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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.

5 Comments

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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.

  • It’s sad that you would jump to write a whole article about something you obviously have not taken the time to understand.

    1. You post a picture of the “Honor Roll” and “Dishonor Roll” and say, “There’s not much middle ground. You get either an A or an F.” Did you even bother to look at the actual ranking pages where the grades are EVERYTHING A to F? How disingenuous, lazy or something…I don’t know. You even say “There are just two categories: Loyal Republicans and RINOS (Republican in name only).” What in the world could possibly be the basis for such a statement? Did you actually get past that top part of the Home page?
    2. There is no “schism” in the Republican Party. We have Principles, and we follow them. Unfortunately there is an infestation of people lying to the voters, campaigning as a Republican in Republican Districts to get elected, and then simply governing as a Democrat. It is outright FRAUD of the voters, and Legistats helps us know who is doing this and expose them. Are you seriously saying the voters should not be shown this fraud?
    3. You say “Fred Thomas, Nancy Balance and Walt Salts “conservative notables” and claim their bad scores are evidence of Legistat’s invalidity. Quite to the contrary, as you can see clearly in Legistats, they are NOT Conservative, but rather tend to vote with Democrats. You see…
    4. There is no “opinion” in Legistats. As the name alludes to, it is a STATISTICAL measure of how often self-described “Republicans” actually vote as a Democrat. And if you don’t think that is useful information for voters, what can I say?

    Please do your homework before confusing people.

    • You are correct, Cindi, I did not look beyond the home page. I didn’t realize there were other pages that had a more specific score card. My mistake. I’ll bet I’m not the only person who has done that, though. When you open up the site, what you see are photos of legislators with either an ‘A’ or and ‘F’ by their name. Pretty harsh.

      Fortunately, you make my case for me. You say there is no schism in the Republican Party then continue with “…there is an infestation of people lying to the voters, campaigning as a Republican in Republican Districts to get elected, and then simply governing as a Democrat. It is outright FRAUD…”

      That made me chuckle. And you continue, “You say Fred Thomas, Nancy Balance and Walt Sales are ‘conservative notables’ and claim their bad scores are evidence of Legistat’s invalidity. Quite to the contrary, as you can see clearly in Legistats, they are NOT Conservative, but rather tend to vote with Democrats.”

      So, in other words, any Republican who reaches across the aisle to vote with a Democrat, no matter how innocuous a bill, is a Rino. It’s called “compromise,” and it’s what most voters want to see in their legislators.

      Ask any Democrat if Thomas, Balance or Sales act like Democrats and you’ll get a howl of laughter.

      But I appreciate your comment, Cindi, and thanks for illustrating just how far to the right the Montana GOP has traveled.

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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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