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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Divide and Conquer, Monster Making 101

by: Rob Kailey

Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 17:55:53 PM MST


The Montana Cowgirl Blog has a post up that probably ought to be read.  On the heels of Exxon spilling as yet undetermined amounts of crude oil into the Yellowstone river with as yet undetermined environmental impact, the leader of the Montana GOP had a letter posted in the Missoulian calling for Exxon to "stick it" to the city and county of Missoula.  Notice please that "stick it" is a euphemism for "to F**k".  That's what the Montana GOP wants, according to its head Will Deschamps, is for a business to f**k Missoula.

Here is Deschamps' letter.

There was some discussion at the MCBlog about how Deschamps may regret the timing of his letter given the oil spill.  He must be an idiot not to see how that would play in the popular will.  Further, he must be an idiot to suggest that Exxon would be better served by hauling their own gas for the mega-rigs, given that the rigs hauling the gas would also need gas.  And I speak with a bit of inside knowledge when I tell you driving further for motel rooms in the Summer travel season is a fool's quest.  Deschamps call for Exxon to f**k Missoula is pretty idiotic, except that Deschamps isn't an idiot.

The Cowgirl Blog, as did the Montana Democratic party jumped Dennis Rehberg as an accomplice to this heinous tantrum from the Montana GOP.  I suggest that the heinous tantrum was precisely the point.  The post at the Montana Cowgirl Blog writes:

Rehberg's campaign manager has been going on the radio to say Republicans are going after Missoula voters.  Too bad now we know how Rehberg's party really feels about jobs in Missoula

I think the author misunderstood Rehberg's MiniMe (Erik Iverson).  The GOP is going after Missoula voters, not to woo them or convince them, but to marginalize them to the rest of the state.  It's a tactic written of many hundreds of years ago by Sun Tzu.  Divide your opponents and they have no strength.  Sun Tzu also wrote, and I would add, turn your opponents into monsters and they have less strength indeed.  That's the point.  The Montana GOP isn't recruiting disaffected Missoula moderates or Democrats.  They are isolating them.  They took this cue from the intense disagreement among 'progressives' and they're running with it.  I can't blame them; okay maybe I can and do.  But it's a good tactic.

That was the point of Deschamps' letter.  He wants to separate the rest of the state from the very identity that Missoula holds dear.  Missoula is a bastion of liberalism, the bastion of liberalism, and don't any dare to appeal to those false wizards for help because they don't care for you.  He's not terribly wrong in pointing that out, just terribly wrong in the implication of it.

If one needs more evidence that this is a concerted attack, then I give you Rob Natelson.  He is rather clumsy about his effort, and writes too close to the truth.  The GOP doesn't want people to disagree with Missoula.  They want people to think that Missoulians are "weird".  They want them punished.  They want others like-minded to be wary, or distrustful (frankly something that the vocal in Missoula make very easy.)  More than anything, they desire the Missoula voice to have little impact in the elections of 2012.  If they convince Missoulians what those folk already are desperate to believe, that they are an island in a sea of nasty conservatism, then the GOP's job is already half done.  I ask the readers here to keep that in mind.        

Rob Kailey :: Divide and Conquer, Monster Making 101
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Half their job is done (0.00 / 0)
A great deal of Missoula has silenced itself already, by writing off politics as a fools errand that benefits no one.  It's a bad opinion, but an easy one to hold.  So, if the most liberal Missoulians can be kept from voting for Democrats, but kept as straw-men for the rest of the state to be wary of, both the most liberal and the  most moderate wings of the Democratic party in Montana can be chipped off.  

Says you: (0.00 / 0)
"A great deal of Missoula has silenced itself already, by writing off politics as a fools errand that benefits no one."

Don't know where you're getting your info, PW, but most everyone in the Garden City is quite engaged in politics.  We've got more nonprofits -- progressive advocacy, environmental, social justice, etc. -- than damn near any city of similar size in this country.  Missoulians may, occasionally (gasp!) criticize party leaders and elected officials but they also organize, donate time and money, and vote.  

And actually, Deschamps' letter might help galvanize the electorate here to work even harder to defeat Republicans.

As to Rob's " ... Deschamps is not an idiot" comment -- well, he's a sociable guy, I've chatted with him on a couple of occasions -- but he certainly isn't the master of strategy and "divide and conquer" politics.  I think Rob is reaching here.  Deschamps fired off a letter, without thinking, because he's never liked Missoula's activism.  Plus, he's lost at least two legislative races in Missoula County.

