Evan Barrett Lays Stinking Pile in Billings Gazette

by William Skink


–Hillary Clinton Superdelegate

Evan Barrett has an opinion piece in the Billings Gazette where he tries to explain how Montana Democrats prevent delegate fights in Montana. While I assumed this has been accomplished through Montana Democrats selling their delegates to Hillary for $64,100 dollars, Barrett has a different take. Readers can decided how full of shit he is. From the first link:

While it took about five years to implement, the first big change to improve that system created something called “proportional representation.” Simplistically stated, if a candidate had 60 percent of the votes in a county committee, he/she would get 60 percent of the county’s delegates to the state convention. And the proportional support for that candidate at the state convention would be reflected in the percentage of the delegation to the national convention who supported that candidate. That change brought a lot more fairness to our process as compared to the old winner-take-all system.

But the numbers still reflected an insiders political game. So, in 1974, Pat Williams and I drafted a bill to re-create a Montana presidential primary so that the base of the presidential delegate selection process could reflect the preference vote of all Montana Democrats. Pat was not yet a Congressman but was extremely knowledgeable about the issue.

After moving from a winner-take-all primary to proportional results based on voting percentages, Barrett states that he and Pat Williams weren’t yet done improving the Democratic primary process. What they accomplished, Barrett claims, is a reduction in the intra-fighting between Democrats in America:

The way we Montana Democrats use the presidential primary, when combined with proportional representation, has minimized intra-party conflict. Under Montana Democratic Party rules, the votes of the electorate for each candidate in the presidential primary are reflected upward through the entire delegate selection process. The number of delegates each presidential candidate gets to have from Montana at the Democratic National Convention is proportionally “baked into the cake” as a result of the primary vote here. There are no longer any fights between the supporters of presidential candidates over the number of delegates they will have. If there is any fighting it is within the supporter groups of each candidate over who which supporter might get to go to the national convention, given the limited number of seats allocated.

This intra-group fighting is much less damaging than the inter-group fighting that used to occur before proportional representation and the presidential primary were in place.

So, as the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders intensifies, the Democratic Party rules here in Montana have significantly reduced the rancor and increased the accuracy of reflecting what the grassroots Democrat wants.

Bullshit? Sounds like it to me. Let’s recap what is going down this year in Montana with Democrats, according to Margot Kidder:

Our state party leadership signed a deal with a woman who out here, on our turf, possibly wouldn’t last a week. They signed away our unobstructed right to choose which Democratic candidate we supported for President. Given that we have 15 pledged delegates and seven Super Delegates, we have lost our absolute right to have Super Delegate endorsements proportional to the wishes of the primary voters

For what? Sixty four thousand and one hundred dollars? Which we had to give back? That’s a pretty poor excuse for selling out our right to our own choice.

So which assessment of Montana’s Democratic primary process is more accurate, Barrett’s or Kidder’s?

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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40 Responses to Evan Barrett Lays Stinking Pile in Billings Gazette

  1. steve kelly says:

    Any relation to Democrat “fixer” Steve Barrett, long-time lawyer for Big Sky Resort, and served on Board of Regents from 2005-2012? Woodwork is yielding rare views of the inner workings. Thanks William, and thanks Margot.

  2. Bob Williams says:

    The Supreme Court OK of liberalizing limits on contributions to political parties is TERRIBLE. Maybe kicked in another million USD to Legislators handing the money to the HRC Campaign, maybe with implied consent involving, say $33,000 the HRC Campaign is obliged to put into the HRC Election in Montana. But only FOR the Primary Election?
    Once again, WS is ahead of the curve.
    Because of that, Margot Kidder, please tell us more,
    and start with a comment here on RD, says me an outsider to RD!
    I spent about half a day on and around your CounterPunch long essay,
    saw your Post on Cowgirl and suggest you wrap up
    some of your thoughts and Post them here!
    For now, I’m thinking SCOTUS maybe broke open a crack in the the Barrett model,
    and $33K of private contributions became maybe obligated
    to promote HRC in Montana?
    During this Primrary Season?
    To which TV Stations??

