Is this the worst legislature ever?

    by Pete Talbot

    At least in recent memory?

    There were some nasty sessions during the Copper Kings Era and during World War I when we had the Sedition Act, but I can’t remember a more virulent, inane legislative session. And I’m getting long in the tooth.

    Did Montana voters really want our newly elected legislators to submit this unholy number of boneheaded bills? Being an impatient lot, the voters wanted the change that the Democrats promised: jobs and economic recovery and fiscal restraint and real health care reform and lots of other unfulfilled mandates. So two years after voting for a lot of Democrats, they voted for the other party.

    Has the other party delivered? Not even close.

    I’ve been out of country for awhile and on my return, I’ve been catching up on the news stories and blog posts. Disgusting. Whacky gun laws, invasive procedures on women, forming militias, restricting access to our waterways, reducing renewable energy sources, rolling back voter rights …

    Consider this an open thread.

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  1. Ruthie

    Pete puts into words what I cannot, as this legislature has often left me nearly speechless. It is shameful, scary, frustrating and anti-voter that Montana’s GOP has gone from the self-proclaimed party of hands-off government, small government to become quite the despotic lot! As to medical marijuana issue, it is by no means at the top of my priority list, BUT yesterday’s vote to rescind the free-election will of the voters IS a frightening precedent. Why the hell do we have voter initiatives?

  2. Pete, several things:

    1) Welcome home.

    2) Your characterization is of disappointment with federal action, and the consequence is in state insanity. The federal House has accomplished next to nothing. The state House is accomplishing almost universally bad legislation. That’s an important distinction. My opinion, but I think that liberal Democrats need to learn what every dog already knows. Don’t poop where you eat.

    3) There’s a lot of folk out there on the leftward side of things that remain convinced that things have to get worse before “the left” will wake up, cold showers and all. That’s out of the left side of their face. Out of the right comes this message, that the parties are the same. They aren’t; and your post, Pete, clarifies exactly the difference. From Democrats, we may not get what we want all the time, or admittedly even most of the time for the more extreme. From the Teapublicans, we’re going to get a bad that will linger for years.

    • Kptrng

      Nothing that is done cannot be undone. That is the whole notion of the “cold shower” – that you have to suffer to understand the consequences of your own failures.

      In the meantime, check out the attitude of most Americans regarding the major issues of the day, and see who is “extreme.” It is not “the left.” It is the corporatists who run each party, and you, as a quisling and submissive Democrat, fall under that heading.

      Something happened between 2008 and 2010 – what? Why did public attitudes change? It’s not hard to fathom – those who voted for Obama did not turn around and vote for Tea Party candidates. They simply stayed home. That is what opened the door. Who is responsible for that? The left? Or, the Democrats perhaps? Could it be that your failure to deliver the goods brought about these circumstances?

      Not only do actions have consequences, but absence of actions as well. Given huge majorities and ownership of the presidency from 2008 to 2010, the failure of the Democratic Party to produce results disheartened people who bought into the hope and change campaign.

      I seriously doubt that the leadership of the Democratic Party is all that disconsolate about the outcome of the 2010 election, given that it was a rightward swing, and they are right wingers.

      Anyway, this is your mess. You clean it up.

      • Shorter Totardski:

        ‘I see what’s wrong but I’m not going to deal with it … icky icky…’

        The discussion here is about the state of Montana, you know, that state you fled like a little wimp. You don’t live here, so shut the fuck up about what we have to do.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          Seriously is that you Mark?

          I thought you got beat up so bad over at your place you decided to give it a rest.

          • No. He’s still on a mission to school-marm us all.

          • Kptrng

            Swede – you did not know it was me? Is your head made of stone?

            Things will return to normal at my place. The blog had been taken over by a couple of guys and every post was a continuation of their ongoing debate with reality as perceived by saner people.

            And you are welcome to post three anytime as “Big Swede.”

        • Kptrng

          Listen, s4b, Montana is but the larger country is microcosm. Most of what happened there was a reaction to the larger issues facing the whole country and the failures of Democrats to address them. Given our limited choices – weasel Democrats and only one other option, the electorate in frustration took the other option. They’ll come around again. Will Democrats ever come around?

          Enjoy the cold shower! You could have avoided it. Easily.

