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Help or Hurt?

Bitter and I were debating this morning about whether the latest news that GOP candidate in Montana’s special election, Grew Gianforte, body slammer a reporter who wouldn’t get a microphone out of his face. It’s my opinion that if anything, it’ll boost Gianforte. Bitter isn’t so sure. Thanks to early voting (don’t even get me started on that), about 1/3rd of the ballots are already cast.

I don’t think it’s a good thing, but the rules are changing. We were all very fortunate to grow up in a period of relative political and social stability. We’re witnessing the unraveling of the post World War II order, and it’s a global phenomena. Everything is at stake and up for renegotiation. When politicians say “I’ll fight for you,” their supporters are increasingly expecting that to be literal.

In the past we’ve been far worse. Fist fights were once common on the House floor. Prior to and after the Civil War, a lot of Members of Congress carried pistols, for their protection… from their colleagues. I’m reminded of a bit of research Dave Hardy was doing, when he uncovered this bit:

Prior to the Civil War, Sen. Ben Wade (R-Ohio) said something on the floor which was deemed insulting to Sen. Robert Toombs (D-Ga), and a friend told Toombs, “you must challenge the old wretch!” Toombs replied, “No, I mustn’t, for that old wretch is the deadliest shot in the District. Wade and I have been out practicing many times together, and he can hit a ten-cent piece at thirty paces every time, and to tell you the truth, sir, I cannot!”

Ben Wade was one of the Radical Republicans, who was largely responsible for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and who favored a Reconstruction policy far more punitive than Lincoln did. Are we headed back to that kind of political climate? I fear we are.

43 Responses to “Help or Hurt?”

  1. Alpheus says:

    While I’m deeply disturbed by a candidate attacking a reporter, from my limited understanding of the Montana race, there’s a good chance that if I were voting in this race, I’d _still_ vote for Gianforte, just because his opponent is really not all that great.

    And this illustrates another thing that disturbs me about the trends that American politics seems to be displaying: as bad as the Republicans are, they aren’t as bad as the Democrats…until Republicans pull enough stunts like this, in which Americans grudgingly give power to Democrats…who then pull their own stunts to demonstrate why they are unfit to serve in places of power…so Americans grudgingly give power to Republicans, until they pull enough stunts like this…

    If we’re lucky, we’re just hovering over a big swamp of suckiness; if we’re unlucky, we’re in a big downward spiral, and things are just going to get worse.

    Who knows? Maybe this spiral will finally cause Americans to see sense, and then just toss it to the wind in one big “WTF I can’t STAND IT anymore” and then vote in the Libertarian party? After all this Republican/Democrat craziness, we could use a new brand of crazy…

    • Richard says:

      There is simply no such thing as America any more. There are two mutually hostile cultures living in the same space on the map. The left has been unwilling to tolerate the existence of conservatives for many decades and now this attitude is being returned. And it needs to be because it is a matter of survival for conservatives. Obviously, this is a recipe for civil war and there is no going back to some golden age. The only non-violent, non-surrender solution I can see is separation.

  2. Brad says:

    The New Class War(?)

    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/05/new-class-war/

    Yeah, it’s by Lind, but still I thought very interesting reading.

  3. Brad says:

    Even though the U.S. Civil War is the elephant which everyone likes to point to when it comes to American civil strife, it’s astonishing to me how much the strife of the 60’s and ’70s has been memory holed. And that is the kind of civil strife I think the U.S. is sliding towards today.

    And I’m not talking about kumbaya flower-power marches, I’m talking about robberies, bombings, murders and other acts of terrorism. Read the review of “Days of Rage”. And no wonder that violence has been memory holed because of the deep connections those terrorists have with the power structure and belief systems of todays American Left. That “revolution!” stuff was mothers milk to todays leaders of the Left.

    • Sebastian says:

      I didn’t live through that one, so you’ll have to forgive me. Reading about it isn’t quite the same.

      • Countertop says:

        But isn’t that the problem. People didn’t live through it, didn’t learn about it, and so they don’t even see that it’s possible we are heading right back there.

