But first it’s important to figure out who your friends really are, or more aptly put, aren’t.
The Montana Post recently put out a general introduction to Robert Farris-Olsen. Yeah, so? Well, Farris-Olsen will be entering the Montana political world in a primary race against the fallen flower Mary Caferro. From the outside looking in this may look like both a bold and dumb move on his part, however, there is a bit to know about dear Mary and how this has come to be.
Sometime back in late February of 2017 as the doldrums of the session dragged on and legislators had too much time on their hands because leadership wasn’t leading, some termed out legislators started talking about their future. Enter Caferro, who for all intents and purposes, has made herself a career politician having been first elected in 2004, some 14 years ago, and now hopes to spend a little more time back in the House where she first started. As the Helena political machine operates, Mary sought out a few local House members hoping they’d do a seat swap.
Mary’s first run was at the now veteran and much admired Representative Funk. ‘Uptown’, as she jokingly refers to herself, is no fool and saw the game for what it was. On to the next, House Appropriations Committee member Janet Ellis. Keeping Ellis in that power position, minority or not, would have been a wise move by Democrats and leadership. But what about poor Mary and her status in the world? What about all that good work she’s been doing for Montanans? What about her free health care? Well damnit Janet, she said yes.
And now come the complications. Surrogate party leaders were looking for a spot for Melissa Romano after her narrow loss to the Sarah Palin of Montana. The claim to Caferro’s soon to be vacated Senate seat was staked out for Romano with plenty of talk so no one could say they didn’t know. Mary can say she just didn’t care. To make a long story short, Ellis gives Caferro her word. Party surrogate number 1, Eric Feaver, comes into play. Ellis expresses anger that Feaver has abandoned her for Romano. Feaver makes clear that Romano called ‘dibs’ first. Ellis makes an angry face. Feaver claims more innocence. Tempers flare. Talking stops. Caferro knits in a corner smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
Fast forward several months and there is much wringing of hands as sides must be drawn in this Ellis vs Romano battle royale. MEA-MFT has already made clear where they stand, and in turn so will follow the rest of organized labor in Helena. Ellis has done no wrong, except for being duped by the Mata Hari of the Senate. And then comes Ellis’s reprieve! Romano is deluged with Teacher of the Year duties and must drop out of a race she had barely started. While Ellis will still face a challenger, at least she has a record to stand on with labor for their support. That is if she still wants it. Caferro has knitted an afghan to hide under while the sparks fly.
Sound convoluted? Feel confused? Mary likes it that way.
Isn’t this a post about Ferris-Olsen? Or is it a post about Caferro? Let’s go with Caferro for the finish, because really, she should be finished. Head back to 2013 when she proposed legislation to close a long standing public institution and decimate another of Montana’s small towns. Due to a lot of very poor work by Mary and those backing her play, the bill was tanked, but with the warning, she’d be back. And back she came in 2015, never mind the fact that her employer would benefit most from privatization. This time with more backing to include the Governor and majorities in both houses. Keep in mind that MDC is, well was, unionized by both AFSCME and MEA-MFT. Union busting through legislation, a mortal sin. Word has it that Mary spent a little time in 2017 skulking into various union headquarter offices in an attempt to recreate her Hari role and win favor with elected and hired union heads. She remains exiled.
And now the test. Ferris-Olsen is a fresh face on the scene with a far more broad view of what needs to be done. No doubt the Democratic Party will do it’s usual corner cowering and not back any one candidate while the work of drumming Caferro out will be left to folks who pay the bills for the party. Which makes a fella wonder, why shell out that cash in the name of the party anymore? With Mary as their darling girl and to claim we’re all ‘friends’, who needs enemies?
Best of luck to you Rob! Caferro will make a fine lobbyist when this is all over.
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’ body’s a part of.’