Marc C. Johnson

Marc C. Johnson


Kennedy, Mansfield and what real leadership looked like

By: - November 22, 2023

Nov. 22 is the 60th anniversary of the assassination of the 35th American president, John F. Kennedy, a “cruel and shocking act of violence,” as the Warren Commission called it, “directed against a man, a family, a nation, and against all mankind.”  Montana Sen. Mike Mansfield, a close friend of the murdered president – they […]


The antiquated idea of bipartisanship

By: - June 24, 2023

Bipartisanship in American politics has become such a stretch, such a rare occurrence that when it does occasionally break out – the recent bipartisan debt ceiling agreement, for instance – the notion that competing ideologies can compromise in support of the broad national interest becomes a “man bites dog” story.  Here’s National Public Radio White […]


When bipartisanship really happened

By: - November 6, 2022

Earlier this month President Joe Biden forecast a potential nuclear “Armageddon” as Russia’s leaders threatened, even boasted about the prospect of using nuclear weapons, or perhaps a radioactive “dirty bomb” against Ukraine. The president’s dire warning represents a return to a frightening time when nuclear war was not at all unthinkable, and the Russian bluster […]


Meet the new ‘Conflict Entrepreneurs’

By: - June 28, 2022

“It is clear to us based on the gear that the individuals had with them, the stuff they had in their possession and in the U-Haul with them, along with paperwork that was seized from them, that they came to riot downtown,” said Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White. It’s not every day you see […]


Isolationism: So old it’s new again, thanks to leaders like Rosendale

By: - June 4, 2022

Montana’s hard right-wing Republican congressman Matt Rosendale has likely never been compared to a influential progressive politician who figures prominently in his state’s history. At first blush, there is precious little about Rosendale, a disciple of Donald Trump and opponent of almost everything, that is remotely like New Deal era Montana senator Burton K. Wheeler. Wheeler was a […]


A.B. Guthrie, the former president and the flush toilet

By: - February 16, 2022

Axios, a widely read digital news site, reported last week:  “While President Trump was in office, staff in the White House residence periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet — and believed the president had flushed pieces of paper, Maggie Haberman scoops in her forthcoming book, “Confidence Man.” Maggie Haberman is a White House reporter […]


The more things change …

By: - January 26, 2022

When in the late spring of 1964 the United States Senate defeated the longest filibuster in Senate history and passed the landmark Civil Rights Act, the Senate’s majority leader Mike Mansfield called the matter of insuring fundamental rights to all Americans – the right to fair treatment in accommodations and employment, for example – “the most divisive issue […]


Mansfield’s legacy even more important after Jan. 6 riots

By: - December 26, 2021

It was the summer of 1973.  Congress was struggling, amid tense and often angry partisanship, to understand who was really responsible for the break in a year earlier at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The story – quickly dubbed Watergate – unfolded during a period of many months, […]


Illiberal America: The backlash against higher education from within

By: - December 12, 2021

There was a time when Boise State University, the 22,000-student college in Idaho’s capitol city, only made national news with a football team that played on a garish artificial blue turf. Now, with the football team struggling, BSU is grabbing national attention for arguably more important reasons. The school is front and center in the raging culture […]

…When a Montana politician said ‘no’ to war

By: - December 11, 2021

Monday, Dec. 8, 1941, was surely one of the most consequential days in the history of Washington, D.C. The president and Congress moved that day with unprecedented speed to deal with a profoundly significant issue, and politicians were united in their action – except for one solitary figure from Montana.  President Franklin Roosevelt had been […]


The great newspaper erosion (and the future hope)

By: - October 23, 2021

By one accounting, more than 2,100 U.S. newspapers closed between 2005 and 2020. We’ve all heard the stories, many pretty bleak. Smaller newspapers are purchased by large chains, which cannibalize newsrooms in order to squeeze the last cents – and sense – out of “the product.” Hedge funds with track records of slashing costs – meaning jobs […]


It’s a big damn dam … brought to the state by a federal work project

By: - August 16, 2021

Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale visited Fort Peck Dam recently. We know this because the very conservative Republican posted photos of his visit on his Twitter feed. One photo featured the congressman and another fellow standing above the spillway of the massive dam, pointing to the horizon with the brown rolling hills of northeastern Montana in […]