Jim Elliott

Jim Elliott

Jim Elliott served 16 years in the Montana Legislature as a state representative and state senator. He lives on his ranch in Trout Creek.


Visiting with the mayor of Alberton

By: - June 5, 2023

I hadn’t seen Joe Hanson for a few years. Mutual friends were saying that I should get over to Alberton to see him because—you know—he’s getting up there in years. Aren’t we all, I thought. And I also thought how much more I would miss friends who die without seeing them beforehand. So, I drove […]


The poison of party purity

By: - May 20, 2023

A couple of months ago former Republican Governor Marc Racicot was labelled a RINO — Republican in Name Only — and formally drummed out of the Montana Republican Party, this in the face of the fact that he was responsible for the election of President George W. Bush and was also a former Chairman of […]


Laws serve as a reminder of past mistakes

By: - May 1, 2023

Every once in awhile I am reminded that laws are created to protect us from ourselves, or more particularly from our faulty memories, or from forgetting history. For instance, years ago we didn’t have environmental protection laws because we didn’t need them. We were happy, at that time, to not eat fish we caught in […]


What good are party affiliations doing if not serving the people?

By: - April 21, 2023

I give an unapologetic sigh of relief that the Legislature’s attempts to send harmful—in my view—amendments to the Montana Constitution to the voters are in trouble. Before that became apparent, however, an opinion from former University of Montana law professor Rob Natelson made the editorial rounds. He made three criticisms of the Constitutional Convention of […]


Montana engaging in a bit of Constitutional witchcraft of its own

By: - March 29, 2023

The state of Connecticut is thinking of exonerating  people it convicted of witchcraft in the mid-1600s. They would be following the lead of noble Massachusetts which a year ago exonerated the last of those former human beings that they, too, hanged for witchcraft. I am sure the wrongly accused will be grateful. Still dead, of […]


Malice, lies and market share

By: - March 12, 2023

In a column last month, I wrote about the prevalence of anger as an economic force as well as a political force, saying: “There is also the economic aspect of anger such as increasing a show’s TV ratings and market share, not to mention increasing the salaries of individual anger merchants.” I was engaging in […]


Leave the courts out of the politics

By: - February 28, 2023

A friend of mine once told me how he had become a drunk. After taking his first drink he said, “I began to feel so good, so happy, so powerful that I wanted to feel—even better!” Substitute political power for drink. It is even more intoxicating, and like drink, you can never get enough of […]


Anger merchants could be marketing nothing more than misery

By: - February 6, 2023

I watch people driving down the highways in $80,000 pickups towing $200,000 campers (which are bigger than a lot of people’s homes, but then, so are some of the pickups) and then a boat is being towed behind the camper and not to forget the miscellaneous means of propulsion strapped here and there. And attached […]


Investigations for the sake of investigations

By: - January 23, 2023

The United States House of Representatives will be doing exhaustive (and exhausting) investigating into many things like Hunter Biden, Jill Biden, President Joe Biden, and Major Biden (the Biden’s dog, which has an anger management issue). They will also be conducting major investigations into how an enormous amount of money given to the states to […]


Democracy wears a sweatshirt

By: - January 3, 2023

When Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed a joint session of the United States Congress, commentator Tucker Carlson was outraged. “As far as we know, no one’s ever addressed the United States Congress in a sweatshirt before, but they love him much more than they love you,” he fumed. This from a man who promotes “testicle […]


It’s the time to remember those who aren’t around to celebrate anymore

By: - December 24, 2022

I started out to write about this being a good time of year to be helpful to others and that began to sound so preachy and goody-two-shoes that I thought that maybe I should just thank some people who helped me when I needed it. I first came to Montana in 1969 and had the […]


Is it time for politeness to make a comeback in politics?

By: - December 7, 2022

There was a time that some look back at wistfully when politics was not so mean, and people of different parties mostly got along. That began changing in the late 1970s when a young candidate for Congress told a group of College Republicans in Atlanta what was wrong with the Republican Party: “One of the […]