Montana Democrats Wine and Dine Women Voters

by lizard

An Act of Terrorism in the Flathead is a political gift for Montana Democrats because it dramatically highlights the threat women face from right-wing extremists. The timing could not have been more perfect.

This weekend, Montana Democrats drank and dropped cash at the Mansfield/Metcalf dinner. The keynote speaker was Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. Here is some of what she had to say:

“My message is really how important the elections are going to be in November particularly for women, and how important women voters will be,” Richards told reporters before the dinner.

“Two years ago, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund was really involved in helping re-elect Sen. Jon Tester,” she said. “We know how important he has been to women’s health, what a great leader he’s been in the U.S. Senate. We need some other folks, some other help, and so we’re really excited to be here to talk about women’s health and women’s issues and the role that they’re going to play in this election.“

And what does Richards think of Walsh so far?

“It’s been wonderful to see Sen. Walsh already in action in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “He’s a great, great senator for the state of Montana, and we’ll work very hard to try to re-elect him in November.“

She said Planned Parenthood Action Fund worked hard for Tester and left no doubt that it would for Walsh too.

“What we found (in 2012) is that women were very receptive to hearing from Planned Parenthood as a health-care provider,” she said. “At election time, they trust us to tell them who’s on their side.“

Transforming trust into political currency is always a tricky thing, requiring selective concern and strategic omission.

Last June, a Montana Public Radio piece described why Women and families need comprehensive immigration reform. The organization Montana Women Vote stated what is happening to families across the nation, and it’s heartbreaking:

Between July 2010 and September 2012, over 105,000 parents of children who were US citizens, were deported, with almost 100,000 more excluded or left voluntarily. Parents of kids who are citizens, who have no option but to uproot their children from their community and leave the only life their kids have ever known. In fact, the long-term emotional and psychological effects of this kind of turmoil on children is being studied to understand some of the consequences of our current immigration policies.

And if the entire family in not uprooted, many families with mixed immigration status find that one parent may be deported with the other parent staying in their community, trying to raise their kids. In 2008, there were 4 million kids living in mixed status homes. Our immigration system essentially creates single parent households despite two parents wanting desperately to stay together, work hard, and build a stronger future for their kids.

John Walsh needs to describe his position on immigration reform. We already know what Jon Tester thinks, considering he was 1 of 5 senators who voted to kill the Dream Act 4 years ago (Max Baucus also crossed party lines to kill this meager legislative improvement to a broken system destroying families). For a scathing refutation, Helena immigration attorney Shahid Haque-Hausrath unloaded on Tester’s position in this 4&20 guest post.

Last night certainly wasn’t the venue for talking about tough issues, as MT Cowgirl points out:

Tonight’s guest speaker is Cecile Richards, who is the head of Planned Parenthood of America. This is a good choice as it shows the that Democrats are becoming more comfortable in recognizing how important their stance on medical privacy really is. And her appearance could not be more timely, coming on the heels of a horrible incident of vandalism of an abortion clinic in Montana.

Others on the list include John Walsh, our new senator, as well as Governor Steve Bullock, Senator Jon Tester, and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen, Superintendent Denise Juneau and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch. And don’t forget the popular Ed Smith, the clerk of the Supreme Court, as well as state House and Senate Leaders Jon Sesso and Chuck Hunter. Bring your money but don’t drink too much, especially if you are giving a speech. Hopefully, we can at least be assured there will be no poetry.

Yes, hopefully no drunken poetry. Delivering stale political rhetoric and taking money is the point of dinners like this.

And remember, money = political viability.

