Op-Ed: It is Imperative Conservatives Unite Behind New House Rules

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Montana Daily Gazette publisher and Gideon Knox Group president, Jordan Hall, says it is absolutely imperative for House Republicans to unite behind new House rules.

[Jordan Hall] For well more than a decade, Montana has operated as though it has had a Democrat-led State House and Senate, despite enjoying Republican majorities in both chambers. That’s largely the fault of Llew Jones (R-Conrad), who made a devil’s bargain with Governor Schweitzer in 2007 to recruit and coalesce liberal Republicans in a caucus that would join with the Democrat minority to out-vote and over-rule conservatives. Session after session, Jones recruited Democrats to run on the Republican ticket and stacked the legislature with his merry band of liberals who repeatedly and routinely gave Governor Schweitzer (D) and then Governor Bullock (D) their legislative wishlist.

Please make no mistake about this; Llew Jones is to the Republican Party what Benedict Arnold was to the American Republic. Some suggest that Jones is a conscientious liberal and is nothing more than a Democrat in Republican clothing, that he’s a genuine, tried-and-true Democrat with the wrong label. I don’t know that’s the case. I don’t believe Llew is a conscientious anything. I believe Llew Jones is a fierce pragmatic, the absolute worst kind of politician; an amoral scalawag and self-serving scrape-face who is driven not by ideology or convictions, but by an insatiable and self-serving appetite to be feared. He’s a power-pimp, driven by his own self-interests to no matter what command authority.

For going-on 15 years, Jones has scurried like a corpulent cockroach with his face-for-radio regularly seen going about his busy work of undermining Republican leadership in the halls of the capital. Had Jones been an actual six-legged, crumb-snatching insect he would have been gassed by the capital custodian by now, but they don’t make cans of Raid big enough for Mr. Jones. Or to compare him to another creature, it might have been of Llew Jones of whom Jesus was speaking when mentioned that some demons only come out by a regimented exercise of prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).

In other words, Jones is little more than a demon who serves himself rather than Satan. He is a black market tradesman who barters in unbrokered power and unfettered, anti-ideological, politically-neutral grab-assery. His chief ambition is not good for the Left, good for the Right, or good for whatever middle theoretically remains. Jones’ chief ambition is maintaining an unofficial, off-the-books, underhanded power in order to excise for himself financial loot from Montana’s public coffers. And there was never a Montana statesman who was better at greasing the wheels of power with his own bum-sweat than Llew Jones. He is a greasy man with greasy appetites for control who will side with Democrats when they are in power and threaten to cross-over with the Democrats when Republicans are in power.

Jones’ personal gravitas is tied intrinsically to his lack of moral compass or ideological conviction. And in the slough (sllew?) of Helena, Jones fits right in with the back-slapping lobbyists and soulless Deep State bureaucrats who run the town. He may look like Jabba the Hutt, but he is at one with the Force of Helena like Yoda on Dagobah, and his swamp is just as slimy.

But Jones’ Solutions Caucus largely lost in the 2020 primary, as conservatives routed his lieutenants and defeated them with conservative replacements. And what caused the 2020 primary Red Wave was the wide dissemination of Sen. Ed Butcher’s Legistats, which was able to shed light on the Republican treason committed by Jones and his squad. Republican Central Committees and grassroots activists all over the state were finally able to explain that the statistics widely touted by Jones’ “Solutions Caucus” regarding how frequently they vote with Republican leadership was smoke-and-mirrors. As Legisatats demonstrated, Jones’ caucus indeed voted with Republican leadership on a host of issues, but mostly procedural issues and bi-partisan or non-partisan bills that would also show Democrats regularly voting with Republicans. But Jones’ group voted consistently against Republican leadership and with Democrats on important, partisan bills.

Imagine if you had a friend who was 100% “with you” most of the time. You know, he is “with you” at the coffee shop, the ball game, or the sandbar. But then imagine that friends consistently siding with whatever bully is threatening to beat you up. It would bring no solace that they were with you on occasions where you didn’t really need them around anyway.

But that friend is Llew Jones. Whenever the chips are down, Republicans can count on Jones to do precisely the opposite of the right thing (unless the right thing happens to be the expedient thing). Imagine the reality facing us; Jones was made chair of Appropriations because Republican leadership needed to put a gavel into his hand to keep him from making shady deals outside the men’s room during session. Jones is a moral miscreant whose only path to power is through his brash and unflinching willingness to side with the Democratic Party. And if you didn’t think that siding with Democrats could earn you a seat of leadership in the Republican Party, you don’t know Montana’s Republican Party; we happily negotiate with terrorists.

