Intelligent Discontent

Tag - Derek Skees

General Derek “Ain’t No Stonewall” Skees Makes a Bigoted Ass of Himself

I happened by this story in the Daily Interlake today, a piece about the Kalispell Public Schools considering adding protection for “gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression” to their non-discrimination policy, and was struck by the sad reappearance of former Republican legislator and failed candidate for State Auditor and the Public Service Commission, Derek Skees.

Following moving testimony by former students and teachers who said they’ve experienced and seen discrimination based on gender expression and sexual orientation in the Kalispell schools, Mr. Skees rose to offer his enlightened opinion:

Only one audience member, Derek Skees of Kalispell, spoke against adding the phrases “gender identity” and “gender expression,” claiming they are mental disorders akin to bulimia or anorexia. Skees cited controversial research from Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “What are we going to do, folks, when mental disorders now become part of a nondiscrimination component? I beg you, this has become a national issue — I suggest extremely politicized — based on a narrow viewpoint,” Skees said.

Nothing quite says I’m an unrepentant asshole quite like telling kids who have attempted suicide because of bullying related to their gender identity that they are suffering mental disorders. And there’s little as absurd as taking an opinion from someone who’s proudly worn Confederate gear in public or supported any of the nonsensical beliefs that have come from Skees over the years.

As for the doctor cited by Mr. Skees, well, Brynn Tannehill, of SPARTA, makes it clear he has no idea what he’s talking about:

Dr. McHugh is a self-described orthodox Catholic whose radical views are well documented. In his role as part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ review board, he pushed the idea that the Catholic sex-abuse scandal was not about pedophilia but about “homosexual predation on American Catholic youth.” He filed an amicus brief arguing in favor of Proposition 8 on the basis that homosexuality is a “choice.” Additionally, McHugh was in favor of forcing a pregnant 10-year-old girl who had been raped by an adult relative to carry to term. If you want a detailed analysis of how Dr. McHugh has misrepresented data, rigged studies, left out significant details in his research, and is nothing more than a poorly regarded fringe element in his own field, you can read about it hereherehere, here, here, and here.

Some Republicans in this state like to pretend that their party isn’t filled with bigots and cranks, that we should overlook the comments made by former Representative Skees, Senator Howard, and the rest, but the truth is that for all the talk about liberty and the freedom to lead our lives the way we want, this hateful part of the Republican Party still dominates much of their thinking. Look no further than the spiteful, small-minded statements offered by our Republican Congressional delegation in the aftermath of the Supreme Court same sex marriage decision or their efforts to roll back local anti-discrimination ordinances in the Legislature for evidence of that.

It isn’t really support for liberty, if everyone isn’t liberated.

Kalispell is apparently a few meetings away from deciding on this policy, but I certainly hope they don’t let the bigoted fears of a loud but irrational minority scare them away from doing the right thing for kids.

TEA Party Facts for Tax Day!

I didn’t understand last year when the Montana media decided to cover the dying TEA Party movement on tax day, and I don’t really understand why they chose to today, but there are some gems of facts from TEA Party “rallies” that perhaps make it worthwhile to read. Or at least enjoy.

It’s hard not to lead off with this delight from Republican Senate (SD 42) candidate Marissa Stockton, from Helena:

For example, Marissa Stockton…read some items she said friends posted on Facebook — for example, that 19% of federal spending is “spent on the NSA so they can spy on us.”

Asked about that number, Stockton said it may have originated with data from the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. But a review of several Heritage charts shows no such thing; the entire defense budget is only 18 percent of national spending, including “entitlement” programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Then child-hating Tom Burnett, Republican candidate in House District 67, in his non-stop war against feeding poor children offered this statistic, only problematic in that it is complete nonsense:

He also took aim at reduced-cost school lunches, bringing black-and-white images of food left on cafeteria trays: “Kids on free and reduced school lunch waste 46 percent more than the average kid who pays their way.”

