So the eyes of the nation gave Montana congressional elections their fifteen minutes of fame yesterday. The Democrats have been yearning for a “”sea change win” in the various special elections held to fill vacancies created by Trump appointments, and once again came up short. That is one thing. The other is that in the hours before the election, there was a physical altercation of some sort between the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, and a reporter for the Guardian, Ben Jacobs.
Not so surprisingly, I have a few things to say about all this.
First, I know Greg Gianforte, and he is a conscientious, generous, well-spoken Christian gentlemen. He will serve Montana well as a representative in Congress. Knowing him, I knew that if an apology was warranted, it would be forthcoming, and if he did not believe it was warranted, an explanation would be forthcoming. As it happened, he offered the apology here.
Secondly, one news report tried to claim that there was a contradiction between the campaign’s initial blaming of the reporter for his aggressiveness and Gianforte’s apology, but of course there is no contradiction. It is certainly possible honestly to apologize for a poor response to someone else’s bad behavior.
In the third place, observers should also understand that this campaign was already into the ninth inning of a game of Dirty Ball. Late last week, a project with People for the American Way ran this hit piece on Gianforte, referencing yours truly in the first paragraph. Perhaps some of you did not now that “the American way” was quite that sleazy. White nationalists in the first sentence, and then me in the second, building to quite a a crescendo. And then, they added breathlessly, Gianforte supports a return to Latin instruction in elementary schools.
Fourth, the article that followed was bad enough as a representation of my views, but as a representation of Gianforte’s record, it was a hatchet job using the blunt side of the hatchet. I know Greg from a shared stint on the board for the Association of Classical Christian Schools, an association with hundreds of schools in it. So he is somehow expected to answer for out-of-context quotes taken from someone he sees once a year at a national board meeting? And unlike the modern college campus, remember, conservative educators are not given to ideological purges.
Fifth, I believe that Gianforte was right to apologize, but the denizens of the Washington media bubble need to understand that in certain parts of the country punching a reporter and refusing to apologize would actually be the big vote-getter. I am not urging anything here, just noticing.
Nothing said here should be taken as cheer-leading for the deterioration of civility in our society generally. This is the case whether it is conservative > liberal or black > white or fascists > made up fascists. The restraints we have put in place over the centuries are not a decorative fence—they are a levee holding back a swollen river. Now in my view you have to be willfully blind not to see that this degradation of civility is being driven largely by the collectivist Left, not to mention that such corruption is largely rationalized and defended there. Now I believe that conservatives ought to do everything in their power to preserve the bonds of civility—and for the most part, I think conservatives have done a decent job of this. Expecting Gianforte to apologize as needed is part of that expectation. But it has to be noted, and marked, and noted again, that when the Left finally succeeds in blowing up the levee, they are going to miss it a lot more than others will. They should have done more measuring, and more thinking through who lives in the flood plain.
In the sixth place, it is all very well for me to say that I was “taken out of context.” Lots of people say that, including people who were not taken out of context. So for those just joining the party, and who know nothing more about my views on the South than what they read in attack pieces sponsored by People for the Sleazy Way, here are several places you may go for further edification. If you follow this link, and read the materials under #2 and #3, your concerns should be put to rest. In that section, there is also a link to purchase my book on the subject, a book entitled Black & Tan.
And last, Greg Gianforte will be another vote in Congress for a whole series of crucial votes, coming up soon. In my view, the most important of them all is the tax reform proposal, the looming tax cuts. All the ginned up hooey inside the Beltway (investigations, scandals, pretend corruption, real corruption, and whatnot) are attempts by the deep state to distract us from the fact that they have been standing on America’s oxygen hose for years now. They want to keep their cash flow coming, and they don’t want your money back in your pocket, doing things that you want it to do.
There are other issues that are more important morally (e.g. defunding the ghouls at Planned Parenthood). But the tax cuts must come first. And why? As Napoleon put it once, an army marches on its stomach.
What is the most important thing for Congress to do?, and what is the most important thing for Congress to do next? are two different questions. Tax cuts now. Get between the hogs and the bucket.