Friday, May 26, 2017

The Body Slam Heard Round The Country

By Jeff Simpson

Yesterday there was a special election for Congress in MT and it drew the attention of the country.

In a solidly red state, the GOP was panicking that they would lose this seat. They even spent almost $6 Million dollars to keep this seat red, despite the fact that the term of this seat is only a little over a year now and they have a solid advantage in Congress anyway.

I wonder of the $6+ million could have been better spent in MT, instead of on 1/435 Congressional seats?  Pretty sure they do!

This seat took an extra turn the day before the polls opened because a reporter for the Guardian, Ben Jacobs, had the nerve to ask Republican multimillionaire candidate Greg Gianforte, his feelings on the ACHA.

With a bill as indefensible as the ACHA is, especially after finally being scored by the CBO, Gianforte answered about the only way he could.   He body slammed Mr. Jacobs.

Mr. Gianforte, was then finally charged with misdemeanor assault by the local sheriff who was one of Mr. Gianforte's supporters and financial backers.  

Then on election day, this incident not withstanding, Mr. Gianforte won the election.   In the Trump era, we can now expect headlines like the one in the New York Times today:

GOP candidate wins Montana House election after being charged with assault

Montana should be proud.

However, in the overall picture, it is not that big of a deal because as stated earlier it is only for a year and there are some very serious lessons to be learned here.

Now let's make sure that we learn them.

1.  This had a strong early voting contingent for this race/  Which means if you voted early for the guy who body slams reporters, you had no recourse to change your mind.   I personally have always felt that early voting if for the blind partisans....i know who I am voting for and nothing in the world could change my vote.  The blind partisans are what is wrong with this country.   I would have been flat out disgusted had I early voted for the assaulter!

I think early voting is great if you for some reason are not available to vote on election day, but if you are use election day for what it is meant for.  I have taken my children to vote with me on election day every single election since they were born in a car carrier!  

2.  The GOP know what a mess and potential electoral disaster the AHCA vote and plan is.  That is what upset Gianforte.   He did not want to answer if he supported ending health insurance for 23 million Americans(he was never actually forced too before the election).    He knew that even in maroon red Montana, people like having health insurance.

3.  Make sure ANY candidate goes on record supporting or not the AHCA.   Republicans, thanks to Paul Ryan, are now in a quandry.   Do they stand behind their party and the Speaker and the President and take tens of thousands of their constituents off health care or do they do what is right?   Ask them, ask them and ask them again until they take a stand one way or the other.  If they support it, then an instant and forever Scarlet Letter should be branded on their career.  Period.  

4.  While the people of Montana voted in a guy who beat up a reporter for doing his job, the rest of the country, especially the 70% who do not support The Donald were horrified by it.   Even the "great" Frank Luntz had this to say about it:

Make sure and ask your Congressional rep how they feel about what Greg The Body Slam" Gianforte did and if that should be punished or if they feel its ok as long as you disagree with the person.   Again make them answer!  (FYI: Some version of I think he should/he has apologized, is not an answer.)   Would it be ok if someone assaulted them or one of their staffers as long as they apologized after?

5.  Not one Democrat, not a pundit, not a consultant and most definitely not an elected should ever ever refer to Greg Gianforte without bringing this incident up/.    Ever.   If he comes in and singlehandedly balances the budget, the first thing anyone should say about him is that he physically assaulted a reporter.  

6.  Now we see the consequences of running from Obamacare all of these years.  We allowed the GOP to demonize it and instead of defending it, and running on its strength(which we see from the GOP townhalls) we let the GOP dictate our response.   Stop doing that.

The GOP biggest and most successful campaign strategy, is to run against the Democrats strengths and turn them into weaknesses.  This is made easier by the Democrats allowing this to happen over and over and over.   If the GOP are campaigning against you on an issue. that means they know its a strength in your district so double down and call their bluff!

7.  The Donald factor!   Gianforte's opponent Rob Quist, hardly ever mentioned The Donald.  That is a mistake.  I don't care where in this country The Donald performed, overperformed or under performed make sure that the GOP person in that district is seen as being a brother/sister/twin/bestfriend/ to the Donald.

The Donald won because he ran anti establishment and pretty much everything he has said he would do, he has done the exact opposite.  People notice that, especially if we keep pointing it out.   I know that there was some racism, sexisim, bigotry involved and I agree with that/.  However some people who voted for that, are starting to realize that maybe in practice it is not as cool as it first sounded!  

He can not and will not win another election like 2016.  We need to take advantage of that.

Extra Credit:  For the Press, media, reporters, journalists out there who were outraged and banded together to roundly condemned Gianforte for body slamming Mr. Jacobs.

I will not pretend to know how national press has handled various incidences, but I know local press tweeted such things as

While I obviously agree that body slamming a reporter is indefensible(see above), when you sit through things like this and treat them like another day in the office,  where do you think we are headed?

When you make it ok for the Governor and Capitol police to treat protesters like that, what do you think is coming next?    

Niemoller was actually on to something you know.    

Now they have come for the reporters....the question is what will you do about it?

What will we as a society do about it?

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if it's an issue with early voting as much as that Montana doesn't allow people to change their vote if they change their mind. Reports show that the Secretary of State was inundated with calls from people wanting to change their vote. But without the ability to change it, they were foolish to cast their ballots early.