Republican candidate for the PSC and Confederate enthusiast Derek Skees offered this explanation of the TEA Party movement today as well as a rousing call for increased rigor in Language Arts:

“Many of the things that we espouse as what was critical to our future are now becoming the political norm,” he said.

Over in Billings, math-challenged former Republican candidate for governor Ken Miller claimed the dwindling movement was as big as ever:

“The Tea Party is not a party, it’s a philosophy,” Miller said. “So philosophically, there are just as many people today as there were before.”

The more you read about the TEA Party, the more sense it makes that they hate public education, given its focus on facts and subjects like math.

Quick Takes: Daines Doesn’t Listen, PSC District 5 Race, New Eastern MT Blog, Augare

There’s nothing more frustrating than a politician getting credit for “listening” to constituents when he’s actually just holding another roundtable in the echo chamber of right wing talking points. Today, Representative Steve Daines attended a roundtable discussion in Helena to “discuss negative impacts” of the Affordable Care Act.  That Daines is uninterested in the experiences of thousands of Montanans who’ve been able to get, keep, and afford health care coverage is unsurprisingly, but I have to give MTPR reporter Dan Boyce a ton of credit for calling Daines out on it.

Derek Skees is back—and running for office again. Despite the fact that Mr. Skees holds some of the most insane views of any Montana Republican (yikes), James Conner at the Flathead Memo suggests the seat will be difficult for Democrats to win while the Cowgirl blog reminds us that Mr. Skees should not be elected to any office outside of the Confederacy.

I happened to come across a new blog called East of Billings by Alexis Bonogofsky “dedicated to the amazing people and places in the eastern part of the great state of Montana.” Well worth a visit.

Shannon Augare announced today that he will not seek re-election for public office in 2014, writing in part, “ I have been a public official for many years. I am proud of the job I’ve done and the results delivered. But none of us are irreplaceable. None of us are indispensible. Those who think otherwise are dangerous.”

Derek Skees, Will Deschamps, and the Montana GOP

The Great Falls Tribune’s John Adams is reporting that Derek Skees is leading the charge against Republican Party Chair Will Deschamps:

Former Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, is leading the charge for Hart as part of what he called a “anybody but Deschamps” movement within the party.

Skees, was lost his statewide race for State Auditor last fall, said the opposition to Deschamps is high among Montana Republicans because of the poor GOP record in statewide races over the past four years.

It’s within the realm of possibility that Mr. Skees doesn’t remember this, but he was one of those GOP statewide candidates last year—something that certainly must have made it more challenging for the GOP to win races.

I’m certainly no defender of Will Deschamps, a man who opposes the will of the majority and who hates his own hometown, but it’s a stretch to imagine that any leader could have helped Mr. Skees win election in a statewide race. Generally, it’s hard to win races North of the Mason-Dixon line when you believe the wrong side won the Civil War.


It’s an absolute pleasure to watch the Montana Republican Party devour itself, and I’m rooting for the Skees-Essman-Priest-Wittich tetrarchy to win and drive the party even further to the right and further from relevance.

Election 2012: A Post Mortem and a Preview


I intended to post a thank you to the campaign staffers, party workers and countless volunteers who harassed Democratic voters with phone calls, door hangers, and visits before the election, but didn’t want to forget tonight. Their enthusiasm and energy absolutely paid off in all of the statewide races, one of which could end up being decided by just a handful of votes. Gaining seats back in the House absolutely matters, too. Whether your candidate(s) won or lost, your efforts were herculean—and appreciated.


I think a number of lessons were learned in the Tester-Rehberg race, perhaps none more important than the fact that a candidate can’t win a statewide race in Montana by running a relentlessly, exclusively negative campaign. In the end, the most damaging issue for Dennis Rehberg was that he had no achievements to show Montana voters, who were less interested in a trumped up statistic about Obama than in electing someone who could get the job done.

While the presence of Dan Cox on the ballot certainly mattered, it would be easy to overstate his impact. Rehberg lost a fair number of those voters with or without Cox on the ballot—voting for the Patriot Act and supporting HR 1505 cost him more than the presence of Mr. Cox. Believing absurd poll numbers that showed him in the lead and not campaigning the last week probably didn’t help, either.

