Jore speaks to a class in Missoula

...and things get interesting.

From the Independent Online:

Students in Jennifer Copley’s seventh-period AP government class never got a chance to ask Rick Jore, C-Ronan, about his appointment as chair of the House Education Committee. Jore, along with fellow Constitution Party members Marilyn Hatch and Kandi Matthew-Jenkins, spent the better part of their Friday afternoon in Missoula talking to three of Copley’s Hellgate High School classes.

After a brief dissertation on his party’s platform, Jore opened the discussion to questions. A half-dozen hands went up, but when the first query from a female student raised the issue of reproductive rights, Matthew-Jenkins and Hatch hijacked the bulk of the remaining 25 minutes to lecture the girl that abortion is murder, passing a life-sized plastic fetus back and forth like a baton. A handful of students grumbled and rolled their eyes; Jore stood off to the side looking uneasy.


Given the closely divided Legislature and Jore’s hard-line position on public-education spending, Copley’s government class might have been a model after all for the kind of discourse Montana voters are likely to see when the session convenes in January.

I am of the opinion that, regardless of what third party one supports, moderation and incrementalization is key to getting your program implemented. While there are many, many articulate people here and elsewhere that would disagree with me on that point, it nonetheless remains my position and I feel it’s backed up rather well in this article.

Jore seems to be such a pragmatic person, but the rest of his party are taking the celebration a bit too far and seem to be endangering the future of the CP in Montana in my mind. Perhaps a slightly less absolutist explanation of Constitutionalist principles to the class would have succeeded in winning over the students in that class and, by extension, the writer of this piece.

25 Responses to “Jore speaks to a class in Missoula”

  1. Chris Moore Says:

    Well, you’re either pro-choice, pro-life, or somewhere in the middle. It would be disingenuous for a Constitution Party member to claim to reside in the middle. However, it does not take 25 minutes to tell a class that you are pro-life without exceptions … next question please.

  2. rj Says:

    It’s a catch-22. You don’t want to be seen as compromising cause you want to decry a major party viewpoint on the issue and how they’ve sold out, but on the same hand you then fall into the libertarian trap of how absolute is absolute enough? Some think you can’t be an absolute libertarian in the philosophical sense unless you’re an anarchist (i.e. Badnarik refusing a driver’s license). There are a lot of people in this country that want less government in their lives but still think a driver’s license system is warranted and needed, so that viewpoint turns them off.

    From the Christianist viewpoint, absolutism would be no abortion in any cases, and certainly a party can have that view. But what would happen down the road when the Constitution Party dissolves and the American Heritage Party or whatever takes its place as has been talked about on these boards, and a group of members stand up and say that the party should take up the platform that all business should be closed on Sunday cause the Bible says to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy as the day of worship and not a day of work? If you follow Christian absolutism to its very end, this would be part of it cause it’s stated in Genesis. I don’t know if this has happened, it’s just a Christian-right version of the Libertarian Party and Badnarik’s view of driver’s licenses in my opinion.

    The guiding philosophy of this country has always been pragmatism, thankfully. If it were not, our country would be nothing more than France.

  3. Joe Says:

    I just looked again at the American Heritage Party’s platform and it says nothing about the Lord’s Day. Does Badnarik argue that anyone who has a drivers’ licensen should be removed from the Libertarian Party.

    Concerning the article about Jore, I don’t understand why he would look “uneasy” under those circumstances. That is a pretty subjective description and I wonder if it is accurate. I don’t think it is an example of good reporting. Why not ask him what he thought of the discussion on abortion and whether it did in fact make him uneasy? Or at least describe what it was about his appearance that made him look uneasy? Was he trembling, sweating profusely, or what?

  4. SovereignMN Says:

    You are assuming the writer of this piece was willing/able to be “won over”. Maybe it’s just my skepticism but I don’t believe the writer was seeking to be fair & balanced with his coverage. Without having been in attendence it’s awfully hard to guage what the tone of the discussion was like. 7th graders grumbling? Show me a classroom in this country where that does NOT happen?

  5. rj Says:

    “I just looked again at the American Heritage Party’s platform and it says nothing about the Lord’s Day. Does Badnarik argue that anyone who has a drivers’ license should be removed from the Libertarian Party.”

