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

21 October 2017 — 0556 mdt

Heenan plays Gotcha!, Fagg attempts cover-up, put your bets on GG

Heenan twists woman’s words to play political Gotcha! Karen Marshall, a member of the Gallatin County Republican Women, used an unfortunate expression when she called into the Voices of Montana radio program, which was interviewing Billings attorney John Heenan, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, now held by Greg Gianforte, the Lee Newspapers’ Holly Michels reports:

“If that kid had done to me what he did to Greg, I would have shot him,” said a woman who identified herself as Karen on the Voices of Montana radio program during a segment with John Heenan, a Billings attorney in the Democratic primary who is hoping to advance to run against Gianforte in 2018.

Heenan’s campaign posted audio of the interview on its Facebook page Thursday saying the caller was Karen Marshall, and on Friday show host Jon Arneson confirmed it was Karen Marshall in a text message.

Marshall hung up on a reporter Friday morning, saying “I don’t really speak to reporters” before the line went dead.

Gianforte, through a spokesman Friday, strongly denounced Marshall’s remarks.

Marshall undoubtedly was speaking figuratively, not literally, using a common expression to add emphasis to her criticism of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs approach to Greg Gianforte on election eve in May. In that encounter, an enraged Gianforte slammed Jacobs to the floor, slugged him, and ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault.

In an effort to make political Hay, Heenan, and Democratic operatives, are taking Marshall’s unwise words literally so that they can accuse her, and by association, Gianforte, of threatening to kill someone.

It’s the worst kind of political Gotcha! It doesn’t change votes. It diverts attention from important issues. It cheapens politics, and feeds cynicism. Voters hate it. So do I.

Heenan should know better even if his campaign operatives don’t.

Fagg asks newspaper to help him cover up campaign screw-up

Republican Russell Fagg’s campaign for the U.S. Senate embarrassed itself Wednesday in Bozeman. The audience for his speech, delivered from the steps of the Gallatin County Courthouse, numbered just eight.

When that happens, it’s because the campaign’s advance staff made mistakes. A quick on his feet candidate with a sense of human handles the situation with a wry smile, admitting he didn’t plan for a small crowd, and promising that his advance operation would improve.

But not Russell Fagg. According to the Bozeman Chronicle:

After his speech, Fagg shook the hands of those who stuck around for about five minutes. Under a shaded tree away from the courthouse steps, Fagg asked the Chronicle to gently phrase that not many people came out to his event.

That response tells voters that Fagg prefers to cover up his mistakes instead of fessing up to them, and underscores the Democrats’ charge that his ethics are an issue.

At this point, I’m going to assume his poorly attended stunt on the courthouse steps was an early campaign blunder that won’t be repeated.

But in addition to improving his advance operation, I recommend that he stop politicizing the courts by holding partisan political events on the courthouse steps or lawn. Hire a room, Russ, just like all the other politicians do.

Gianforte will not be easy to defeat in 2018

Many people believe that Rep. Greg Gianforte’s misadventures with the criminal justice system make him vulnerable to a Democratic challenger next year. I don’t. Republicans, especially Trump loving Republicans, despise the news media and consider Gianforte a hero for assaulting a reporter. He won’t lose votes because he punched Jacobs. The person who wins the Democratic nomination for Montana’s seat in the U.S. House needs to (1) tie Gianforte to Rep. Paul Ryan and Ryan’s promotion of Ayn Rand’s cruel philosophy of worship the rich and stomp on the poor, and (2) turn out Democratic voters, never an easy task in a midterm election. I think the odds are better than even that Gianforte will win re-election.