Sales closes failed legislative session with more combative rhetoric

by Jay Stevens

Everybody’s angry that the Legislature adjourned without a budget. Partisan gridlock is to blame, they say, Democrats, Republicans, ptui! They’re all the same!

Yeah? Read over the transcript from Scott Sales speech after the Legislature adjourned:

…we’ve met a brick at every stage of the way. There was absolutely no compromise with the Democrats. They wanted to spend it all, and then some. We took the historic step of breaking the budget into eight…er…initially six bills became eight…we did it for one reason, and one reason only: we wanted to bring forward a sustainable, accountable budget for the people of Montana, so that we could then offer the tax, uh, tax cuts that they deserve!…and we received not one bit of help from the Democrats. In unison on 49 votes, they fought us tooth and nail and refused to participate in the budgeting process.

The bills went over to the Senate, and they blew the budget up way beyond the subcommittee work…I believe about a hundred seventy-five million, if the — correct me if I’m wrong – about 27 million above the Governor’s budget…they were horribly irresponsible! They spent money that…uh…uh…nobody could even imagine! I think it was obscene and immoral how they bloated that budget up. Without giving any concern to the taxpayers of Montana again!

Um, it’s unfortunate the way this thing turned out. We came in here this morning, and…uh…what the intention and every, uh, uh, effort, to try to come some sort of resolve with the Democrats, and come up with a sustainable, accountable budget and tax relief, and in fact, a couple of our guys – Representative Lange and Representative Glazier – were in the midst of a negotiation with the Senate to provide some sort of tax relief, and they were called out of that meeting, it was adjourned abruptly so they could sine die and run away.

Now yesterday…we have repeatedly made offers to the Governor and to the Senate, ah, what we wanted to get accomplished. Uh, yesterday we got an ultimatum from the Democrats, I don’t know if anybody brought it here, but I’d sure like the press to get it in their hands. Basically it was an ultimatum, you do it our way or the highway. They demanded unilateral surrender from us yesterday, if we wanted to adjourn. Um, we held firm, on the belief that the money belongs to the people, we turned down that offer, and they decided to unilaterally surrender against us.

And somehow we’re to blame. Somehow we’re to blame because we are fighting for the citizens and hardworking people of Montana.

I disagree. I think we’re very unified in this. I hope when we come back in the next session the Governor is willing to work with us. He’s called, I’m sure he’ll call a special session. And when he does I hope he decides to attend that one instead of being gone, like he was so much of this one. And, uh, that’s my challenge to the Governor. If you’re going to call a special session, please attend it. And please come to the bargaining table with House leadership, so we can work out a compromise.

It’s all the Democrats’ fault, they’re immoral and obscene, they refused to compromise, and by golly! The House Republicans preserved their collective manhood by standing firm and forced the opposition to “unilaterally surrender”!

The Democrats offered a tax rebate, and even increased the amount of the rebate after complaints from the Republicans.

The Governor did try to compromise, but was told to “stick it in his *ss.”

While manly Scott Sales “held firm” in the name of saving Montana taxpayers money, he’s also sticking us with $38K a day for the costs of the special session.

Honestly, could you think of a more acerbic, more confrontational speech on exit from a confrontational legislative session, which nearly every Montanan has decried as being too acerbic and confrontational?

No wonder Republican Senator John Cobb had public thoughts about the House leadership:

[House Appropriations Committee chair John] Sinrud continued to cut off comments by [Rep. Eve] Franklin and other Democrats. During a brief recess, Cobb stalked from the room after telling committee member Dave Kasten, R-Brockway, that the Republicans on the committee were “a bunch of idiots.”

“They’re using the rules to abuse people,” said Cobb during the break. “They think they can bully the governor. It’s no different than what goes on in a Third World country.”

If this is the kind of thing Republicans are saying in public, what are they saying behind closed doors?

Let’s hope they’re discussing a change in leadership. Because right now it seems likely as long as Sinrud, Lange, and Sales are in charge, the acrimony will not subside.

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  1. One can only hope that the good citizens of Montana are watching these jokers in action and that they refuse to send the worst of the bunch back. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Soupy Sales, War Widow Maker Sinrud and Foul Mouthed Lange should never be allowed to darken the halls of the Montata Legislature again. In fact, I would not be surprised at all to see the Republicans take a MAJOR hit in the next election because of these three idiots.

    Moorcat (once again being shown that the Republican Party has forgotten how to Lead – or work for that matter)

  2. nnodly appendage

    Wasn’t it the Good Goveror who issued the memo to not cooperate with the Republicans in the House? Why yes, he did! And wasn’t David Ewer dancing around in anger and getting gavelled down by a democrat in the Senate? Why yes, he was! Now those don’t exactly sound like models of compromise.

    Plenty of blame to go around. Too much pride, and ego, and partisanship. The kids have trashed the house and they’re all to blame.

    And it’s not likely any of the districts who elect Sales and Sinrud and Koopman will elect a Democrat, any more than a Republican could get elected inside Bozeman.

