Opinion

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Closing Range

Elephants Dancing with RINOs

Too long of a mutually cannibalistic “dance” will leave the core voters of my party burned out and covered in dung

Give me a break! It’s just under a year to Montana’s primary election and, grrrrr, SEVENTEEN MONTHS until the 2020 general election. Gosh, can’t we have a decent interval? No more – not even in Montana.

I feel sorry for Democrats on the national level. I understand their loathing of President Donald Trump, but 20 candidates, at least half psychiatrically certifiable, jockeying for podium placement in the “battleground” Florida debates? Seriously? And no, I only watched the “low-lights.” Yuk!

With a full eight months before New Hampshire and Iowa, I used to resent the early primary states because they’ve always chosen wrong, no matter the party. But now, they can have it, at least the Democratic circus. I can only imagine the fundraising spam and junk mail flooding into progressive homes in Hollywood, Larchmont and Dubuque. “Russia! Trump! Send Money Now!” Then, if you give, the algorithms kick in, releasing an avalanche of “personalized” love letters all saying one thing: “Thankyouforsendingmoney, pleasemoreNOW.”

Fine, all yours, Dems. Have fun.

But guess what? While national Democrats obviously have Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS, it looks like Montana Republicans have BDS – Bullock Derangement Syndrome.

Our Legislature hadn’t even adjourned in May before the first candidates announced for the 2020 cycle of “big ticket” (for Montana) statewide races.

At the start of June, the Republican lineup for the open governor race was already Corey Stapleton (Montana Secretary of State), Al Olszewski (Montana Senate), Tim Fox (Montana Attorney General), Gary Perry (termed-out Montana Senate), and some other guy I’ve never heard of and won’t vote for.

Then on June 6, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte announced he’s leaving Congress and wants to be governor.

Now, as a zillionaire, Gianforte has a gobsmacking fiscal advantage over all the rest, and he’s honestly a pretty small fish (one of 435) in a big swampy Washington, D.C., pond. Worse, Gianforte is now in the minority party and stuck back-benching for the foreseeable future, with an eco-radical committee chairman running the show at Natural Resources. Much better to hang out in Helena five months every two years, campaign every four years (instead of what seems like every four weeks), and enjoy Montana, right?

Boom, here comes Matt Rosendale, who gave U.S. Sen. Jon Tester a pretty good go in 2016. Boom, there jumps Corey Stapleton a day later, out of the governor race. Darn it, I like them both, Corey a bit more in the policy lane, but Matt’s honestly the better campaigner. Others like Russell Fagg and Denny Rehberg are speculative at this point, oh, please, no.

Why not the more the merrier? Well, it’s not just “derangement” that has 25 people running to oppose an incumbent President Trump. There are serious ideological rifts in the Democratic machine, a bunch of donkeys dancing with a few mules. On one end, Democrats have old class-warriors, interested mostly in making sure the capitalist spoils get fair-shared. On the other end are flaming Red (not blue) Marxists, period, many of whom don’t remember the Cold War or never bothered to study the multiple genocides spawned by the totalitarian seekers of socialist Utopia, or worry much about the actual fiscal bankruptcies of so many socialist paradises. Sorting that mess will grind down Democratic voters.

Here in Montana, for whatever reason, Republicans run a pretty wide spectrum as well, as the vote outcomes in the last Legislature made clear. It was a great time to be a minority Democrat in our Republican majority Legislature, wasn’t it? Or a Republican, um, “statesperson?”

Frankly, I wish the Montana GOP races hadn’t started. I’m already sick of the spam. But I wish more that they’d shake out more simply, giving Republican voters a clear choice between a solid Republican on one side and the mushball on the other.

Instead, Montana Republicans are staging a nine-ring circus, a herd of elephants dancing with a herd of RINOs. What I worry about is the same thing Democrats are worrying about on the national scale. Too long of a mutually cannibalistic “dance” will leave the core voters of my party burned out and covered in dung.