John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


“Fast Times” at the Madison Project

Posted on January 23, 2014
Marijuana joint

By Torben Hansen (Flickr: marijuana joint) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I wrote a piece about the Madison Project last week, detailing how it once was a strongly pro-life organization that was founded to groom pro-life candidate and how under the leadership of former Olympic Athlete Jim Ryun, it has decided to support primary candidates against staunchly pro-life Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Pat Roberts.

In the piece, I wrote about how Ned Ryun, the former Congressman’s son, has been intimately involved with the Madison Project, in his position with another group, called America’s Majority.

Ned helpfully tweeted at me, telling the Twitter public that he is no longer involved with the Madison Project.

I can understand why he has tried to disassociate himself from his father’s group.

The Madison Project has hired Ryan Davidson to run its field operations in a quixotic attempt to defeat Congressman Mike Simpson in a Republican primary.  Simpson is also 100% pro-life, which makes it more weird that Jim Ryun’s Madison Project would be involved in this effort on the other side, given its history.

Davidson is best known in Idaho circles as being “Mr. Pot.”  That’s not because he is a purveyor of Kitchen necessities.  He is not “Mr. Pot and Pan.”

Nope, he is Mr. Pot because he is (or was) the Chairman of the Liberty Lobby and according to a Idaho newspaper, he is known as the pot guy for fighting for pro-pot initiatives in local Idaho jurisdictions.  Davidson pushed to legalize medical marijuana, pushed to tax and regulate marijuana, pushed to legalize industrial hemp, and pushed to make marijuana enforcement the lowest priority of the police department (putting him in line with the Obama Administration) in four separate ballot initiatives.

Davidson was also a key supporter of Ron Paul in the Presidential primaries of 2008, but he took time out from that campaign to make sure that the City of Hailey, Idaho was a safe place for pot-smokers and pot-sellers.

I guess you can be both pro-pot and pro-life, but it is rare to have an outside organization that combines both elements.  By hiring “the pot guy” to do its local organizing against a Congressman who has a 100% rating on pro-life issues, but probably not a hundred percent rating on pot issues (I actually doubt Simpson has taken too many votes on the pot issue in the last couple of years), the Madison Project seems to be transitioning from issues it used to care about (abortion) to issues that now seem to animate it (weed).

I didn’t think Jim Ryun, an Olympic athlete, was much of a stoner.   He always seemed very straight-laced to me.

But I guess you never know in this day and age.

To sum this all up, the Madison Project has hired “the pot guy” to help Bryan Smith, a trial lawyer who owns a debt collection agency and who lobbied against tort reform in Idaho, aka “The Repo Man,” to beat Mike Simpson, who is 100% pro-life and 100% pro-gun and who, in his position atop the key committees in Congress, is perhaps the best hope that the people of Idaho have to stop Obama’s EPA from killing Idaho jobs.

It was Jeff Spicoli who famously said, “what Jefferson was saying was, 'Hey!  You know, we left this England place ‘cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves – pronto – we’ll just be bogus too! Get it?'” in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

That’s the type of keen introspection that seems to animate the Madison Project these days.

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