    The Montana legislature is just a sign of the ever increasing partisan divisions in our current political climate. And the finger pointing at the Republicans is just as ugly as Sales’ quotes. I don’t see an increase in partisan politics as the answer. Tossing out term limits, looking for more moderate candidates, facilitating some of the tougher committee meetings, all those I can see. Screaming “they did it! they did it!” like Sales, or any other extremist, ain’t cuttin it with me.

  3. Sorry, noodly I looked around for such a memo, and all I could find was an unlabeled .pdf that stressed Democratic unity against the six-pack because of the bills’ unconstitutionality. There was nothing about not compromising with House Republicans.

    As for Ewer…well, he’s an *ss, I’ll give you that.

    Yes, Democrats acted in a partisan manner. Yes, yes. But what irks me is that “centrists” have this inane tendency to point to both sides when they make an accusation. Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we? Can you isolate a single Democratic quote this session that says all Republicans are obscene and immoral? (Let’s not count the quotes about Lange’s obscenity; those are earned.) How many Democratic leaders declared war on the GOP? Did the Democratic party appoint a Communist to chair the Senate Appropriations committee — an ideological equivalent of putting Jore as chair of the Education Committee?

  4. noodly appendage

    Of course I’m not going to trot out quotes from the legislators even though I hear them from both sides and they are equally egregious. Isn’t repeating that counter to my “time you folks got along” message?

    Here’s my mantra; be willing to criticize your side first, and I do have a side and do criticize them first.

    Here’s a perfect example. The Republican party leaders sent out a horrendous mailer showing a woman’s body wrapped in plastic in some districts of legislators who voted against a concealed carry or some such gun legislation. I was offended. It sucked and those responsible should have been fired. All the Democrats were appalled as, I think, was Mike Lange, who denounced it, eh?

    Unfortunately for the Democrats, they had, two years previously, sent out an almost identical flyer with a badly battered woman implying that John Sinrud supports allowing women to be battered. Well, well, we didn’t hear a storm of denunciation from the Democrats about their party on that one. They missed their chance for moral indignation on the latter mailer when they didn’t criticize themselves for the former.

    I think that’s a similar enough circumstance to be the example you demanded.

  5. noodly appendage

    “I think it was obscene and immoral how they bloated that budget up” that’s the quote, from Sales, eh?

    Here’s how you twisted it, “Can you isolate a single Democratic quote this session that says all Republicans are obscene and immoral?”

    You’ve misquoted and misrepresented to make your point and asked me to respond to a misrepresentation. Homey don’t play that game.

    So, if my equanimity offends you, perhaps you might reflect that a tendency to spin every quote for maximum uproar and dissension offends my principles.

  6. I apologize for your bruised principles.

    Do I see blame to go around to the Democratic side of things? Of course I do! I’ve criticized the Guv’s “energy” bill, the wild increases offered by the Senate Democrats, Democratic participation — nay, orchestration — of the rancid teen behavior licensing bill…

    My point is that that’s like comparing apples to hatchets. The Republicans announced their intention to obstruct the session before the session started. And now that the session is in shambles, why is there such a bald attempt to dole out equal responsibility?

    It may seem like semantics. It may seem like ideological, partisan support blindly given to “my team.” But to me, the GOP’s behavior was a stark representation of how vile politics have become, and why. I see the “war” rhetoric as deeply disturbing, a failure to realize that we’re all in this together. It’s like they see Democrats — and people like me — as an “enemy” worthy only of elimination.

    I’ve said some pretty harsh things about the GOP leaders. But if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’ve said some harsh things about Democrats too, esp. if they’re beholden to monied interests. But I don’t think I’ve ever — ever — claimed that GOPers need to be destroyed or eliminated from public discourse. In fact, if you go and read my posts on gay marriage, you’ll see that the opposite is true.

    It’s almost as if House Republicans were purposefully trying to create discord in the state, make themselves appear as if they’re fighting some sort of holy war, as if to energize a base reeling from recent political setbacks, or something…

  7. noodly appendage

    I got married in a corral and the only people sanctifying my marriage are me and my wife, so I’ll look forward a few mutual bruises on that subject as well.

  8. Well, in the spirit of trying to forge a d*mn compromise on this d*mn state budget, I promise not to dedicate any more posts on blame.

    It’s a new world today!

  9. March Duke

    “I promise not to dedicate any more posts on blame.”

    You might consider enlarging that pledge to cover all your posts. Your extreme party bias seriously detracts from your credibility, which is a shame because you show great potential as a thinker and a writer.

  10. We all have beliefs, March Duke. Just because you (I assume) find mine alien doesn’t mean I’m not a thinker or writer.

    I admit, and have always admitted that I’m a partisan hack, writing for and about the goals of my political and cultural beliefs. You may not agree — and you may not always find my methods tasteful — but at least you know where I stand and you know the bias in my posts.




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