It can be done. I believe it.

by jhwygirl

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks that Montana Democrats have been without a candidate to run against Dennis “Boy Wonder” Rehberg. That caused some angst amongst us political junkies who ascribe to the state democratic party – after all, Kennedy had been doing quite well in the fundraising against Dennis – and most of his cash was coming from small donations. More donors meant lots of supporters.

I took that to be a good sign. It meant to me that Denny wasn’t as snug as the bug as state republicans would have us believe.

Since then I’ve convinced myself, despite the lack of a candidate, that there are plenty of reasons to believe that Denny is beatable. I think back to this space in time in 2005 – Tester was “Tester who?” to many people. Morris had the primary all but signed, sealed, and delivered – and even at that, Conrad (Conrad who?) was thought to be unbeatable by a whole hell of a lot of people in Montana.

Not me – I believed in Jon. So did a whole bunch of other democrats and progressives and political junkies.

Conrad was a big old tree to burn last time around – it took blood, sweat, and (admittedly) a good amount of cash. But we got it done!

Now comes 2007 – with November 4, 2008 waiting in the wings. 4-term Rehberg is still slacking along – sleeping on the couch (not quite the visual I’d like to think of for Montana’s congressional representation) – and continuing to float along on mediocrity.

He’s also voting against things like the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

He’s voted against the Clean Energy Act of 2007.

He’s voted against the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. Against the Renewable Energy Standards bill. Against the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act.

He voted against the United States Attorney Act of 2007, which helped preserve the independence of U.S. Attorneys from influence of the Executive Branch. It passed without his support – 306-114.

He voted against the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Subprime Lending Act just last month.

Don’t even get me started on his take on the Montana’s Rocky Mountain front.

Man, I could go on – but really – do we need to list all the reasons why Denny needs to go?

Anything is possible. November 7, 2006 taught me that.

So for now I will believe.

Let’s Get ‘Er Done!


  1. MTSentinel

    Somehow, I don’t think that Denny is going to gift-wrap the election for you like Burns did – following him around with a camera will probably end up helping him. A little history lesson:

    In December, 2005 the Montana Dems were already running television commercials about Abramhoff (remember Conrad inexplicably and fatally saying he wasn’t going to respond until after the Holidays?). By the time he was up an running, the words “Conrad Burns” were followed by “who took $150,000 from evil lobbyist Jack Abramhoff” every time they showed up in print. By January his re-elect was down to under 50% and it never recovered.

    Early on, this race was listed as a tossup, bringing in millions of out-of-state dollars from the likes of (remember all those body armor ads?). The entire DNC prioritized that race and threw everything they had at Conrad. Reid even promised Tester a seat on Approps (a ruse that Montanans won’t likely fall for again).

    Beyond this, in 2006 Burns was the only show in town – Guv BS and Max weren’t running, so all efforts could easily be directed at a single offensive race. This year, BS is looking down the barrel at a very credible Roy Brown while Max has to deal with the fact that Montana voters are starting to realize that he’s not really a Montanan anymore (91% of his fundraising is out of state? really??).

    And with all the cards stacked in his favor, Tester still only manged to win by less than 1% and without earning the popular vote.

    I think this one will take a lot more than just believing. At this point, I think it will take a miracle. The question is who the Dems will find to be a sacrificial lamb so that Denny can’t spend his substantial warchest helping to unseat Max and BS.

  2. I believe. Make all the noise you want, but I believe.

    Your side championed Conrad through all of the election, up to his bitter bitter petty end. And now you want to blame his loss on him. You got one right, I guess. But you can’t have it both ways after-the-fact.

    Baucus still brings Montana the cash it needs – and Tester’s done pretty darn good for his first 11 months.

    As for Brian “looking down the barrel”? You mean that barrel going down over the falls? Talk about needing a miracle!

  3. MTSentinel

    “My side” (whatever that means) didn’t champion Burns in 2006. We did vote for Denny loyally – which explains why he won with such a large margin to the same voters that didn’t vote for Burns. Burns lost his base after the firefighters comment – just about every pundit commented on that. I was manning the phone-banks in 2006 and I talked to so many Republicans that were proud to support Denny but sick of Conrad. But that song won’t play again, Sam.

    PS – Baucus hasn’t brought anything back to Montana – and their claims that they have are just lies. Congress has only passed one appropriations bill (the bills that spend money and that Congress puts earmarks in) out of 13. All the “earmarks” that Baucus has gloated about have to be signed into law.

