Archive for November 17th, 2006

by Jay Stevens 

What, did Jason Klindt rub off on the Montana Republican Party? Check out the latest from the nutcase wing of the state’s political spectrum:

Chuck Denowh, executive director of the Montana Republican Party, said Tester told voters during the campaign that U.S. Senate Democratic leaders had promised him a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.Earlier this week, Tester announced from Washington, D.C., that he had been assigned to six committees, but the Appropriations Committee was not among them.

“Tester lied,” Denowh said. “He lied to gain the trust of the people of Montana and he lied in order to dupe people into voting for him.”

Wasn’t the election over about a week ago? Someone tell this blathering idiot. I think he’s stuck in robo-slander mode. Sheesh, he’s making the folks at “What’s White” look restrained…

No, wait! Let him ramble on. I can’t think of better press for Tester than a constant bickering, bitter tone from the Montana GOP.

by Jay Stevens 

We’ve heard a lot of talk about where and how Jon Tester won the Senate seat in Montana. John Adams of the Missoula Independent identified Missoula as the hot-spot in the election — Tester did, after all, earn a 12,000-vote advantage over Burns in the county. Courtney Lowery of New West points to Jon’s advantage in rural counties over Schweitzer’s tallies in his 2000 Senate bid. Matt Singer crunches the numbers and concludes that both are true – after all, the guy won by just over 2,000 votes.

The reason everybody’s scrambling for answers is that Jon Tester lost the state’s largest county – Yellowstone – and just about every rural county by a significant margin and still won the election. That’s just not…logical? Normal?

In all the explanations though, one significant block of support that hasn’t been mentioned is the state’s Native American vote.

Consider. The rural counties that Tester did win have a significant Native population: Big Horn, Blaine, Hill, Roosevelt, and Rosebud. Add those totals to Glacier county, and you have a sizeable swing for Tester based on Native American votes:

The negative perception [of Conrad Burns] showed up in places like Big Horn County, home to the Crow Reservation, voters chose Tester over Burns by a nearly 2-1 margin. Tester won 64 percent of a vote in a county that is 60 percent Native American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.The results were similar in Glacier County, home to the Blackfeet Reservation. There, 62 percent of voters chose Tester in a county with a 62 percent Native population.

In Roosevelt County, home to the Fort Peck Reservation, 58 percent of voters went with Tester. The county is 56 percent Native.

Even in places where Native Americans are not the majority, the election results showed the power of their vote. In Blaine County, where Natives make up 45 percent of the population, 51 percent picked Tester over Burns.

Four other counties with sizable, double-digit percentage Native populations — Choteau, Hill, Lake and Rosebud — saw some rather tight margins between Tester and Burns. In all but one of these counties, Tester carried the vote.

If the percentage of Missoula voters pulling for Tester astounded pundits, consider the percentage of pro-Tester Indians:

”We worked very hard on the ‘Get Out the Indian Vote,”’ [MT state senator from Browning, Carol] Juneau said. ”It had a big impact on the U.S. Senate race. I looked at data here in Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation. In the precincts on the reservation we had 2,461 people vote, and 83 percent voted for Jon Tester. If you add all the Indian votes from throughout Montana’s seven reservations and figure that about 80 percent voted for Tester, that made a huge impact on the senatorial election.” That election, in which the Republican incumbent was defeated, was very close and the Indian vote certainly had a big impact.

So why all the love for Jon Tester on Montana’s reservations? Again, Conrad Burns was his own worst enemy:

Burns supported Senator Slade Gorton’s 1997 bill to restrict tribal jurisdiction and drafted legislation to eliminate tribal jurisdiction in Montana over non-Indians. Funding for Indian programs has not increased under Burns.

Gorton’s bill was a direct attack on Native American tribal authority:

In 1998, Gorton introduced CERA’s dream bill, the cynically titled “American Indian Justice Act.” It was offered as a kind of political extortion: surrender self-rule or lose millions in federal money. Gorton’s bill, which passed the Senate but was rejected by the House, would have required all tribes to surrender their tribal sovereignty in order to receive federal funds and for all tribes getting federal money to be means tested. Ada Deer, a member of the Menominee Tribe and former assistant secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs, called the measure “termination by appropriation.”

I’m sure Burns support of Michigan tribes over Montana’s rankled some Native American voters as well.

Montana’s Native Americans must be thrilled at having been instrumental in Burns’ downfall.

Links…

The Great Falls Tribune heartily endorses the Good Guv’s education spending increases.

Matt Singer’s take on Montana’s rural support for Jon Tester.

Here’s a bloc of voters few have credited with Tester’s win: Montana’s Native Americans. This year also marks the most Indian legislators in Montana’s legislature as well.

Limbaugh targets JT. If you judge a man by his enemies, I’d say we picked the right guy. Colbert rushes to defend Rush: “Do you know how hard it is to convince the American public to believe in things that you don’t? And all he gets in return is $35 million a year?”

Dennis Swibold comments on Conrad Burns’ manners.

Max Baucus has taken the privatization of Social Security off the table: “It’s good to have Senator Baucus at the door to the hen house for now.”

David Sirota claims Baucus is on the hot seat, and draws up a list of issues that our Sr. Senator should pay close attention to. A must read.

Sam Kitzenberg explains his party switch, says that state Republicans harassed him for being too independent. Then John Sinrud harasses Kitzenberg. Matt’s take.

Moorcat on Monica Lindeen’s run at the House.

Western Democrat’s Denver convention watch. My money is on Denver, indeed, getting the nod.

KXLY on the influx of white supremacists to Montana. Ugh.

The Guardian has a preview of the Iraq Study Group report. Kossak Georgia10: “Ah yes, success is always just a Friedman unit or two away, isn’t it?”

Kossak Icarus Rising analyzes the pollsters’ performance: Senate races.

Julie Fanselow mulls over the recent Democratic vote for its House Majority Leader, and how it signals a new, positive change in political leadership. Sort of a different lesson than what the inside-the-Beltway crowd learned. And Olbermann’s take, which is right on.

It turns out that having Medicare negotiate drug costs with Big Pharm will not result in fewer life-saving drugs after all. It may result in fewer drugs treating erectile dysfunction…but a woman is Speaker of the House! What does she care!

So…what’s the real cost of climate change?

Failing to address climate change may result in “pollution penalties” from the EU. So…we need Europe to bully us into doing the right thing?

Time’s 5 myths about the midterm elections.

Colby on dissent.




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