Tammi Fisher, the former mayor of Kalispell now running for the Republican nomination for Montana’s Senate District 4 (Kalispell; map), had the good sense not to respond to a questionnaire from the Montana Family Foundation, which two years ago ran a nasty campaign (story one, story two) against Republican State Senators Bruce Tutvedt and Carmine Mowbray. Tutvedt survived, but Mowbray didn’t.
Now, the MTFF is taking shots at Fisher and making what I consider to be a de facto endorsement of Fisher’s opponent, State Representative Mark Blasdel, a deeply conservative legislator.
The alleged “abortion mandates found in Obamacare” are, as near as I can determine, the MTFF’s label for Affordable Care Act compliant insurance policies that include family planning services, among them abortion. The ACA does not require women to have abortions, so there is no abortion mandate in the ACA/Obamacare.
The MTFF’s card is a good example of a biased presentation. Blasdel’s mug shot is in color, Fisher’s in grayscale. Blasdel’s name is in white, Fisher’s in 40 percent gray. The checkmarks by Blasdel’s positions are in green, the X-marks by Fisher’s positions are in red. Checkmarks are positive symbols; X-marks in this situation are negative symbols. Green represents a go symbol, a green light; red is the color for stop.
The card’s information and graphic devices invite the reader to conclude that Blasdel is the candidate of life, and that Fisher is the candidate of death. This is deliberate. And in my judgement, although it does not contain the phrase “vote for Blasdel” or a functional equivalent, it constitutes a de facto endorsement of Blasdel.
More of this genre of campaign literature likely will be inflicted on SD-4’s voters, by the MTFF and by others, and the target will be Fisher, a woman who thinks for herself instead of toeing the tea party line. In the eyes of the righteous right wing of the Republican Party, the increasingly dominant wing, she's a liberal on a broomstick who deserves Joan of Arc’s fate.