In a story about the Montana Senate race that reads like campaign literature from Steve Daines, I was struck by this passage from former Republican lieutenant governor John Bohlinger:
With a fair-minded reputation and a grandfatherly demeanor, don’t expect Bohlinger to sling mud at Walsh — “I’m not going to make much about what our differences our … I want to talk about what I’m for,” he says.
But he hits a nerve when he charges that his real problem with the senator is that he doesn’t know what he truly stands for.
“I really can’t comment on his politics because I have not heard him articulate his views on things. I really don’t know where he stands. I think a lot of Montanans would say we really don’t know the guy,” Bohlinger says. “I suppose that somebody will tell him what to say.”
It’s astonishing that Bohlinger would question where John Walsh stands and what he believes in, given that, until six months ago, Bohlinger was a self-identified pro-life, anti-labor Republican who supported John McCain for President, but who now presents himself as a modern day Eugene Debs. In less time than it takes to tie a bow tie, Bohlinger has completely reinvented himself without even the courtesy of explaining why his views changed from that of a moderate Republican. We haven’t seen an evolution in his views; we’ve seen a revolution, and in Bohlinger’s own words, “A chicken does not have the option of declaring itself a conservative and converting itself, or a fellow chicken, into an egg.” Uh.
It’s even more astonishing that Bohlinger would suggest that his campaign won’t be about slinging mud, given the work of his campaign strategist who spent months savaging John Walsh, Steve Bullock, Max Baucus, and every elected Montana Democratic official in what has to be the worst meltdown in the history of Montana political strategy. The entire Bohlinger campaign strategy has been a mixture of pie-in-the-sky proposals and negative attacks on John Walsh.
As for the idea that somebody will tell Walsh “what to say,” should someone who let the worst political consultant in Montana be the only voice for his campaign for months really criticize an opposing candidate for having others speak for him?
That Bohlinger can’t see that his campaign is nothing more than a useful tool for Republicans to use a surrogate to attack John Walsh demonstrates either his incredibly naiveté or his total disconnection from reality. That he’d have the audacity to suggest he won’t sling mud in his campaign after months of doing nothing but is a testament to his deeply cynical campaign.