Archive for August 7th, 2006


Jon Tester uses Pete Talbot’s hotel room for his grand entrance. Talbot is impressed.

A Missoula County Republican is a wife beater. Classy.

Hey, how’s it going in Baghdad? Ah, “civil war this, civil war that.”

Bush’s approval rating 20 percent among Americans 18 to 24.

The New York Times on Washington DC’s culture of corruption and “transactional lobbying.”

Speaking of corruption, Bob Ney drops out of his re-election race. Another Abramoff crony bites the dust. Hm…who does that leave?

Whatever happened to Bernie Kerik, Bush nominee for Dept of Homeland Security? These are the kind of guys our President thinks is worthy of an important government post.

The Carpetbagger Report on the Harris poll that showed half of US citizens believe Iraq had WMDs in 2003 when we invaded: “…the right has its own opinions and its own facts. It doesn’t matter what David Kay, Charles Duelfer, Scott Ritter or any of the other credible inspectors, many of whom were hand-picked by the Bush White House, say about WMD. Reality interferes with politics, so the answer is to retreat further into fantasy.”

Department of Hypocrisy: Republican Senator George Allen votes against Plan B but invests in it. An eloquent demonstration how the GOP really feels about its conservative supporters.

The anthem of the 2006 midterms, as performed by the Squirrel Nut Zipper and Ricki Lee Jones: “Have you had enough?” Available for download!

Unfortunately, it appears the media hasn’t had enough, as it ignores the Dems’ “Constitution in Crisis.”

Some interesting analysis of the Connecticut primary: “Lieberman, I’m told, calculated that he had a 50% chance of winning the primary and an 85% chance of winning the general as an independent, making his decision obvious. But of course that was a terrible miscalculation, because among other things it failed to factor in the effect of the decision itself.”

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein claims the netroots have already won, no matter the outcome of tomorrow’s election.

A terrible scandal involving organ recipients who were screwed by an HMO’s drive for profit.

Hey! The New York Times gets the Montana Senate race! With the headline “In Montana Senate Race, Focus is on Local Issues Rather than Washington,” it’s apparent that the East Coasters are finally understanding the situation. I like to think they’ve been reading my posts over at Midterm Madness, where I’ve been saying over and over that the campaign is wholly local.

Back in early July, when that month’s Rasmussen poll showed Tester with a seven-point lead, the blurb next to the numbers read,

even though most Americans think the Abramoff lobbying scandal was little more than business as usual, Burns close ties to the convicted lobbyists has clearly hurt Burns in Montana.

I wrote:

The Abramoff scandal is, of course, a factor in all this. But there are other explanations.First, Tester’s campaign strategy is largely local. Most of the planning and strategizing has been done by a home-grown staff built during the primary run. Tester is running as a Montanan on issues important to Montanans: the war, the economy, and the deficit. (Abramoff never came up during the June debate.)

Second, Burns’ campaign is largely national. Burns’ attempts to portray Tester as influenced by Washington, D.C., ring false when the senator himself still dallies with influential lobbyists and even passed up the first Senate debate for a golf fundraiser.

Today’s Times story:

Jack who? That has become the question this summer as a nationally watched election that a few months ago seemed likely to be swinging on the issue of Washington’s ways and mores has instead downshifted to local, idiosyncratic Montana issues.

That’s why Burns’ campaign is failing right now. Dee caught that feeling in yesterday’s Times piece when she caught the frustration of rural Montanans with Burns’ senseless attacks on Tester’s hair cut, avoiding the issues they want to talk about.

It’s the same reason that makes the national-level GOP attacks on Tester over his association with the blogs laughable. Again, from the AP:

While some feel the GOP can turn a candidate’s association with a website into a liability, it is highly unlikely to have much of an effect on the Montana Senate race. First, few in Montana — like anywhere else — actually read political blogs with regularity. (And those that do will understand the complexity and varying viewpoints of a blog like The Daily Kos.) Second, the issues that have so far affected this race have been local. Burns insulting a firefighter is a local event, because “hot shots” are ubiquitous in the state and are essential to many Montana livelihoods. Blogs are neither.

The Times story also identifies a possible cause for our state’s obsession with local issues:

The backdrop for both candidates is a state in the middle of an identity crisis. The energy economy is booming from gas and oil exploration, but agriculture is struggling and the percentage of people without health insurance is among the highest in the nation — a point that Mr. Tester constantly cites in his speeches.

This is a fantastic point and very true. We are in an identity crisis in the state. And Tester recognizes that, Burns doesn’t. While Burns feels service to the state in the Senate largely revolves around pork he sends to the state, he has absolutely no realistic or original ideas on how to deal with the impending energy, environmental, and health crises threatening middle-class Montanans. Instead, he and his East-Coast big-money buddies are running the campaign on fags and flags in hopes of distracting us from actual issues.

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