Montana mess

The compounded misbehavior in Bozeman yesterday has to appall any decent observer, a complete breakdown of order and decency.  We should note first the only participant who comes out of it with his reputation intact, Greg Gianforte, a Trump soldier who knows how to stay on message and follow his orders both specific (“Beat the s__t out of them!”) and general: hurt the weak [GG appears to have about a foot and twenty pounds on Jacobs], beat the press, and so on. If he gets to Washington he can surely be trusted to bravely smite the sick and the poor when the time comes.

Everything goes to pieces after that, though. A Fox News crew was present and truculently went completely insubordinate, telling the truth both in their dispatches and to the authorities with no consideration of the damage it would do to a notable Republican. With minions like this, Fox’s whole mission is at risk.

Then there’s the sheriff, who had everything he needed to arrest Jacobs for armed [a recording device attested by all witnesses, and a direct question to a candidate] assault with intent to cause great political harm.  Gianforte’s flack Scanlon spelled it out for him right away, with the magic words “liberal reporter.” But does he? He does not; he treacherously cites Gianforte, to whose campaign he had donated! No, it doesn’t redeem him that he smoothed out felony assault and battery into a misdemeanor.

Poor Gianforte; three Montana papers have unendorsed him. He followed the code of the West (“do unto others before they can do unto you“) and everyone walked away from him, just like the  craven citizens in High Noon. 

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

3 thoughts on “Montana mess”

  1. The Murdochs' main concern at the moment is getting approval in London for completing a fraught takeover by 21st Century Fox of BSkyB. For this the regulator has to certify they are "fit and proper" owners. This may explain why they have disposed of Shine at Fox News after the late and unlamented Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, and seem to be easing out Hannity. Just maybe, Fox News may become a normal conservative news chain and not a lunatic right-wing propaganda machine. The foot soldiers in Montana may be responding to signals from the top.

  2. I hope that it will be possible to disaggregate the early ballots from the Thursday ballots, in order to find out if the assault influenced voting. If today's numbers are more favorable to Gianforte than the early numbers, that would suggest that a lot of Montana citizens support assaulting reporters who ask political candidates to comment on issues (like the CBO scoring of the House health care bill) which will affect how they legislate.

    It is now officially OK to label Gianforte and his supporters as fascist; physical violence crosses the line and justifies the suspension of Godwin's law.

  3. It's OK, he won, so no harm done. And now Paul Ryan can welcome a violent criminal to the house of representatives.

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