Potpourri: Bullock, Quist, Zinke and the press

He’s #3!

Montana Governor Steve Bullock made the Washington Post’s top five list of “The most interesting governors of 2016, ranked.” He was the only Democrat to make the cut. Here’s an outtake:

Bullock could also be the nation’s most underrated governor of 2016. The first-term Democratic governor defied the red trend in November. He won reelection against a self-funded billionaire even though his state went for Trump by nearly 21 points. He outperformed Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 14 points, a virtually unheard of margin.

He’s also listed on the Post’s Chris Cillizza B List for potential 2020 presidential candidates.  Of course, the pundits occasionally miss the mark (think 2016 presidential election).

One aspect of the story that bothers me is this quote from the writer, “… a state controlled by Republicans and increasingly coloring itself red.” We’re still purple, independents play a huge role and we have many Democrats in office. It’s all timing and message. Remember the fellow with a strange name, Barrack Obama, who only lost by 2.4 percent of the vote against our fellow Westerner John McCain in 2008.

Take a whiff on me* 

That’s a line from one of the Mission Mountain Wood Band’s more famous songs. Later known as the Montana Band, it’s one of the state’s most celebrated musical groups. Founding member Rob Quist is contemplating a run for the soon to be vacant seat of Rep. Ryan Zinke. He’d run as a Democrat.

Shortly after Rob left MMWB, the remaining members died in a horrific plane crash after playing a Fourth of July concert at Flathead Lake. Here’s Wikipedia on Quist.

The pool of Democratic candidates for this congressional special election is starting to fill up, although Quist is the first non-politico to show interest.

Ethics anyone?

The Montana press should be asking where Zinke stands on Republicans’ plan to neuter the Office of Congressional Ethics. The independent ethics board investigates complaints against members, and issues reports to the U.S. House Ethics Committee.

Huffington Post has a nebulous quote from Zinke, but it sounds like he’s in favor of keeping corruption out of the public eye:

However, for Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) ? Trump’s pick to be interior secretary ? one of the advantages of functionally handling ethics investigations inside the Ethics Committee is that Republicans and Democrats would be in the fold.

“When ethics are involved, I think it’s always helpful to have both sides,” he said. “So it can’t be skewed one way or the other based on politics.”

It looks like House Republicans are backing off gutting the OCE but will be advancing other Draconian rules and bills. Zinke needs to be held accountable on corruption in Congress.

Decent reporting

Although I often admonish the press, Montanans are fortunate to have two seasoned reporters on the job. Lee newspapers caused concern when it gave the ax to veteran state government correspondents Mike Dennison and Chuck Johnson. They’ve both been picked up by other media outlets — Dennison at MTN and Johnson at the Bozeman Chronicle. They’re worth following.

*Mission Mountain Wood Band, “Take a Whiff On Me,” YouTube

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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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