Monday, May 27, 2024

Pseudo-Montana GOP out of touch with voters

by Mick Ringsak
| March 16, 2023 12:00 AM

The Montana Republican Party’s executive committee recently approved a resolution rebuking former Montana Republican Gov. Marc Racicot, saying Racicot’s actions in recent years disqualify him from saying he’s a “Republican.”

In a true overreach, the resolution from this 13-member clique tries to order the news media to no longer refer to Racicot as a Republican.

The news media knows, as most of the mainstream Republican voters in Montana know, that Racicot represents the thinking of hundreds of thousands of Montana GOP voters who elected him three times to top state office — as attorney general and twice as governor. This “excommunication” of the governor by what is now a pseudo-Republican party does nothing to reduce his contributions to and history with the real Republican party of the past.

I am a Republican who reveres the values upon which the real Republican party was built. Like Racicot, I find it hard to be comfortable in today’s pseudo-Republican party here in Montana. Racicot’s core values are those of the anti-slavery activists who were founding members of the party back in 1854. No way does Montana’s pseudo-GOP reflect those values.

Racicot has contributed more to the state and national Republican parties than almost any other Montanan. The party grew in strength during the 12 years he served as a GOP attorney general and governor. He didn’t do everything right, but he was guided by his value system. If he had any problem it was that he believed in a big tent Republican party and somehow a cabal of culture warriors came into that tent and took it over when Racicot left to help out the Republican Party at the national level.

Nationally, Racicot played a key role in insuring that George W. Bush won the 2000 presidency on his platform of compassionate conservatism. Bush sought the presidency reflecting those founding Republican party values. After Bush was in office, he called upon Racicot to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, which our former governor agreed to do. After a couple of very good years at the helm of the party, Racicot became chair of the Bush successful 2004 re-election campaign. Though the strength of the national party was later dissipated, Racicot built the Republican party into a strong national organization before he left.

Marc was and is a statesman. While not perfect, (which of us is?) Marc Racicot had and has a clearly defined vision of himself and how he can help his country, state and constituents. As a good leader, he builds consensus with the people around his ideas and welcomed all under that big Republican tent. Marc continues to adhere to his values. He actually believes in them and continues to advocate for his ideas, popular or unpopular.

Racicot has not changed his values. In contrast, the values of the current Montana pseudo-Republican party are a radical departure from the real Republican party of the past – the Republican values Racicot still advances.

From Abraham Lincoln, who freed millions from slavery and discrimination, to Teddy Roosevelt, who beefed up anti-trust to protect little people from the excesses of super-big business, to Eisenhower who built the country’s infrastructure, expected the rich to pay their way tax-wise and respected workers’ rights, the GOP I love is not reflected in the pseudo-GOP here in Montana.

The Lincoln/Roosevelt/Eisenhower Republicans are my kind, and Marc Racicot’s GOP as well.

Which is unlike today’s Montana pseudo-Republicans who helped pass the Trump tax cuts for the top so that America’s 400 wealthiest people paid a lower tax rate than any other group of people! Who, here in Montana, have introduced legislation to ban teaching the laws of gravity and plate tectonics, have requested 57 bills to amend the Montana Constitution, spent $2.5 million since the last session to hire outside lawyers to defend the pseudo-GOP state Legislature’s unconstitutional power grabs.

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power,” Dwight D Eisenhower said in a speech, Mar. 6, 1956

Most Montana Republicans would agree with both me and Marc Racicot that it is the pseudo-Montana GOP that has lost its way and is out of touch with its Main Street, mainstream voters. The pseudo-Republican condemnation of Racicot is the ultimate evidence of their extreme agenda.

Mick Ringsak of Butte was a presidential appointee as the Regional Administrator of the SBA under George W. Bush. He was Butte-Silver Bow County Republican chairman in 1978-79, and is a retired U.S. Army Major and Vietnam veteran.