Marc C. Johnson

Marc C. Johnson


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 […]


Mike Mansfield, the Saturday Night Massacre and rubber chicken in Boise

By: - June 20, 2021

When the United States Senate recently failed to end a Republican filibuster and consider creation of an independent commission to investigate the details of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, it was just the latest example of how profound partisanship frequently paralyzes even the most reasonable – and broadly supported – […]


Our existential moment

By: - May 30, 2021

A terrifying thing about democracy facing existential crisis is that it’s entirely possible – perhaps even natural – to miss the flashing red warning lights. We have arrived at such a moment. There are many and varied reasons for the American decline into tribalism, nationalism, embrace of conspiracy and profound distrust of public institutions. The important thing […]