A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

3 April 2017

Developing stories

Personal exigencies are limiting my blogging until this evening. I am, however, monitoring a few developing stories.

Rob Quist watch. At Intelligent Discontent, Pete Talbot mounts a spirited defense of Quist, and publishes Tyler Gernant’s excellent history of the FEC ruling that lets campaigns pay modest salaries to candidates from the 95 percent. At the Daily InterLake, Sam Wilson shed additional light on Quist’s financial difficulties, and cleared up some questions.

Thus far, Quist’s problem with the stories about his finances have not been so much with the details — unlike Flathead Commissioner Gary Krueger, his medical problems did not lead to bankruptcy — but with his campaign’s self-destructive delay in releasing the information to the public. Instead of presenting the details at the gitgo, thereby controlling the narrative and proving he had nothing to hide, Quist said nothing until good reporting by the Billing Gazette’s Tom Lutey revealed the situation. That made it seem as though Quist was hiding something.

Correction — the FDP is cosponsoring the Hot, Wet, performance

The FDP’s Facebook page, which said “First, the event has nothing to do with Rob Quist, his campaign, the Flathead Democrats, or the Democratic Party in general,” was wrong. Lynn Stanley, who chairs the FDP advised me late today that:

Yes, the Flathead Dems and Flathead Dem Women are co-sponsoring this show with Big Sky Rising. Neither Rob Quist nor his campaign is or was ever, involved. It was voted on and approved at a CC meeting. The money raised is in support of the progressive agendas of these groups.

The ticket agency notice is correct.

Original post. Is the Flathead Democratic Party raising money by sponsoring a risque, adult adults only, performance by the Viscosity Theatre? The FDP’s Facebook page says no, but the ticket agency for the performance says yes. Right wing websites are recoiling in horror, and rubbing their hands in glee in the belief they’ve found liberals embracing something farther from the mainstream than a public showing of Robert Maplethrope’s photographs. I’ve asked the FDP for clarification and will report back when I obtain it, but I’m quite certain the ticket agency made a mistake or was given inaccurate information. The performance will have no effect on the special election, and only the right wing spies who attend will need therapy after the curtain comes down.

Killing SB-305 makes Montana’s Republicans guilty of attempted voter suppression. The GOP’s situation is analogous to that of a husband who sets out to murder his wife, fires his pistol at her, sees her crash to the floor, and walks away believing she’s dead, only to find out later he was firing blanks, and that his wife had fainted but is very much alive. He can’t be guilty of murder, but he’s most certainly guilty of attempted murder.

The MT GOP’s blanks are its beliefs (shared by Democrats) that conducting the 25 May special election by all-mail ballot will (a) increase voter turnout, and (b) help Democrats. But both beliefs are wrong. There’s no evidence that an all-mail ballot will increase turnout or help the Democratic candidate (more on this tomorrow). Therefore the MT GOP is guilty not of voter suppression, but of attempted voter suppression — and both parties are guilty of seeking to adopt a voting system that provides a partisan advantage.

The attempt to blast SB-305 out of the MT House’s judiciary committee received a 51–49 majority, but needed a 60-vote supermajority. I’ve prepared a spreadsheet with the votes for and against broken down by political party.