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April 06, 2008


Steve T.

I had the same experience at the one Forward Montana sponsored event that I went to. I watched the Super Tuesday results come in at the Badlander, and ate some free pizza, which was pretty cool, but was struck by how much they didn't care about what was going on on the televisions.

Anyone who thinks that they are some tentacle of a George Soros-funded machine need only go to one of these events to witness what they really are - a continuous loop that feeds into itself. But maybe that's just me.

Shane C. Mason

Couple of points. Stephanie Sandlin's speech was good in substance, but you have to admit that her it was not as well designed as the stump speeches of the the two candidates. I mean, they have had 17 months to refine theirs.

It was the second Obama speech I heard that day, but it was just as captivating. I am an unabashed Obama supporter, but I also though that Hillary did very well and was impressed with her persona. The night went well and was a huge deal for Montana.


And Shane kept grabbing my notebook and drawing cartoons, as did Rebecca. I gave up on taking notes.

I would have to say I was probably more annoying than most, jumping up and down and clapping, and admittedly, when Hillary said she would be ready at 3 am, I did yell "Yeah, but will you have read the report?".


This was a KICK ASS post Wulfgar!

Laughing and nodding in agreement through all of it.

Worth repeating - Yeah - it was rude of all the lack of attention to the speakers. You're right. My mom and dad would have had some pretty darn scary looks for a whole hell of a lot of people with all that lack of respect.

I was looking for Valhalla. I saw a Valhalla looking dude down on the floor poaching deviled eggs or something - thought it might have been you.

You should have just went out on the floor. They weren't blocking anyone from going in - and the cheesy freedom onion tarts were pretty tasty!

Nick D

Let me get this straight Steve T... You went to a bar for some beer and pizza on Super Tuesday and expected what? A library atmosphere? The fact that Forward Montana (I'm speaking for myself here, not our organization) is able to get a crowd of young people together on a Tuesday night for some political socialization is impressive in and of itself.

Maybe we're not your cup of tea, but you'd be hard pressed to find any other group in the state that can assemble hundreds of volunteers on 24 hours notice, as was the case this Saturday. FMT's only getting started, and has already notched some impressive victories. My advice to you would be to let yourself relax a bit and get caught up in the loop.

Steve T.

Nick, I expected to have a good time that night, punctuated by an atmosphere of people giving a shit about what was going on on in our country. There were plenty of people in the bar who DID give a shit, but my overarching impression of the Forward Montana staff in attendance was that of self-absorption. The attempts to raise money were the only genuine thing that I got out of that night from you guys.

I left at the point where the live music started... Granted, it started 20 minutes earlier than it was supposed to, which would have made sense, had it not started before a whole bunch of the results were in, and for that matter, IN THE MIDDLE of Obama's speech for the night, which some people in the bar were actually trying to watch. Had there been organizers at the event who actually cared about what was going on during the most important night of the election to that date, I doubt this would have happened. But the pleas for donations had already occured, so the night was essentially over.

Anyways, I wish I had been at this dinner so I could give some firsthand accounts of what your table was or was not doing during the speeches for the night, but based on my own experience, I tend to believe what Wulfgar says, and am inclined to believe that your group's behavior is the rule, and not the exception.

I will still stick up for you when people accuse your group of being part of a larger conspiracy, but I will do so from a much different understanding of things. How disappointing.

Nick D

I should make note that the "Forward Montana table" at M-M was at best an ever-changing staging ground on a floor with far few to seats for the crowd. Of the 30 or so people that sat at our table that night, I'd imagine maybe half are actual members of FMT. Hell, I think only saw Matt Singer for a total of about 30 minutes or so all night at our table. I don't understand this need to take pot shots at a group of young people doing something for a change.

Steve T.

"I don't understand this need to take pot shots at a group of young people doing something for a change."

There's no need here on my part. The very concept is appealing to me. That's why I'm so disappointed.

Anyways, you're deliberately obfuscating here, playing the victim. There's no need. I'm sure you can do better than that.

Jay Stevens

Generally, Steve T, it's uncool to accuse someone of "playing a victim" when you've taken a cheap shot at 'em.

From what I hear -- and I wasn't at the M/M dinner -- Wulfgar!'s crit about Fwd Mt was accurate. In fact, some of the Fwd Mt folks I worked the Clinton rally with the next morning who were at the table complained about the noise, too. I don't know who the troublemakers were, but I certainly regret that there were some.

