Archive for July 18th, 2006

Whoa! There seems to be an overwhelming number of letters lately supporting Tester in the local papers! Some highlights:

Barbara Parker of Missoula on wayward “son,” Conrad Burns:

…It is so apparent how much [Burns] has lost his way. He brags about all the pork he has brought home, defended “earmarks” as a great thing, whined about being linked to Jack Abramoff after taking more money from him than any other senator. He has been listed as one of the five worst senators by a major news magazine, and he has allowed out-of-state rich people to make pronouncements about his opponent’s lack of “real Montana values.” What can he be thinking? Jon Tester is a grain farmer from Big Sandy living on land his grandparents homesteaded, for Pete’s sake. You can’t get much more Montanan than a grain farmer from the Hi-Line….

Bob Schwarz of Billings ends his letter decrying Burns support of the Inheritance Tax and opposition to a minimum wage hike with a zinger:

… have just two words for you — Jack Abramoff. It’s time for Burns to retire and live off the money he’s made from lobbyists. There’s a wealthy Native American tribe in the Midwest who would probably build him a mansion.

Letty Limbach of Missoula on Burns’ sudden reversal over drilling in the Rocky Mountain Front:

While I’m glad that Conrad Burns has finally joined the thousands of farmers, ranching families, and conservationists who have spent many years fighting to protect the Front, I’m disappointed in our junior senator that it’s taken this long…Why now?…If I had to guess, I’d say that he’s worried about his ugly record on conservation and is looking for ways to do some quick favors so he can say he’s “delivering for Montana.” That comes as no surprise. We all know from Jack Abramoff, how good Conrad is at doing “favors.”

…It’s sad when career politicians like Burns use important issues as political fodder, because while they are earning points for their party, real people suffer the consequences….We need a representative in the U.S. Senate who knows what we need, and knows how to get it done, and knows exactly what is at stake if he does not succeed. In short, we need a person like Jon Tester….

Susan Reisch of Billings concentrates on Tester’s record as proof of his character:

Jon Tester…has led the state Senate with dignity and respect, without forgetting the values that compelled him to run for office in the first place and his responsibility to live within his means. It is rare these days, but Tester can honestly say he is neither a tax-and-spender nor a borrow-and-spender.I’m sure you’ll hear…that Tester is a “liberal who will raise your taxes.” But his record tells another story. Since becoming state Senate president, Tester has not raised taxes and, along with the governor, has shored up the state’s economy. More importantly, he has brought people from both parties together to balance the budget every session. Compare that to the federal budget deficit, which is spiraling out of control. Pork isn’t free, and it’s our children who are going to have to pay for it.

In the end, we all will face a choice — more of the same or something a little different. It’s not about a haircut. It’s about the person behind it and what they stand for. The choice is clear.

And try as you might to find them, letters supporting Burns are few and far between…


The Helena IR praises Burns for something he didn’t do. Don’t look at me: I’m just a partisan blogger.

Gee, the President wouldn’t use a war as cover for a veto of popular legislation, would he? Crooks and Liars has an excellent summary of links surrounding the politics of stem cell research.

The House rejects the gay marriage amendment. The issue is dead. Expect Republicans to continue to waste time talking about it.

What the traditional media misses by fronting the President’s profanity during his on-mic action, is that the “broader context” is more important. It’s not the sh*t, as John so eloquently writes.

And then Bush is caught on film groping Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. A woman’s perspective on the groping.

The President personally blocked investigation into the legality of the NSA wiretapping.

A brief assessment of the Israel-Lebanon war.

Former CIA director James Woolsey calls for war on Syria. Colbert: “It’s world war three…or four…adjust your graphics accordingly.”

George Will destroys Kristol’s Middle East fantasies.

Why do people oppose gay marriage? Kevin Drums finds some evidence suggesting homophobia is to blame.

Is Dean’s 50-state strategy coming together…in the South?

Montana’s doubles cornholing championships will take place on the 29th in Terry.

