Short Take: Gianforte’s Last Slam

In the scheme of really crappy jobs in Washington, congressman is right up there, barely edging out barista. Why anyone would want the job is a mystery, and yet, people do and actually run for it. In a special election in Montana, Greg Gianforte wanted the really crappy job.

Given the opportunity to show the kind of person he really is, Gianforte showed two things: first, that he is as crappy a person as congressman is a job, and second, he lacks the impulse control and temperament for even the crappy job of congressman.

During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At this point, nothing out of the ordinary. Ben Jacobs was a reporter. He can be criticized for being pushy, but that’s part of the job description of reporter. They’re not there be polite, or to be cooperative, though it wouldn’t hurt. Some can be annoyingly tenacious. But when you’re a guy running for office, pushy reporters are merely one of the things you need to tolerate. 

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Gianforte is sick and tired of this? Tough nuggies. Suck it up. Instead, he assaulted Jacobs, who quickly twitted that he had been “body slammed,” though it appears that Jacobs is not a fan of sports.*

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized.

This was a basic assault, for which Greg Gianforte has been cited by Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin with misdemeanor assault under MCA 45-5-201. Some have suggested that complaining to the police fell shy of what a manly Montana man would do, but so what? Jacobs isn’t a manly Montana man, and even if he was, he remains entitled to avail himself of the law.

More importantly, Gianforte doesn’t get to engage in violence because someone annoyed him.

Yet, Gianforte’s campaign doubled down following his self-indulgent resort to violence, compouded by the exceptionally stupid decision to do so in front of a Fox News team. A press release was issued that was palpably false.

Much as Gianforte demonstrated his inability to control his violent tendencies, this also proved his lack of a deep and personal relationship with truth. Even for someone running for the lowly and pathetic office of congressman, a bit of honesty matters.

Was this the biggest-deal assault ever? Hardly, but it was still an assault. Was this the worst lie ever? Hardly, but it was still a lie. Does it matter that this was an attack upon a journalist? Hardly, as no one should be physically attacked, regardless of the occupation by attacker or victim.

Should Greg Gianforte go to prison for this assault? Hardly, as it was, as assaults go, relatively petty. Then again, he shouldn’t be going to the House of Representatives either. Not even as punishment. While this may not have been the biggest deal ever in the annals of violent crime, it demonstrates clearly that Gianforte has no business in Washington. Regardless of what else comes of this misdemeanor prosecution, he should never sit in a seat in the House.

*And no snarky comments about Gianforte grabbing the pussy.

41 thoughts on “Short Take: Gianforte’s Last Slam

  1. ehud gavron

    The vote is today and Gianforte will be elected to the House. We’re in a new age where the law is for lawyers, and obeying it is for pussies. Everyone else is just taking the sinks off the walls and selling options on their newly created trust to rip off the world. The Age of Trump™ didn’t start yesterday, and it won’t end with this jerk from Montana being held responsible for his behavior.


    1. Scott Jacobs

      “the law is for lawyers”

      Jesus, the number of people who were saying Gianfortes “fled” the scene, because he wasn’t arrested, would make my soul cry if I still had one of those things.

    2. B. McLeod

      Well, turns out you certainly did nail the outcome. Of the election, at least. The law is still the law, even in Montana ( so I would hope). But I guess this raises the question of “If it helps you get elected, should you batter a ‘journalist'”? Politically, I suppose candidates across this great land will go for it, and it speaks volumes as to what “journalists” have sacrificed when they basically whored-out their supposed trade and no longer enjoy any respect. However, as an officer of the court, I absolutely cannot support unlawful violence against journalists as a political tactic.

      1. SHG Post author

        The outcome of the election, sadly, wasn’t really in doubt, but that changes nothing as to the propriety of the actions. Of course, Ryan can still refuse to seat him, though he will when this is forgotten after the next outrage.

  2. B. McLeod

    Membership in the House won’t even get you tricky dinner reservations anymore. As a “status” it has declined even more than “millionaire.” It isn’t surprising to find candidates increasingly exhibiting Lumpen behaviors.

    1. SHG Post author

      It used to get you a discount at the Hostel, so you could afford to sleep in D.C. until you returned home to beg for more campaign money.

  3. paleo

    He said “congressman” and “impulse control and temperament” in the same sentence

    Seriously, from what I’ve seen of Congressional behavior in my lifetime, and certainly lately, he’s a natural. The man appears to be qualified for a leadership position up there.

  4. Onlymom

    So basically he has shown he’s a violent, dishonest two-faced possibly pyscho. He should fit right in

    1. Billy Bob

      Prez Trump is paying attention and taking notes.
      Taking bets on who he may take down in full view? Somebody from WaPo? N.Y. Times? Arianna Huffington? Our money is on Pocahontas, our beloved Sen. Liz Warren from the birthplace of democracy in Amerika.
      “That is an amazing shiner I gave you, you evil, low-life, loser malcontent reporter. You call yourself a journalist? I’m sorry, I lost control and did not mean to hurt you, there Mr./Mrs. Reporter! You know how much I luv and respect the fee press?”

  5. Jake

    “Does it matter that this was an attack upon a journalist? Hardly, as no one should be physically attacked, regardless of the occupation by attacker or victim.”

    Cool opinion. While it’s true nobody should be physically attacked, in the court of public opinion which Gianforte is currently entangled, it’s particularly troubling when a candidate for office attacks the free press because 1st Amendment. But you know that.