          • The Polish Wolf

            Mark –

            What evidence do you have that the majority of Americans want radically different legislation that what is proposed either by Democrats or Republicans?

            This isn’t Egypt, this isn’t Tunisia – this is one of the richest, proudest, most powerful countries in the world. There is little that we see elsewhere in the world we want for ourselves, and there is much we see here that the rest of the world lacks. That isn’t to say that there are no good ideas that aren’t supported by either party; merely that the majority of Americans are not willing to risk what they have for some nebulous idea of what they ‘could have’.

            And I doubt your narrative – sure, some liberals stayed home. But voter turnout was virtually unchanged compared to 2006 – the last midterm election. So it would seem that for every liberal who stayed home because Democrats were too conservative, there was a Conservative who went to the polls because Democrats were too liberal. The Democrats would seem a little trapped, here.

            Or, your narrative could be completely worthless. Maybe Democrats lost big because they couldn’t fix the economy in two years and voters don’t understand economics.

            • I wouldn’t waste time with Mark, P-Wolf. For him this isn’t about good governance or democratic choices at all. For him this is about me and anyone else that has ever seen behind the curtain of the Great and Wonderful Tokarski. Besides, he’s got a new buzz phrase to throw around.

              Fortunately for us, the real “cold shower” is hitting Republicans, as Pogie points out in his Montana Round-up post. They thought they were actually electing Republicans and instead have found a bunch of sociopathic control-freak God-bags in charge of our state destiny and our very lives. Now *that’s* a wake-up call.

          • Kptrng

            There is little that we see elsewhere in the world we want for ourselves, and there is much we see here that the rest of the world lacks.

            False. I will not elaborate much on any of these points , as you are talking in a puffed-up manner, like a guy singing the national anthem. So I suspect you are not reachable.

            That isn’t to say that there are no good ideas that aren’t supported by either party; merely that the majority of Americans are not willing to risk what they have for some nebulous idea of what they ‘could have’.

            Poll after poll shows that elected officials are far to the right of the public on a host of issues, from the wars to support of the UN to single payer or a public option to progressive taxation. Elections are a farce, based on advertising and public relations, it being well understood that little of it has any meaning.

            And I doubt your narrative – sure, some liberals stayed home. But voter turnout was virtually unchanged compared to 2006 – the last midterm election.

            One-third of Obama voters in 2008 either did not vote or did not vote Democratic in 2010. That’s the number you need to focus on. He lost his base.

            Maybe Democrats lost big because they couldn’t fix the economy in two years and voters don’t understand economics.

            I agree that voters don’t understand economics, Neither do I, nor you, I suspect. I’m not sure anyone does. But we do understand ending Bush tax cuts, closing Guantanamo, public option, getting us out of the wars …

            • Rob Kailey

              False. I will not elaborate much on any of these points , as you are talking in a puffed-up manner, like a guy singing the national anthem. So I suspect you are not reachable.

              False. You’re substituting your opinion for anything factual.

              Poll after poll shows that elected officials are far to the right of the public on a host of issues, from the wars to support of the UN to single payer or a public option to progressive taxation. Elections are a farce, based on advertising and public relations, it being well understood that little of it has any meaning.

              See, Mark, this is why you make no sense whatsoever. You claim that the public wants X, and then immediately follow with the fact that the public doesn’t get X because the public is uniformed. If they are uninformed then how can they know that X is really better, and why should anyone work for it? Elections are a farce, right? Those are contradictory, Mark. Either the public is informed about good policy or misinformed about good policy. Oh wait, you claim that the public wants good policy about which they are informed but are marketed to voting for those who favor bad policy. That makes no fucking sense, Mark. Kindly, please, for once in your miserable life, make sense please.

              One-third of Obama voters in 2008 either did not vote or did not vote Democratic in 2010. That’s the number you need to focus on. He lost his base.

              Right … cause he was on the ticket in 2010. You are the best tool that the Teapublicants could ever have hoped for.

              And you still don’t understand the difference between Montana politics and national politics. So fuck off, Colorado boy.

              • Kptrng

                Hey numb nuts –

                False. You’re substituting your opinion for anything factual.

                Nah, I’m perfectly capable of refuting his statement that we have everything we need here, and everyone else wants what we have. It would take examples, and there are scads of them, and he’s not receptive anyway. Hence, my answer.