As for the Steve T's experience at the Badlander event -- again I wasn't there, but I've been to other similar events -- all I can tell is that Steve T went in with some expectations that weren't met and ended up blaming nameless, faceless "self-absorbed" Fwd Mt folks.

Steve, did you introduce yourself? Did you bring a friend? Those things are mainly social events, a way for folks to hang with friends and blow off some steam. I imagine it's easy to feel ignored if you don't know anyone.

My advice, if you're serious about seeing what the org is about and getting involved in political activism, is to sign on with a campaign first, do some volunteer work, then knock down a few beers after pounding the sidewalks for a few hours.

In fact, the org is kicking off its "Housecalls 4 Healthcare" campaign, first organizing meeting taking place Apr 12. If you're as serious about pitching in for change as you claim, you'll come on down. After all, I'm sure you won't let a bruised ego stop you from joining a good cause...


Nick D

I'm not trying to play a victim Steve, I'm just asking that you be honest with your criticism, expectations and intentions. The only obfuscation taking place is your assertion that you're "interested in the concept." I'm not sure that you understand the concept. Forward Montana holds a lot of social events -- it's part of our guiding framework, in that we try to make political discourse and activism a fun thing for young people to get them engaged. Informal events at the Badlander help to give our young members the social, informational and civic desire needed when we ask them to get out of bed at 6 AM to register voters in 25 degree weather. It's not always fun and games at FMT.

Did you listen to any of the discussions going on in the bar that night, or did you stand in the corner with your arms crossed? I'd venture to guess most of them were political in nature.

Wulfgar!'s criticism was fair... Albeit, I still think perception from the stands was a little different than from the floor. Also, Mansfield Metcalf has ALWAYS been a social event. Despite the fact that the "FMT table" was perhaps 30-50% FMT, I still wonder why no comment was made like, "The AFL-CIO table was blah, blah, blah..." How about staff tables belonging to office holders? Or perhaps MEA-MFT, Firefighters, Northern Plains, Trout Unlimited, etc...?

I know for a fact that the table directly in front of us was FAR worse. We didn't boo, or catcall, or cross our arms instead of applauding when we didn't like a certain candidate speaking. This table happened to have some prominent tribal leaders from one Montana reservation. Given this, are you willing to make assertions about this tribe's members and culture? I highly doubt it.

I don't have a problem being called out once in awhile. I do have a problem when I think a person isn't being honest about why they're doing it. Is Forward Montana under a microscope because our CEO is a prominent local blogger, or is it because we're young people not playing by the same tired, old rules? We're a democratic organization, and people with a self-professed interest and a complaint or suggestion have an open door to Matt's office (as well as those of all the other staff and board members). Skipping this and "going public" strikes me as the work of a professional cynic or troll.


Alrighty, let's us ratchet this thing down a little.

First, I mentioned the FMT table because a) I have met some of the folks sitting there, and I knew they'd read this, b) I have a great deal of fondness and respect for those aforementioned folks, and c) the table was right in the middle, i.e. one couldn't miss it. At no point was I making a commentary about the organization or the quality of people involved in it. I was simply pointing to the behavior of the instance. And I am often poor at projecting good natured chiding as gently as I should. The last thing I wanted to do was start a row over this, especially given my respect for Matt and the FMT group.

I am aware that the M - M dinner is a social event. But I hope that all involved will understand that the social nature of it is kind of lost on those compressed into the stadium seating. Most of us who got those seats did so to hear the speakers, and it was somewhat frustrating when it was difficult to do that. In truth, I fault no one harshly. This whole event was completely uncharted territory, for the organizers, the regular attendees, the newbies, and the Democratic party. Hell, even the venue was different by simple coincidence. So please, everyone, take my complaints as the grousing of a curmudgeon, and *not* as an indictment.

Nick D

Point well taken Wulfgar. Please excuse my grumpiness -- I've slept about 20 hours in the last week.

As for Steve, perhaps an event such as our House Calls For Health Care campaign launch this Saturday at 10 AM at the UM Law School Castles Center is more your style. There'll be speakers, trainings, breakout sessions and more... Of course, beer and conversation will follow at the Badlander.


There were many people who were chatting and moving around during most of the speeches. Let's be honest - most people were there to hear Barack and Hillary. Jon and Brian. And Jag (well, maybe just I was the only one that wanted to see Jag, OK?).

