Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rep. Jones of Bigfork -- not running again

There's often more than meets the eye when someone declares that they feel "pushed out" of a political party. We certainly don't pretend to be knowledgeable about any of the inside baseball that may be involved in Rep. Bill Jones's decision not to run again.

But in the constant pendulum swings that make up partisan politics and the inevitable coalition-building that comes along with it, first one part and then another of the coalition feels taken for granted or muscled out.

One hears stories from the older days about the then mainstream Republican leadership trying to get rid of the "extremists" on the right. Then one heard it from more liberal and moderate Republicans who felt squeezed out from those on the right.

Today, both Ron Paul's supporters on a sort of indefinable "right" and more liberal Republicans in Montana are suspicious about whether they have a place at the table in the Montana GOP. Of course, if one chooses to listen to the shrillest voices in the party and believe them to be representative (which they usually are not,) more than likely few people would feel like they could be a part of any political party.

This problem is not unique to the Republicans -- one day the far left progressives are "taking over" and calling the shots in the Democratic party, and the next, you're reading that they are feeling betrayed by that party.

Building a party has never been easy, and not everyone is up to the challenge and frustrations of being an active part of one. Rep. Jones of Bigfork is handling the conflict the honest way and is to be commended -- he is declining to run again and is going to take time for reflection, possibly running as an independent in a future election.

Given the recent examples of John Bohlinger and Sam Kitzenberg, who chose to stab the GOP in the back on the way out the door rather than simply decline to run again under the GOP banner when they felt they no longer belonged, Rep. Jones is a tower of intellectual honesty. We wish him well.

1 comment:

Nell said...

Rep. Jones was first elected when the GOP had had significant majorities in Helena. In times such as those, moderate Republicans could break with the leadership on issues that they felt strongly about without much backlash. However when there is a 50/50 split or a slim majority - like the 2 sessions that Jones served, every vote must be calculated.

Rep. Jones isn't a partisan politician and in a very divisive session he was often under extreme pressure to follow the party line vote. To his credit, in the 07 session he stayed with the caucus almost to the end. I imagine that was very hard for him, but it put the gop leadership in a better position to get more for the people of Montana - until everything fell apart there at the end.

So all in all, I will thank Rep. Jones for his service and thank him for stepping down to let a more conservative person who understands political hardball represent that seat.

just my 2 cents...