                You claim that the public wants X, and then immediately follow with the fact that the public doesn’t get X because the public is uniformed.

                This is where you usually fall off the bike, s4b – anytime there is a need for nuanced thinking. There are general wants and needs, say, like single payer, or a public option. Public opinion is clear on that, but when it comes to Obama’s bill, there’s a general lack of good information and deliberate attempts to muddy the waters. It takes time to ferret through things, and people don’t have or don’t take that time. TV misinforms more than informs.

                So it takes no time at all to ascertain that we need a better health care delivery system, and that health care is way too expensive. But with Obama’s bill, there’s a lot of clutter and crap around it, so the public is misinformed if informed at all. That is the Democrats’ intent. To muddy things, as the bill was a massive sellout.

                Too complicated for you? It does require analysis from a sympathetic standpoint, and an understanding of PR and propaganda, neither of which you demonstrate.

                Right … cause he was on the ticket in 2010. You are the best tool that the Teapublicants could ever have hoped for.

                Ha ha, “Teapublicants”! That’s really funny. What a clever twist on words!!! Jeez, you’ve got evil wit, you clever bastard.

                Now explain, numbnuts, how a similar turnout in 2010 to that in 2006 produced entirely different results’? Obama was not on the ticket in ’06, but it was a massive Democratic victory.

                Wait for it …. wait for it…

                And you still don’t understand the difference between Montana politics and national politics. So fuck off, Colorado boy.

                There he is! This is the Kailey we all know and love.

                It is indeed possible that they are very similar, and further that I have a grasp of both to a reasonable degree, though not like say a Koehler or Progreba. That’s why I read what they write, and ignore you.

              • Rob Kailey

                Yet you respond to me, claiming to ignore me, and flee being beaten by them, coward. I repeat, fuck off, Colorado Boy. Get your unqualified nose out of Montana politics.

              • Kptrng

                I respond to you when you say things to me. Follow the thread upwards, you’ll see that you sought me out. Your sis simply not an opinion I seek out. You’re not in a useful place, being Democrat and such, to understand events.

              • petetalbot

                Wulfgar! I like the term ‘Teapublicans’.

            • The Polish Wolf

              “One-third of Obama voters in 2008 either did not vote or did not vote Democratic in 2010. That’s the number you need to focus on. He lost his base.”

              That would be a telling statistic. Alas, sixty percent of eligible voters voted in 2008.

              http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2008G.html

              And in 2010? Forty Percent

              http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2010G.html

              So….one third of all voters voting in 2008 didn’t vote in 2010, which is not surprising because one was a midterm year, and the other was a presidential election year. So, Obama voters were no less likely than McCain voters to vote again in 2010, if your numbers are correct. Your narrative is shot.

              As to your broader claims – Yes, it’s true that in some areas Americans lean further left than their elected officials, as a whole. It is also true that in the Senate, the more conservative body, one sixth of Americans have one half the representation. That is a structural problem with our Democracy, but I’m not sure I’d blame that on Democrats.

              As far as the wars, yes, now Americans support ending the wars that they supported starting when they started. It is not generally advisable, however, to withdraw your troops immediately as soon as 51 percent of your population, with the benefit of hindsight, decides they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

              I’m not saying there aren’t problems, Mark. What I’m saying is (and this is supported by this legislative session) – abandoning support for Democrats isn’t going to get us anywhere but crazy town, where the TEA party runs the show.

              • yes. i will support obama in 2012 unless we can find a seam in the middle and a leader which might tap into the frustration of people tired of the dysfunction between the two parties of failure.

                meanwhile, i reserve the right to tear up some stumps and hurl some boulders over the way democrats walked in to a totally winnable game in 08 and fumbled and threw interceptions, allowing the tea party to walk in for the winning score.

                the defense is tired. we need some help from those we elected to occasionally produce a drive and move the chains once in a while. you can’t win much on three downs and punt.

              • The Polish Wolf

                Agreed – Democrats have made a lot of mistakes lately. And I should concede this to Mark – in health care, the majority of Americans do see a better system, and they want it. I fail to see how electing Republicans will get it to them.

                But we can’t score many points if we believe, like Mark does, that there’s no difference between the teams.

