Better vetting? How?
A number of editorials, blogs and pundits are asking why Rob Quist wasn’t properly vetted. As an excuse for not supporting Quist’s candidacy, they blame the Montana Democratic Party for failing to carry out due diligence and, therefore, not advancing a candidate to their liking. They also fail to recall how Quist’s nomination transpired.
First, no one knew who the nominee would be. There were eight candidates at the convention, although only three were really contenders: Quist, Amanda Curtis and Kelly McCarthy.
Ryan Zinke wasn’t approved by the Senate as interior secretary until March 1. The nominating convention was held on March 5. So, in four days, someone was supposed to vet the three leading candidates plus five more, just in case.
The pundits assume that the Montana Democratic Party is a cash rich, well-oiled machine with a staff in place just waiting to dig into potential candidates’ personal medical, academic, tax and financial records. Hah!
And how would that information be disseminated to the 150 delegates in a timely manner and secure fashion? Wait until the convention itself? I can just see a sacrificial staffer getting up before voting takes place, “We just learned that so-and-so has a penchant for small mammals.”
There would be such a hue and cry from delegates, some who already think the party is playing favorites.
This is all silly. If there had been felony convictions or spouse abuse charges or embezzlement accusations, that’s one thing. And hell, Donald J. Trump has six bankruptcies, ran a bogus online university and likes to grab women’s genitalia, plus a host of other transgressions … and he’s our freakin’ president!
So I’m not sure the petty revelations leveled at Quist would have changed the minds of delegates, anyway.
In the Billings Gazette endorsement of Greg Gianforte, the writer says of the Montana Democratic Party:
It seems unable to use Google to find basic information…
Would that it ’twere so simple. That’s not where the Gazette got its negative information on Quist — a simple Google search. It came from a team of opposition researchers combing through records at the request of the Republican Party, and the paper was more than happy to print those revelations.
It’s why you’ll never see me run for office. I have more skeletons in my closet than a professor of orthopedic surgery, although I’m sure I’d make a damn good candidate (snark).
More lame charges
I looked for a Tom Lutey byline but it was Lee State Bureau’s Jayme Fraser who dropped this bombshell: Rob Quist may have smoked some pot in the 1970s! Right-wing researchers dug through Quist’s personal medical records, fed the info to a “national conservative media site” and Lee newspapers picked it up. From the Gazette:
It is unclear how long Quist smoked marijuana, for what purpose, and if he continues to do so today.
For what purpose? He was a touring musician in the 1970s. I’d be concerned if he hadn’t taken a few tokes during that period.
This campaign keeps getting skankier and skankier. We’ll see if Gianforte handlers have enough time to get TV spots up with a giant photoshopped doobie hanging out of Quist’s mouth.
But to show that I’m not a complete partisan hack, I agree with James Conner that Greg Gianforte’s investments in Russian corporations and a European concrete business that allegedly funneled funds to ISIS are bogus charges. Perhaps it shows a lack of oversight on Gianforte’s part for not closely monitoring his IRAs but it doesn’t rise to the level of other allegations: anti-science, anti-gay, anti-public education, anti-health care, anti-women’s rights and obsequious Trump supporter.
Two more “endorsements”
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle’s non-endorsement is slightly better than the Gianforte endorsements in three of Lee’s bigger newspapers (Billings, Missoula and Helena). Still, there were a few lines in that editorial that deserve comment:
Rather than offer up remotely moderate candidates, each party nominated candidates from its far right and left.
I won’t quibble about the far-right moniker but the far left? That quote indicates how far to the right the whole political spectrum has shifted. To me, the far left would be the Sandinistas or Noam Chomsky or Hugo Chavez, but Rob Quist? Gimme a break.
The Chronicle blames the parties for a poor vetting process and for not advancing more moderate candidates. Since much of the Republican nominating convention was held behind closed doors, no one is sure what went down there. Please review the beginning of this post that addresses the Montana Democratic Party’s vetting of candidates. And my paragraph, above, speaks to the so-called “moderates” reference. Health care reform, concerns for the environment and public education, access to public lands and a woman’s right to choose are now considered radical positions by the editorial board.
The Chronicle also complains about all the negative advertising. Who isn’t sick of a the ugly TV, radio and social media messaging, and the nasty mailings? The Gianforte campaign has been relentless in its attacks starting the day after Quist was nominated. Not until recently, since the national DNC and DCCC became involved, has the Quist campaign gone negative. I’m sure that local Quist consultants would prefer dealing with issues instead of personalities but they don’t get to call the shots when it comes to national advertising dollars.
At least the Missoula Independent endorsed Quist, which is refreshing to see since it was recently purchased by Lee Enterprises. Still, it was a backhanded endorsement.
We’re not impressed with Rob Quist the candidate. And we’re way not impressed with the state Democratic Party that decided to run an affable and apparently unvetted cowboy hat. So we also have some reservations. (Bold font by Indy.)
There’s that allusion to “vetted” again, and the “cowboy hat” reference is really a cheap shot. As my hair continues to thin I’m thinking about a nice chapeau, although I’m leaning toward a beret instead of cowboy hat. In the Indy’s eyes, that would make me a frog-eating pansy, I guess.
After writing, “A vote for Greg Gianforte aids and abets a toxic administration,” the endorsement continues with, “what we’re conflicted about is whether it’s worth voting at all.” That’s what philosophers call absurd reasoning.
An endorsement is an endorsement but I’d hoped for better from the Independent.
There’s less than a week left
Somewhere between half and two-thirds of the absentee ballots sent out have been returned as of last Wednesday (350,751 mailed, 209,154 returned).
Still, there are 348,161 who don’t vote absentee. Add that to the 141,597 who haven’t sent in their absentee ballots and you have 489,758 votes to go out and get. So got out and get ’em.
P.S. If you haven’t yet sent in your ballot or voted at your county elections office, do so now. Once it’s been noted that you’ve voted, if the campaigns are doing their job, you shouldn’t get any more phone calls or folks at your door.