Future Shock

by Rebecca Schmitz

The glow from the chandeliers and pendants at Western Montana Lighting provided an interesting backdrop for the introduction of the Brown-Daines ticket to Missoula voters yesterday, if only because of irony. The candidates were surrounded by light on Reserve Street, but Steve Daines’ far, far-right politics will drag Montana back into the darkness of superstition. How can we trust these two men to lead our state in the 21st century when one of them was the Montana chairman for Mike Huckabee’s campaign?

Daines called Huckabee a consistent leader with down-to-earth credentials that are solid and consistent with the majority of Montanans.

Really? The majority of Montanans support putting AIDS patients in, essentially, internment camps? Most of us don’t believe in or understand the science behind the theory of evolution? We want to abolish the rule of law in favor of the Word of God? Something tells me many Montanans aren’t comfortable with the level of religious fundamentalist and big government intrusion in our private lives that will be part of a (highly unlikely) Huckabee administration, a level presumably supported by his state chairman. Not only that, but if we want our state, and our nation, to enjoy economic success in the new millennium we need to embrace science and education. As Lawrence M. Krauss, writing in The Wall Street Journal, states:

America’s current economic strength derives from the investments in fundamental research and technology made a generation ago. Future strength will depend upon research being done today. One might argue that many key discoveries occurred as a result of importing scientific talent. But as foreign educational systems and economies flourish, our ability to attract and keep new talent could easily erode. Even with a continued foreign influx of scientific talent, it would be foolish to expect that we can maintain our technological leadership without a solid domestic workforce as well. Almost all of the major challenges we will face as a nation in this new century, from the environment, national security and economic competitiveness to energy strategies, have a scientific or technological basis. Can a president who is not comfortable thinking about science hope to lead instead of follow?

Can Montana’s future workforce, today’s students, get the scientific literacy necessary for the 21 century economy from a Brown-Daines administration? Steve thinks so:

“Elections are about the future,” Daines said. “It’s going to take a steady hand to guide our economy through what appear to be unsteady times.” Daines said the Republican team will emphasize jobs and the economy and lay out plans for the more efficient operation of state government.

Sorry, Steve. If Mike Huckabee’s brand of anti-science, anti-human progress “down-to-[flat]-earth credentials” are an indicator, any administration in which Huckabee’s state chairman plays an important role isn’t ready to guide tomorrow’s workforce, let alone today’s economy, in this new century. Our state’s educational and economic success depends on having people in office who understand basic science.  Daines is right in one respect, though. Elections are about the future. And his leadership role in the Southern Baptist minster’s presidential campaign reveals a lot about what he thinks the future should hold for Montana: a return to the ignorance of the past.

  1. I hope the organizers of Science Debate 2008 get all the candidates to sign on. It would be interesting to see Huckabee (if he’s still in the race) describe the scientific basis of creationism. “Raise your hand if you don’t believe in evolution.” Perhaps each state should hold its own Science Debate 2008.

  2. goofhoulihan

    I’m as anti-establishmentarian as anyone, including you, RS.

    Huckleberry was and is ominously anti scientific. BTW, I’ll go your analysis of why america became a powerful innovator one better, not only did we allow free inquiry, but we allowed the fruits of the innovator’s labor to accrue to him or her. Yep, the liberals have their share of blame as well by laying claim to the innovator’s wealth and shouting “unfair” every time someone get’s rich on their ideas and creativity.

    Call me an Ayn Randian: no superstitions in the way of innovation, and no second raters pulling down the innovators.

    Steve’s affiliation with Huckleberry notwithstanding, he’s not the creationist as we could infer from his affiliation. He’s more conservative than I, as is two thirds of the republican party but none of the democrats, and yet I trust him not to impose his beliefs on the public.

  3. JC

    goof, am I getting right that you are suggesting that liberals are against things like patents and IP law? That just wouldn’t be correct at all.

    Or are you just making the claim that by “laying claim to the innovator’s wealth” you mean taxes.

    And by “shouting “unfair” every time someone get’s rich on their ideas and creativity” you take the general stance that liberals are against wealth?

    If the former, then I don’t by any stretch of the imagination believe that liberals are against people making money and becoming wealthy through innovation. Heck, the Clinton presidency thrived because liberals got wealthy through technological innovation. And it is much of the money accumulated by wealthy liberals (much through innovative careers in technology) that is feueing the Clinton and Obama campaigns right now.

    If by the latter you are implying that the existence of taxes and a desire to hold wealthy people accountable means that liberals are anti-innovation and abhor the “American” dream, well then I think you’ve got it all wrong.

  4. I realize since you live over in Bozeman you may have actually met Steve Daines, Goof. Maybe in person he seems like a reasonable fellow. However, I just don’t see someone who’s a strong supporter of the outspoken evangelical candidate in this race not having that same desire to meddle in others’ lives or the same basic beliefs.

  5. If Mike Huckabee is in line with the majority of Montanans I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about “Californication,” and welcome outsiders with open arms.

  6. Nick

    The Brown/Daines ticket seems to be one big head fake. The state’s electorate has no interest being represented by a right-winger and an even-more-right-winger, so Brown and Daines are left only with lofty talk of business savvy, rough economic times and efficiency. Unfortunately for them, we’ve already got two successful businessmen running the state in a cost efficient manner — so why are Brown and Daines running again? My distinct impression thus far is that Daines has a big ego to feed.

  7. The guy behind Give It Back wasn’t going to quietly blend back into the scenery. Lt. Governor is probably just a stepping stone.

  1. 1 Is this the Best the Montana GOP has to Offer? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Brown, Republican candidate for Governor (along with is buddy Steve Daines) offered up this decisive position on Rick Jore’s constitutional initiative which seeks to […]

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