Responding to Tim Sheehy’s Editorial Rhetoric

U.S. Senate Candidate Tim Sheehy has a semi-autobiographical  editorial circulating around the state. Like most puff pieces from politicians, it begins by saying, “I never thought of getting into politics until . . .fill in the blank here.” In Sheehy’s case it’s Afghanistan.  It also gives him a chance to highlight his military service while condemning President Biden.  

He must have forgotten that Donald Trump had reduced U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 13,100. In November 2020, he ordered that all troops would be evacuated by January 2021.  Typical of Trump, he changed his mind and ordered withdrawal of more troops, instead leaving a total U.S. military force of 2,500 facing the Taliban in the strongest military position it had been in since 2001. The truth is U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan was plagued with problems for the 20 years we were there, just like the Russians before us.  Pinning it on Joe Biden ignores facts and history.  But hey, this is politics.

But back to Sheehy’s editorial.  He then goes on to frame his decision to run for Senate in a “call to duty” format with a dollop of family values and business experience. You may have noticed that we didn’t say “private sector” experience.  That’s because earnings from his company, Bridger Aerospace, which generates about $5 million  a year for Sheehy, is mostly working on government contracts fighting forest fires.   He also owns luxury houses in Big Sky, Polson, and Bozeman, in addition to  a share of a large ranch outside Martinsdale.

And like most rich people, he has lots of investments.  He says his net worth is between $74 and $200 million.  (A complaint has been filed against Sheehy for the lack of specific information in his disclosure forms by a group called End Citizens United.)  While he is condemning China, he’s investing in Chinese companies.  While attacking environmental investment strategies, he is investing in “sustainable” software products to manage carbon emissions. He even removed the words “fighting on the front lines of climate change” from the Bridger Aerospace website after announcing he was running for Senate.

Like most rich people, Sheehy had considerable advantages provided by his family. He grew up in a multi-million dollar lake house in Shoreview, Minnesota, a wealthy suburb of St. Paul. He attended a private high school before being accepted to the Naval Academy. It’s hard to say when he became a resident of Montana.  In 2016 Sheehy reported the Shoreview house as his residence in campaign reports of his donations to Greg Gianforte.  

But probably the most disturbing thing about Sheehy’s editorial is his parroting of Trump’s dark conspiratorial view of America.  He writes. “. . .the alternative is to leave these Marxists who weaponize cancerous ideologies like DEI and ESG and don’t represent our values in control—and to me, that’s unacceptable.”  Most of us have no idea what DEI and ESG means (DEI- Diversity Equity and Inclusion/ ESG- Environmental, Social, Governance).  His demonization and use of the term Marxist to describe his political opponents is straight out of Senator Joe McCarthy’s playbook.  Ironically, this kind of red-baiting is fundamentally anti-American.