  3. Greg Strandberg says:

    Pat Williams currently runs a scheme every two years in Missoula where local Dems get liquored and dinnered up and about 40% of the money they donate for that goes to candidates, the rest to their shindig. Questions still remain as to why Williams actually left D.C., with some saying a cash-for-stamps corruption deal being the main reason. Remember, he only put in 18 years but gets a full pension. Strange.

    Evan Barrett is a good example of why Democrats in this state are losing. From his ivory perch he tells us how it is, never realizing that just a small percentage of the state actually listens to what he has to say. Clueless.

    • petetalbot says:

      Strandberg, you stupid fuck, Pat Williams doesn’t “run” the dinner. It was started by the Missoula County Democrats about eight, maybe ten years ago to raise funds for local Democratic candidate campaigns. It’s called the Williams Dinner in honor Carol and Pat because: they both live in Missoula, they have name recognition which helps promote the event, and both served in either the U.S. House or Montana House and/or Senate.

      • Greg Strandberg says:

        Yep, pretty sad state of affairs in the ol’ river town.

        • petetalbot says:

          Brilliant rebuttal, Strandberg. How’s the campaign going, by the way? Got those two yard signs up yet?

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          They’re being printed.

        • petetalbot says:

          Along with your ten pieces of literature? There goes the budget.

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          I’m actually doing an initial print run of 10 signs, truth be told. The campaign business card I’ll use is being designed and I’ll get, oh…maybe 250 of those printed up, perhaps less.

          That will indeed be it for the campaign funds, though I might be able to squeeze a few dollars out for gas or some postage. I assure you as well, any excess funds will be given to charity, not other candidates. I just don’t like how local and statewide candidate PACs give their money to other candidates. Not that I could even do that, but I’m just pointing out what I consider to be an issue, one of many.

          After that it’s just going around and knocking on doors and seeing what happens. Should I lose, which is a possibility, I strongly suspect that you and others around the state will have your fun with me, pointing out my shortcomings.

          I want you to know that I’m fine with that.

      • feel free to express your anger here, Pete. I won’t use it to depict you as irrational and call your mental health into question.

        • petetalbot says:

          Strandberg is a stupid fuck. That’s not anger, that be the truth. And when did I ever call anyone’s mental health into question? Well, maybe Tokarski’s, but that’s pretty obvious, eh?

        • not you, but I interpret silence as complicity.

        • Oh Pete Pete Pete, if you would just not drag me into it. I’ll give you a clue into my mental health: I am happy, but then occasionally depressed, and angry on some occasions. That’s what they call “normal.” You must base your view on my mental state on the fact that I have opinions that contrast with yours. That’s a slim reed, because there is another possible explanationo for that: You are not smart, insightful, or creative, and so just don’t see very damned much beyond what your authority figures tell you.

          I would not want to be you, you stupid fuck.

        • petetalbot says:

          Delusions of grandeur, paranoia, antisocial personality disorder: the new “normal.”

        • I don’t think you have the qualifications to be diagnosing people.

        • petetalbot says:

          Do you read Tokarski’s stuff, Skink? You don’t need a Ph.d to see that he’s delusional.
          But let’s take a look at an earlier comment of yours concerning my lack of intervention in a previous flame war: “but I interpret silence as complicity.” Your silence on delusional Tokarski and idiot Strandberg is deafening.

        • yes, I do read Marks stuff, but I’m not qualified to diagnose either. I’ll leave the name-calling and unprofessional diagnosing to you and Don.

        • Rob Kailey says:

          Comspiro has been “diagnosing” my supposed mental disorders for years, and yet nary a peep from you. Care to explain?

        • not really, but if you ever want couples therapy I know some good counselors 😉

  4. I think the word for his writing is “sophistry.”

  5. Steve W says:

    Margot Kidder points out the Hillary Victory Fund’s deal with 33 state Dem parties and the DNC has the appearance of being unethical as well as the appearance of tossing notions of neutrality out the window.

    What Barrett is talking about is the rules of how they apportion delegates based on popular vote. They aren’t really similar subjects.

    They are entirely two separate issues.