        Don’t get me started on millennial reports who believe the world began in 2001 and mother before than has any bearing on events today.

    • Whetherman says:

      “That ‘revolution!’ stuff was mothers milk to todays leaders of the Left.”

      Unlike all of those militia and Patriot types today, who have been preaching and planning for what used to the called “the violent overthrow” for more than two decades now; and those state legislators “on the right” who promulgate things like “nullification” legislation that directs that federal officials be arrested and imprisoned for attempting to enforce federal law.

      No “revolution” there, nosiree!

      I can remember clearly when “advocating the violent overthrow” was considered entirely the provenance of the Dirty Reds, who of course were under direct orders from the Soviets, aka The Russians. Well, the Soviet Union collapsed, but the Russians haven’t changed. You will have to excuse me for wondering when it was that the Russians first started infiltrating “the right.” Revolution is revolution is revolution, and say, who were those folks Trumpakov and the Brietbartists were playing footsie with?

      • SPQR says:

        Today’s Democrats are best friends with blood-stained Weather Underground terrorists and marching arm-in-arm with blood-stained FALN terrorists.

        Evidently your memory has gaps.

      • Brad says:

        Good grief.

        Can you point me to the parade that Randy Weaver is leading with the support and encouragement of the mayor of a very large city?

        Your attempt to paint some kind of equivalence between the American Right and Left is ridiculous.

      • Whetherman says:

        Thanks for making my point for me guys; you want mirror image equivalencies before you’ll call advocacy of armed resistance to established government, advocacy of “revolution.”

        The only difference, seems to me, is you regard your own advocates of “violent overthrow” as justified and good; while all those other advocates were just dirty lousy troublemakers, revolting for the sake of revolt.

        I’d be very hypocritical if I denied revolt was ever justified. I was a long-time fan. But by starting to study it in a more serious way than just playing with my guns in the tall grass, a couple decades ago, I learned to recognize things and call them by their right names.

        • Brad says:

          So you can’t see the difference between Presidents and backwoods loners?

          In any society you can find a range of opinions if you look hard enough. But what about Leaders? People with real power?

    • Bill M Cyrus says:

      What’s baffling is why our side has seen the threat the left has presented leading up to the previous eight years and still done so little to halt and reverse it. We fought two world wars to repel the very kind of insanity, chaos, and evil the left wishes to bring to our country, yet why is it acceptable that they within our own country do it? Is it because flying planes to drop bombs on foreign soil is more glamorous?

  4. Brad says:

    Is throwing down a Guardian reporter, the natural consequence of “punch a Nazi”?

    Clinton/Zarflax 2076! :-D

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AhGYo9TExU

  5. Patrick says:

    Gianforte (the Republican) will win outside some miraculous event. He was 13-14 points ahead on Monday and up to 70% of the vote was cast before this incident.

    And for better or worse, I don’t think GOP voters are going to get too worked up when a lefty reporter representing a British rag gets tossed down after getting in Gianforte’s face.

    I don’t think it was justified, but given the media’s open “resistance” to anything not DNC party-line I’m not thinking it’ll hurt with the 50% of Montana voters who said they approved of Trump’s performance just four days ago.

    Also, “Old Dude Kicks Ass” might help a bit. Apparently the Dem candidate agrees, because he would not condemn or even criticize Gianforte’s actions even when given multiple chances. Either he is an idiot (distinctly possible) or he and his team are afraid people will want to vote for a guy who did a take-down on an obnoxious reporter.

    We’ll see tonight, I guess.

    Will the GOP make drama seating him when he wins? Probably. They love circular firing squads over in the caucus.

    • RAH says:

      I agree with Patrick I think this will not hurt Gianforte.

      If he wins is will be major black eye for democrats who could not win even when the GOP candidate body slams a reporter.

  6. dollup15 says:

    From the news reports I read two-thirds (not one-third, as stated in the post) of the ballots were already cast via early voting. Assuming this to be true, I don’t see how Gianforte loses.

