Archive for December 1st, 2013

by lizard

Failure is often more instructive than success. Take, for example, the accumulation of failures that resulted in the big backlash against medical marijuana here in Montana.

People involved in that movement—people like Bob Brigham—should try and learn from their failures, especially when it comes to strategy. I relied a lot on the great blogging perspective of Montanafesto when it came to this issue, like this postmortem on IR-124. Here is one interesting takeaway regarding the decision to make the language of the bill confusing for voters:

Advocates can’t claim it passed because voters didn’t understand because when those opposed to medical marijuana said it was confusing, PFRNR suggested their inability to understand the ballot was a matter of them being too dumb to understand it. (Of course, it was confusing. Obfuscating, even. Everybody knows that. The crafters knew that. It was discussed as confusing since July/August of 2011 . If “confusing” was a strategy, whether it was or wasn’t a “bad” strategy might be debated. But empirically, it was a failed one. However, crafters say this wasn’t the case.)

The reason I’m bringing all this up is because I’m sensing even more failure developing from Bob Brigham’s new focus: cheerleading on behalf of the John Bohlinger campaign for Medicaid expansion.

I don’t really care how this Bohlinger insurgency ultimately plays out in the primary, but I do care about the actual people who will continue to be hurt by this state failing to find a political path for accepting these Federal dollars like all those raging Tea Party hypocrites in Helena who snatch what they can from the Federal teat while finding new ways to punch poor people in the face.

Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent wrote a post over a week ago making some damn good points about the damage of Bohlinger parachuting into this debate.

Maybe muddying the waters is the point. Maybe it’s not about advocating for a winning policy strategy at all, but instead a means of causing political damage to the future political ambitions surrounding this populist issue.

Caught in the crossfire of this unnecessary political battle will be tens of thousands of Montanans who deserve better.

What’s even more frustrating are the underlying political grudges I suspect are lurking behind this sudden tug-of-war happening over Medicaid expansion.

*Edit note: I changed the title of the post to make it a question instead, because I hope failure on this issue is not inevitable.

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