    Here, you can read about the process. http://files.montanadems.gethifi.com/our-values/Final_2016_Delegate_Selection_Plan_updated_10-15-15_with_bonus_delegates.pdf

    Contrary to what some are saying, it’s not a bad way to apportion the delegates to the national convention. Of course some folks just love to take everything they throw at them hook line and sinker and they fret about it. Super delegates is one such frettable. The Dem Governor and The Dem US Sen are supers. And 4 DNC Members who live in the state are supers.

    So we end up sending 21 pledged delegates (based on the primary vote) to the National and 6 unpledged supers based on being a statewide elected official or a member of the DNC.

    The funding deal, on the other hand, is a way to use 33 parties as Hill’s bag man to help her wash BIG donations through a state loophole to federal limits. It’s completely legal. But is it ethical?

    • you make a good apples and oranges point, but what good is proportionality (which may be more equitable than winner-take-all) when the money gets flowing and the super delegates, who you have pointed include the Governor and the Senator, can do what they want (or what they’re paid to do)?

      also, though the Barrett oped may appear to be a separate issue, the timing stinks of damage control. I don’t think a lesson on the histrionics of political sausage making is really the point here.

      • Steve W says:

        I’m speaking relatively when I say it’s not bad. I happen to think having some sort of top down control is a good thing otherwise anyone can hijack your party at any time, almost.
        also there hasn’t been much examples of abuse of the super delegates. They tend to follow the will of the voters. There’s all kinda talk but little action.

        It’s likely this year Bernie will make his case at the convention to the supers that they would be smart to abandon Hill and follow him. I think his argument will be salient.

        My guess is most of his supporters won’t find that stance a problem if it helps Bernie. And these are the rules we are working under.

        You may be right about the ol’ switcheroo as far as the op ed goes.

    • Bob Williams says:

      And if some of the $64K was conduited to MT TV stations for Primary Election ads that boosted HRC Primary percentages, then there’s more reason for MT pledged delegates to cast convention votes for HRC!
      ?Maybe $40-50K, to boost HRC Primary votes by 1-2%.
      Yes, that would be a crack in the Barrett model, but not a large crack.
      And do remember, McCutcheon v. FECA, and the USCongress, and the people with an awful amount of money are disenfranchising party activists and voters, in large part, to sustain authority and principals in both political parties. That’s the cause of the problem, imo.
      The R Party franchises convention delegates for Cruz!
      NEW MONEY from DNC and HRC enters MT!
      I am all the more glad for the MT Democratic Party change to delegates voting proportionaly to Primary results.
      I’m glad WS advanced conversation by comparing the recent Barrett and Kidder articles.
      But I must say, Barrett did not leave a pile of crap.
      I’m still re-reading the long essay by Kidder, hoping someone has some current news to Post.

      • Steve W says:

        I’m pondering Skink’s observation that the Barrett Op-ed is intended as a kind of open “invitation to a Red Herring.” It allows people to mislead themselves if they might be so inclined.

        It’s like adding a little saw dust to the hash, everything all cooks together and the individual elements of corruption are indistinguishable from the eggs and the oregano. it may not be a pile of crap, but it does look quite like a heap of hash!

        i can understand the desire to obscure the history, the ramifications and the meaning of the fund raising scheme between 33 state Dem parties, the DNC and HRC. I can see why they might not want people to ask who gets what funds, why, and “Is it ethical?”

        But I think their timing is extremely bad, from a political point of view. I think they may have to address it head on, especially with a good 2/3 of Montana Dems already favorably disposed to Bernie’s “political revolution,” and unfavorably disposed to the 1% owning our political parties and processes, or the appearance of the 1% owning our political parties and processes.

  6. Big Swede says:

    Bernie does make salient arguments.

    • petetalbot says:

      Fox news at its finest: Sander’s sound bites taken out of context and interpreted by right-wing talk show hosts.

      • I’m more interested to know why your “progressive” blog seems to be ignoring the Democratic presidential primary.

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          Why would they cover that when they won’t even mention PSC District 4, which covers Missoula? Well, I guess they mentioned the GOP candidates.

          Haven’t heard anything from them about the Missoula legislative races, except to attack me. You’d think informing people of who’s running would be a good idea. Guess not.

          Nothing on the Supreme Court, same with Cowturd. Guess those races don’t matter.