    With that being said, people seriously need to control their tempers, and live by the childhood maxim that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is particularly true on the left, which often wants to punish people for “microaggressions” and other hurt feelings, when words are allegedly offensive, but weren’t event meant that way by the speaker, but this incident clearly shows those on the right also need to learn to calm down as well.

  7. Sigivald says:

    he can hit a ten-cent piece at thirty paces every time

    Was the dime a lot bigger in 18whenever?

    (I checked, the Seated Liberty dime is 17.9mm – same size as we use today.)

    Or were these guys just amazing shots with … probably a muzzle-loading percussion gun, or a very early revolver?

    Because 30 paces is … pretty far for pistol.

    • dittybopper says:

      Doesn’t necessary imply pistols. Could be rifle shots, and yeah, you can hit a dime at 30 paces. And in general, if you’re that good a shot with a rifle, you’re probably not bad with a handgun either.

      Here is a rather attractive young lady shooting dimes at 30 paces, using metallic sights:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnaU0s9bDzE

  8. If he wants to play the game of politics du jour, ask why a reporter from a UK paper is getting involved in state level US politics to the point where he feels justified in physically forcing his way into near contact with a candidate…and ask if the media would be playing it the same way if the candidate were a Democrat and the media person Russian? Slimy but it’s what things have devolved into.

  9. Whetherman says:

    After I absorbed the news about the attack on the Guardian reporter for an hour or so last night, I arrived at the conclusion it was very likely a deliberate and calculated move by Gianforte, that he is gambling will help put him over the top. I’m writing this before the news of the election returns come in, but my bet is, he was tactically right to do it.

    I need to explain that I don’t buy for a minute the economics/jobs explanations for the Trumpakov victory. People voted for Trumpakov because he promised them an opportunity to beat people up; in some cases vicariously (ICE will do it for you and you can watch) or in some cases perhaps directly.

    So, just like Trumpakov’s “I’d like to punch’em in the face” was the hit of his campaign, Gianforte was betting that actually doing it would be something Montanans would get multi-orgasmic over.

    If Gianforte loses I will stand duly chastened, but not convinced I was completely wrong; he might lose by more, if he hadn’t done it.

    • SPQR says:

      “deliberate and calculated move” – good lord, your fondness for bizarre conspiracy theories is beyond belief.

    • Will says:

      For about a week, I’ve been reading your comments, and been nodding and thinking that Whetherman is different now. Astute, thoughtful, and adding value to the conversation. And that makes me wonder what has changed? Perhaps my perception? Is it me, or him?
      And then you go off on this “Trumpakov” diatribe, with this to cap it:

      “I need to explain that I don’t buy for a minute the economics/jobs explanations for the Trumpakov victory. People voted for Trumpakov because he promised them an opportunity to beat people up; in some cases vicariously (ICE will do it for you and you can watch) or in some cases perhaps directly.”

      Sadly, I conclude that it appears to have been an aberration. Bummer.

      • JC_VA says:

        The irony is, the same guy who complains (not without merit) about the gun community not sticking to the gun issue is the same guy who quite clearly (“Trumpakov”) cannot stick to the gun issue.

        But, as I’ve said before here, Leftist gun owners are their own (and at times, all of ours) worst enemy.

        • Sebastian says:

          If only it was just leftist gun owners who were their own worst enemy.

        • Whetherman says:

          “The irony is, the same guy who complains (not without merit) about the gun community not sticking to the gun issue is the same guy who quite clearly (“Trumpakov”) cannot stick to the gun issue.”

          Need I point out that the subject of Sebastian’s post wasn’t about the gun issue? Should I have just stuck to excoriating him for what he wrote on his own blog?

          I’m sorry, but I believe what I believe; your man Trump is a patsy for the Russians (conscious or otherwise, how much difference does it make?), and the same Russians who we all knew were subverting the U.S. system 50 years ago, are still doing so, but going after a different subculture.

          • RAH says:

            I love this argument A Russian patsy. Lets see He helped deregulate oil exports and the fracking industry that reduces Russian oil money and ability to fund aggressive operations. Russia’s ability to intimidate Europe by depriving gas has now been reduced. We are making deals with Saudi Arabia so they will not make deals with the Russians. We are agitating against Russia’s client Iran.