    As far as Badnarik, no. I do remember an article from a WV Libertarian where the head of the West Virginia Libertarian Party called him a Nazi in a party conference cause he believed that children should be vaccinated.

    You’re taking my example and changing it to suit your means of defaming my ultimate point. People can leave the CP and set up whatever new party they want in protest, fine. That doesn’t change the fact that all parties (including this new one) have disputes, no one gets along all the time 100%, it’s a fact of life.

    When that dispute happens, it’s going to be between a faction of the party that will go the pragmatic route and a faction of the party that will go the absolute route and use the Bible as basis and each side will call the other all sorts of names for a period of time and may split.

    My point is where does absolutism stop? You can take a survey of members of the party you belong to, and each will have a different answer to that question. And when the dispute comes, do you think the party stays together? There is no reason to ever compromise in a third party. Unlike Democrats and Republicans, leaving a third party has little consequence cause third parties have little to no power. This ultimately causes lots of splintering, as the right-hand column shows. And that’s why third parties are by and large unsuccessful.

    If you do not think that these kinds of disputes will ever come up, and that this new party is some kind of Puritanical “shining city on a hill” where everyone will join hands and sing Kum-by-yah everyday, then there is not much help I can give you.

    This dispute that is occurring now in the CP occurred in the Libertarian Party in the early 1980s between the more pragmatic Ed Clark faction and the more absolutist David Bergland faction. Bergland and supporters won, Clark and supporters left the party. Clark’s result in 1980 still remains their best-ever result.

  6. Trent Hill Says:

    I dont know if its true that “Modern third partis dont garner much power”

    The Reform Party pulled ALOT of votes in some cases. And in several states, the Green party has done well enough that it has weakened the Democrats,just enough to allow a Republican win (Or vice versa, replace green with Constitution or Reform). Third Parties dont have to get ELECTED to make a DIFFERENCE.

  7. SovereignMN Says:

    “Third Parties dont have to get ELECTED to make a DIFFERENCE.”

    Agreed. An example of this was back in 1998 the Republicans in Minnesota ran a pro-choice candidate for State Auditor. The MN Taxpayers Party (before they became the CPMN) ran a pro-life candidate. What does abortion have to do in a State Auditor’s race? Not much…except the CP candidate got included in all the pro-life voting guides as the “only pro-life candidate in the State Auditor race”. The CP candidate did very little actual campaigning but still garnered nearly 7% of the vote, just from being included in voting guides.

    In Minnesota once a party gets 5% of the vote in a statewide office they are a “Major” party and can field a full slate the next election cycle. This allowed the CP to field a full field of candidates in 2000. Even though the CP lost ballot access in 2000 the Republicans in Minnesota have not made this mistake again. Since 1998 they have nominated candidates who at least profess to be “pro-life”.

  8. Torah Says:

    The Sabbath is from Friday night to Saturday night (sundown to sundown), not on Sunday.

    Just some clarification there.

  9. Trent Hill Says:

    Torah. Thank you, but Protestants consider Sunday the Sabbath (for some ungodly reason.

    SoviergnMN, that is a very good example of how third parties can affect without getting elected. Another would be Ralph Nader and Ross Perot in their recent election cycles. The Socialist Party under Eugene V. Debs. They introduced Universal Health Care and Welfare, and because they started to pick up so much support, the Democrats were forced to swing left in order to pick up those votes.
    The American Independant Party under George Wallace is another interesting tidbit.
    The Libertarian Parties Renegade electoral vote.
    The Green parties garnering heavy vote nubers in Maine and Illinois
    The Progressive Party in Vermont (which currently holds 5 or 6 state legislators.)
    Third Parties make a WORLD of difference. Furthermore,lets not forget the big one.
    The Republican party once WAS a third party.

  10. Joe Says:

    RJ, I wasn’t trying to change your example to defame your ultimate point, although, if I understand correctly what your ultimate point is, I do not agree with you. I don’t think your analogy with Badnarik fits because, while he may oppose drivers’ licenses, unless I am mistaken he did not leave the Libertarian Party because they refused to take an official position in line with his belief about drivers’ licenses.