It was a stupid letter and accomplishes about as much as me calling for a boycott of Kalispell because it's loaded with right-wing nut jobs.  It basically just pisses people off.

Finally, though some disparage Missoula's political leanings, they still love to come and visit: watch a Griz game, go to a nice restaurant, listen to some live music, shop, hang out at our riverfront parks ... Maybe they're just jealous?      


[ Parent ]
Pete (0.00 / 0)
The Polish Wolf is correct in the context of which he wrote.

Despite the last-minute enthusiasm that brought long lines to the election headquarters at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, Missoula County's turnout rate was particularly dismal, with less than half the county's 79,427 registered voters turning out. Only 37,848 votes were cast, for a turnout rate of 47.65 percent.

All of the activism in the world won't help anything if the political will doesn't back it up.  Ellie Hill has worked her ass off to get the Pov to it's new location.  And that now might be derailed by weak political will.  Deschamps doesn't care about Missoula's activism, as long as they stay away from the polls.  P-Wolf was dead on target.

Sincerely, I hope you're right that the Missoula electorate is 'pissed off'.  But more than that, I hope they show up at the damned voting booth.



[ Parent ]
Like most college towns (0.00 / 0)
Missoula underperforms at the polls: students who come and go, and don't get scrubbed from voter files; disengaged youngsters who want to live in a partying college town; add the frequently not-so-hot job market, and more recently, the worker bees who ebb and flow as the economy booms and busts, and you get a trasitory town.  

But the rest of Missoula participates.  And Deschamps' letter will do nothing to alienate them from the process -- nor will it affect other Montana voters.  Do people really vote for or against something or someone because of the perceived leanings of Missoula?

Anyway, that's my take on Deshamps' ridiculous letter.

As far as the Pov -- yes, very disappointing.  I don't believe that it was lack of political will as much as an extremely touchy matter.  Can you name a neighborhood in Bozeman that would open its arms to a homeless shelter?  The homeless in Missoula are a recurring controversy and the Pov, and elected officials, have learned to tread lightly.


[ Parent ]
Pete, (0.00 / 0)
you're an intelligent well-read guy.  I ask you for a precedent for Dechamps's remarks.  I submitt that there IS none.  He went off the deep end big time.  Ya know, I've been around a long, loooong time, and I'll be damned if I've EVER heard of a guy from ANY party calling for an economic hit on an entire major city in Montana.  It's simply never happened in modern memory.

And I think that Rob is exactly right on.  It was indeed an attempt to divide and conquer, an extremely dumbassed attempt.  So, you claim Deschamps is a nice guy.  I find that very, very hard to believe.  I think he basically declared war on anyone he disagrees with.  THAT is indeed a method of divide and conquer. "You're either with us or against us", remember?  That's what bush was all about.  That has become the rightwing mantra.  The nature of the game has changed for the Pubbies. Now, it's winner take all!  Look at Wisconsin, or the current budget impasse.  

The rightwing is no longer the loyal opposition.  They are the disloyal corporate pukes!  They care not one whit about the people of this great  country.  THEY are the true traitors.

We'll have to see how this one plays out.  I'm thinkin' that sometimes when you shoot from the hip, you end us hittin' your own ASS!  I think that Deschamps shot himself in the ass on this one.  I would NOT want that moron to enter my restaurant business in Missoula.  I would refuse him service.  I would tell him that he can get all the nourishment he wants by suckin' off exxon!


[ Parent ]
Don't know about the "intelligent well-read guy" part but (0.00 / 0)
we do agree that "Deschamps shot himself in the ass on this one."  I just don't believe that it's a grand divide and conquer strategy -- more of a "shoot from the hip," as you say.  

[ Parent ]
I think that he may live to regret that letter. (0.00 / 0)
I think it truly does go WAY beyond ANY accepted sense of decency or morality.  Declaring economic war on a city is unheard  of, and unheard of for a reason.  Only a sick, twisted, venal,  sociopathic a**hole would even dream UP such an idea.  I don't believe that many Montanans will respond favorably to that sort of message.  It's really not who we are.

And besides, Missoula is liberal because the college folks there are young.  Are we ALL supposed to be shriveled up, constipated, freeze dried, Anynus Rantian, conservative a**holes like Deshat when we're young?  I don't THINK so.


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