The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion


16 March 2012

Diane Smith goes negative on fellow Democrats

Wondering why Dave Strohmaier issued a statement accusing an unnamed Democratic candidate of making campaign contributions to Republicans? I’m betting he received a copy of a recent oped by Diane Smith criticizing her primary opponents as nice people without imagination:

We have now participated in three separate candidate forums where I’ve had the opportunity to hear from my primary opponents. Two of them have long histories in the Montana Legislature; another has long served on the Missoula City Council. They are all obviously good people who care about Montana. But, they are not innovators or new thinkers. I have yet to hear from them original ideas about how to facilitate economic growth, job creation, or alternative energy expansion. In fact, I’ve yet to hear much that doesn’t sound like yesterday’s politics.

Except when she’s speaking:

I’m not a politician, I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve helped launch three different industries, including wireless and IPTV. The IPTV company that I headed employs today over 30 employees in Kalispell, MT; they develop ground-breaking technologies that have revolutionized the digital media industry. One thing I learned as a veteran of the innovation economy is how to direct change in positive ways that result in high-growth and new jobs. It’s also one of the reasons I don’t worry much about being “out of step”.

Did she really launch three different industries, or is she just a little fuzzy on the difference between “industry” and “company”? One is entitled to wonder whether she’s so proud of what she’s done that she’s lost perspective on her accomplishments. Creating 30 jobs in Kalispell is good, but it doesn’t put her in the same class as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Thomas Watson, Henry Ford, or John D. Rockefeller. And it certainly is not in and of itself an argument to send anyone to Congress.

We’ll see how her primary opponents respond to her dismissal of them as intellectually bankrupt politicians from the past. We’ll also see how Democratic voters respond to her decision to go negative on Democratic candidates. Strohmaier has a reason to be exercised, but he needs to start shooting live ammunition instead of blanks.