              • Kptrng

                I do not say that they do not differ. They do. They service different functions. The Republicans advance meaningful right wing change, the Democrats prevent reform of that change. It’s called the “ratchet” effect, where R’s move it forward, and D’s put a lock in place to prevent backsliding.

                I’m glad you think you speak for the majority of Americans regarding health care. There’s a heavy push by the Democrats right now the cenent the idea that what was done was “reform.” But in truth, AHIP got everything it wanted – no public option, no cost controls, private mandate, and in those areas where there was some reform, the wording is left vague so that administrative rules will be the devil in the details.

                Most Americans don’t know most of this, but polling during the primaries last year showed that Americans were not upset that health “reform” passed, but rather that it was not reform.

              • Kptrng

                There is usually lower turnout in off-year elections. But if it were typical, the no-shows woudl have spread across the spectrum. They did not. The 2006 off-years were a Democratic sweep, cemented in 2008. In 2010, those people did not show up, and it was a Republican sweep.

                You’ve not explained anything.

      • Milly

        “Something happened between 2008 and 2010 – what?”

        The worst economic slump since the Great Depression. That’s all the people needed to know about the Democrats.

        • petetalbot

          So, Milly, shortly after the Democrats were elected in 2008, the country is plunged into the Great Recession? What a unique economic analysis! I had no idea that the preceding eight-plus years of tax cuts, wars, deregulation and lax oversight were irrelevant.

          • Max Bucks

            The people with money lost confidence in America when the democrats gained complete power. That’s why the market panicked in fall 2008. Now the republicans are coming back so is the economy. Things will get even better when the democrats are out of the senate and the white house.

            • petetalbot

              Really, Max? Everything was hunky-dory right up to two-years-ago, when the Democrats took office? No, it started three-to-four years ago when some people with money lost a bunch in what basically was a grand financial pyramid scheme, and unfortunately, took a lot of other people with them.

              • lizard19

                don’t encourage him, pete. it’s just flame-bait. if he does believe the crap he spouts, like the vile shit he disgorges over at mark’s blog, he’s a despicable racist. if he doesn’t he’s just a shameless troll.

  3. Ingemar Johansson

    “As you sow so shall you reap.”

    • petetalbot

      Exactly, Ingy, exactly. And as the Republicans sow invasive, counterproductive bills instead of focusing on important, forward-thinking legislation, so shall they reap pitiful results. Unfortunately, they’re taking the rest of us along for the ride.

      • Ingemar Johansson

        You can certainly take it that way, I’m more inclined to agree in part with Rob’s second point.

        Dems were given the keys two years ago and proceeded to drive deeper into the ditch. Unpopular legislation combined with a trillion dollar non stimulus (passed by bribes) infuriated voters.

        Would there be a Knox, Skeeter, Warburton, Kerns, or at minimum their sponsored legislation if not for what’s being forced down our throats in Washington? Probably not.

    • Really Swede? Accepting that you’re the dumbest SOB on the planet, kindly tell me how Democratic policy lead to the Montana Congress telling me that I can no longer fish the waters of Kootenai Creek below the mouth of the canyon? Those were my waters, Swede; yours too. The Montana legislature has now given them away, stolen my property and yours from us. The left didn’t steal that from us, Swede. Your bunch of assholes did.

  4. For any bill to become law, the Good Governor has to approve it.

    Since you libs all love Governor Schweitzer so much, I’m sure you have nothing to worry about.

  5. So would Max Baucus turning out for Sonju instead of a wonderful Democrat Mary Reckin during her campaign be the symbolic equivalent of “eat shit” ? Shouldn’t you tell him not to poop where he eats? Oh right, he doesn’t eat here, he’s just another pig at the corporate trough.
    Why don’t you get rid of him?

    Support Rep. Hill’s HJ 10: Abolishing Corporate Personhood, then you might have a chance of having a party that works for real people.

    • Why don’t you get rid of him?

      I tried. What did you do? Nothing? Hardly a surprise.

      Quit telling me what to do, and do it yourself, coward.

      • You tried, and maybe you’ll try again. Probably the same way as the last time. Who’s insane?

        • And you still do nothing. Who’s insane? With attempt, I mind actually accomplish. And you? Nothing? Who’s insane?