Finally, it’s hard to ignore the power shift that is taking place in Montana Democratic circles. The Tester team is the force to be reckoned with going forward—and they deserve the position they’ve earned.


With the defeat of Mr. Rehberg and Mr. Hill, the curtain has finally fallen on the Racicot-Martz cabal in the Montana Republican Party. My real political awakening took place during the Racicot administration, and it’s interesting to see that last of that group riding off into retirement or lobbying. Who takes the mantle of leadership in the Republican Party now?


Montana might be a purple state, but it’s still redder than blue, as the legislative and PSC races demonstrate. It’s simply astonishing that the Republican Party doesn’t have a stable of candidates who can win the statewide races, but the kind of paranoid parochialism that wins safely-drawn legislative seats just doesn’t win across the state. Each of the top five Republican candidates entered this election with the benefit of a Republican-leaning electorate, but the only one who could win was the one who wouldn’t discuss his views with the press or the public. That says something.


The Democratic candidates who defeated them yesterday face an interesting future in 2016. Assuming Denise Juneau wins her close race, she, Monica Lindeen, and Linda McCulloch will all face term limits in 2016—and will be blocked by Steve Bullock from pursuing the governor’s chair. While it’s almost certain that the Republican candidate for Secretary of State will be Brad Johnson again, Democrats need to start thinking early about a game plan to retain these critical seats.

THAT $500,000

I think Rick Hill fumbled the election away when he took $500,000 from shady donors in the weeks before the election. It generated enormous negative publicity for his campaign, especially in the context of the Frontline piece and the attitude Montanans have shown when it comes to corporate campaign finance. It was a terrible tactical decision from the Hill campaign—and a bad enough decision to have swung more than a few thousand votes.


There will be a longer post about this subject in the days to come, but this election demonstrated two glaring issues facing the electorate in the future: the weakness of a depleted, overtaxed legitimate press corps and the danger of partisan, secretly-funded pseudo-press agencies distorting the truth. The former enabled stealth candidates like Tim Fox and Steve Daines to win election without disclosing their reactionary agendas, while the latter relentlessly attacked Democratic candidates unfairly and inaccurately.

Both problems are only likely to be worse in 2016.


Some will certainly disagree, but I think Brian Schweitzer is going to run for President in 2016. I’d probably prefer that he pursue another office, but can’t wait for the Schweitzer show to go national. I think we’re going to have an excellent governor in Steve Bullock, but we’re going to miss Governor Schweitzer, who, in the past eight years, has reminded Montana Democrats that we have a legacy to be proud of and a vision for the state worth fighting for.

Lindeen for Auditor, McCulloch for Secretary of State

While we’ll be breaking the other statewide races into individual posts, the similarity in the Auditor and Secretary of State races makes the combining them a natural fit. In each race, the incumbent is a professional who has done excellent work in her first term and the challenger is someone who seems not to understand the duties of the office he is seeking, one because of his positions on the issues and the other because of his demonstrated lack of competence.

The choice is so clear that even the Montana Chamber of Commerce, which endorses Republican candidates as reliably as snow falls in October, endorsed Linda McCulloch and Monica Lindeen over their challengers.

Secretary of State

In this rematch between Linda McCulloch and Brad Johnson, retaining the incumbent is the obvious choice. Since taking over the Secretary’s office, McCulloch has streamlined operations, saved taxpayer money, and implemented federal voting guidelines that Mr. Johnson seemed incapable of getting a handle on.  She’s established an excellent set of online resources for voters and businesses, including a voter page to check registration. The combination of her professionalism and excellent work as Secretary make her the clear choice.

Her opponent, Brad Johnson has already had an opportunity to demonstrate his incapacity for office. The only quality he really seems to have demonstrated is an obsessive desire for state work, ranging from the PSC to the Commissioner of Political Practices. While Johnson is pushing right-wing buttons about identification at the polls, even he’s been forced to admit that voter fraud is not a problem in Montana. He failed to implement Help America Vote guidelines while in office, was poorly rated by County Election supervisors, and tried to give thousands of dollars of bonuses to his staff after losing his last election.