          Then there’s nothing even on Juneau, just constant attacks on Zinke. Maybe a better approach would be to highlight what Juneau is going to do when elected, something she seems unsure of.

          Why haven’t I read anything on the OPI race? How about more on how Laslovich is doing, or Lindeen? Why are we not getting information, just attacks against (for the most part) Zinke and Gianforte?

          We never read anything about what Bullock is going to do post-2016, just how bad Gianforte is now.

          Notice the trend yet? Attack, attack, attack and hope to hell it carries you through in November.

        • JC says:

          Well, when a party focuses on negative campaigning, it usually means that they are just trying to suppress the turnout, as that is what negative campaigning does. Poli sci 101. Why suppress the turnout? Because they figure it will suppress more of the other party’s voters than their own. Poli sci 102.

          Of course, it also can mean that dems are trying to suppress turnout from the radical “left” to generate support for its “centrist” candidates (buh-bye, LitW and 4&20-style). Go Hillary.

          Because that is what seeing nothing but a barrage of negative republican imagery does for folks like me anymore. Why vote when the closest political ally to you denigrates the other party, fails to illuminate its mainstream primary candidates or talk about policy failures (Libya, Ukraine, Syria, etc.), and alienates its more radical candidates? Poli sci 103.

        • won't suffer fools says:

          Hey, ‘Shit for Brains’ Strandberg. Here’s the PSC race, from 10 days ago:

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          I was looking at that exact same post before I wrote my comment this morning. No mention of the Dems in PSC 4…as I mentioned in my comment this morning.

          Anything else?

        • From the post, dumb shit:

          District 4’s Bob Lake voted to pass the costs of another Colstrip Unit 4 breakdown along to consumers.

          Let’s take a look at Lake. He has three Democrats vying for his seat, all of whom would be a vast improvement. Here’s an outtake from a guest column by former PSC commissioner and candidate Gail Gutsche on Lake’s Colstrip vote:

          Commissioner Lake, who represents those of us who live in north- and southwestern Montana, did not agree with the majority of the PSC. He seemed eager to give NorthWestern a pass on what were some very questionable business decisions. Apparently he thinks consumers should pay for NorthWestern’s mistakes.

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          Pretty dang depressing. We’re told that we have 3 Dems running for Lake’s seat but then we just get a snippet from Gutsche. What about Mark Sweeney? I don’t hear anything from Gutsche but that guy’s sure getting out there all the time and working for votes. He was just in Missoula this weekend.

          “All three PSC races deserve attention,” we’re told in the article. I guess what was put up in that post is the extent of what’s needed. In the 10 days since then we’ve had another gun post, 2 in case you missed it’s (I didn’t), and something about climate change. I will admit, it’s been slow over there.

          If you’re going to continue pressing me that I somehow made a wrong comment this morning, however, I’m just not going to buy it. You misspoke in your comment and now you’re trying this and that to clean it up. Good luck with that.

        • what will you suffer, won’t suffer? liars, sociopaths, neoliberals? sorry, I’m repeating myself.

        • You could add chronic whining pissants to the things I won’t suffer.

        • “they won’t even mention PSC District 4,” Strandberg said, at which point a link and quote about the District 4 race is disclosed. Are you stupid, a liar or both?

        • Greg Strandberg says:

          Well hell, I guess you got me. Thank you.

          While we’re at it, please tell me, what other issues are important to you? I want to read up on them. You’ve convinced me on this one and now I’d really like to come over to your point of view on the other topics of interest to you. What might those be?

          You’re on one helluva roll here tonight and I encourage you to keep up the good work. The people of Montana are depending on it.

  7. Bob Williams says:

    Please read the Gail Gutsche piece in the Missoulian.
    Where, finally we get to glimpse, the three mistakes made by NW Energy:
    (1.) Neglected to insure.
    (2.) Neglected to seek percentage recovery from manufacturer of the failed boiler.
    (3.) Neglected to seek percentage recovery from previous owner of failed boiler.


    oh, and following the PSC races, and missing Mike Dennison at MTN News on the weird drama
    around PSC Commissioner Bushman, is to miss a real treat.

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