Archive for April 25th, 2007

by Jay Stevens

Remember way back when there was a little debate about civility here in the Montana blogosphere? You remember! First there was criticism of the left bloggers’ use of a nickname for the Montana Legislature’s Speaker of the House, in which our antics were compared to racism. Apparently our constant mocking of Sales irked some, despite the Speaker’s bitter partisan rhetoric and promises to obstruct this year’s session. (If nothing else, he at least follows through on his promises, eh?)

And then came Corey Stapleton’s criticism of the blogs, calling us “angry, unaccountable, anonymous media.” Ignoring for a moment how untrue those characterizations are – are any of us left bloggers anonymous or free from libel laws? – and ignoring that Stapleton’s attack was a smoke screen for his racist remarks – the lawmaker’s remarks dislodged some self-introspection from bloggers. We abandoned the nicknames, this blog dropped its “creep” category, and a modicum of civility descended.

And now comes this expletive-laden rant from House Majority Leader Michael Lange, in which he tells Governor Schweitzer to use his ambition as an anal suppository, implies the Governor’s mother is a dog, refuses to offer feces to the Governor, implied the Governor offered Lange financial compensation for his intent to engage in sexual congress with the citizens of Montana, and frequently mentions his urine – all in terms a bit more vulgar, of course. The scene was the Republican Caucus, and Lange’s vituperative obscenities were roundly applauded by House Republicans, who chanted “Stay till May! Stay till May!”

The odd thing is that this outburst came in reaction to Schweitzer’s offer of compromise on some of the spending and tax bills that has bogged down the Legislature:

At the caucus, Lange said Schweitzer asked him at an early morning meeting if he would vote for House Bill 833, a 14-bill Democratic omnibus tax relief and loophole-closing package, in exchange for Democrats supporting a version of Lange’s House Bill 678, a school funding and property tax relief plan.

Such horse-trading over bills is commonplace during the closing days of any Legislature.

“The governor can go straight to h*ll as far as I’m concerned for trying to do that,” Lange told his caucus.

It’s not surprising that this outburst had provoked responses from leftys — we’ve been pointing at the House Republicans’ angry and divisive rhetoric since day one – but it should alarm the state GOP that Lange’s puerile grandstanding has upset some Republican lawmakers, not to mention rightys, like Jack the Blogger:

Is this another embarrassing and political harmful moment for the Republicans? Yes.

My Mom and Dad always said that, “Cursing at someone and calling people names make you sound really stupid and uneducated.”

You know, Mom and Dad were right and this was a classic example.

Apparently, some of Lange’s followers in the caucus applauded him for his speech. They’ve surely been locked up in Helena for too long drinking the partisan Kool-Aid and have lost touch with what they were sent there to do.

It was also supposedly caught on tape by a news crew. I smell a campaign commercial!

As The Western Word (TWW) has contended before, this whole session has been nothing but one big three-ring circus (Governor, Senate, House). Montanans are sick of it. Please just go home on Friday. Pick up your toys and go home. Please.

So let’s put this whole blogs-are-angry-and-uncivil thing to a rest, okay? Apparently we’re the most reasonable and civil folks in Montana politics today.


David Halberstam died yesterday. Like John, I grew up reading his sports nonfiction. In my case, it was “The Summer of ’49,” which helped shape my Red Sox angst.

Colleague Evan Thomas recounts Halberstam’s Vietnam reporting.

Kemmick excoriates Max Baucus for his co-fundraising account with House Ways and Means Committee chair, Charles Rangel.

Sirota, as one might expect, has some even harsher words for Max.

Fox News says Conrad Burns is busy making lemonade: “’Lobbyists don’t care (about lawmakers’ past baggage) unless they are convicted,’ said Larry Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.”

Mike Lange apparently becomes unhinged during a recent Republican caucus and says stuff too salty for this family-oriented blog. (Matt’s take. Jeff Mangan’s take.)

Legislature approves of initiative reform, including a ban on nonresident signature gatherers, paying signature gatherers by the signature, and establishing a judicial fast track for legal challenges to initiatives. Good stuff…although the ban on nonresidents may be unconstitutional.

There is a Green Party in Montana?

The Postal Service targets small magazines with higher rates, while giving big corporate mags the cheap rates. This must be what it’s like to live in a “stakeholder society.”

It’s not just that Tom Delay sounds like an *sshat bedwetter when he accuses Harry Reid of treason, he’s also hypocritical

…just like Senator Jon Kyl’s decrying of setting Congressional timetables for withdrawal from Iraq: …it is “the first time I know of — in the middle of a war — that a country just announces that on a specific date it’s walking off the battlefield.” Hm. Let’s see. Don’t forget, oh, 1998 and 2000, when you voted to set timetables for withdrawing troops from the Balkans…

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) resigns committee seats after his ex-aide pleads guilty to Abramoff-related corruption charges. (Interestingly enough, this budding scandal has ties to the prosecutor purge.)

Former aide to Rep. Don Young (R-AK) set to plead guilty to Abramoff-related corruption charges.

The FBI makes inquiries into Rep. Tom Freeny’s (R-FL) trips to Scotland on Abramoff’s dime.

The FBI is investigating Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) about shady land deals.

What’s with the sudden onset of Republican corruption news? Josh Marshall suggests it’s a result of the investigation into the DoJ. That is, the political roadblocks have been removed. (Hm. Is there a certain former Senator whose time is coming?)

Giuliani: America will be less safe under a Democratic presidency. Obama: “Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics….The threat we face is real, and deserves better than to be the punchline of another political attack.”

Did the retirement of US Attorney Debra Yang have anything to do with her investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)?

Montana Headlines pays homage to the Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee who helped toast Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, and mulls Gonzalez’ complete lack of ability. Of course, it was these same Senators who failed completely to provide any oversight over Gonzalez and the Bush administration.

Digby actually finds some sympathy for Gonzalez. He’s the fall guy for Karl Rove and Bush himself.

DoJ staffer who, according to David Iglesias, “holds the keys to the kingdom,” wins immunity in exchange for her testimony. Could we finally see someone tell it like it is?

Here’s an interesting “coincidence”: the same network that has the prosecutor purge emails also hosted Ohio’s 2004 election results.

The White House leaks like a sieve. Too bad for national security. Where was Republican Congressional oversight?

Steve Benen on the Office of the Special Prosector’s investigation of the administration, and its head, Scott Bloch. Love this David Corn quote: “It is a dizzying situation. The investigator investigating officials who oversee the agency that is investigating the investigator. Forget firewalls. This looks more like a basement flooded with backed-up sewage–with the water rising.”

Your Orwellian moment: US military officials are not to refer to the Iraq War as “long.”

Kevin Tillman accuses the military and the administration of manipulating the facts of his brother’s death and using it for propaganda purposes.

Iraq veteran Pete Granato speaks out against the war.

Harper’s Scott Horton on David Broder: “The Washington Post‘s David Broder is called the “dean” of the Washington punditry. More recently, he seems to sum up everything that’s wrong with the class who brought you weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq war and the ever “resurgent” President Bush. He is the vessel of a received wisdom which keeps the war-president in place, cautioning against criticism and validating war- and fear-mongering at every turn. Rather than provide pearls of wisdom based on a lifetime in Washington politics, Broder dishes out naïve, uncritical appraisals of Bush which often have a sycophantic twist—by contrast, he strings administration critics with malicious attacks which reflect faulty reasoning and imaginary facts.”

Jon Stewart and John McCain debate the Iraq War. No-holds-barred interview style by Stewart shames the insider pundit class.

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