            So tell me now. How does that make him a patsy again?

            • Whetherman says:

              ” Lets see He helped deregulate oil exports and the fracking industry that reduces Russian oil money…

              If I were Putin, who has enough materially to last 1000 lifetimes, but wants the legacy of MRGA (Making Russia Great Again) I would regard that as a very small sacrifice in return for destabilizing NATO, which your man did in spades only yesterday, in his worldwide junket of kissing every autocrat’s ass that he could find along the route, at the same time he dissed every one of our traditional allies.

              Of course, sometimes shooting a “possible” is only coincidental, right?

        • Sebastian says:

          This blog is not strictly about gun issues, though it mostly is. I think the NRA should stick to single issues, but I’m not the NRA.

          But more importantly, I’m not about to regulate the content of comments beyond flagging spam and obvious trolls.

    • Patrick says:

      You don’t need a conspiracy to explain general douche-baggery. Gianforte has sued people who fished public property near his home because they annoyed him, and because he probably figures that the process of defending themselves is punishment enough to keep others from fishing near his home – even if legal.

      That’s an asshole, right there.

      There was a time people would never countenance such types in public office, but since the media has decided to declare a little more than half the nation as “punchable” it’s no surprise when the deplorables shrug at a candiate punching the media, instead.

      Likewise we don’t need a conspiracy to explain Whetherman’s theories. He’s just plain ole crazy!

      • Whetherman says:

        “You don’t need a conspiracy to explain general douche-baggery.”

        I will ask in all honesty, because I don’t know: Did Ginaforte ever go off on someone violently like he did this time? I heard one pundit opine that he needed “anger management” counseling. Were there comparable incidents in the past?

        When an aberrant behavior appears out of the clear blue sky, it is always possible you are seeing the first manifestation of something going very wrong. But I don’t think it is entirely paranoid or “conspiratorial” to explore — especially when it’s a politician doing it — whether there was a deliberate motive behind it.

        Once again, I’m depending on the pundits and pollsters, but it would seem he’s a douchebag who won by a somewhat bigger margin than expected. So whatever he did in his campaign seems to have worked for him, no?

        • Whetherman says:

          “But I don’t think it is entirely paranoid or “conspiratorial” to explore — especially when it’s a politician doing it — whether there was a deliberate motive behind it.’

          If I think long enough I almost always have an Old Story to back up statements like that. :-)

          Years ago I attended a public meeting where two pols made a great show of hating each other. Shortly they came to the point of having to be physically restrained from coming to blows. Both left the meeting growling and waving their arms.

          My chosen route home took me down some back roads and through tiny corner villages, and I stopped for some much-needed coffee in a little off-the-beaten-track diner. Inside, who should I see but the two antagonist polls sharing a table and yukking it up over coffee.

          Almost getting physical had been an act for the media and us rubes. They had been in cahoots all along.

        • Whetherman says:

          “I heard one pundit opine that he needed “anger management” counseling. Were there comparable incidents in the past?”

          I stand corrected. Except that apparently he did contemplate such an action in the past, which supports my theory that he planned an attack of this sort:

          Greg Gianforte’s clash with Ben Jacobs was entirely predictable

          Gianforte had made veiled threats against members of the press in the past. The Billings Gazette reported on a questioner who told Gianforte that “our biggest enemy is the news media,” asked how conservatives could “rein in” reporters they disliked and “looked at the Ravalli Republic reporter sitting next to him and raised his hands as if he would like to wring his neck.”

          Instead of reminding the questioner about the importance of the First Amendment and chiding his implied threat of violence, Gianforte smiled, pointed at the reporter and joked that “it seems like there is more of us than there is of him.”

  10. Chas says:

    It was a slam dunk election, and the media lost!

  11. RAH says:

    Gianforte body slammed the media and won. Makes the media even more skittish and paranoid

  12. Ken says:

    This makes me a Gianforte fan. I hope he will be President someday.

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