The political season is shifting with the approach of spring, from Twitter spats to candidates like Walsh actually having to run a campaign now, especially considering Bohlinger gave a head-fake and decided to stay in the race. More from Cowgirl:

The Bohlinger deal is interesting since he had given indications, around the time Walsh was appointed Senator, that he would bow out. But now he’s in it for certain. The 77-year-old Republican turned Democrat is a former Lt. Governor, former clothing merchant from Billings and former Marine boxer, and is well known among voters and has a freewheeling style and says what’s on his mind, contrasting to the more measured Walsh. Bohlinger has not raised much money and Walsh has raised a good clip (half a million or more), but that stuff matters only when the money is spent. We shall see how and when (or if) the Walsh campaign chooses to spend some of its war chest in the primary against Bohlinger. Bohlinger, meanwhile, is trying to fashion himself as a progressive, outsider alternative to Walsh. He says Walsh was anointed by Harry Reid and others in Washington.

Oh boy, here we go.

  1. Big Swede

    The “War on Women” theme is exactly why I’m going to be very choosey with my election season bumper sticker.

    “I’m voting for Lewinsky’s boyfriend’s wife”.

  2. JC

    Meanwhile, Sen. Jon Tester voted against Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act last week, helping to kill the bill 55-45 (yeah, there’s that Senate thing about needing 60 votes to beat a filibuster again…).

    What’s so important about the MIlitary Justice Act that a handful of dems including Tester had to vote against it?


    Looking to end the epidemic of sexual assault in the military, a bipartisan coalition of 55 Senators has come together to reverse the systemic fear that victims of military sexual assault have described in deciding whether or not to report the crimes committed against them due to the clear bias and inherent conflicts of interest posed by the military chain of command’s current sole decision-making power over whether cases move forward to a trial.

    The carefully crafted Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, moves the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, with the exception of crimes that are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying orders or going Absent Without Leave. The decision whether to prosecute 37 serious crimes uniquely military in nature, plus all crimes punishable by less than one year of confinement, would remain within the chain of command. The Military Justice Improvement Act will be offered as a standalone bill on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.

    According to the FY2012 SAPRO report released earlier this year by the Defense Department:

    An estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact and sexual assaults occurred in FY2012, a 37% increase from FY2011.

    25% of women and 27% of men who received unwanted sexual contact indicated the offender was someone in their military chain of command.

    50% of female victims stated they did not report the crime because they believed that nothing would be done with their report.

    Of the 3,374 total reports in 2012, only 2,558 reports were unrestricted, which means they were actionable. Of those unrestricted reports, 27 percent were for rape, 35 percent were for abusive and wrongful sexual contact, and 28 percent were for aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault. The remaining cases were for aggravated sexual contact, nonconsensual sodomy, indecent assault and attempts to commit those offenses.

    Across the Services, 74% of females and 60% of males perceived one or more barriers to reporting sexual assault. 62% of victims who reported a sexual assault indicated they perceived some form of professional, social, and/or administrative retaliation.

    Another report released by the Defense Department this year showed that more than 1 in 5 female servicemembers reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact while serving in the military. Even the current top military leadership admits the current system “has failed” and as Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F. Amos stated this year, victims do not come forward because “they don’t trust the chain of command.”

    The problem of sexual assault in the military is not new, neither are the pledges of “zero tolerance” from commanders, which date all the way back to then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in 1992. Many of our allied modern militaries have moved reporting outside of the chain of command, such as Britain, Canada, Israel, Germany, Norway and Australia. At a September 2013 hearing, military leaders from Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada testified on how changes they’ve made to their justice systems — including the one up for debate in the Senate — haven’t caused problems for their commanders.

    What a dick Tester is. And he says he supports our troops — unless they’re women who have been raped while serving their country. NOT!

    Wonder what all of the folks at the Mansfield/Metcalf din-din had to say about Tester voting with republicans on this bill?

    • not much. their mouths were full of steak. the courage of the leaders is equal to the courage of the followers…..

      let’s talk about protecting our daughters an granddaughters but God forbid we actually do anything about Rape….

      Meanwhile: Dem silence regarding Van Valkenburg is beginning to draw flies

  3. I like Driscoll a lot because he won a primary a few years back without raising a dime. Is anyone even trying to learn from that?

