On Nov. 2, 2010, the Hamilton-based citizen group Celebrating Conservatism hosted an election night meeting. There was cause for celebration among the right-leaning attendees. The only three incumbent county commissioners up for reelection—all Democrats—were swept away that evening by three Republican upstarts. The incumbent county attorney, also a Dem, was defeated by his Republican challenger. Even the Democratic treasurer lost narrowly to a GOP rival.
Despite the countywide victory, that gathering turned out to be Celebrating Conservatism's last. The group halted its monthly meetings in the aftermath, largely at the behest of founder and leader Mona Docteur. The departure of the group from the Bitterroot's political landscape abruptly concluded a nearly two-year saga of radical guest speakers, street-side gun rights demonstrations and a Liberty Convention at the Adams Center. The celebration, it seems, was over. But where did all the conservatives go?
Given the Republican firestorm in state and national races going into 2012, we recently caught up with Docteur to find out. Turns out there are still pockets of the old Celebrating Conservatism guard around the valley, she says. The Ravalli County Tea Party Patriots are still active, though she adds it was little more than an "off-shoot" of her group. Some folks are still hosting regular citizen Constitution classes in Stevensville. The structure's gone. The sentiments remain. "Here and there people are picking it up," Docteur says, "doing their own thing."
Docteur says she's removed herself from the political realm. "No more target," she says. Her motto for 2011 is "have fun and make money." She keeps mostly to herself now. She sells goji juice as a healthy weight loss supplement. "I'm even putting a chicken coop in," she says.
She does miss the people. Celebrating Conservatism was about "fellowshipping," she says. And her inactivity on the political front doesn't mean she isn't concerned about the direction the country's going. Things are getting worse, she says. The economy's a "bugger"; nothing's improving. "We're a train out of control that's at high speed...and the Globalists are definitely going to take us to our knees."
Celebrating Conservatism may be a goner, but Docteur isn't mourning the loss.
"I have a high performance anti-aging skin cream that I just got on board with, and it's giving people fabulous results," she says. "All ages, even people with acne. It's amazing how many men are excited."