Punching up the domain name www.bobkeenan.com, you might expect to find the website of the Montana Republican Party’s former Senate president, whom the party recently asked to consider running against incumbent Sen. Max Baucus.
As it turns out, the Montana Democratic Party owns the site.
The website leads off with, “Where do they find these candidates?” followed by, “First Mike Lange, now Bob Keenan…They can’t be serious??” Beneath a photo of Keenan is a list of the potential candidate’s negatives. Keenan has yet to confirm his run.
“When he indicated that he is likely to run for the U.S. Sentate, I went out and bought that website,” says Jim Farrell, executive director of Montana’s Democratic party.
In fact, Farrell says, “I own a lot of Bob Keenan-related sites.”
Keenan himself doesn’t have an official website.
“I try to look at it as being humorous or silly,” he says, reacting to bobkeenan.com, “but it’s indicative of a big problem we have in politics in our country.”
Keenan points to a recent statement by Farrell quoted in Roll Call: “Montana has some of the most skillful Democratic campaign operatives in the country who are very aggressive and can be expected to bury whomever runs against Senator Baucus.”
“Just the fact that a person would consider running for office, you have a political party that wants to ‘bury’ or destroy that person?” Keenan asks, incredulous.
But Farrell says he’s not the only one playing the web domain game, pointing to www.montanataxrebate.com, a website ostensibly about the $400 property tax rebate Montana’s Democrats passed in the 2007 legislative session, but owned by a Republican operative.
“I wish I had bought that website, because that rightfully should belong to Democrats in Montana. But, you know, that loveable scamp Chuck Denowh got to it first,” says Farrell.
Denowh was Farrell’s rival as the executive director of the Montana Republican Party until this year.
Keenan admits his party is hardly innocent of playing dirty politics.
“It would be dishonest of me to think this was a one-way street,” he says.