Is There Room for Bullying in the Governor’s Office?

by William Skink

Partisan politics is pretty simple: attack your opponents and defend your party to win elections. For partisans, this trumps being consistent when it comes to deploying moral righteousness.

Readers at ID were treated to a post titled There’s No Room for This Kind of Sexism at the Montana Legislature condemning a state Senator from Butte for making sexist comments about a staffer. This is the easy part for a partisan, attacking one’s opponent. But last month was a bit more difficult because it entailed having to do damage control for the nasty split between Governor Bullock and McLean, as evidenced by this ID post, titled Bullock and McLean Outrage: Just Another Diversion from the GOP’s Noise Machine where damage control keeps the focus away from the actions of the Governor and firmly focused on the opponent:

It’s unfortunate that Lt. Governor McLean will no longer serve in the office, as she was a popular, dynamic leader, well-liked in Democratic circles and outside. But the fact that Lt. Governor McLean is leaving for another job, one she is well-qualified for, is hardly a story about governance or competence. It’s a political story that certainly might be about clashes of personality, might be about differing visions for the job, and might be a momentary diversion from the issues facing the people of Montana.

Unfortunately this story hasn’t just disappeared, as partisans have hoped. Last week’s Indy took another look at the Governor’s behavior in the Etc. section, concluding with this:

Politics is an ugly sport, but these emails show that whatever disagreements developed between Bullock and his appointee clearly affected their ability to work together and, therefore, handle the public’s business. They also show that McLean, a first-generation college graduate, was eager to embrace her duty as a public servant and Bullock’s partner. “It has been my honor since day one to help you be the most successful governor in Montana’s history,” she wrote.

Despite requests, Bullock apparently never told McLean if her name would appear on the 2016 ticket. But McLean got the hint—plenty of them.

In October alone, Bullock’s staff locked her out of her official Twitter account, scrutinized the length of her public remarks, chided her for scheduling appointments and excluded her from meetings. Near the end, according to the emails, Montana’s governor and lieutenant governor went a month and a half without speaking.

There’s a schoolyard term for how the governor’s office appeared to treat the former Anaconda teacher: Bullying. McLean might not want to say it, but her emails speak volumes.

One wonders if a male Lt. Governor would have received the same treatment.

UPDATE: I incorrectly assumed the offending state Senator from Butte was a Republican due to his political affiliation being conspicuously omitted from the ID post.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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21 Responses to Is There Room for Bullying in the Governor’s Office?

  1. Big Swede says:

    “Get Over It”, sums it up.

    RIP Glenn Frey.

  2. You know Keane is a Democrat, right? And what partisan means? Keep on keeping on, though.

    • Big Swede says:

      You’re the expert Don, Keane a conservative Dem or liberal one?

    • that would explain why you left off his political affiliation in your post and made excuses for him by speculating that he had no ill-intent.

      • No, because I assume that people reading and writing about Montana politics know the players. Or have the Google.

        Jesus, man.

        • Before we repeat the typical pattern here, which involves you writing something that is incorrect, me calling you on it, and then you spending a week writing posts about me and my site, I’ll back out now. Go back to battling imperialism, man. The war doesn’t need facts. It just needs you and Mark Tokarski uncovering the truth behind John Lennon’s death and my identity.

          Godspeed, gentlemen. To my knowledge, God i not affiliated with either political party, but if that was a partisan reference, I hope you’ll correct it.

  3. Partisan politics is easy: since there are no meaningful differences among the bought whores, controversy has to be manufactured. This is the role of Cowgirl and ID, and I swear at ID the person(s) who wrote the post you link speak with a different voice than the guy who left the snarky comment above. (Cowgirl is hidden behind a pseudonym but is surely a committee effort with each post vetted before going out.)

    I can pick up an cadence, thoughtfulness, having a thought-out beginning, middle and end … The guy above does not demonstrate those qualities. At best he can write one line laden with contempt for the reader.

    • You are yet to offer up an answer that is any evidence that I am wrong here.

      The RNC used to write up (still does no doubt) talking points for all of the local talk show hosts around the country to read, allowing them to claim authorship, since it looks grassroots. Dave Berg in Billings used to read those things, always ending with “that’s the way I see it” or something like that, so transparent, as the pieces were well written, and Berg was not an intelligent man, so not a good writer.

      So is it a stretch to suggest that the DNC and state Democrats do the same for bloggers? The difference in writing style between your posts and comments is a big tell, as your posts are well-written, while your comments are not intelligent.

      • While your central claim is as absurd as usual, I must admit it’s only sensible to defer to your judgment about what is “not intelligent.” You have an expertise there that I could never hope to match.

        One wonders, though, if you might not be a team of writers. Very few people can have the depth of knowledge you possess when it comes to the government faking the San Bernandino attacks, the history of John Lennon’s secret assassination, and psychological profiling of people you’ve met online.

        I’d say there must be a dozen of you in that basement churning out comments.

        • Pogie, I accuse you of being a phony, a sock puppet, as the tone and quality of writing in the posts does not match with the witless and snide comments you drop around here and there. You tried a little harder with that one, but you’re still lame (and afraid to take me on at my own site).

          It’s a serious accusation. It goes to the heart of your character, or lack of it. You should sue me.

    • By the way you’re not good at insults and ridicule (I know you’re in seclusion again). Your shots at me don’t leave a mark. I don’t feel a thing. I’ve had it from the best, felt the sting of a good shot. You ain’t got it, Don. You might want to consider shutting off comments on your fake blog.

  4. steve kelly says:

    More misdirection, distraction and managed opposition. Neat way to keep important perennial issues like equal pay/fair pay out of the spotlight in an election year. A quick search at ID shows that way back in 2009 HR 11/S 181 (“The Lilly Ledbetter Law” (Fair Pay Act of 2009) rated a “windshield” review. Since then, nada. Women’s pay in Montana is treading water at rates 25% to 33% lower than male paychecks — lowest 1/4 nationally. Another feel-good conference after the election surely will do the trick.

  5. Mark, I will sue you!

    But first you need to produce evidence that you are not a team of 12 or more researching in a basement. I can’t afford to sue that many people. Prove that you are indeed just one man, just one humble, well-read man who knows the truth about 9/11, John Lennon, the JFK assassination, and the CIA plot to trick us into believing the Paris attacks were real.

    Prove that, sir. You brilliant, magnificent bastard.

    • didn’t you say yesterday that you’ll back out of this comment thread? Mark has a blog where I believe you’re attacks would be more appropriate. or, if you really have nothing better to do than flame Mark here, maybe you could opine again on that toxic online culture you were lamenting about. unlike Mark I’m pretty confident you author your own posts. being two-faced doesn’t require being multiple people.

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