Incompetent POTENTIAL Elected Official Of The Month: Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, or, Ethics Verdict: Anyone Who Votes For This Guy Today Is Irresponsible, And Probably An Idiot”

First a classroom fist fight between teachers, and now this.

Last night Republican Greg Gianforte, in a close and closely watched contest with Democrat Rob Quist to fill the open, and only, Montana Congressional seat in today’s special election, snapped and attacked Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian. You can read the account of a witness (from Fox News) here, and the recording above seems to confirm it. The aspiringg statesman was charged with misdemeanor assault.


Three newspapers, this one, this one and this one, immediately withdrew their previous endorsements of the Republican in the race.




This passage from The Missoulian’s editorial this morning is a succinct summary:

“We will leave it to the legal system to determine his guilt or innocence.But there is no doubt that Gianforte committed an act of terrible judgment that, if it doesn’t land him in jail, also shouldn’t land him in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He showed Wednesday night that he lacks the experience, brains and abilities to effectively represent Montana in any elected office.”


Meanwhile, Gianforte’s campaign put out a self-indicting statement to spin the episode, reinforcing the conclusion that Gianforte shouldn’t be, and can’t be trusted, except perhaps as a teacher at the Stone Mountain Middle School. It said that the reporter,

“entered the [campaign] office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions….After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

The reporter also apparently was a ventriloquist, and made it sound like the candidate was was screaming at him.

Republican leadership and the national organization have chosen to keep mum, hoping that the incident will go away and that today’s election will somehow stick Montana with an unstable—but conservative!—jerk as its representative in the House.  Cowards. A party with integrity would release this statement:

“The Republican Party deplores the disgraceful conduct of Greg Gianforte, and withdraws its support and endorsement of his candidacy for the open seat that is at stake in today’s special election in Montana. We urge Montanans to vote for the only responsible candidate in the race, Democrat Rob Quist, and apologize profusely to Republicans as well as all Montanans for failing our duty to nominate qualified, trustworthy candidates. Our party pledges to do better, much better, in the future.”

That the GOP did not issue such a statement demonstrates that its own values and priorities are deeply flawed.

Three final points:

1.  This episode vividly illustrates what is so wrong about early voting, which Montana allows. People who vote early are eith admitting that they just rubber stamp their party’s candidates, which is irresponsible, or they are like baseball fans who leave the game in the 7th inning.

2.  What kind of person would vote for Gianforte after last night’s display? The kind of person who argues that character doesn’t matter in elected officials, only their positions.

And idiots, of course.

3. Morning Joe on NBC featured host Joe Scarborough, while making a similar point to mine about the GOP’s duty to repudiate Gianforte, went on to say,

“The fish rots, again, from the head. At what point do Republicans start criticizing Donald Trump for attacking federal judges? At what point do Republicans start criticizing Donald Trump for using a Stalinist trick, calling the press enemies of the people?”

Cheap shots and non-sequiturs. If Trump body-slammed any federal judges, I missed it. The unfortunate precedent of the President of the United States criticizing judges was set in the previous administration. It is a bad one, but it also has nothing to do with suggesting that it is acceptable for GOP candidates to physically assault reporters. As for the news media, the current journalism establishment is threatening democracy by merging with one party to overthrow an election. Calling the news media out on that breach of the press’s duty in a democracy and ethics is not a “trick,” and it is also not a call for violence.

25 thoughts on “Incompetent POTENTIAL Elected Official Of The Month: Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, or, Ethics Verdict: Anyone Who Votes For This Guy Today Is Irresponsible, And Probably An Idiot”

  1. Given that the Republicans are doing everything they can to lose both houses of Congress in 2018, it would seem about right for them not to take action against this idiot.

  2. “1. This episode vividly illustrates what is so wrong about early voting”

    A trillion times yes. We had an epidode up here where an encumbent mayor was caught telling police to let his brother-in-law off of a DUI charge, a couple days before the election, but he was still elected because most of the town had already voted early.

    I don’t know what the laws are like down there, but up here employers are required by law to schedule to allow three uninterrupted hours for their employees to vote. In that situation, there is never a good reason to vote early.

    • Is it still possible to vote on the day if you are at the other end of the country as it is here in New Zealand?

      • You can vote at any polling station in the province you live in. We’re wading back into “you’ll make it harder for some people to vote” territory though… And quite frankly… I don’t really care.

        Especially in America, you’ll generally know what the election day is months, years in advance, and if you make the decision to be somewhere else, then that’s a decision you’ve made.

        • From awhile ago:

          I’m almost convinced to support:

          1) Election Day is made a national holiday, no one may be compelled to work, except bare essential services run on skeleton crews – PDs, FDs, hospitals, etc (and those have to file for exemptions to work). However, should an individual choose to work, they don’t get to be considered as an exception to this and do not get to be rolled into #2.

          2) No Early Voting. Nope. None. It shouldn’t be too much of an “inconvenience” involved in determining National direction. With the following exception – after clearing in advance the individuals who are assigned to the skeleton crews for item #1, those individuals may vote the day prior to Election Day, receiving the day prior, the same protections from employers as described in #1. Long lines bother you?