Let’s not forget that Johnson has taken more positions on same day voter registration than Mitt Romney on abortion, either.

Let’s not let Mr. Johnson poorly run Montana elections again.


The Auditor’s race is an even easier call. The Republican candidate Derek Skees is the most reactionary candidate for statewide office in my lifetime as a Montanan. Whether it’s his enthusiasm for the losing side of the Civil War, his support for discredited nullification doctrine, his support of and from the John Birch Society, his enthusiasm for eugenics, his desire to end Social Security, his support for a sales tax, or his troubling connection to the White Identity movement, Skees is out of touch, extreme, and wrong for Montana.

Even Montana Republicans in the craziest Legislature ever rejected his ideological nonsense.

In addition to that, he simply has no idea what the power of the Auditor is. While he imagines that he can ride out on his John Deere and slay the imaginary dragon of Obamacare, that’s simply not the Auditor’s job. Let’s not elect someone who doesn’t understand the duties of the job.

Given all of that, it would be easy to endorse Monica Lindeen, even if she hasn’t been an excellent Auditor. She’s done admirable work protecting Montanans, including Rick Hill, from investment and insurance fraud. She’s staffed her office with a professional corps of investigators and prosecutors who have helped her do exactly what the Auditor is charged with, protecting Montanans and ensuring sensible regulation of businesses that operate here.

In these two races, Montana Republicans have provided the public with a stark choice: professionalism and excellence or ideology and incompetence. Vote McCulloch and Lindeen.

Derek Skees Defends Harris Himes, Because “He Doesn’t Know” if He Broke the Law

There’s probably a reason that the Montana Republican Party didn’t send any of its slushDerek-Skees-and-Denny-Rehberg-300x200 fund over to Derek Skees. Even they realized that spending money on Skees’ doomed, illogical campaign was a waste of the hard-earned money of their corporate masters. Yesterday, Skees made news defending Pastor Harris Himes from Hamilton. Himes, you might recall, is charged with a series of felonies stemming from trying to steal the life savings of a friend.

Enter Derek Skees, who told the Associated Press that he is an idiot:

Skees said he believes that Himes was picked on for his religious beliefs although Skees said he doesn’t know whether Himes committed the crimes.

"You are innocent until proven guilty," Skees said.

Wrap your brain around that for a moment. Skees “doesn’t know” if Himes committed the crimes, but believes he was picked on for his religious beliefs. He believes people are “innocent until proven guilty,” but accuses the Auditor’s office of misconduct with no evidence.

While I’ll admit that I certainly don’t know all of what the Auditor’s position entails in Montana, though I definitely know more about it than Mr. Skees, I can say with confidence that our Auditor should pursue those who break the law just as Ms. Lindeen has done, not offer them a legal defense with no knowledge.

Full Context on Mr. Skees and Eugenics: It Gets Worse

This evening, I wrote a brief post in which I criticized Derek Skees for a somewhat unorthodox position on the issue of eugenics. Shortly after, I received a complaint from a Skees fan, who suggested that I had maliciously taken his remarks out of context for political purposes. So I watched the video.

I think it’s actually worse in full context. Mr. Skees was asked, apparently by someone who thinks 9/11 was an inside job, if he would support legislation banning eugenics in Montana. Here’s his response:


Mr. Skees said that “eugenics is how some of us are trying to solve the population problem of the Earth. And so there are some of us..uh…China specifically that would love to sterilize all of us.”

Unsatisfied with that terrifying response, he continued to say, “The best way to solve the eugenics situation—and I have read this in numerous books—is it’s a problem with the lower class.”

Now, I certainly don’t know what kind of books Mr. Skees has read, but I do know a few that discuss eugenics and the “lower class.”

Derek Skees: too extreme for Montana.