Montana Politics

The Republican War Moves to Facebook; Rep. Pinocci Virtually Soldiers On

As the war between the Responsible Republicans and the Lunatic TEA Party fringe rages on here in Montana, the conflict has moved to an old battleground: the virtual war fought by Sun River Republican Representative Randy Pinocci when he was working in the Legislature last session.

It seems Pinocci’s primary opponent, Wendy McKamey took notice of a post I made about Mr. Pinocci’s penchant for playing video games while he was whining about the long days he was working in the session, even sending a mailer out to voters about Pinocci’s behavior.

Today, the Great Falls Tribune published a fascinating defense of Pinocci from fellow TEA Party Republican, Brad Tschida, who claimed that Pinocci could not have been playing video games because he was seated next to him and would have noticed.

There are a few problems with this defense. First, one assumes that Representative Tschida had better things to do than watch another Representative’s screen all day, like to obsessively track the use of the governor’s plane and to write rude notes to constituents. Second is the simple fact that Mr. Pinocci certainly could have been using his phone to play the games, as his votes certainly don’t reflect the work of someone paying attention to anything happening in the session.

Most important, though, is the the simple fact that Representative Pinocci was doing it, and in less than a month, posted his results from his Soldiers game 25 times, sometimes in the middle of the workday at the Legislature when he claimed to be working sixteen hour days.

Eager as he is to clear his name, you’d think Mr. Pinocci wouldn’t try to cover up his behavior. The session didn’t end his heroic Facebook warfare, and Pinocci was still fighting his virtual war in the last few months. A visit to his Facebook page today, however, shows that he has not only deleted the references to his gaming from his profile, but deleted the entire Soldiers Inc. game that has so enthralled him for the past few years.

He did, however, forget to delete that he was a member of the “Soldiers Inc.” Facebook group, and may want to clean that up, too.

I’ve got no problem with Representative Pinocci playing video games, but for this preening, posturing hack to demonize people living in poverty while getting paid by the taxpayers to indulge his virtual soldier fantasies is unconscionable. That he’s now trying to cover his tracks, with coordinated personal attacks on his primary opponent and some careful digital deletion just shows that he’s not fit to represent the people of his district.

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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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, 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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