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They’re eating their own


This is a screen shot from a Montana GOP activist’s website. It scores Republican legislators and places them on the “honor” or “dishonor” roll. There’s not much middle ground. You get either an A or an F.

The criteria for the grade are rather vague. If you can imagine — Sen. Fred Thomas, Reps. Nancy Ballance and Walt Sales, and other conservative notables, are on the “dishonor” list. Perhaps anyone who smiled across the aisle got an F.

It’s a “loyalty” scorecard produced in memory of Trevis Butcher. That’s all the disclaimer says. Trevis published the rating system, known as “Legistats” for a dozen years. He passed away in September, 2017. The Butchers, from Winifred, are synonymous with right-wing politics in Montana. Trevis’ father, Ed, was a controversial member (Google it) in the Montana House and Senate.

This scorecard gives some context into the schism that is today’s Montana Republican Party. Nathan Kostad recently reported on this in the Montana Post. There are also stories in the Billings Gazette and the Montana Free Press. The divisiveness within the GOP makes the Montana Democratic Party’s squabbles look like a love fest.

Other organizations produce scorecards — Montana Conservation Voters, for example — but Legistats is particularly harsh. There are just two categories: Loyal Republicans and RINOS (Republican in name only).

The point of the publication, as I see it, is to warn Republicans to never, ever compromise with Democrats, which is the exact opposite of what the electorate wants from its legislators.

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.

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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  • Actually, a s**t-list like this can be somewhat useful.

    Obviously, ‘F’ grades are probably more about personal pique than actual legislative malfeasance, but I would say that anyone with an ‘A’ from this yutz can almost certainly be considered a septic swimmer.

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