The Billings Gazette avoids real issues in its endorsement of Dennis Rehberg

Another publication has tapped Dennis Rehberg over Monica Lindeen. This time the Billings Gazette. Again the reasoning is weak, and the criticism for Lindeen non-existent.

So, why is the Gazette backing Rehberg?


Rep. Denny Rehberg could be accused of working around the clock. He’s on the House Agriculture, Appropriations and Transportation committees, a member of the Rural Health Caucus and a founder of the Rural Education Caucus. He’s been involved in writing the multiyear highway bill that funds roadwork in Montana and across America as well a writing the multiyear farm bill that can make or break some Montana commodity growers.

Again it’s likely Rehberg will be a minority member of the House next year. And it’s not like he’s demonstrated any willingness to work with Democrats. He’s a social conservative radical who will be relegated to the role of bitter critic in a Democratic-led lower house. You think Democratic leaders will want to reward Rehberg’s years of partisan bickering with juicy appropriations?

The Gazette also bravely tried to portray Rehberg as an independent-minded lawmaker who’s not afraid to take on the President. (Yeah, I heard Rehberg claim that, too.) So…how did he oppose this President? Does he oppose torture? The current losing strategy in Iraq?

Rehberg, for example, has argued for expanded U.S. agri-trade opportunities with Cuba, which puts him at odds with the White House. And he’s defended the national country-of-origin labeling program, which has been repeatedly delayed at the behest of Texas cattlemen, packers and their White House and Capitol allies.

How courageous! Of course, if you don’t support Montana farmers and ranchers, you don’t serve public office in this state. Plus, as a rancher himself, it seems that particular legislation actually helps himself.

But what apparently put Rehberg over the top for the Gazette was Rehberg’s commitment to alternative energy and high-tech business, exemplified by his tour of the state in a biodiesel-fueled bus. Okay, I’m joking about the bus, but the reasons for which they picked Rehberg are actually the platform planks of Lindeen’s campaign. This election I’ve watched Rehberg distance himself from his record and paint himself as a Democrat – and apparently it worked on the Gazette.

But the truly odd thing is that the Gazette’s endorsement mentioned none of the issues that Montanans and Americans are passionately concerned with: health care, Iraq and national security, and corruption.

Let’s face it: the newspaper business is a business. Period. Last thing the Gazette editors and publishers want to do is say or do anything risky. Like endorse a candidate behind in the polls because of divisive issues playing out in the community. That’s a good way to lose subscribers, no matter who you back.

On the other hand, what is the media for if not that?

Posted by touchstone

  1. Pissed

    And the Democrats can thank only themselves for Rehberg’s reelection with their singular and unwavering focus on Tester. that includs almost every one of the liberal blogs in MT, sae this one and a few choice others. Don’t get me wrong, Jon Tester is the game for this rond, but it takes about 1.3 seconds to toss in a mention of Rehberg when Burns’ corruption is mentioned, they are after all the same politician in two different bodies. But I guess the Dems can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time. God help the Democrats in 2008 if Baucus and Schweitzer are forced to go to war over party resources. Who will get the run of the house, the new boss or the old one? Let me guess, its the legislative candidates who get screwed the most when the focus for the party is too concentrated on one or two races, just like this year. That’s great news for the Republicans who can evidently walk and chew gum at the same time.

  2. While certainly Monica got hosed on Dem funding, etc, she was mainly undone by Rehberg’s ability to stay out of the spotlight.

    Because, let’s be honest for a second here, Tester’s up in the polls right now because of Conrad Burns. Burns has said a dozen absolutely stupid things this cycle, he’s dirty as h*ll, and obviously not fit for office. When he opens his mouth, it’s usually something grossly inept and stupid.

    Rehberg, on the other hand, is running below the radar, even if he’s more rightwing than Burns, even if he dotes more than Burns on the wealthy.

  1. 1 Great Falls Tribune and Billings Gazette for Tester « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] The Billings Gazette avoids real issues in its endorsement of Dennis Rehberg […]

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