For some entertaining reading, try this week's "Horse Sense" column by Lee reporter Charles Johnson. As always, it is an understated piece of art, just telling the facts without any commentary -- often more damning to the officious, the sneaky, and the silly than is the editorializing that passes for journalism in much of the main-stream media today.
We read about Democratic Congressional candidate John Driscoll saying "You're looking at a guy that will absolutely end coal burning. I'd shut it down in a heartbeat" and suggesting that there are other uses for the coal. Sure. But how many parents still put coal in the Christmas stockings of their naughty children? The market may be limited for uses that don't involve burning it. It didn't go well with the lip-service that other Democrats, such as the governor, were trying to pay to the coal industry. At least Driscoll is honest about his obstructionism.
We have the chairman of the Montana Democratic Party -- Dennis McDonald -- a California trial lawyer who moved to Montana and bought some cows. Perhaps whoever sold him the cows had a sense of humor, and threw in a gigantic cowboy hat with the deal, just to see if McDonald would wear it. And he does, everywhere he goes.
Without commentary and with a straight face, Johnson reports that McDonald made bold to ridicule "pretend cowboys" in the Republican party, comparing them unfavorably with our Democratic governor, "the real cowboy, the third-generation cattle producer from Geyser." McDonald singled out Denny Rehberg (a "goat-herder") and Taylor Brown (a "disk jockey for the Northern Ag Network.) Did someone forget, by the way, to tell McDonald that this is not a good year for Democrats to be making fun of goat herders? Maybe he didn't get the memo -- but we suspect he will, since a certain Presidential campaign seems not to have a sense of humor.
Last we checked, Denny Rehberg is at least as much a rancher as McDonald is, and he grew up in an Montana agricultural family. Taylor Brown was working cattle on the family ranch in Montana at an age when McDonald was probably goofing off in California. Taylor was working to serve the Montana ag community when McDonald was making a living by filing lawsuits in California (and pocketing more than a third of the plaintiffs' awards.)
But of course, the real irony (which Johnson leaves out on the table, unspoken, for everyone to contemplate) is the idea of Dennis McDonald being some sort of arbiter of who is and isn't a "real cowboy."
Moving on from fake cowboys like Dennis McDonald, there were other goodies, like McDonald citing Linda McCulloch's presence on a powder-puff football team as a job qualification for Secretary of State. And the governor making sure that the governor's office staff turned out for the convention to boost its meager attendance. And the fact that few Democratic state legislators bothered to show up.
Perhaps most amusing was the fact that Democratic AG Mike McGrath, who is running for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, sanctimoniously said that it "violated the judicial ethics code for judicial candidates to attend political party conventions." His opponent, Ron Waterman (also a Democrat,) showed up and spoke at the Democratic convention, just as he had at the Republican convention (where he was warmly received, by the way.)
The amusement comes from the fact that the McGrath campaign had a huge banner sign up for him at the Democratic convention. Funny thing -- McGrath didn't have any presence at the Republican convention. It seems that Ron Waterman is the only one who is in a position to treat this non-partisan Supreme Court race with the dignity and, well, non-partisanship that it deserves.