    I agree with you that That all parties, including the American Heritage Party will have disputes. I am under no illusion that AHP is perfect or ever will be perfect. The question is what is the best party to join right now? For me the answer is the American Heritage Party because they are closer to what I believe than the Constitution Party.

    You ask “where does absolutism stop?” Each person will have to answer that question for themselves, but as for me and my state party we decided that the line we would never cross is allowing party leaders and candidates who would allow abortion in the cases of rape and incest. The American Heritage Party meets that standard, at least for now, and the Constitution Party does not.

    As I see it, the American Heritage Party is no more and no less a splinter of the Constitution Party than the Constitution Party was a splinter of the Republican Party, so I don’t really find that argument very convincing. Many times I have heard Howard Phillips say “If some day I, or the Constitution Party, should ever abandon the core principles of the Party, don’t wait. Leave and start a new party.” Well, I left but I did not start a new party. I left and joined an already existing political party that upholds what I believed were the core principles of the Constitution Party that they abandoned.

  11. Trent Hill Says:

    Thats your perogative.
    Hopefully one day the CP and AHP can resolve their differences,and perhaps discuss a merger.
    Maybe involving the America First Party, and the Reform Party?

  12. [email protected] Says:

    The Constitution Party’s “absolutism” on the abortion issue (or anything else) isn’t the key point, if the incident occurred as described. A party’s positions (or its candidates’ positions) are what they are, and should be truthfully described.

    What was wrong here—once again, if the incidentt occurred as described—is that the two CP people spent 25 minutes talking about one issue, and therefore that one issue is the only thing those students will remember about the CP, because it’s the only thing they heard. Even if some of those kids are pro-life, they’ll likely shy away from what they’ve just been implicitly told they should perceive as a “single-issue” party.

    An appropriate answer would have been something like “we believe that everyone has a right to life, and that government’s duty is to protect that right, just like it says in the Declaration of Independence. We also believe that that right belongs to everyone from the moment of conception, not starting some time afterward. Many of you may disagree. We’d love to cover this in depth, and if we have time at the end of this session, we can discuss it some more if you like … but first, let’s cover some other issues that are important to the Constitution Party, and to America. There’s a lot to talk about.”

    Tossing around a plastic fetus and babbling about abortion for half an hour probably didn’t convince anyone who wasn’t already convinced, and it probably turned off a few who are possibly convinced but who also think that maybe there’s more to politics than that one issue.

    If it’s any consolation, the CP is not the only party with this problem. I’ve watched Libertarians carry on about this or that issue, far beyond the point which the audience was willing to follow them to, as well.

    Tom Knapp

  13. Trent Hill Says:

    KNappster,as usual you are on-key.

    I agree that these guys should have discussed the issue in brief, and passed over it. However, for some members of the CP (Or AHP, or Conservative Party) Abortion IS the only issue.

  14. Jason Gatties Says:

    No doubt. Very mind numbing watching a libertarian candidate rattle on for 30 minutes explaining the need to get rid of income tax without providing anyone with the reasons why.

  15. rj Says:

    “As I see it, the American Heritage Party is no more and no less a splinter of the Constitution Party than the Constitution Party was a splinter of the Republican Party, so I don’t really find that argument very convincing. Many times I have heard Howard Phillips say “If some day I, or the Constitution Party, should ever abandon the core principles of the Party, don’t wait. Leave and start a new party.” Well, I left but I did not start a new party. I left and joined an already existing political party that upholds what I believed were the core principles of the Constitution Party that they abandoned.”

    My view on third-party politics is that the only way it works is you have a base, and then that base remains solid and together. If they go off and divide a penny four ways, no one has a penny (the penny is the base). My view on an ideal third-party system if such a thing exists would be one party to the right of Republicans that kind of act like a nationalist, Christian-based party. One party to the left of Democrats that are pretty much what the Greens are now. The Libertarians are a bit by themselves on philosophy so no change there. I think there is a political void right now best represented by Rudy Giuliani’s views of people that want a party that is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. These people in general are disenfranchised right now with the current political structure of the two major parties and there is no real third party that represents this view, except MAYBE the Minnesota Independence Party. There might be a place for Populists, although I think the Republicans and Democrats that are not conservatives and liberals respectively already claim this viewpoint.

