"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams
When it comes to watching political party politics play out, being "on the outside looking in" can be helpful in judging the ruses among players in the game.
Experience within the Republican Party as a candidate and office holder, along with observation from "the outside" after resigning from the party, is impressing upon me a very strong cynicism about what has transpired and is transpiring in the effort to recruit and groom Tim Sheehy as the Republican candidate to defeat Jon Tester in the 2024 US Senate race. Certainly, Mr. Tester needs to be retired. His disgustingly liberal/socialist voting record does not represent Montana, regardless of his specious claims to the contrary when election time comes around. He clearly has no understanding or respect for an originalist understanding of the US Constitution, a necessary requisite for any claim of adherence to a conservative philosophy. But let's be honest. How many times have Republicans replaced a "liberal" Democrat statist with a "conservative" Republican statist, thinking they have won a great victory, only to discover that "losing as slowly as possible" is no victory at all?
I can understand that the laity within the Republican Party would have difficulty believing the party has its own "swamp." It does, and that Republican Establishment Swamp is as adversarial to your freedom as any Democrat in the Washington Swamp and Deep State. Mr. Sheehy is the "hand picked" darling of the Republican establishment. That in itself is justifiable cause for suspicion. Any thinking conservative Republican understands that an endorsement by the likes of Mitch McDonnell should be a "red flag." Yes, Sheehy recruiter Daines has garnered other Washington endorsements for Sheehy, even some who would be considered "conservative," but we all know how that works. In his position as Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, Daines has officially made Mitch McConnell his boss, not the state of Montana. His job isn't to build a conservative senate, it's to make it a Republican one that will do what McConnell wants. This is revealed by the choices his More Jobs, Less Government PAC is making right now, spending hundreds of thousands on selling Sheehy to Montanans rather than exposing Tester.
I am not so naive as to think this recruitment and grooming of Sheehy is not primarily an effort to preempt a run by Matt Rosendale for that Senate seat. Mr. Rosendale has proven himself a man of conviction who is willing to "rock the Republican establishment boat" so as to restore constitutional government. I like that...regardless of party affiliation. He has a 100% Freedom Index voting record, which indicates his Congressional votes are consistent with the US Constitution according to original intent. He has proven to me that he is worthy of my vote and I would vote for him. I hope he runs in that Senate seat.
It could be argued that Mr. Sheehy, being a political newcomer, is innocent of what transpires within Republican party politics. I could grant that possibility if his recruitment and grooming by the establishment was not so obvious. Whether Mr. Sheehy is knowingly or ignorantly allowing himself to be a pawn for the establishment doesn't really matter. Either way indicates a tendency towards followership; not leadership, and his website contains nothing more than the generic pablum of typical Republican establishment talking points.
Lest you take my concern so lightly as to disregard it, please consider a lesson from history...right here in Montana.
During my time in the Montana legislature as a Republican from 1995 to 2000, Marc Racicot and Bob Brown (the Whitefish Bob Brown, not the Trout Creek Senator Bob Brown), both statewide Republican officeholders (AG, Governor, Sec. of State, State Senator, Senate President), were the "Establishment Republicans" that we in the legislature were all expected to support..."party unity" and all that. More than once, I was accused of "supporting the Democrats" if I did not "go along" with Mr. Racicot or Mr. Brown. "If you don't vote for the Republican candidate, you are voting for the Democrat" was a common refrain directed at myself if I did not support the likes of these two in their campaigns for office. It did not matter that the standard for how I cast my legislative vote was "Is it Constitutional?" "Party unity" assumes that I disregard my oath of office to become a "team player." I have no use for such phony unity around nothing, which is why I formally left the party in 1999. Silly me, I thought we were to be united around upholding the Constitution, as our oath required.
I am sure you know what Mr. Racicot and Mr. Brown have been doing in recent elections. ENDORSING DEMOCRATS. Publically and without apology. Even as a former Republican Governor AND Republican National Committee Chairman, Marc Racicot endorsed the outrageously "woke" and disgustingly ignorant Joe Biden for President in 2020. Brown and Racicot both endorsed Democrat Monica Tranel for the US Congress in 2022. One or both have endorsed other Democrats and liberal judges, including leftist Montana Supreme Court Justice Ingrid Gustafson, far left Democrat Sec. of State candidate Bryce Bennett (who advocated lowering the voting age to 16, no less!) and a Democrat PSC candidate who opposed Annie Bukacek.
The lesson? I'll say it this way: "Unity for the sake of unity alone is to "unify" around nothing...or anything." Don't forfeit your conscience or your principles for political parties or political candidates. Republicans who do so will inevitably end up with the likes of Marc Racicot and Bob Brown leading their party...again. If you think the Republican establishment of today is different...well, convince me. Maybe the biggest ruse of all in party politics is that some "Republican" office holders are not even Republicans.
Montana State Rep. 1995-2000 and 2007 with the Constitution Party of Montana