ICYMI: Montana Republicans’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend

HELENA — It was a very bad weekend for Montana Republicans who are failing to responsibly lead our state.

The Talking Points Memo, a national political news outlet, kicked off the bad week by singling out Congressman Zinke as a threat to Montana seniors, and slammed him after his office lied to a reporter about Zinke’s support to eliminate Medicare in its current form.  Montana reporters quickly followed up with their own reporting pointing out that Congressman Zinke has been placed in the “Snow Job Caucus.”

Then, the Billings Gazette Editorial Board slammed President-elect Donald Trump for appointing a “hate-mongering bigot” as his first major appointment to his new administration. Meanwhile, Congressman Zinke and Senator Daines fail the leadership test for refusing to speak out on this appointment.   

Finally, Ed Kemmick at the Last Best News reported on the person Montana Republicans chose to cast one of the state’s three Electoral College votes. Electoral College Representative Dennis Scranton has threatened to hang LGBT Montanans while his Party continues to give him a platform for spewing hateful rhetoric.

Here are some of the highlights from Montana Republicans’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend:


Lack of Positions on GOP Medicare Plan Leaves Rep. Zinke in “Snow Job” Caucus

Missoula Current // David Crisp

“U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has been placed in the “Snow Job Caucus” by Talking Points Memo.  The caucus, according to TPM, consists of members of Congress who have used “Word Salad to Avoid Giving a Position” on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with some sort of private insurance and voucher system.”

“What Zinke’s office says isn’t true. There definitely is a plan. It’s in the Ryan Budget Zinke and most of the rest of the House GOP caucus has voted in favor of every year since 2011. This is what members of Congress do when they’re trying to avoid taking a position until the vote is already taken and it’s too late.”

“Zinke was an early and stalwart supporter of Trump, and he has called Obamacare a “sinking ship.” But voting to end health insurance for thousands of Montanans who got it under Obamacare could prove a hard choice to make.”


Gazette opinion: Bannon choice is a step toward division, not unity

Billings Gazette Editorial Board

“In one of his first picks, Trump has fallen short of the standard he set for himself. He has named Stephen Bannon chief White House strategist.

But don't take our word for it, take Bannon's. On Monday, The New York Times pulled list of quotations with citations, because many expressed concern about his statements — and rightfully so. Here are some examples:

  • "The women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn't be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters (colleges)."

  • "I'm a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment."

  • "What we need to do is bitch-slap the Republican Party."

  • Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty."

“Trump has made what we believe to be his first major mistake by giving a man who is clearly a hate-mongering bigot a home in the White House.” 

“Actions speak louder than words, and in this case, Trump's actions are really bankrupt because of Bannon's inexcusable words.”


Prairie Lights: In the age of Trump, a new kind of elector

Ed Kimmick // Last Best News

“In 2010, as you may recall, Tim Ravndal, the president of the Big Sky Tea Party Association, was ejected from the group because of comments he made on Facebook that appeared to endorse the murder of gay people.

Ravndal did not himself make the most inflammatory statements in that Facebook exchange, but even his apparent support of what another person said compelled the state Tea Party, extreme as it was in some of its views, to give him the boot.

Well, here we are in 2016, and guess what? The man who actually made the comments that landed Ravndal in hot water is one of the three Montana delegates to the U.S. Electoral College.  That man is Dennis Scranton, who lives in Miles City.”

“I remembered Scranton well because of the imbroglio in 2010, but also because he used to write to me occasionally when I worked at the Gazette, sometimes to make veiled threats and sometimes to spew unadulterated bigotry.

When I called him Saturday, he didn’t seem to remember me, even when I identified myself and said I used to work for the Gazette and was now running my own online newspaper. One of his first comments was high praise for Donald Trump.

“I thought he was a pretty good man. Now I know it,” he said. “He’s gonna send all the liberals clear out of the country. That probably includes you if you worked for the Gazette.”

When I told him what I was calling about, and asked him about his comments back in 2010, he said, “I’m 92 years old. I’m a veteran of World War II. I’m not one of these politically correct bastards. … I don’t like fruitcakes, I don’t like Democrats and I don’t like liberal lies. They didn’t have fruitcakes where I grew up.”

In case you’re thinking that perhaps “fruitcakes” is just another word for Democrats or liberals, Scranton was more specific a little later in our conversation. He had the kind of phone that works like a walkie-talkie, meaning only one person can speak at a time, and there were some odd gaps in our conversation, so I missed the first part of this passage, but the meaning is plain enough:

“… hang ’em on a fence. That’s what they need. I don’t like queers.”’


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