MT Senate 2014: Silence

When the New York Times published the story last Wednesday (July 23) about U.S. Senator John Walsh and plagiarism, the firestorm was pretty bad. On Friday I said Walsh should try to move this off the front page/evening news quickly, and move on with his regular schedule.

If he tried that, it’s not working.

After a couple of interviews on Friday I don’t know what Walsh did. It looks like he may have taken some time off for reflection and thought. Maybe he is just holed up in a bunker waiting for the storm to pass and will start his offensive this week. Heck, maybe he took the weekend off to rewrite his paper for the Army War College.

Maybe he plans on quitting the race this week and stopped campaigning.

I don’t know what Walsh’s schedule was for the weekend, maybe it was planned this way. I do know the last entry on his Facebook page (as of early this morning) was July 23, and the last post on his Twitter account was July 21. Staffers have been pretty silent on Twitter, too. Press releases that flowed like a river from both the senate and campaign have dried up.

Meanwhile Walsh’s opponent, Congressman Steve Daines, was busy giving the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday. I think he did some parades, too. What he did not do was comment on Walsh’s problems, which is smart. By the way, no matter what folks may say, getting asked to give the weekly radio address is a big thing. There are a lot of Republicans who would give their first born to get some nation-wide attention, but the leaders of the Republican Party picked Daines.

Although Walsh was pretty silent, the editorial boards of several newspapers were not silent about the plagiarism charges.

The most surprising (to me) was the Great Falls Tribune editorial board who said:

If the Democrats want to hold on to the Max Baucus Senate seat, their best hope is for Walsh to step aside by Aug. 11 and for a new candidate to take his place on the ballot for a fresh start.

That was something I figured the right-leaning Daily Inter Lake editorial board would say, but instead they said:

Ultimately, though we are dismayed by last week’s revelations, we believe it is advisable to leave it up to Montana’s voters the fate of Sen. Walsh, and won’t call for his resignation.

The Helena Independent Record board also came down hard on Walsh for plagiarism.

Today, Missoulian columnist George Ochenski writes:

In the end, the honorable thing for Walsh to do would be to admit the plagiarism, resign and allow another candidate to replace him on the November ballot. Should he fail to do so, Walsh and the Democratic Party will likely be beaten for cheatin’.

Realistically, if Walsh decides to “step aside,” the only person having a fighting chance against Daines at this time is former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, but even he is tainted. Democrats might as well keep Walsh on the ballot if it’s anyone else.

Walsh and his team said on Friday that he was staying in the race, but that was on Friday – which was a lifetime ago (and probably several meetings) from today.

This week is a big week for U.S. Senator John Walsh.

Editor’s note: After this column was posted, Walsh for Montana spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua sent the following e-mail to The Western Word:

I read the column this morning and wanted to share some information about Sen. Walsh’s weekend. He kept the standard packed schedule he’s had every weekend (and recess break) that he’s home from Washington.

On Friday, he interviewed with KBZK-TV and KMMS radio in Bozeman. Then he participated in the Missing in America Project ceremony and motorcycle ride from Bozeman to Billings. The organization helps identify and bury deceased veterans. The motorcycle rides are a part of an honorary procession. (Senator Walsh has a Harley.)

Senator Walsh spent the night in Billings and on Saturday, traveled on his Harley to Red Ants Pants, and then made his way up to Helena.

Yesterday, Senator Walsh attended the Milk River Indian Days Pow Wow (we’ll have pictures to share today).


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2 thoughts on “MT Senate 2014: Silence

  1. Good analysis. The National Republican Party sees what’s going on and knows that Montana’s seat is in the bag. Time to get Daines ready for primetime so he can help the corporations screw America like he was in the 90s.

    I honestly think many Democrats have given up on this seat and perhaps are making long-term plans to put in their 2020 election files. Because that’s what’s at stake here, 6 long years of Daines in the Senate, and the good prospect of a fresh-faced Young Gun Republican joining him there in 2016. This is a firm possibility!

    I don’t know how you reverse this. Who wants to go to Washington? It’s probably worse now than it was when they had mosquito-infested swamps surrounding the place. Schweitzer is smart not to want to go, but I wish he would take one for the team and go there. Six years of that nonsense is a lot to ask of someone, though.

    If we have a week like those last 2 days last week then I think this thing is finished. I see no point in really pounding Daines hard if Walsh is the only alternative. Maybe more attention should be given to Root and his candidacy. Perhaps a deal could be made with Republicans where Walsh stays in, we know he loses, but we won’t campaign hard and in exchange we’ll get a few concessions, such as some forest or oil stuff or maybe another issue they wrangle over. There’s no way to enforce that after the election, but at least there I feel as though we have a chance at getting something, where now we’re facing the strong likelihood of getting nothing.

    • Greg – I have been around politics long enough to know that anything can happen – and it just may. -JmB

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