by William Skink
Partisan politics is pretty simple: attack your opponents and defend your party to win elections. For partisans, this trumps being consistent when it comes to deploying moral righteousness.
Readers at ID were treated to a post titled There’s No Room for This Kind of Sexism at the Montana Legislature condemning a state Senator from Butte for making sexist comments about a staffer. This is the easy part for a partisan, attacking one’s opponent. But last month was a bit more difficult because it entailed having to do damage control for the nasty split between Governor Bullock and McLean, as evidenced by this ID post, titled Bullock and McLean Outrage: Just Another Diversion from the GOP’s Noise Machine where damage control keeps the focus away from the actions of the Governor and firmly focused on the opponent:
It’s unfortunate that Lt. Governor McLean will no longer serve in the office, as she was a popular, dynamic leader, well-liked in Democratic circles and outside. But the fact that Lt. Governor McLean is leaving for another job, one she is well-qualified for, is hardly a story about governance or competence. It’s a political story that certainly might be about clashes of personality, might be about differing visions for the job, and might be a momentary diversion from the issues facing the people of Montana.
Unfortunately this story hasn’t just disappeared, as partisans have hoped. Last week’s Indy took another look at the Governor’s behavior in the Etc. section, concluding with this:
Politics is an ugly sport, but these emails show that whatever disagreements developed between Bullock and his appointee clearly affected their ability to work together and, therefore, handle the public’s business. They also show that McLean, a first-generation college graduate, was eager to embrace her duty as a public servant and Bullock’s partner. “It has been my honor since day one to help you be the most successful governor in Montana’s history,” she wrote.
Despite requests, Bullock apparently never told McLean if her name would appear on the 2016 ticket. But McLean got the hint—plenty of them.
In October alone, Bullock’s staff locked her out of her official Twitter account, scrutinized the length of her public remarks, chided her for scheduling appointments and excluded her from meetings. Near the end, according to the emails, Montana’s governor and lieutenant governor went a month and a half without speaking.
There’s a schoolyard term for how the governor’s office appeared to treat the former Anaconda teacher: Bullying. McLean might not want to say it, but her emails speak volumes.
One wonders if a male Lt. Governor would have received the same treatment.
UPDATE: I incorrectly assumed the offending state Senator from Butte was a Republican due to his political affiliation being conspicuously omitted from the ID post.