Frankly, after hearing Barack give his rousing speech, it might have been better to take a 10 minute or so break - there was a lot of energy to it, and any lack of attention was probably more a result of a "whew" sigh of energy release than lack of respect for any of the speakers. After all, people were hooting and cheering for most of it.

I did take a look down at the Forward Montana table during the Hillary speech, as I know several of those sitting there are Obama supporters. The whole table was quite and respectful.

And there is no more successful organization, IN THE STATE, that mobilizes young progressive voters of either party to get out there and vote and take action in our government (local, state or federal).

If this ratchets up any further, I just want to let ya'all know that I can not afford to give them more monthly cash. I'm already tapped out on my Rockstar contributions!

Nick D

Have you gotten your Rockstar pint glass Jhwygirl? I love mine, and always handle it gingerly when I'm going the dishes.

As for Jag, I think he gets a little too much attention. He never gives me the time of day unless I have food -- though I could say the same for my very own dog sometimes.

Steve T.

Sorry Wulfgar, I know you wanted to ratchet this down, but I just got back from work and can't let some things go unaddressed.

Jay - Where did I take a cheap shot here? You'll have to explain that one to me.

Anyways, I didn't name names because I know better. That WOULD be a cheap shot. But you can use that against me if you'd like. I still ain't gonna do it.

Also, I didn't go to this thing willy-nilly by myself and expect to have a good time. I brought three friends, and we enjoyed ourselves, but not in the context of politics. My girlfriend even won the 50/50 raffle. Pretty cool, huh?

Unfortunately, that didn't change my overarching impression of the evening.

And Nick, all I have to say is that you don't know me, my age, my history, or my past blogging in relation to Forward MT (or any other issue, for that matter). Study up, then try again.

All of this being said, Matt's a perfect gentleman, and is handling my miniature hissy-fit a whole lot better than you guys. You seem intent on making it worse.

Shane C. Mason

I didn't see any difference in FMT and any other table there.

Jay Stevens

Cheap shot = accusing Fwd Mt of being a "continuous loop that feeds on itself." That's patently untrue, from my experience. It's also an ad hominem. You're questioning the motives and character of people you don't know.

I understand you didn't have a kick-*ss time at the event, and it wasn't what you expected...but...I just don't see how your having a bad time on Super Tuesday reflects on the organization's work as a whole.

Yeah, Matt's a classy guy, and I hope he can find out what bugged you and make events like that more palatable to the general public, if that's a problem.

But I'm not genearlly a classy guy, and I'll call you out: you should have gone to Matt first. We all want the same things; instead of a middle-school rant against the social scene, constructive criticism would have been better. Better yet would be if you joined the organization and actually planned events that fit your idea of how things like should run.

Criticism is cool, acts are better, IMHO.

Jim Brown

I'm not sure who writes this blog. But, I know you live in Dillon and I enjoy reading it. As you probably know, I am running for House District 72. I would be interested in buying you a cup of coffee or the like to discuss issues important to the County.

let me know if you are avilable.


Jim Brown


Actually Jim, I live in Bozeman. My Brother (and Mother, and In-Laws) all live in Dillon. You can reach my brother through the website Pragmatic Revolt. If you need further help contacting him, let me know, and get the two of you in touch.

I redacted your phone number here because this site sometimes gets the attention of some particularly annoying trolls, and I highly doubt that you want to hear from them.

Steve T.

Jay- See, there ya go. You finally got to the meat of the problem here. I spoke out in a way you didn't like, and probably could have done it differently. In fact, I probably shouldn't have done it at all. It was late at night, I had a rough day. We've all been there. Anyways, you have a good point.

Unfortunately, it took you three comments and several childish insults("Did you bring a friend?") to get to any genuine criticism of how I addressed my issues (without, of course, addressing anything I brought up). At least you admit that you don't have much class.

I often times write things that I feel like a douchebag for writing the next day, I'm starting to think that's just the way it's going to be for me. I just hope you're always there to out-douchebag me, Jay. You're awfully good at it.

Jay Stevens

Whatever, dude. I didn't intend the "friend" comment to be an insult, or any of my comments for that matter. I don't really like when folks slam friends or people doing good work. If defending them from cheap shots makes me a douchebag, I'm guilty as charged.

Ski Montana

Enjoyed reading your article - I will stop by again in the near future to check up on your latest news. Trent

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