Non-Partisan Take on a Plane

by William Skink

I finally added Logicosity to the blogroll because of insightful posts like this one regarding the campaign cash quirk that requires Democrats and Republicans to have a primary challenger in order to use the campaign cash, otherwise the candidate would have to return the money. Now that the Bullock campaign has a challenger, over half a million dollars can be used:

What does Bullock receive?

An escape from an impossible predicament.

His campaign may now keep and spend over $660,000 in campaign funds that it would have had to have refunded had it not faced an opponent in the primary.

This wink-wink, elbow-in-the-ribs charade is an inside joke in Helena. How can anyone involved keep a straight face?

Oh, yes, officially, Bullock will say he takes any opponent seriously and quote a variation of that old line, “If you’re not running scared, you’re not running hard.” But, rest assured, he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

In 2008, Don Pogreba and Jason Neiffer, two Helena-area high school teachers, stepped forward to assist the Schweitzer-Bohlinger ticket when it sought re-election. Ironically, they weren’t needed as shills. At the last moment, another, more legitimate ticket, Bill Fischer and Steve White, both from the Flathead, for the D nomination

In 2012, Heather Margolis and Steve Nelsen, who both reside in Helena, similarly, almost magically, appeared out of nowhere at the last moment to bail out Bullock and Walsh.

Neither “ticket” did a thing to detract from the incumbent ticket.

It’s a good thing for Democrats that a Lee Newspaper didn’t run this story because it would just reinforce what many already know to be true: politics is a deceitful game with more money sloshing around than they will ever see.

When newspapers do run political stories that damage a candidate, Montana Democrats have the media scold Don Pogreba to go on the attack, like he did earlier this week when Bullock got dinged for using the state plane to piggyback campaign stops on official stops. The story was bullshit, Pogreba assured his readers. A few days after that, Justin Robbins continued the damage control at MT Cowgirl, saying this:

Apparently, Lee Newspapers had some column inches to fill. Why else regurgitate one party’s talking points about an issue which was not only revealed to be partisan hackery; but previously de-bunked partisan hackery, which was sheepishly undone?

Is this story just debunked partisan hackery? When I took a look at media corruption in this post JC added some perspective in the comments:

My dad flew the state plane for 5 different governors. He always said that if there was a campaign event that the state would expect to be reimbursed by the campaign for the cost of what a commercial transit would have been.

He also said that he judged a governor’s character by whether or not he cheated at cards while flying. I’d bet Bullock cheats at cards, and everybody around him lets him get away with it. If I were Bullock, I’d pay the state back for the price of a commercial transit, and say “mea culpa.”

It turns out this comment was prescient. In today’s Missoulian, this story is buried in the local section:

Gov. Steve Bullock will reimburse the state for travel using the state-owned plane that coincided with campaign events, going back to the start of his term.

Bullock will pay $2,671.84, according to a news release sent Friday afternoon.

The governor’s legal counsel has advised the governor can use state-owned aircraft to fly to a location and attend a campaign event as long as he is also attending official state events on the same day. Attendance at campaign events or other nonofficial events must be ancillary to the official business. When the governor attends ancillary campaign events, the state must be reimbursed for any increased cost associated with the aircraft as a result of the attendance.

So, it looks like there was some meat to this supposed bullshit partisan hackery story that got the local attack dogs all riled up. Bullock was smart to just pay up and move on. What’s a couple thousand dollars to a campaign that gets to keep over a half million because it found some warm bodies to pretend to be primary opponents?

Despite linking to Intelligent Discontent, you won’t see any pingbacks over there leading readers to this post because, once again, Don Pogreba has banned me and will remove any link that pops up to this blog. Don is not, however, banned from here because I don’t mind defending my posts (Don, if you read this, you don’t have to post under other names like “friend” if you want to come over here and make the kind of attacks that expose how little substance there is to your partisan hackery).

There will be more to come as this political season heats up, so stay tuned…

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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11 Responses to Non-Partisan Take on a Plane

  1. 01stevekelly says:

    This helps the unitiated better understand the richly deserved, uniquely Montana term: “Helena mafia.”

  2. Bob Williams says:

    It’s from a bad law that needs to be changed for it subsizes both Parties in the Primary Election. Check out the original Posts to see how Gianforte also got big bucks.
    As to the “reporting” about Governor Bullock. At 100 flights, he paid back some $27 dollars per flight.
    hmm, seems that $ per flight number is important, calculated, but not printed, or Posted!
    What’s an acceptable contemporary term for what used to be called “dittoheads”?

  3. JC says:

    Meh, what do I know? I’m just a “pseudonym.” 😉

  4. Greg Strandberg says:

    Seems that the Bullock Administration had to backtrack this week, and that after they’d unleashed the attack dogs.

    What other stories have been put out that the Bullock Administration will have to backtrack on? Personally, I feel most “news” coming out of the Capitol will need to be taken with a grain of salt. The truth isn’t as important as covering asses.

    On a related note, whatever happened to the no-commenting policy that ID instituted a few months back? That lasted a week and the LK came back strong. Now it seems most are banned once again. Like you said, election season is heating up.

    • Take a look at ID’s “top posts” and you’ll find one about Rep Hale defending drunk driving. You’ll find that they let the spam filters down, and that most of the comments are spammer hawking their wares. They are not paying attention. The post is “top” because it has a spam following.

      Similarly, I once went to Cowgirl at 3am when I was having trouble sleeping. At that time they had a pretend meter in place showing the number of readers currently on line. It said “46.” The truth: One. Me. C’mon.

      My point is that these two sites are fake, have the same writers, and fake their numbers and even most comments. It is all bullshit. They filter out real people, and I am no genius so don’t ask me why they let Kralj have his way with them.

      When I was new at this game, Jay Stevens used to collect what he thought were interesting blog posts, and he highlighted me because I was new, was being spammed and was debating with it. Guilty as charged. I was a newbie. But then, you who want to debate with Cowgirl and Pogie, well, … Some of us at real. some paid hacks, some not even human.

  5. Newspapers do their part, creating distractions, and blogs now know to play along. The whole thing is a big nothing that took up space, caught some attention, and distracted everyone from the fact that candidates have nothing to say. If you think that Lee did this innocently, I have a bridge to sell you.,

    It is interesting that Pogie was willing to be a shill for Schweitzer. This tends to reinforce my contention that he is not capable of the writing that comes out of ID, that he is merely a front for others. And please, the writing is crappy party stuff, but is done by people who know how to use words. It’s high quality crap.

  6. larry kurtz says:

    you’ve tossed the shit now where’s your solution, liz?

  7. larry kurtz says:

    isn’t this dysfunction just another Trump-inspired adolescent rant?

  8. larry kurtz says:

    the cottonwoods should be popping in missoula about now. that scent is about the only thing that can stanch the stench of such staunch starch strangling the streetlamps in stevensville.

    get a job, liz.

  9. djinn&tonic says:

    “For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be.” —Robert Kagan

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