          • What’s your definition of “nothing”? You asked what I’d done but I didn’t think it was a real question since you supplied your own answer and went on to call me a coward, which is even more uninformed than the do-nothing label you’ve put on me. You go work the planned parenthood table at the Kalispell fair some time before you go calling someone a coward. It’s not the same thing at all as flinging out a flaming turd from your keyboard. I think your method of lashing out with uninformed name-calling doesn’t reflect well on you or your party. It certainly doesn’t promote a constructive exchange of ideas or information. I might as well go read the comments at the Flathead Beacon for all the edification I’ve seen here in your comments. Never mind, I’ll come back on some other day you’re not here crying and crapping on people who aren’t your enemies.

            And to clarify, I don’t mean pig at the trough as a personal attack but am referring to the poem and song by Hank Woji

            I’m sure he wrote it about the Republicans but to me it seems Max has become one.

            And you didn’t answer my question. Why didn’t you get rid of him? I know you say you tried. But why didn’t it work? The question is WHY? I know that’s a hard one, but it might be worthwhile to figure out. It looks to me you’re more interested in ranting and pointing fingers and blaming than actually finding solutions. Who knows, maybe you’re just depressed and drunk.

            ~~~

            Oh, the pigs at the trough they just can’t keep from lyin’
            And stealing from the poor is just so damned gratifyin’
            As they squeeze the last drops of blood from our stones
            Break the working class, suck the marrow from our bones
            Living high on the hog while the rest of us are cryin’
            The pigs at the trough they just can’t keep from lyin’

            Oh, the pigs at the trough see the world thru colored glasses
            They’re princes of arrogance, born ruling classes
            It’s not just enough to cajol and berate
            They’re addicted to power so they must dominate
            They’re the soverign lords over all the huddled masses
            The pigs at the trough see the world thru colored glasses

            Oh, the pigs at the trough they just know they’re all blessed
            So they’re making damn sure they get more and we get less
            With their kinder and gentler compassionate ways
            We’ll be paying off their debts till the end of our days
            And without a doubt they’re leaving us one hell of a mess
            The pigs at the trough they just know they’re all blessed

            Now, the pigs at the trough come in all colors, shapes and sizes
            Masters of deception in all manner of disguises
            They party on the left, then they party on the right
            Then they all move to the middle and proceed to start a fight
            And for all the trusting fools they save their nastiest surprises
            The pigs at the trough come in all colors shapes and sizes

            • Blah blah blah your fault, I’m an angel blah blah blah you pig.

              You know why getting rid of Max didn’t work? ‘Cus worthless pieces of dross like you have me to blame when you don’t do a damned thing about the problem. Isn’t that convenient for you?

            • There has got to be a special place in hell for green party voters. They knowingly saddle everyone else with the worst of governance in the vain and stupid hope that they may one day have a relevance, which they will *never* have, and then pompously blame the abused for their lack of will to resist.

              The Green (monster) apparently stands for the jealously/envy they feel towards people who matter, unlike themselves.

            • lizard19

              thanks for the poem, CG.

  6. jim

    There totally wack. They want to shut down a billion dollar industry (or so the pubs are claiming) and turn 27,000 patients into instant outlaws. And they want to permit rifles and handguns with silencers in the courtrooms and banks. They have cut educational funding under the premise that no graduate from seventh grade should be smarter than Krayton Kerns.

  7. Chuck

    Montana is serious fly fishing country and our stream access laws are admired worldwide. The national and international fly fishing community is diverse and involved in lots of issues. Many are just hearing of HB 309 and they are pissed off. Seriously pissed off. The effort of The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the rethugs to change the current access law will be a huge mistake.
    The fly fishing interwebs are starting to roll. I think you will hear talk soon of a call for a Nationwide boycott of Montana beef products unless the Stockgrowers Association and The Montana Farm Bureau get their lackeys to pull this bill.
    With this particular bill we can shut this nonsense down.

  8. lizard19

    check out Cheney getting called a war criminal at….CPAC!?!

  9. Observer

    Great column Pete.We do indeed have the worst legislators ever. Ever.

  1. 1 Speaking words of wisdom … let it be, let it be « Piece Of Mind

    […] had a nice exchange with Rod Kailey at another blog regarding the current makeup of the Montana legislature, which mirrors the larger scene quite well. […]

  2. 2 Montana Blog Roundup February 12, 2011

    […] writers over at 4and20blackbirds focused on the unbelievable hypocrisy of the Republicans in the […]




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