.S. Senate with an attack ad.
Crossroads reported to the Federal Election Commission that it has spent $138,000 on a TV ad opposing Walsh, a Democrat appointed to the Senate on Friday. Walsh is running to retain the seat this fall.
But wait, it gets worse. Among those attacking Senator Walsh today was Donny Ferguson, who led the widely reviled dark money American Tradition Partnership, authored the truly odious Montana Statesman, and violated just about every Montana election law he could during the 2012 campaign before landing back in Washington D.C.
So, spare us all the outrage and hand-wringing. There’s going to be a long, expensive campaign, all but certainly fought between Senator Walsh and Representative Daines. Let’s get over accusations of wrongdoing when none existed and focus on the issues that separate these two candidates.