Yesterday, the Gazette ran the dueling guest editorials of Conrad Burns and Jon Tester. I admit that these editorials weren’t as exciting as those from the House race, but in that case Rehberg really laid it on thick. That, and we’ve heard most of the Senate race positions made during the debate. Still…as always…my thoughts:

Tester wrote some of the strongest language on ethics I’ve seen yet, and made a vow I hadn’t seen:

Congress is spending our tax dollars like drunken sailors. If I ran my farm that way, I’d be long since out of business. What they see happening isn’t representative government. It’s an auction. Backroom deals are cut, not on the basis of what’s best for the average Montanan or American, but on who can write the biggest campaign check.This climate infecting our nation’s capital has to be stamped out once and for all. As your U.S. senator, I pledge the following: I will ban all lobbyist gifts, meals and travel paid for by outside sources. All of it. I will not take personal favors from lobbyists, nor will my staff. What’s more, I’ll ask a Montana judge to conduct an ethics audit of my office every year so you know I’m living up to the trust you placed in me.

Good stuff. Of course, we know who he’s referring to when he says “drunken sailor.”

Tester touts energy independence and lower health care costs, both issues he’s worked hard for during his stint in the Montana Senate. So we know this is a promise, not idle political platitudes.

Burns’ statement leads off with Iraq, showing he’s trying to divert the issues to a plebiscite on the President. (Um, dumb move, Connie.):

Our strategy in the war on terror ought to be to win. Time and again Islamic radicals have been emboldened by a feeble American response to terrorism. When the Marines were bombed in Lebanon, they were quickly withdrawn. When Blackhawk helicopters were shot down in Somalia, we packed up and left. When embassies in Africa were bombed, we bombed sand.

Anybody have Burns’ record on Somalia and Clinton’s Sudan bombing? I suspect that Burns, like most of his Republican peers, decried Clinton’s efforts fighting actual terrorists. Remember the shrill outcry from the Republican Congress when we bombed an al Qaeda training camp in Sudan? The GOP claimed it was a diversion from the Lewinsky scandal. Oh, how the times have changed!

We were attacked on 9/11 by people who wish us harm. It is naïve to believe that the violence will end by cutting and running. The fight would simply shift from Fallujah and Baghdad to places like New York and Washington, D.C.We can and must win this war on terror. We need to give our troops every tool they need to win this war on terror. I don’t want to stay there forever, but I don’t want to leave before we’ve done the job right. The people who should make that decision are the generals on the ground, not Washington, D.C., politicians.

The idea that somehow the war in Iraq has anything to do with actual efforts against terrorism is ludicrous, pure Republican partisan spin to justify the administration’s botched efforts in Iraq. This argument is about three years past its shelf life, and I find it annoying that the Senator (a) believes Montanans are stupid enough to buy this cr*p, and (b) doesn’t consider the war important enough to come up with a newer, more creative reason for us being there.

The Iraq War only detracts from our national security. The money poured into Bush’s war only steals from our domestic efforts to seal the borders from terrorists. Shipping container inspection? Pah! Less important than Iraq – according to the GOP. Sufficient law enforcement on the US-Mexican border? Pah! Less important than Iraq – according to the GOP.

Let’s face it, fighting “them” in Iraq means that we’re more likely to see a terrorist attack here. And the fact that we haven’t means the threat is probably – definitely? – exaggerated.

But let’s not take chances. Bring ‘em home from Iraq, beef up our security, fix the bureaucracies that provide us with emergency services, and get to work on the ailin’ economy. Oh, wait. We can’t do that with potty-mouth Dinky and his spineless Congressional yes-men in office.


Burns finishes up with renewable energy – a Democratic issue – despite the fact his idea of an energy plan is to give big oil subsidies and tax breaks, and (get this!) tax cuts!

Tax cuts??

We’re racking up a massive deficit, the only tax cuts anybody’s seen are for the filthiest richest in our country, we face hyper inflation if these trends don’t reverse, and Conrad Burns wants to cut taxes???

It’s like this version of Conrad Burns was beamed to the present from 1982 or something.

How else do you explain his idiotic and continued support for nation-wrecking tax cuts?…and for his fat-cat buddies, one assumes as always.

And then if that weren’t funny enough, Burns writes this under “Montana values”:

I also believe it important to represent Montana’s values to Washington, D.C., and not the other way around. That’s why I have voted for judges who believe it’s their job to interpret the Constitution and not write it. I believe in all of our constitutional rights. Private property and gun ownership are the cornerstones of freedom.This election is a choice. I am guided by the principles of opportunity, freedom and a government that serves the needs of the people. Votes matter and my record is clear; I stand with Montana.

Last time I checked, Burns is from Missouri. And I must have missed the handout that said we Montanans should take money from wealthy corporations and do whatever it is they tell us to do.Burns wouldn’t recognize a “value” if it stepped up to him and spit in his eye.

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