Archive for November 3rd, 2006

There are two great full-feature pieces in independent newspapers recently. You’ve probably already seen the Missoula Independent’s “Trailing Tester,” in which Brad Tyer trails the Democratic candidate around in a typical day’s campaigning.

But you may not have seen Seattle-based paper, The Stranger’s piece by Eli Sanders, “Left in the West,” which looks to describe the rise of Democrats in Montana. (Nice title! Has a catchy ring to it, doesn’t it?)

Check ‘em out.

Posted by touchstone


Kos and Matt discuss the tightening race in Montana. Remember, we’re ahead, we’re riding the Democratic wave, and all polls have shown us ahead. So don’t despair: work. If you haven’t volunteered yet, what the h*ll are you waiting for?

Butte’s Montana Standard endorses Tester. That’s four five out of four five newspaper endorsements so far!

JEFF endorses Tester, Lindeen. The vote for Tester was easy; Lindeen less so, but Rehberg “makes my skin crawl.”

Burns takes cash from a judicial candidate, then nominates him for a federal appointment.

Which makes sweet irony when contrasted with Bush’s rallying cry to state conservatives: remember the judicial appointments!

Schweitzer, Baucus – both with better approval ratings in the state than Bush — stump for Tester.

Matt on Jon Tester’s independent streak. Judge the man by his record, his votes, and his character. Remember, this guy wasn’t even supposed to win the primary.

Wow! A truly kick-*ss campaign ad for Larry Grant!

Which explains why Grant and Brady are up in the most recent poll. But still…a lot of undecideds…

Kossak mcjoan goes to Wyoming and posts an encouraging report about Gary Trauner.

Nevada Republican and gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons is accused of “influence peddling” by a former business partner. (This is the same guy that assaulted a Las Vegas woman, then tried to bribe her into silence.)

The LA Times profiles the Montana Senate race. (Hat tip to Granny.)

Reverend Ted Haggard, “major player in the national evangelical movement,” doing meth and involved in gay sex affairs? What’s up with these people? (Steve Benen’s take.)

And yet another Republican sex-and-ethics scandal.

Federal inspectors looking into allegations that government scientists were muzzled about climate change for political purposes.

The Bush administration leaks nuclear secrets online. By mistake. When publishing documents that are supposed to prove that Iraq had WMDs, but don’t.

Thomas Friedman goes apesh*t against the Bush administration, including Karl Rove: “Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His “genius” is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.”

British view Bush as a bigger threat to world peace than North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il. Remember, these are our closest allies! At least he beat out Osama.

The Economist’s advice for the mid-term elections is this: throw the Republicans out.”

Fox News ratings tumble 24 percent from last year. What’s that Lincoln quote? “You can fool most of the people some of the time…”

Detroit: the Normandy Beach for Islamic extremists? Only in the paranoid fantasy realm of the extreme right.

The Wall Street Journal has a story up about Oregon’s experience with its recent minimum-wage hike. In it, you will recognize some familiar arguments about Montana’s proposed hike:

During the 2002 debate in Oregon, foes of a minimum-wage increase argued that it would chase away business and cripple an economy that traditionally had higher unemployment than the national average. “With so many Oregonians already unemployed, raising the minimum wage and then increasing it annually would devastate our economic recovery,” Bill Perry, head of the Oregon Restaurant Association, wrote at the time.

So…did the initiative kill the state’s economy? Job growth?

Four years later, though it is impossible to say what would have happened had the minimum not been raised, Oregon’s experience suggests the most strident doomsayers were wrong. Private, nonfarm payrolls are up 8% over the past four years, nearly twice the national increase. Wages are up, too. Job growth is strong in industries employing many minimum-wage workers, such as restaurants and hotels. Oregon’s estimated 5.4% unemployment rate for 2006, though higher than the national average, is down from 7.6% in 2002, when the state was emerging from a recession.

The rest of the article bends over backwards to prove the results wrong with theoretical and anecdotal evidence. As you’d expect.

Kevin Drum notes that the only industry that would be impacted is agriculture. (And that should be a concern in this state.)

But guess what? Higher wages are what we’re going to get if we seriously cut down on immigration too. So conservatives need to make up their mind: either we need cheap fruit pickers, in which case agriculture should be exempt from the minimum wage and we should allow plenty of immigrants across the border to follow the harvests, or cheap labor isn’t critical and we do neither. Which is it?

It’s an interesting point. Let’s see if conservative action follows conservative rhetoric.

Posted by touchstone

The Missoula Independent’s endorsements are up. They’re fantastic, and I pretty much agree with each. Here are the statewide endorsements. The Senate:

Hot damn, an easy one: Jon Tester for Senate!

The Indy calls him “genuine,” and better able to represent “average” Montanans in DC. Also:

He has established himself as an unrancorously mainstream politician with an independent mind, and while running a campaign necessarily tilted toward the missteps and implied misdeeds of his opponent, he has successfully communicated a message of progress and hope.

And Burns?

His opponent, on the other hand, is an embarrassment, nationally and, more painfully, at home. He speaks poorly, he appears not so much to think as to repeat, his campaign has been an endless parade of base indignities against the very idea of civil democracy, and he is the veritable tottering headmaster of the more-of-the-same school.

The Indy rails against his tax policies, support of the President’s war plans, his attitudes toward public lands, his negative campaigning, his foot-in-the mouth disease, etc. and company.

The endorsement was whole-hearted and sincere.

And for the House?

Rehberg is a formidable legislator who throws around a lot of weight as Montana’s sole representative, but given his persistent “stay the course” attitude on the ill-conceived war in Iraq, his votes favoring turning over public lands to private developers, his vote in favor of a bill authorizing the Bush administration to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions and eliminate habeas corpus for “unlawful enemy combatants,” and his unwavering support for the most disastrous and frightening administration in modern American history, we think a change is long overdue.Lindeen has run a serious and passionate campaign, even if it has gone largely unnoticed. She can hardly be blamed for the low-profile nature of this contest given the overwhelming attention paid to the nationally targeted Senate race. But Lindeen has been solid in her support for renewable energy and biofuels, and we believe her when she says she won’t be simply another rubber stamp for the Bush administration. Those are reasons enough to earn our vote.


The Indy also supports the lobbyist reform initiative 153. They give the nod to the hike in the state’s minimum wage, initiative 151, with this zinger: “If a business can’t make it in this state without riding on the backs of people making $5.15 an hour, then it deserves to fail.”

Again, amen.

Posted by touchstone

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