Intelligent Discontent

Congressional Candidate Matt Rosendale and Prominent Montana Republicans Attend Extremist Event


Jimmy Tobias in the Missoula Independent is reporting that GOP Congressional candidate Matt Rosendale, Montana GOP vice chair Jennifer Fielder, and at least three GOP members of the Legislature attended an extremist event in Kalispell called “How to Reclaim Montana’s Lands” which featured a thoroughly derranged guest speaker named Robert MacKenzie. Mackenzie, leader of an organization called Defend Rural America holds some unconventional views, as Tobias reports:

MacKenzie wants to teach citizens and politicians how to strip control of public lands away from the federal government and put it in the hands of state and local officials. He believes that rural America is under attack by an insidious cartel of leftists, bureaucrats, bankers and phony scientists who use federal lands and laws like the Endangered Species Act to enact an oppressive agenda.

MacKenzie explained that these plots are the work of what he calls “neo-environmentalists.” “What is the single biggest problem in rural America?” he asked rhetorically during his speech. “Neo-environmentalism. I am not talking about environmentalism. I am talking about a political movement that disguises itself in a green cloak … If you peel it back, you will see what I have been seeing … watermelons, green on the outside, red on the inside … In my opinion, they are domestic terrorists.”

When challenged by the media, some of those in attendance (though not Rosendale) tried to walk back their support for the event, but they went with full knowledge of the speaker’s agenda. As MT Cowgirl reported back in December, Senator Fielder promoted the event in her local newspaper. She was also quite supportive of Mr. MacKenzie, writing:

The following week, another public meeting will be offered by Kirk MacKenzie of Defend Rural America, a non-partisan grass roots coalition. This presentation will be given Monday Dec 16th at 6:30 pm in the ballroom of the Best Western Flathead Lake Inn, located at the intersection of HWY 93 & 82 just south of Kalispel. It is open to the public at no charge.

Defend Rural America highlights environmental issues of greatest national magnitude and teaches the Constitutional process state and local governments can use to increase local management of public lands and stop unwarranted Endangered Species Act listings. The public is encouraged to attend so they will know how to encourage and support their local elected officials in this process.

Surely before attending an event about Montana Lands and inviting a speaker to present the rational minds at the Montana GOP did some research. Perhaps they would have uncovered this article that traffics in Anti-Semitic theories about banking, this call for secession, his call to battle fictional Amero currency, his plan to end the income tax, or his insane fears that a decline in American agricultural production will lead America to become a “third world country.”

Or this video, which makes clear, if nothing else, that inviting Mr. Mackenzie to speak for two hours is masochism of the highest order:

It’s great that the Missoula Indy has covered this story, but where in the hell has the rest of the Montana press been on this issue? If a collection of high-ranking Democrats attended a conference that featured a speaker discussing secession, calling political enemies terrorists, and embracing fringe theories about the Constitution, it’d be front page news.

Just because the Republican leadership in Montana is crazy doesn’t mean it isn’t news when they do crazy.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a sixteen year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate. In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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