MISSOULA — Political conventions often feature unique offerings. But the gun/shovel/duct tape raffle and the bullet-pocked outhouse at the Montana GOP convention might have pushed the envelope.
Former GOP presidential candidate and U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the convention’s featured speaker on Saturday, got a raffle ticket for what might in any other part of the country seem an unusual combo — a 12-gauge shotgun, a shovel and a roll of duct tape.
But the 500 convention-goers burst into laughter to the obvious S-S-S — “Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up” — reference to the contentious issue of wolves. The Ravalli County Republican Central Committee, which sponsored the raffle, clearly had signed on to one widely suggested “management” plan by opponents of federal protection for wolves.
Gingrich said that if he wins, the prize will go to his 10-year-old grandson, who just got his first .410-bore shotgun.
There was less laughter — although plenty of picture-taking — of an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library” parked outside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.
Nothing on the outhouse indicated who was responsible for it, although it made an appearance in the Memorial Day parade in Corvallis in Ravalli County.
The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets.
Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven allegations over the president’s origins. It was stamped “Bull—.” A graffito advised “For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red).”
State GOP Chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula said he didn’t know who’d brought the outhouse, but dismissed it as “a sideshow.”
“It’s not something I’m going to agonize over,” he said. “Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”