Greg Gianforte: quiet on religion, still animated by ideas

Billionaire and maybe gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte—photo by Wolcott

Billionaire and maybe gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte—photo by Wolcott

Last time we checked in on Greg Gianforte, he had just cited the example of Noah, who was still working at age 600, to argue that “the concept of retirement is not biblical.” It was a pretty exciting quote, implying as it did that a man who had sold his own business for $1.5 billion A) regarded the Genesis story of Noah and the great flood as literally true, and B) wanted us to keep working until we died. The press had fun with it. It was kind of a shame, since this admittedly batty comment overshadowed Gianforte’s main policy idea, which was to encourage professionals who had left the state to “come home and bring their jobs with them” as telecommuters.

Montana has the second-lowest average wages of any state in the union. Unemployment is low, but pay is terrible. I was shocked, when I first arrived here for grad school, to find jobs for skilled carpenters advertising $8.50 an hour. Our per capita income is 38th, but that’s because of resource extraction, rental income, selling pieces of the ranch to Californians, et cetera. If you work for a living, Montana is a bad place to do it.

Gianforte’s focus on attracting high-paying jobs to the state therefore seems well-placed. Before he sold it to Oracle, the company he founded paid hundreds of employees around Bozeman an average wage of $92,000 a year. He is a tech guy, an engineer. He believes the problems in Montana’s employment system have solutions, and we can find them if we think carefully enough.

One cannot help but notice he has tweaked the system of his candidacy, as well. I sat down with Gianforte for about an hour last week, and he did not mention his religion until I asked about it. Even then, all he would say was that no one has the right to force their beliefs on anybody else. I found him likable and smart, and clearly excited by ideas—this time, classical economics instead of biblical creation. You can read all about our interview in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.

Is this image sexist?

The cover of Doug Henwood's "My Turn," a book critical of Hillary Clinton

The cover image for Doug Henwood’s “My Turn,” a book critical of Hillary Clinton

Tweeting the cover of Doug Henwood’s Hillary Clinton book My Turn, Salon’s Amanda Marcotte remarked, “I keep hearing it’s unfair to think that some of the male Clinton haters on the left might have issues with women.” She was being facetious. But what about this image is sexist, exactly? It’s not flattering, insofar as it depicts Hillary as ruthless, even cold. But it also places a woman in a position of power, holding a traditionally masculine totem of violent authority, which she points directly at the male gaze. As critical as the title “My Turn” is, in conjunction with this image, it suggests that Hillary is assertively demanding what she believes is rightfully hers. And the artist, Sarah Sole, told International Business Times, “I love Hillary Clinton. I support her. I very much want her to be president.”

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Meanwhile, in the realm of fantasy

Marco Rubio implements policy in Syria.

Marco Rubio implements US policy in Syria.

Once in a generation, someone invents a story so powerful it rewrites the world. For our generation, that story was the Iraq war, and we will probably watch sequels the rest of our lives: ISIS, proxy war in Syria, ethnic nationalism returns to Europe, Ahmed Goes to Camp(s), et cetera. As made-up stories go, “we invade Iraq and they love us” is Huckleberry Finn, and the rest of us are writing Hardy Boys. Further fictions pale. Yet Kurt Schlichter’s What Defeating ISIS Would Look Like proves that in the field of literature, there is still a lot of work to be done. A taste:

The Americans published daily body counts. This horrified liberals, but delighted the American people, who for too long had had no good news nor any way to measure success.

Now hit that More button and eat the whole meal.

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A note from management


I’ve disabled comments on new posts, in keeping with my across-the-board policy of not reading internet comments sections. I like to read comments from you, my good friend or especially intelligent reader, but the opinion of JoeInternet69 is not interesting to me. If you are excited by something you read on Combat! blog and want to talk to me about it, please email me. If you don’t know my email address, read the blog more carefully. I love you! Let’s keep living separately, though.


For terror, what does winning look like?

Anti-Muslim protests over the weekend in France

Anti-Muslim protests over the weekend in France

In November 2001, the Los Angeles Times ran a short piece compiling uses of the phrase “…then the terrorists have won.” Hawkeye football earned a dubious mention after a letter to the Iowa City Press-Citizen claimed that long security lines at Kinnick Stadium were “letting the terrorists win.” The New York Times opined that the terrorists win if we “don’t send the marching band from Frank Scott Bunnell High School in Stratford, Conn., to the 2002 Rose Parade.” Disrupting Big Ten football was probably not the impetus behind the September 11 attacks, or behind the series of massacres and bombings in Paris Friday. So why kill all those people? Now that we have been at war with terror for 14 years, we should probably be able to say what the other side’s objectives are. “They hate our freedom” is not a goal we can stop terrorists from achieving. For the Islamists who keep killing civilians around the globe, what does winning look like?

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