And while I think Speaker Wylie Galt is a quality legislator and fine human being, the equivolent of making Jones head of Appropriations in order to keep an eye on him would be Donald Trump giving Qassem Soleimani a seat on the Human Rights Commission in order ot keep him out of trouble. But you shouldn’t let foxes into henhouses in order to know where they are.

Galt no doubt made his decision fearing that Llew Jones commanded at least 18 Republicans who, if ordered by Jones to turn left, would steer into the Democrat caucus (the Republican majority is 67-33, but with Jones’ Solutions Caucus it could quickly be left 49-51 or with a similar razor-thin margin). Baby-sitting Jones in Appropriations was a better compromise, so the wisdom goes, than risking a RINO uprising. But this thinking undermines reality; men like Llew Jones will never be pacified and rather, must be defeated.

New rule changes, which merely scale back 2019 changes to 2017 conditions (the newer changes were spearheaded by Jones’ top RINO compatriot, Ed Buttrey), will minimize the impact that Llew Jones will have to disrupt the Republican agenda from the floor.

While it has been widely reported that the rule changes will allow committee chairs (like Jones) to kill bills – as Matthew Monforton pointed out and publicly lamented – the rule changes aren’t really about committee chair power at all. What has thus far been under-reported is the real reason that conservatives pushed these changes and not the RINOs…these rules will empower the Speaker of the House and limit the power of Jones to serve as a De Facto Speaker of the House from the floor. Democrat-RINO chicanery will find success more difficult with the new measures in place.

The Montana Daily Gazette (MDG) asked the question yesterday if the rule changes benefit RINOs more or conservatives more. Let me be more candid about that than MDG can be when reporting the news; the rules benefit conservatives far, far more. This is why it’s RINOs (plus a misguided Monforton) who are opposing the rules change and – from what I hear – are already threatening to become Democrats (in all practical ways) should they pass.

Should the rule changes pass – and it should be the first vote of the 2021 session – then Speaker Galt will know that 51 Republicans stand with him to be the conservative we all know and pray he can be. But if conservatives lose this vote, and Jones wins, the 2021 session is going to be one giant cluster-bomb of uselessness and Llew Jones will have successfully thwarted the Republican Party for another session – a terrible waste with the first Republican governor in 15 years.

TO THE FRESHMAN LEGISLATORS

No doubt, Llew Jones is promising you things like privilge, power, and campaign cash to support him. I suspect you have more integrity than to accept it. I’m more concerned about an appeal to your better natures, with talk of “making peace” and having “unity” and “getting along” as a party.

Please understand this; it’s Llew Jones who has thwarted party unity since at least 2007 when he shook the devil’s hand in a backroom bargain. He has made an entire living off of fracturing Montana’s GOP. Llew Jones has not turned over a new leaf. This terrorist does not want to negotiate. He does not need to be coddled; he needs to be beaten.

If the Montana Republican-led legislature is going to move forward together, we must move forward together as conservatives. You must not let Jones’ saber-rattling and cage-shaking frighten you into giving him his way. If conservatives will move forward together, I urge you to contact Republican leadership and tell them that you stand with the .38 Special conservative majority. Tell them that you will support Republican leadership.

FINALLY, UNDERSTAND THAT THE WAR IS NOT OVER

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:4)

Beware the man who says there is peace when there is no peace. It is not possible to get along with 17 (or so) legislators who fraudulently claim to the Republicans. We routed Llew’s lieutenants and summarily (but metaphorically) executed them on June 2. But we are not done yet. In 2022 we’ll be going after each and every single legislator who stood with Llew Jones. We will primary you. We will fund your opponent. And we will (metaphorically) put your head on a (proverbial) spike on June 7, 2022.

I have so instructed the Gideon Knox Group to set up a website monitoring Jones’ Solutions Caucus and have allocated 17k in cash to be designated to the primary defeat of the 17 (supposed) Republicans who stand with Jones.

Consider us a conservative Santa. We are making our list and checking in twice. If you are nice, we’ll give you more than a lump of coal. But if you’re naughty, we’ll Krautter you* (thank you Matthew Monforton for this excellent term).

[Editor’s Note: This Op-Ed was written by Jordan Hall of the Gideon Knox Group and Montana Daily Gazette]



*Joel Krautter (R-Sidney) was strongly supported by the Solutions Caucus, but conservatives in his district primaried him and defeated him with a good Republican candidate, Brandon Ler. Krautter was effectively bombarded with conservative cooperation and he lost his seat.




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