Rumors about Bullock, O’Leary leap from blogs to newspaper

What's going on between Governor Bullock and this big check?

What’s going on between Governor Bullock and this big check?

Here’s a fun game: try to name the most prominent policy idea of the 2016 Montana governor’s race. Republican Greg Gianforte wants to improve the economy by—wait for it—lowering taxes and lifting regulations. Governor Steve Bullock wants to continue being governor. If ideas were glue, these two couldn’t build a model plane. But it doesn’t matter, because they’d gouge each other’s eyes out before they got all the parts out of the box. Their almost purely negative campaign got even darker last week, when NewsTalk KGVO ran this story, ostensibly about Bullock’s use of the state plane but also about how he uses it to take trips with cabinet member Meg O’Leary.

Rumors that there is something untoward about their relationship have circulated on conservative blogs for some time. Until last week, you never heard about it in the mainstream press, probably because there’s no evidence. But then KGVO ran the headline “Governor Bullock Brought Meg O’Leary to Paul McCartney Concert Instead of First Lady, State Plane Use Questioned.”

As usual when a headline uses the passive verb “questioned,” they omitted the phrase “by us.” A subsequent story in the more scrupulous Billings Gazette contradicted several of KGVO’s implications.  It seems like the original piece was pretty thinly sourced. It didn’t say much that hadn’t already been said—also without substantiation—in various right-leaning blogs. So why run it now?

Maybe it had something to do with the news that Oracle was moving 100 jobs from Bozeman to Texas. Gianforte sold his software company RightNow Technologies to Oracle in 2011. His success in creating high-wage jobs has been a major selling point of his campaign, but this layoff undermines that. Is it possible KGVO ran the O’Leary story to overshadow the layoffs? Although Gianforte’s communications director, Aaron Flint, has a friendly relationship with KGVO, it would be irresponsible to say he nudged them. I mean, what are we—KGVO?

You can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, in which I challenge the candidates to come up with some idea—any idea—related to policy. The voters of Montana deserve something better than a choice between negatives. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links, hopefully including a fun surprise.

Arizona senate impeaches redistricting committee

Arizona governor Jan Brewer: what Grandma would look like if she had more time to spend on her appearance because she couldn't sleep at night.

At the request of Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona senate has voted to impeach the head of the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission. Brewer and senate Republicans allege that the committee—charged with redrawing Arizona’s eight electoral districts—has proposed maps that are politically biased. “I will not sit idly by while Arizona’s Congressional and legislative boundaries are drawn in a fashion that is anything but constitutional and proper,” Brewer told reporters. That is absolutely true, since Brewer was not sitting by when the senate moved to impeach. She was out of town promoting her memoir, so Secretary of State Ken Bennett had to call the Arizona senate into session on her behalf. I don’t mean to bias your interpretation, but Brewer’s memoir is titled Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border.

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Colorado governor race offers glimpse of conservative future

Tea Party protestors in Greeley, CO protest the runaway taxation of the Obama administration, which taxes at exactly the same rate as the Bush administration.

Tea Party protestors in Greeley, CO protest the runaway taxation of the Obama administration, which taxes at exactly the same rate as the Bush administration.

There is a storm brewing across our great nation. From Spokane to Schenectady, decent, hardworking Americans who watch television at 4pm are joining together to question their federal government. “Why do you continue to exist?” they ask. “Why can’t we get back to the government we had in 1789, which apparently included Medicaid and Social Security? Have you heard that a black guy is President now?” They are the Tea Party, and they object to taxation and spending. They may also be entirely the creation of the country’s second-biggest cable news network, owned by the world’s 132nd-richest man, but that doesn’t stop them from being a legitimate political party. Sort of. And nowhere is the newly-consecrated Tea Party so influential as in Colorado, where the GOP has chosen as its candidate for governor Scott McInnis, largely because he has the Tea Party’s backing. Kinda. The important thing is, he’s winning. I guess. To hear Fox News tell it, at least, the awesome power of the Tea Party has swept Bill McInnis to certain victory in Colorado. Except maybe they made it all up.

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