    Unfortunately for the rest of us, it’s likely the majority of voters in Montana would rather have a press bullying tough guy with dubious ties to the Russian mob than a thoughtful folk singer representing them in DC.

    1. SHG Post author

      And you know the will of the majority of Montana voters because you . . . have magic powers? Or you read it in Think Progress?

      Things are particularly troubling to you when it touches your politics, as always. Adorable, as always, but I do admire your sudden appreciation of the First Amendment. How quickly the tides turn when it serves your purpose.

        1. SHG Post author

          You are the king of irony. It’s too bad you can’t enjoy yourself nearly as much as I do.

  6. Jake

    “And you know the will of the majority of Montana voters because you . . . have magic powers?”

    Think Progress is a shill engine for the DNC establishment. I am predicting the outcome based on my personal experiences.

    “Things are particularly troubling to you when it touches your politics, as always. ”

    Watching the contortions you must execute furthering the illusion SJ isn’t political is amusing, as always.

    “but I do admire your sudden appreciation of the First Amendment. How quickly the tides turn when it serves your purpose.”

    You misunderstand me, again, because your politics and your comfortable throne in this hug-box of ideas cloud your perception of everything I say. I have always admired and respected the constitution. Specific to my previous comments on Free Speech, I will try to explain this to you again. See if you can clean the cobwebs out of your brain:

    Yes, our right to free speech is protected by the constitution. That does not mean, in the real world, in the most practical sense, we are free to say anything we want without consequences. My example, which you seem incapable of comprehending, is simple: Walk up to a biker and tell him his old lady is an ugly whore. You are free to do so. Hell, you may even be technically correct. However, sadly, you may also learn the consequences for exercising your right to free speech, in this situation, are more than you bargained for.

        1. Davix

          You realize, right, that your predictions based on your “personal experience” (whatever that’s supposed to mean. Are you the head pollster for Montana?) is precisely the magic he was talking about. Just because you believe your own bullshit doesn’t change the fact that it’s total bullshit.

          And then, SHG asked about First Amendment and you, as clueless people are wont to do, lapsed into an example having nothing whatsoever to do with First Amendment. But if it’s cool with SHG to let you make a complete fool of yourself, who am I to disagree?

          1. SHG Post author

            I appreciate Jake’s sincerity. As for the strength of his arguments, they speak for themselves. Apparently, the lawyers here are all libertarians because of our slavish devotion to facts, law and logic. He hates that stuff.

    1. J

      >>> “I am predicting the outcome based on my personal experiences.”

      Cool story, bro, but any & everyone taking a gander at the Twitter feed of Montanans & the local pundits since last evening has “predicted” the all-but-foregone conclusion of a Gianforte win, because:
      * 50-60% of the vote (mail-in ballots) was already in
      * MT habitually seats a Republican (’93 saw the last Democratic win)
      * Democrats notoriously can’t be arsed to mobilize, last minute or otherwise.

      1. Jake

        Thanks for outlining some of the data points that make up your experience with this topic.

        1. SHG Post author

          Your tenacity in trying to salvage your dignity is still adorable. You are a dedicated fighter for truth and justice.

          1. Jake

            Scott, I say this sincerely: If you believe a shred of your self-worth is derived from the quality of your interactions with anonymous people online, you may want to take some time off for introspection.

            Furthermore, I might know how often and deeply I am wrong about anything we’ve discussed over the last few years if you (or any of your commenters for that matter) took the time to engage dissent with anything other than sarcasm and derision.

            As it is, I have come to recognize the patterns around here. I keep coming because I learn things reading your blog. When the spirit moves me, I share what’s on my mind.

            1. SHG Post author

              I’ve made this point before, and so I will repeat myself only briefly. My view is expressed in the post, to which you reply when the spirit moves you. You keep forgetting this detail. I don’t start fresh in response to your comment; I’ve already said my piece. Commenters, including you, often suffer from the narcissism of expecting their (your) view to be of sufficient important to warrant my responding to the specifics of your comment. Most of the time, I see no particular reason to address the content of the comments as they lack sufficient substantive value to be worthy of my time and effort, and their merit is obvious to anyone capable of understanding basic logic.

              This can be hurtful on my part, making a commenter feel as if I’ve neglected him by not taking him seriously enough to respond. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings, but you don’t bring much to the table and don’t have the capacity to see why your comments fail to move my spirit.

            2. Patrick Maupin

              If you believe a shred of your self-worth is derived from the quality of your interactions with anonymous people online…

              Then you’re on track to become a suicide statistic. To quote the great SHG himself, “this isn’t difficult.”

            3. SHG Post author

              It would be impossible for Jake to understand what all of this means in the life of an older fella, a “non-digital native,” because he exists in a world where all of this is differently real than for a guy like me. I forgive Jake his flourishes; we come from very different places.

  7. Frank

    The crazy part is that this is likely to push him over the top, and the press has no one to blame but themselves.

    1. SHG Post author

      Not sure how the press has anything to do with an individual’s inability to control his violent impulses.

  8. Bruce S.

    “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Mark Twain. Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

  9. losingtrader

    Can you please post the video from the movie “Campaign” where Will Ferrel’s opponent for office shoots him in the leg with a shotgun and rises 12 points in the polls?

    1. SHG Post author

      It might have been an odor reference, you know. Bathing facilities were scarce on Ellis Island.

  10. Sacho

    Were the allegations against Gianforte actually proven? Michelle Fields was not that long ago.

    1. SHG Post author

      The Fox News crew in the room gave its description of events, which is about as good as it gets as proof of what happened to Jacobs.

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