    I just don’t see how you can have a Constitution Party, American Heritage Party, America First Party, the Conservative Party and Right-to-Life Party (New York only), and American Party all claiming the same real estate and expect much of anything. Disputes happen, and if there are enough people that are like-minded to you inside the CP, can’t you take over the party by the simple rule called majority?

  16. Joe Says:


    We tried to have IAP Nevada disaffiliated in Tampa, not for the first time. Our state party’s resolution was passed prior to Tampa with the expressed purpose of letting folks know that if IAP Nevada was not disaffiliated by April 23rd, we would automatically be disaffiliated. A vote was taken and the majority decided to retain IAP Nevada. Had we had enough votes to carry the day then we would have had no need to disaffiliate. You can see that from the number of state parties that have disaffiliated - a minority of them thus far. As some remaining members of the Constitution Party have been so fond of saying on this forum: “You lost, so now get lost.” So we have.

  17. Trent Hill Says:

    That very reason is why the America First Party, CP, and American Party had discussed a merger in the past. This scenario is favored by the vast majority of all those respective parties.

    As for the simple rule called majority. Those dissafilliates who left were the radical minority.

  18. Joe Says:

    If the overwhelming majority of the America First Party desire to merge with the Constitution Party that must be a recent development. When I was a member of the Constitution Party I tried to talk Dan Charles out of starting the America First Party. Since the Constitution Party predates the AFP by several years if they wanted to merge with the Constitution Party it would have been much easier to just join the Constitution Party rather than starting another new party.

    I also attended a meeting of the America First Party chapter in my state two or three years ago trying to convince them to merge with the Constitution Party in our state. They politely informed me they were not interested in the slightest. They were unanimous in that sentiment.

  19. RCAIP Says:

    I wouldn’t count on a AHP-CP merger. The AHP is more theocratic then it is constitutionalist. In fact the AHP was the old Washington state CP that left the Party years ago due to having LDS members in the Party, and the AHP wasn’t the type to be inclusive to all Christians.

    -If you really want to know the REAL reasons to kicking out Nevada, go to the TAV website and read the discussion forums.

    Dan Charles, while he and the other AFP’ers choose to not join us due to the bigoted setiment in the CP at the time, still is very egotistical in politics and prefer things done his own way on his own terms only.
    But the AFP is extremly small and inactive in some parts.

    The USIAP is split whether to join with us or the American Party, but like the AFP they’re not ballot-qualified anywhere and now function as a grassroots activist network instead of a real political Party.

    The American Party has the ‘we’re better then everybody else’ attitude and tied to run pres. candidates against us- only thing is they haven’t had a candidate on the ballot in years, let alone a organized state party. In fact most of their national meetings are small enough to be held in a mobile home. They probably the same size as the current Prohibition Party right now.

    So the CP is the largest and most organized Party to the Right of the GOP currently, despite the breakaways. And we’re trying to get other conservative state parties to join with us.

  20. John Pittman Hey Says:

    I can assure everybody that the members of the America First Party have no interest in merging with any other party.

    Here is a thorough analysis of the AFP’s position on merger:

    We do, however, encourage persons of all parties to join with us if they agree with our platform and our strategy, which together are different from all the other political parties out there.

    Finally, the AFP is ballot qualified in two states at the present time.

    John Pittman Hey
    National Secretary
    America First Party

  21. RCAIP Says:

    As some remaining members of the Constitution Party have been so fond of saying on this forum: “You lost, so now get lost.” So we have.

    =Yes, and we thank you for doing so:)

  22. RCAIP Says:

    Which states, John?

  23. RCAIP Says:


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  25. Tenzin Says:

    Ha! I was there! When the three speakers spoke they were very eloquent and I applaude them on that, but when Kandi held the pink plastic fetus in her hand exampaling what would happen when a baby got aborted….she went too far. Besides who puts someone who dosen’t support public education head of the education committe…only in Montana! Won’t be seeing any educational reforms soon in Missoula, or in Montana. Too bad, and I thought we could outsmart the other states.

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