New Missoula Chamber of Commerce President Bob Tutskey had a vision. A vision of Chamber members holding hands and happily agreeing not to endorse the candidates in Missoula City Council races this year. It was a glorious dream of an apolitical business community, but like so many dreams, this one didn’t come true. In the secret and smoky backrooms of board meetings, a dream can be deferred.
Last week, Tutskey told the Indy that the Chamber wouldn’t be making endorsements this time around (see “The Chamber’s quest for candidates,” Sept. 18, 2003, by Jed Gottlieb). But this week, the Chamber flip-flopped and announced that it would endorse after all, and that Tutskey had spoken too soon.
“At the board meeting, we reviewed the candidate forums that we had held,” Tutskey explains. “There was some fairly interesting debate around the table. Some people felt like I did, and some people, the greater majority as it turned out, felt we were doing a disservice to our members not taking a specific position on candidates.”
Tutskey says he didn’t want to endorse the candidates, but adds that it’s not his place to push his personal agenda. His job is to work for the betterment of the Chamber membership.
“I probably could have been more autocratic about it, but that’s not my style,” he says.
All four of the candidates endorsed by the Chamber are Chamber members—Pete Pettersen, Don Nicholson, former Mayor Bob Lovegrove and current Ward 4 Councilman Jerry Ballas—though Tutskey says membership wasn’t a factor in the endorsements. The four chosen candidates are the only four Chamber members running for City Council.
Looks like the Chamber’s public forums and their few dozen audience members had some impact after all.
Dr. John A. McKinnon spends most of his time presiding over Montana Academy, a residential school for troubled adolescents on a remote ranch in Marion, Mont., which he co-founded in 1997. McKinnon, a Harvard and Yale-trained psychiatrist, is able to diagnose problems in troubled teenagers—work that one might reason has little to do with the overtly political realm. But when McKinnon saw a link between the troubled adolescents he treats at his boarding school and the Bush administration, he decided to expound upon it.
In the Sept. 17 edition of the International Herald Tribune, McKinnon laid out his argument as to exactly how the Bush administration resembles a troubled child.
“Troubled teenagers fail at the tasks of a modern adolescence because they try to solve sophisticated problems with an unsophisticated approach whose elements routinely include a childish sense of time, lack of empathy, florid narcissism, selfish ethics and [lack of] concrete logic,” McKinnon wrote.
“I have no wish to be rude, and I recognize that neither party has a monopoly on childishness,” McKinnon continued. “But I can’t help seeing in this description a synopsis of the Bush administration’s approach” to “medical care or tax cuts, homeland security or social welfare, energy or the environment, democracy (in Florida, California, Iraq or the West Bank)…”
He goes on (and on) from there.
The psychiatrist’s column ends with a plea for U.S. voters to put aside partisan differences in the 2004 election in order to elect “those who think and behave like adults.”
One of the first things a student learns in Psych 101 is that it’s unhealthy to bottle up anger over perceived injustices. Seems McKinnon learned his lesson well.