Archive for June 8th, 2006

You saw it: Liddy Dole called Tester a “…Democrat puppet of national liberal special interest groups who does not share the mainstream values of Montanans…” (What Dole knows about Montana values is beyond me. I don’t know why Republican millionaires keep claming they’re “average folks,” but it’s starting to get insulting.) And Burns himself wondered how Tester would have voted on the “defense of homophobia” amendment.

The implication…well, the outright accusation is that Tester’s a fringe dweller, an extremist, a nutjob, someone who’ll rape your babies or raise your taxes.

The rhetoric: Conrad Burns supports the two Constitutional amendments that would ban gay marriage and flag burning. Jon Tester doesn’t.

The message: Burns is a good ol’ boy who shares the same morals that regular Montanans do. Together, we can hate fags and hippies. Meanwhile, the other guy (Jon Tester) loves fags and hippies! Because he’s an East-Cost elite!

The reality: This is the old bait-and-switch, folks. Conrad Burns couldn’t give two sh*ts about either of these issues. In fact, he was against the anti-gay amendment (pdf) before he was for it. Burns is trying to paint Tester as an “East-coast liberal” and keep his opponent on the defensive instead of attacking Burns on his record and his associations with Abramoff and INSA and whatever other sordid affair he’s involved in.

Expect Tester to brush off these attacks. Most Americans couldn’t care less about these issues – or if they do, they realize Burns doesn’t care. After all, this flag-burning issue came up fifteen years ago, and the defense of marriage cropped up only after Bush decided to distract the national electorate from his dismal poll numbers, the sinking stock market, the war, domestic spying, torture…you get my drift. Anti-gay activists know Burns doesn't care, that he's using this as hollow campaign rhetoric.

Of course, one look at Jon Tester, one handshake from the man, and these allegations are meaningless. That’s why you should expect Tester to shrug off these attacks and bring up issues of jobs, health care, and fiscal responsibility, all issues where Burns falls on his face.

Tester’s going to run on his record in the state legislature, where he helped pass numerous bills on health care and alternative energy, yet remaining within the constitutionally-defined restraints of a balanced budget, which will contrast to Burns’ wayward spending and appropriated pork projects, much of which landed not in Montanans’ pockets, but in his freinds’. (See Saginaw Chippewas and INSA.)

And Tester is going to run on competency and honesty. In short, he’s going to run on character. And Burns can’t win there.

Burns’ tactics will be ugly and angering, Tester’s honest and empowering. Burns will try to divide Montanans along party lines; Tester will try to unite Montanans with issues that affect us all. Burns will distract and deceive; Tester will tell it like it is. Burns will try to stir up hate; Tester will seek to tap hope.

Seems obvious to me who to support.

Welcome to your summer, Montanans.

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DEBATE: Monica Lindeen faces Denny Rehberg in the House race’s first debate. This is the first general election statewide office debate in Montana, and could be an indication of the political landscape shaping up this summer. Details:

Day: Saturday, June 10

Time: 1:15 pm

Location: Holiday Inn Parkside, Missoula

Meanwhile, as we come down off our post-election glow that saw grassroots hero Jon Tester pummel his opponent, it’s time to start thinking about the House race, too. After the Senate race, it’s the next most important.

It’s only natural the House race has been overshadowed by the Senate primary: Tester was pitted against a DC insider, and the focus was on the cherubic Big Sandy farmer. And Lindeen’s stiffest competition thus far was gas-station owner Eric Jon Gunderson, best known for his website (which is down, sadly). Well, now she’s up against a serious candidate, incumbent Denny Rehberg, by all accounts, the favorite in the race.

That’s not to say Lindeen won’t win. Quite the opposite. I think she can take the House for the Democrats this summer. Why?

She’s got that “Tester-esque” way with people. Character is key this election. We need lawmakers who are honest and competent, and who will take back Washington for average Montanans, like you and me. Lindeen will also no doubt benefit from Tester’s popularity: with previously disinterested Montanans coming out of the woodwork to vote for Tester, a large percentage of them will no doubt vote for Lindeen, too.

Rehberg is vulnerable. Basically he’s mini-Burns. I think we’re going to see some scandal news on this guy over the summer. And I’m thinking it’ll be over INSA. (If you pore over this and other articles involving that group, you’ll see his name crop up…often.) He’s also got ties to Abramoff. If Burns goes down, it’s possible he’ll take Rehberg with him.

Let’s be poised to take advantage of his miscues.

Here’s what we can do to help Monica:

Contribute. Volunteer.

Show up at the debate’s honk and wave at noon in front of the Wilma.

Let’s see if we can tap the energy bubbling up in the state to get rid of incompetent and corrupt right-wing extremists.

Links…

Tester-mania: Daily Kos reports on New West’s number-crunching. The comments are worthy of a look-see. Lots of love from around the country… Meanwhile, Idaho finds inspiration in Tester’s win. Missoula loves Tester. Gazette: “Tester victory stupefies pundits.” Indeed.

Matt Singer notices Burns’ newfound interest in marriage. Intelligent Discontent runs down the junior Senator’s recent platform.

Connecticut progressives take hope from Tester’s primary win; they feel it might reflect Ned Lamont’s chances against Joe Lieberman.

Turns out at least one other Republican candidate for Idaho’s 1st District won’t vote for the GOP nominee, crazy Bill Sali. An interesting race is shaping up in Idaho, and I plan to blog on this more fully.

Zarqawi is dead! Hooray! However, John at Blogenlust is skeptical. Admittedly paranoid, but the Bush administration has made us this way.

The planned Democratic response to the GOP’s culture war: “family security.” Seems like Tester’s been taking this tack all along.

Orcinus on the rousing success of the pre-war intelligence campaign – aimed at duping US citizens! Is that what “mission accomplished” referred to?

Jack Cafferty on Arlen Specter: “Just another gutless Republican worm.” Amen, brother.

Weird! The Colorado Rockies are playing according to Christian values! Of course Matthew 8:21-2 kinda suggests that wasting time at baseball is…un-Christian? So is blogging! Yippee!




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