    Every time I get the chance I tell voters right at their door that the political ads they’re seeing cost about $27,000 for 30 seconds.

    Surprisingly, I’ve yet to find a person who thinks that’s OK.

    • JC

      Yeah, but many state dems will tell you that any candidate like John “Democratic equivalent of a Tea Party imbecile” Driscoll who refuses to raise and spend money doesn’t deserve their support. In their mind:

      money=political success/electability

      Unfortunately, that same money also buys loyalty to forces other than those who actually vote. Thus democracy is corrupted.

      • I agree. Like many things in the state, however, a lot of that money is being spent unwisely.

      • Or maybe the reason the article you are linking said Driscoll doesn’t deserve support is that in October 2008, less than a month before Election Day, he said he’d vote for his opponent. Dennis Rehberg.

        Facts are fun. Try one sometime.

        • Yeah, there’s that too. Still, he’s got name-recognition, and a lot of older voters that might not follow the news that much could vote for him just because of that.

          I don’t expect him to peel many votes away from Lewis, at least not enough to win. And I just don’t think any of the Republican candidates will have a chance against Lewis, not with all the touring around the state he’s doing now.

          Anytime we hear about his opponents it’s usually about campaign money. Not exactly what you want voters equating you with.

        • JC

          Facts, how about a quote and some context:

          “I promised yesterday that if Congressman Rehberg voted against the [800 billion dollar financial industry] bailout package that he had my vote, and this morning the first thing I said to him was, ‘Thank you. You’ve got my vote,'” Driscoll said. “However, I’m not endorsing Congressman Rehberg.”

          Few issues were more important in that election than Obama’s (“I’m the only thing between you and the pitchforks”) desire to coddle Wall Street. Driscoll was right on to oppose it.

          And I thought you understood the art of debate in politics, Don. What better way to disarm your opponent than to agree with him with a colloquialism: “You got my vote.” Of course, for political reasons, you turned it literal.

          So who did you vote for?

        • JC

          Oh, and what do you think about Tester’s voting with republicans to filibuster the military rape bill? You got his back on that one?

    • Driscoll isn’t trying to win. He’s trying to make sure Lewis loses. He doesn’t want Montana represented by a Democrat. Whatever his motives, he’s trying to sabotage another election. He got away with it in 2008, but he won’t in 2014.

      What can Democrats learn from him? They can learn not to be like him.

  4. steve kelly

    Driscoll may have discovered that in order to get Democrats to oppose horrible, important policy decisions it is necessary to demonstrate how Republicans act. Once elected, Montana Democrats turn away from their “popular” campaign rhetoric and vote with Republicans over and over again on these same issues. The duopoly rolls on. Driscoll simply knows that money causes Democrats to sell out constituents, and buys silence after the fact.

    Memorable votes include Iraq war, creation of Dept. of Homeland Security, Bush tax cuts, TARP, bloated perennial Pentagon and NSA appropriations, subsidized oil and gas, logging, grazing, mining, and a host of other anti-environmental bills, usually passed as Senate riders — most recently biomass subsidies and NEPA exemptions imbedded deeply in the Farm Bill. Tester’s wolf delisting rider and recent vote against military rape victims are smoldering examples for which no explanation or criticism is ever offered.
    Silence is unacceptable. Driscoll may feature some of these in his campaign.

    I am certainly happy to let the people decide. Open the ballot to all, or both parties will fight unecessary perpetual internal battles. The “problem” if it in fact exists, is self inflicted.

  5. Billings Dad

    I have a grudging respect for the candidates who filed with a (D) behind their name this election cycle, because like last two years ago, it isn’t going to be pretty for them, only worse.

    Unlike two years ago, the unfair, Dem-leaning redistricting is gone, replaced by better, more correct boundaries.

    I’m hoping for veto-proof majorities for the GOP this time.

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