A full 12 days after the Mermaid-gate scandal arose, Rick Hill decided to respond….. by pointing the finger- or is it a FIN- toward anyone other than himself. Posted on Hill’s Twitter account was a link to the following statement, with the words “responding to anonymous attacks on my family”.
Campaigns are tough. After a while you expect the nasty attacks and the anonymous charges. It goes with the territory. But I’ve learned that the best way to deal with shady attacks like this is to hit them head on.
So let me quickly respond to the latest anonymous email and blog attacks.
Thirty-four years ago, I had a difficult marriage and went through a rough divorce. That’s the reality. Like any Montanan who has ever gone through one knows, it was unfortunate for everyone involved.
Since that time I’ve been blessed. My wife Betti and I will have been happily married for 28 years this June. We’ve raised three great boys. And we’ve been graced with 7 grandchildren.
My family is my foundation. So it’s disappointing that they have to put up with twisted anonymous attacks from 30 years ago… and it’s disappointing for them to hear the same recycled Democrat dirty tricks that didn’t work when we won my first race for Congress.
But unfortunately this kind of stuff is par for the course in today’s politics. And that’s exactly what people are sick of. With so much at stake this election—a soft national economy, job losses here in Montana, a growing debt, and a government takeover of healthcare—Montana needs this election to be about big things, not little things.
So that’s where my campaign is going to stay focused: on fixing Montana’s business climate to achieve the job growth we need; standing up to federal overreach into Montana’s affairs, and fixing our broken education system.
Montana has big challenges we need to address. And even bigger opportunities if we get them right. See you on the campaign trail soon.
First of all, nobody attacked his family. This is about RICK HILL’S indiscretions, not his family. This may be the first time that Hill didn’t beat his opponents to the punch in going negative. “High Country News” posted a story about him from in 1996 called “A scrappy Republican tries to cut down a green Democrat”….. from the story:
Rick Hill was so far behind in the polls last winter that his two Republican primary opponents said Hill wasn’t even a contender for Montana’s one seat in the House of Representatives.
So Hill tried something. He went negative.
He attacked his Republican opponents, who both complained he was being nasty and unfair when he called them tax-and-spend liberals in bad disguises.
But the strategy worked. Hill rallied in the final weeks of the campaign and won the primary with 44 percent of the vote, eight points more than his closest opponent.
In an article in the November, 1997 edition of Time magazine, called “The Secret GOP Campaign”
Two weeks before the 1996 election, Democrat Bill Yellowtail was in a neck-and-neck race for Montana’s only House seat when a TV ad swooped out of the Big Sky. “Who is Bill Yellowtail?” it opened. “He preaches family values, but he took a swing at his wife.” Yellowtail lost. A year later he’s still trying to figure out who really took a swing at him. The ad’s sponsor was a nonprofit group with a do-gooder name, Citizens for Reform. But the deeper mystery was how the organization knew to air a domestic incident more than 20 years old. Republican documents obtained by TIME help piece together this puzzle. What they point to is the possibility that G.O.P. candidates and groups that purport to be independent may have broken election law by coordinating their strategy.
Citizens for Reform was really a shell for Triad Management Services, a firm based in Washington that matches conservative donors with candidates and causes. In late September, a Triad agent huddled with the campaign of Yellowtail’s opponent, Rick Hill, and figured out how to help. According to a Triad memo, Hill needed a “3rd party to expose Yellowtail” on “wife-beating.” Citizens for Reform launched its ad a couple of weeks later, sparing Hill the indignity of playing the mudslinger. It was a turning point in the race, and it appears to be a prime example of the new dirty word in the financing of elections: coordination.
Clearly, Hill is upset that someone attacked before he could. After all, he is the one who typically goes negative. How dare someone beat him to it. He may consider carrying on a humiliating affair a “little thing”, but I’d bet his ex-wife would disagree. Perhaps more damning than the actual affair however, were his ex-wife’s statements about living with constant emotional abuse from Hill claiming he ridiculed her about her looks and lack of education. The marriage and eventual divorce may have been rocky, but the ex-wife came forward with these allegations only after Hill attacked his opponent on his lack of family values when he had a little issue with his own.
To this day we don’t know where the email originated, but the evidence still points to the Miller camp. It has tea party written all over it. As for the “anonymous email and blog attacks”, no bloggers attacked him. We simply posted the email. We aren’t exhibiting any “The same recycled Democrat dirty tricks that didn’t work “. In fact, all signs point to someone farther to the right of Hill, not the left. In addition to that, whoever was responsible apparently learned from reading Rick Hill Campaigning 101.