    And now, two months after the 2008 fiscal year started, Congress has 3 weeks to pass the remaining 12 bills. They will wrap them all up into a single spending bill that Bush will veto. And they’ll limp back with stop-gap spending measures to keep the government going but without any of the Montana money that they have been bragging about. But don’t let facts get in the way of your belief!

  4. Jim Lang

    I don’t want to be a wet blanket. But the most likely reason no one has stepped forward is because they recognize the odds.

    Think about what it takes to elect a Democrat in a statewide race. A Democrat has to at least come close in Yellowstone County and rack up a big margin in Missoula (Schweitzer is the exception who would have won his Gov race even without the Missoula vote).
    But look at Rehberg’s (umm, I’ll start calling him ‘Denny’ when he starts calling me ‘Jim’) results in Missoula county… I pick 2004 because we can compare the number of Rehberg voters to the number of Kerry voters: in th same election that Kerry won Missoula County by 2994 votes, Rehberg won by 3542 votes.

    So thousands of Missoula voters voted both for Kerry and Rehberg. As a partisan, that doesn’t make much sense to me, but it is the electoral reality. Now you could blame Tracy Velazquez but I don’t. Instead I give the credit to Rehberg.

    Has something changed the minds of all those folks about Rehberg? The 2006 results don’t indicate so. I don’t see him getting much bad press, and he made the political calculation to defect from the GOP on some key votes.

    It’s gonna take someone exceptional to win this race.

  5. Jim Lang

    And about those 2006 results – Lindeen did win Missoula County – but by only 3129 votes. Whereas Tester’s margin of victory in Missoula was a whopping 14327 votes. Which again indicates thousands of Missoulians who voted for Tester and Rehberg.

  6. Jedediah Redman

    “Not me – I believed in Jon.”

    But do you still..?

  7. Yes Jed – I still believe in Jon. Very much so.

  8. Jim Lang – don’t you think that 2006 was different if only for the fact that most energy was clearly focused towards Jon Tester?

  9. goof hooligan

    Nope. Not gonna happen. I’ve argued with this guy D’oh-erty. He’s not going to whup Denny.

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by “blame Tracy Velazquez” but she was totally outmatched in her race, was even beaten in a primary for state legislature by Mike Phillips. That’s not a person likely to beat a sitting US Congressman. You can’t blame Tracy when no one else was stepping up. I certainly don’t.

    Note the new name you’ve given me. Mr. Houlihan’s alter ego. The one with the “get tough on communism” policy.

    In the non-sequitur department, Outhouse Steakback food sucks.

  10. Gee- and I took you to be a Montana Ale Works kinda guy…one that hangs at the bar, playin’ a little pool while you wait for your steak.

  11. Farmer Nick

    Jim L. has it exactly right. The odds are long without the the 2008 cycle. Most people don’t even know that Rehberg is the 3rd (at least he was a few years ago) richest congressman ever. He’ll run a low profile and just skate into another term.

    Best thing Democrats can do is put a candidate up there who will focus, talk and work on painting the state house blue. There are a lot of state legislature races will be pretty contentious this year, and people may take notice if it’s talked about enough.

  12. goof houlihan

    Hangin at the bozone…it’s the real deal—.

    Popcorn and black beer.

  13. Jim Lang

    jhwygirl – I do think the Tester campaign sucked the oxygen out of every other race…. so?

  14. Jedediah Redman

    “Yes Jed – I still believe in Jon. Very much so.”

    Compared to the rest of our congressional package and our executive, I guess Jon is a little less of a Regan Democrat and slightly more granola; but I am quite underwhelmed by his “progressive stands.”

  15. petetalbot

    Mt. Sentinel,
    I agree with your assessment of the Rehberg race. But Roy Brown beating Schweitzer? Ain’t going to happen, on so many levels. Here’s one: charisma. Schweitzer has it, Brown doesn’t. And someone taking out Baucus? No way. The RNC won’t go up against a guy who has already raised $7.4 million.

    Still, we need a credible candidate to go up against Denny and keep hammering him on his love of Bush policy. Unless you’re in the top 2% income level and hate the environment, there’s no reason to vote for Rehberg. Another reason to keep the pressure on Denny — here’s an ugly rumor I heard just last night — Rehberg will run against Tester in 2012. That could be a tough race for Jon but one that he must win.

  1. 1 More Rumors on Who Will Defeat Rehberg « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] It can be done. I believe it. […]

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