Archive for May 11th, 2007

by Jay Stevens

Jon Tester won a Senate seat way back in November. The battle for credit continues to rage, this time between Howard Dean’s DNC and Chuck Schumer’s DSCC.

The core of the argument? Who spent how much when!

Schumer told the DNC that his committee put $500,000 into building a voter file in Montana, about 10 times what the national committee had invested in voter registration and identification.

“He said, ‘What are you talking about? We put in half a million into voter registration and you put in 50,000 [dollars],’” one source said.


The DNC spent between $7 million and $9 million on Senate races and between $2 million and $3 million on House races, according to congressional Democratic estimates. Senate leaders were satisfied with the amount given by the DNC, but House leaders were not.

Most of the DNC’s spending went toward building party infrastructure in traditionally Republican states and helping Democrats to win state and local offices.

By touting its activities in Montana, the DNC stepped on Schumer’s pride.

Here’s what I know. I wouldn’t have joined the Missoula Democrats, volunteered for Tester, or started blogging without Dean’s infrastructure.

The voter lists were nice…but about a gazillion organizations had similar lists. How many of you Democratic-leaning Montana voters received phone calls this election, raise your hands! And how many of you received like a gajillion phone calls? That is to say, the lists didn’t carry the day. In fact, if I recall correctly, not only did the Beltway gang back the wrong pony at the start of the race, they dumped some pretty horrible ads on the state.

Stop with all the DC chest-thumping. It was dumb luck. Great political timing. An honest, decent man with the right issues running against a corrupt Missouri auctioneer from a corrupt, incompetent political party. A lousy war. A desire for change, and a lot of naive joes and janes just optimistic enough, just dumb enough to do the gruntwork.

Jon won that race. Montanans won that race. Thanks for all the money, though.

by Jay Stevens

There’s a nice story in today’s Gazette on how 13 Republican legislators met over last weekend with members of Governor Schweitzer’s staff to come with a broad agreement on spending and taxation for the legislative special session.

First, the thirteen. Revile or praise them, as is your wont:

–Llew Jones (Conrad)
–Alan Olson (Roundup)
–Michael Lange (Billings)
–John Ward (Billings)
–Edith Clark (Sweetgrass)
–Tom McGillvray (Billings)
–Elsie Arntzen (Billings)
–Gary Maclaren (Victor)
–Wayne Stahl (Saco)
–Jesse O’Hara (Great Falls)
–Carol Lambert (Broadus)
–Bill Nooney (Missoula)
–Walter McNutt (Sidney)

Nooney, for one, had to know his voting record this legislative session won’t play well in this town, even in the conservative neck of Missoula he represents. That’s the downside of marching lockstep with your caucus, especially if it’s on the extremist side. No doubt he’s anticipating a reelection battle; compromise now will help him appear to be a moderate.

Then there’s this little nugget:

Conspicuously absent was House Speaker Scott Sales, the highest-ranking Republican in the House.

Sales said later he wasn’t invited. Those at the meeting said they wanted people there who were willing to negotiate. Sales, an outspoken conservative, has been adamant in his call for deeper spending reductions and longer-term tax cuts.

Even his own party views him as an obstructionist.

There was some talk to rehabilitate Sales’ image – Lange, notably, said that Sales intransigence gave the 13 Mutineers some advantage in their negotiations with the Good Guv’s people. In other words, the GOP went along with obstructionism and helped scuttled the general session for…a bargaining chip?

I know how much the Speaker enjoys his manly war analogies, so I’ll offer this one up: when you surrender, you offer up your sword with the hilt given to you enemy. Don’t stick him with the point.

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