          3) Absentee Voting for Military / Government Assignment away from home / similar civilian arrangement / extreme condition barring ability to be present at polling station. If you can’t be bothered to return to your home polling station for Election Day, you need to change your registered location OR even your actual state of residence if you are so permanently situated.

          Of course that is relatively unrefined.

          • (sigh) Tex, we have long lines WITH early voting, the day of…

            But you are right this is a problem. I could have revoked my Trump vote and changed to Hillary had I known about the (insert myriad last minute gotchas presented by progressives last November here) BEFORE I voted. (Not!)

            The October Surprise phenomenon make early voting a good idea. Both parties have tried to suppress the vote the day of using dirty tactics. Many have made up their minds based on platform not personality or innuendo well before that day. If allegations the night before change that, it is the price you take.

            If you are a low information voter, then wait to the day of and make your ill informed popularity contest vote then. This type of voter who vote early are not truly doing their duty as citizens in any case, as they failed to inform themselves.

            • You’re a smart guy, but anyone crying about waiting a couple hours to *determine the direction of a nation of 310,000,000 that has strategic interests affecting 7 billion other people* lose my interest in their arguments immediately.

              “My 3 hours on election day is more valuable than reducing fraud, bolstering the community, ensuring everyone has the same amount of information at decision time that will affect world-wide impacts.”

              Sounds like “my comfort and convenience is worth more to me than keeping a baby alive that I helped make.”

              It’s the same paradigm-

              An immensely and incalculably valuable thing is suppressed for comfort and convenience.

              Not buying it.

              • Not at all, my friend.

                My point is that allowing informed citizens to vote over several days is smart for the nation, and for the uniformed is a null impact. Some people have jobs, sick relatives, any number of real reasons they cannot vote the day of. We WANT people to vote, and we tried having it on a single say. It did not work out. Perhaps some of the ideas you have suggested might help.

                The fraud you speak of will happen and early voting does not change that. Much of what I have seen was stuffed ballot boxes and suppressed (or faked) absentee ballots. The minor cases have been actually voting with a fake id, which would not be stopped either.

  3. A lot of folks have been driven ver the edge and I fear we are only seeing the beginning of the results of the antagonism in this country. The divide deepens everyday.

  4. That the GOP did not issue such a statement demonstrates that its own values and priorities are deeply flawed.

    Bingo. The GOP is run by the Establishment, and they don’t care who wins elections as long as they remain in power, with their personal perks and fame.

    The GOP thus believes in the progressive cause, as they see themselves as the aristocracy, and are necessary lest a TRUE people’s government be elected. In other words, they attract the votes of those who reject the Democrats but keep the game rigged. Witness how they promised to do conservative issues while campaigning, yet never did when the election was over. They KNOW the people’s will: they just fear it.

    Oh, this candidate? That boy is a moron.

    • “they attract the votes of those who reject the Democrats but keep the game rigged”
      This rings so true to me. But, also in true Republican style they are wasting no time in outing themselves.

  5. Jack, either presidents are responsible for the effects they have on their culture and their party, or they aren’t. No, Trump hasn’t bodyslammed any reporters, but he has threatened to override their first amendment protections, called them the “enemy of the people,” and said he would pay the legal fees of supporters who assault people not sufficiently friendly to Donald Trump at his rallies. “Enemy of the people” is about as damning a remark as a sitting president can make; if Obama said that about any group of citizens while president I’ve little doubt you’d call him out for putting a target on their backs.

    • 1. I’ve been clear: I agree with the proposition that the news media as it currently conducts itself is indeed an enemy of constitutional Democracy. Trump’s description is fair and accurate.
      2. Trump has talked about loosening the absolutism of Times v. Sullivan as far as libel goes. Many legal authorities agree that this is a reasonable idea. I don’t, but it is hardly an attack on the First Amendment.
      3. Trump also fired his campaign manager for grabbing a reporter. The episode at the rally was outrageous, but saying that that one instance had anything to do with the Montana assault is laughable.

  6. What’s the difference between voting early and then finding out the candidate is an incompetent ass, and voting on the day and then finding out the next day like the rest of us?

    • Because, having a single day to vote reduces the “oh crap I can’t change my vote, but he still isn’t selected” window to nothing.

      At some point, yes, a person IS elected and we bear the post-election burden of any discovered bad sides…the entire period before hand should be geared towards aiding in that selection.

      Early voting creates a window in which very bad characteristics can be discovered before the General Election is finalized, but my Specific Election is already finalized. It’s better that my personal choice occur at almost the exact same moment (Day in this case) as everyone else’s personal choice, so we call go into the finalization process with the same information.

      That’s only ONE of the pro’s of a single Election Day and no early voting.

      Minimization of Fraud is another.
      Reinforcing the community focus is yet another.

  7. It seems that Gianforte was victorious, nay – vindicated, yesterday, possibly as a result of early voting already having been cast before he was so unfortunately provoked by a mic-wielding reporter asking questions oh-so bold. He issued a ‘mea cupla’ of sorts, which was nice. I guess he has that going for him.

    I suspect that once the dust settles, he will take the oath of office, suffer an unexpected health issue, step down and the governor will appoint someone to take his seat.


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