Republican talking points, redux

It’s all about “socialism” now.

“We must protect America from socialism,” warned Sen. Steve Daines, between paeans to Trump, at last week’s Montana Republican Party’s officers convention.

Rep. Greg Gianforte and now Montana gubernatorial candidate chimed in, “The National Democratic Party is speeding towards socialism, not Montana Values, and I need your help to protect them from forcing their agenda on us and destroying our way of life.”

“We must defeat socialists!” is the banner from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, in an email plea. (She has formed a 501 c(4) called Stand for America and she needs your donation.)

And from Karl Rove, aka Turd Blossom, on behalf of the National Republican Senate Committee: “You and I both know that the Green New Deal and Medicare for All lead to socialism. America is not a socialist nation. History has proven time and time again that socialism doesn’t work.

Shortly thereafter, a National Republican Congressional Committee email arrived, “If Democrats win in 2020, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi will control Congress, and the radical left will be free to pass destructive socialist policies.”

Here’s a short video from the floor of the U.S. Senate and House where members expound on the evils of socialism. 

The Republican Party must have done some polling and discovered that “socialism” is the new dog whistle to fire up its base. I’ve been tracking this trend for a while. Earlier email started out with “build the wall,” then Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment. It moved to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia hoax” and now we’re at “socialism.”

I’m not sure how I got on these lists. Was it Greg Gianforte who turned my name over to far-right candidates and organizations when, trying to track his activities, I signed up on his website? Or was it Trump, when I registered to go to his Missoula rally? Either way, I get dozens of emails a day from almost every right-wing campaign and advocacy group in America: Lyndsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich and a handful of Beltway “nonprofits” pushing an anti-choice or pro-military agenda.

It’s a bizarre mix that even includes Hillsdale College, “Defending Liberty since 1844,” and PragerU, which is not a real university but a conservative YouTube soapbox, which is mainly funded by the Wilks brothers, fracking billionaire Texans and owners of some of the largest ranches in Montana.

Then there’s the Trump merchandizing arm: hats, t-shirts, coins, coffee mugs, Christmas ornaments and the golf balls featured at the top of this post. Golf balls? How’s that for some irony?

This will be my last Republican talking points post. At first, I found the email entertaining, even informative. Now, they’re just annoying and clutter my inbox on a daily basis. It’s time to block them but before I do, here are some samples of the messaging.

The worst offender is David Nunes — four or five emails a day. He’s a U.S. Representative out of California and a conspiracy theorist who rivals Alex Jones. On the Mueller report:

“Let’s be blunt – the Russia hoax was all a set up. It’s no secret that the DOJ and FBI have been weaponized by the deep state for purely political purposes.”

“Deep state” and the phrases like “radical left-wing fringe,” “fake news media,” “Hollywood elites” and “angry liberal mob” are often used to describe Republican opponents.

There’s federally indicted Roger Stone, remember him? One of the sleaziest operators in the Trump campaign. From Stone, and his wife, pleading for money:

” …fake news outlets insisting I would be charged with Russian collusion, conspiracy and treason have turned my life upside down and driven me and my family to the brink of financial bankruptcy. We are struggling to pay rent, medical expenses and for gasoline and groceries. I must raise a minimum of $2 million to pay for the legal research and lawyers necessary to win at trial.”

Closer to home, recent Montana Republican Chairwoman, Debra Lamm, writes about the “socialist radicalized agenda.”

“Each new candidate is pushing the last further and further to the far-left in hopes of being their party’s nominee. Their agenda? Impeaching Trump. Open borders. Medicare-for-All. The Green New Deal. Restoring voting rights for felons and the Boston bomber. The radical ideas these liberals have been promoting would forever change the soul of America.”

And a bit more red scare from Newt Gingrich: “Democrats have made their agenda crystal clear – vote for them, and they will take our nation down the path to Socialism.”

Granted, Democrats send me email asking for funds. The frequency and hyperbole pales in comparison to that of the right. It’s not even close. So I’ll leave you with this, from Daines:

“Pete, join me TODAY by saying “NO” to SOCIALISM and “YES” to FREEDOM!”

Maybe someday Daines, Trump and company will advance policies that address health care, the climate crisis, livable wages, foreign policy, campaign finance reform — any real issues — instead of just spouting red-baiting jingoism, but I doubt it.


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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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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  • I don’t think painting Democrats socialists is new, perhaps every GOP party member is now using that to demonize Democrats. But Jeanne Kirkpatrick started down that path when she switched parties in the early ‘80s and then dubbed everyone communists if one didn’t support Reagan. I just wish Democrats would claim a label and push it. Having just read Khanna’s book the Future is Asian and his explanation of Technocracy, I believe that would be a grand sound byte to push.

  • Let’s start listing all the socialist policies that we now have in the US. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, corporate welfare, farm subsidies, payments to farmers to reduce the impact of Trump tariffs, ,tax inducements to industry to locate a factory in a specific region, etc. Then let us, realize nearly impossible, to get Daines ans Gianforte at a live in person town hall, to address which of these policies they want to end.

    They have to be held responsible for advocating these policies, but denying that they are socialist in origin.

  • Pete,do you mean Devin Nunes (R) of California who was Chairman of House Intelligence Committee until Jan. 2019 who improperly disclosed classified information to the public and the Nunes memo alleging a FBI conspiracy against Donald Trump. He is on Fox’s Hannity show often beating the drums for Trump and he has a new conspiracy theory every time against FBI,CIA and his favorite the deep state.

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