Although I did not attend the Statewide Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Helena this past weekend, I do believe that in the several reports I read about the event, one line from Congressman Ryan Zinke quoted in this Associated Press story should be framed and placed on every Republican’s wall in the state.
It was this line:
“If we continue as a party to be divided, we will not win the next presidency nor will we win the governor’s office.”
Amen to that.
I did not hear the speeches from anyone at the dinner, but it would be nice if the top leaders, like Zinke and U.S. Senator Steve Daines would have told those in attendance that to win those important votes from the center and independents they might want to stop parading around “Obama’s Presidential Library” outhouses with bullet holes. Maybe they should have told the attendees to stop posting Obama and watermelon jokes on their Facebook pages, too.
Some GOP members’ views of the current President and the homophobic rhetoric being spewed from some of them are more like the pre-1960s America than 2015. The Montana GOP needs to change that mind-set.
I highly doubt any speakers said the Montana Republicans could win more elections if they would stop embarrassing the party with dress codes or introducing bills like Agenda 21. I also doubt if anyone said the bill to drug test poor people was a terrible idea, or that it might be a good idea to expand Medicaid to help the neediest in our state – to at least show voters the Montana Republicans have a heart.
The fact is that people don’t have a very favorable view of either party.
A new poll from Gallup recently found that thirty-seven percent of Americans now view the Republican Party favorably and 39% view the Democratic Party favorably. This is the first time that Gallup has shown neither party getting 40%.
Some speakers said the Montana Republicans “must take control of the Governor’s office in the next election.”
Many moderate and independent voters are afraid by having a GOP-controlled House and Senate AND a Republican Governor, then those in office would go bat-crap crazy, which they have already done during this legislative session even without having a GOP governor.
If the Republicans were in charge of everything, others believe that there would be so many inner-party fights it would destroy the party for years.
The big question is who can give Democratic Governor Steve Bullock a tough race? If you do not count Daines and Zinke, I only see one person who can mount a serious challenge to Bullock right now and that is Attorney General Tim Fox. As for those serving in the Montana Legislature who might consider a bid for Governor, they have been harmed by the nutjobs they’ve allowed to run the show. Nobody will take a candidate from the legislature seriously.