4&20 blackbirds endorses Jon Tester for Senate

It’s official. I’m publicly endorsing Jon Tester for Senate.

I’ve been fighting making a “4&20” endorsement because I like much of what Morrison has to say on health care, I liked the way he carried himself at the Missoula debate, and I think – barring questions of ethics – he’d have a good chance to beat Burns out in the November election.

Morrison’s and Tester’s health care stances are similar, they both advocate putting more state and federal funds into alternative energies. I prefer Tester’s stance on Iraq and on the administration’s abuse of “executive privilege,” but I also disliked what Tester had to say about illegal immigration.

Issues aside, I’m incredibly nervous about the Morrison ethics scandal. I’m nervous that Morrison has more skeletons in the closet that will emerge after the primary. Things like the Tacke scandal aren’t usually a one-time thing – and that seems to be the case with Morrison, who handled the publicity and spin a little too well. (How did the scoop get brokered? Why isn’t Lee Enterprises following up on John Adams’ piece in the Independent? Why is Morrison’s camp treating any inside challenge to his story like a virulent virus that needs stomping out rather than openly discussing the issues? What are they hiding?)

But more importantly, an image of Morrison is emerging from gossip, and innuendo, rumors that makes the man look like an over-ambitious, arrogant politician willing to do anything to get the nomination but likely not to make waves in Washington. In other words, the exact opposite of the kind of person we need right now. And by “we,” I don’t mean just Montanans. I mean Americans. I mean Europeans and Asians and Africans. I mean humans. ‘Cause frankly, the Bush administration is bad for the human race.

Still, I don’t want to make any conclusions based on rumors. There’s been a lot of pro-Tester buzz in the Montana blogosphere and some pretty harsh words for Morrison. But – and I say this as a blogger myself – I’m cautious about getting caught up in the spin. I try to read the articles the blogger links to or study the evidence presented and make my own conclusions.

But the reports seem to confirm the rumors. And Mike Dennison’s article on the origin of campaign donations for the state’s Senate candidates tipped me over the edge. Pogie’s already commented on this story, but I think the essential message of the article bears repeating:

Burns gets 83% of his money from “non-Montanans and political action committees.” Basically, only $1 million of Burns’ $5.9 million campaign chest is from in-state individuals. Guessing that a majority of his individual donors list themselves as “CEO,” “president,” or “executive,” or “vice president” as occupation, I’m guessing that of Burns’ instate contributions, only a handful of donors actually ponied up.

Morrison is better. A grand total of 45% of his $1.4 million is in-state contributions. And more than a third of his total is from “individual attorneys” from Montana and around the country. Again, it’s likely only a handful of donors contributed the bulk of Morrison’s contributions.

And then there’s Tester. Of Tester’s $702K, 63% is in-state money. He’s received the most contributions of $200 or less, raising more than half of his total funds from “small contributors.”

Why does this matter to me? I’m tired of big-moneyed interests running our country. Period. That’s why I loathe most Republican politicians, that’s why I started this website, that’s why I’m a raving “progressive.” Big money is running the show, folks, and it's ruining the country. Whatever happened to community? To selflessness?

Tester is a grass-roots politician. It’s obvious he’s creating the biggest buzz among those that care enough about politics that they invest their time and money months ahead of the primary. Regular people fed up with business-as-usual pay-for-play politics. Me. You.

John Tester for Senate.


  1. Mark T

    This’ll put him over.

  2. You know it! The two regular readers of this blog who were still undecided will tip the election!

  3. Welcome aboard, my friend.




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