Run a scowling, frowning fat cat against a smiling, beer-drinking fat rancher, and the fat rancher wins every time.
The ever-so-clever establishment wing of the national Republican Party has created, ex nihilo, The Perfect Candidate. To defeat Senator Tester? No. To defeat itself, and to deliver two more years of Democratic control to the United States Senate? Yes!
To Mitch McConnell — and his loyal Montana moderates, Steve Daines and Ryan Zinke — “perfect” translates into a blank slate candidate, drawn to the power and prestige of the office, who won’t let constitutional fidelity or conservative principles get in the way of following the GOP leadership into the dismal swamp of corruption and compromise.
There’s no doubt that Tim Sheehy has been groomed for this moment. The massive government contracts he’s received have made him one of the country’s wealthiest candidates. Never mind that his background is devoid of political activism, and that he wouldn’t recognize a free market principle or a conservative conviction if it bit him in the money belt.
Even now, Montanans’ love affair with the war veteran is beginning to look more like a one night stand. Sure, we’re all viscerally attracted to Sheehy’s campaign spots that highlight his combat medals and his tough-guy countenance. Those images have already been flooding our TV screens, and but they are wearing thin. “It’s great that you were a Navy Seal,” voters are saying. “Thank you for that. Now what else have you got?”
SHEEHY: “What else have I got? Uh. Well, I’ve got a big house in Bozeman, an $8 million resort home in Big Sky, a $10 million private playground on Flathead Lake, 30,000 acres of consolidated ranches in Martinsdale, a company worth over half a billion dollars thanks to a merger with a Cayman Islands tax avoider, and an annual salary of $5 million. Is that enough?”
THE PEOPLE: “Okay… But what do you believe in?”
SHEEHY: “What do I believe in? Uh. Hold on a second… Hey Daines! Remind me again. What do I believe in?”
Actually, Tim Sheehy’s business dealings at Bridger Aerospace provide a very clear view of what he believes in. And for Montana conservatives, it’s not a pretty picture:
(1) He believes in corporate welfare when it benefits him, including a $774,000 “forgivable loan” subsidy and a $221,000 federal gift to train his employees. These taxpayer subsidies to his already enormously profitable company (which gets 96 percent of its revenues from government contracts) went directly to Sheehy’s bottom line.
(2) He believes in far-left business policies, having promoted Bridger Aerospace to liberal investors as “fundamentally ESG-driven,'” while securing a $160 million ESG-accredited sustainability bond – one of the largest ever. After announcing for the Senate, he removed all mention of ESG from his company website.
(3) He believes in radical climate change policy, asserting that his company is “fighting on the front lines of climate change,” and that its “fundamental business principles (are) environmental and social sustainability.” This, too, has all been scrubbed from Bridger’s website.
(4) He believes in the woke worldview of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” His 2023 federal SEC filing openly kowtows to the victimology of the far left, with a diversity and inclusion statement that could just as easily have come from Disney, Target or Starbucks.
Sheehy is a counterfeit conservative, cobbled together by the GOP establishment and its corporate special interests, all of whom are desperate to keep conservative champion Rep. Matt Rosendale out of the race. Millions of dollars are being poured into that effort already.
If they succeed and Sheehy is the nominee, they will have done the Democrats an enormous favor, because Sheehy, with all his baggage, has little chance of defeating Jon Tester. (Just compare the current TV ads of the two men, and the reasons become obvious.) But whether Tester or Sheehy emerges victorious, America loses either way.
Conversely, if we elect courageous conservative “change agent” Matt Rosendale, he could go down in history as the most effective, freedom-minded senator Montana has ever sent to Washington.
Roger Koopman served two terms in the Montana State House from Bozeman, and two terms on the Montana Public Service Commission. He also owned and operated a small business in Bozeman for 37 years, and was press secretary to Congressmen Steve Symms of Idaho and Ron Paul of Texas.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.