Amanda Curtis: Liberal Lion or Sacrificial Lamb?

by lizard

It’s a good thing Amanda Curtis was selected to replace Walsh because some Curtis supporters were going to make it very difficult to shift from bashing to supporting an Adams candidacy. Don Pogreba even insinuated that Adams could be the one behind the NYT takedown of Walsh. Quite the conspiracy theory.

Now that Curtis has been thrown into this 4th down hail mary scenario, Pogreba has some advice from the sidelines. Part of that advice entails trying to mend the rift establishment Democrat operatives have exacerbated with the Walsh debacle:

Unlike purists who would rather lose elections, I understand the impulse for Montana statewide candidates to run as moderate, or even conservative, Democrats. Winning statewide elections in this state requires a different kind of candidate than winning in legislative seats in Missoula or Butte, and I’m glad we have had a moderate Senator voting for sensible policy rather than Dennis Rehberg voting for anything.

That being said, there’s nothing to be gained by Amanda Curtis positioning herself as a moderate here. For one reason, there’s more than enough video and audio to make it clear that a moderate candidate she’s not. The Republicans are going to do their best to paint her as some kind of a radical; instead of moving to the center, she’d be much better served by embracing the charges—and then forcefully asserting that if supporting working men and women, ensuring adequate wages, and access to education are radical ideas, the problem is with the Republican Party, not her.

The other reason to embrace her liberal view is to inspire young voters to get involved and maybe even increase the passion from some of us old folks. There has certainly been a cost to the Democratic Party as it has moved to the center; working to reinvigorate the liberal base of the Party is probably even more important than winning this race.

It’s good there are some Democrats capable of acknowledging they are in trouble with the youth vote and they are in trouble with their base, because both are true. Of course some of those Democrats still can’t help making smug distinctions between themselves and the “purists” who say essentially the same thing.

Amanda Curtis’ selection will make for some good perception rehab for Montana Democrats and positions Curtis to make a fast rise within the party. But she should be weary of the snakes that now surround her. In that vein, here’s part of a comment from Carla Augustad I ran across at MT Cowgirl:

What ‘Amanda and Kevin should know is that there is NO LOYALTY in Montana’s Democratic party.

Look to former chairman and later candidate Dennis MacDonald, and look to Pam Bucy as well as looking at me, Carla Augustad.

I put myself and my views out there against a person that Idid not know, Mark Blasdel, three tines in a row-not to get myself elected, but to build a Democratic movement.

While I was throwing myself out there for an ideological movement, the Flathead Democrats were saving a few pennies by hiring Mark Blasdel’s publicly funded employees to cater to the Flathead Democrats fundraisers.

The reason that I choose to expose myself here is to highlight the short sighted position of the decision making Democrats in Montana.

The ONLY things that the Montana Democrats, or the Flathead Democrats want from me are cash money (that my SS Disability Payments do not afford), Hell Yeahs (that my conscience cannot go along with) or secretarial services (that I do not have the skills for).

That leaves me pretty much out of the influence loop!

My position here is that Dirk, Kevin and Amanda, really need to be careful of their instant friends.

To emphasize the significance of money, the actual Cowgirl post lays it out explicitly, and even audaciously demands that Adams ponies up some dough:

Now Curtis will have to go from zero to sixty very fast. She will need to raise a mean clip of dough before the reports are filed at the end of the quarter, to show what she’s made of. It’s not clear who sits in her inner circle other than her husband, but let’s hope she’s taking good advice. One thing she must do, for certain, is to keep alive for the next few days the fire that this entire event has lit. She should let it burn out only when there is no more fuel. And everything she does must be done with fundraising in mind. For despite our idealistic feelings that money should not matter, it’s unfortunately about the only thing that does matter nowadays. If you don’t raise competitive cash, you lose big. And it will be that way until we have a public financing system. Curtis’s job is to convert the present excitement surrounding her selection into hard cash. She has about four weeks to do it. By mid September she needs $300,000 in the bank. That would require her to raise close to $500,000. It is a very tall order. Nine out of ten voters today do not even know that she is running for office, let alone know anything about her. That won’t change much despite all the free media she can garner. By the way, Amanda’s first financial ask should be from Dirk Adams, who, as a wealthy Democrat and good sport, should write it for the maximum amount. Amanda should then tweet a photo of the check, showing unity to Adams supporters.

Isn’t that rich?

Amanda Curtis seems like a really intelligent, capable individual who will now experience a compressed political deluge depicting her as an anti-gun union extremist carrying out the liberal agenda of Obama. The Lee newspaper attack machine is already geared up and going on those fronts.

Good luck, Amanda. And be weary of the snakes at your feet.

  1. If you read Pogie you’ll fine that he pays no attention to what Democrats do once elected, does not believe in accountability, always fears the other party so much that he forgives anything his own does. That’s called “losing,” so that he ought to just be ignored. I agree his arrogance is maddening, but it is, after all, nothing more than a manifestation of insecurity.

    He would foist Walsh on us even as the man demonstrated no leadership qualities, no intellectual capacity, and no charisma. Just to win a fricking election! What do we gain by electing a man of such low caliber?

    JFK faced 2/3 of the public against him when he sought a nuclear test ban treaty. He brought them around. Leaders lead.

    And please, fer chrissakes, what’s the harm of losing an election in the long run? Is it not better to build your base than to constantly try to stay ahead of the madding crowd? Ain’t nothing done cannot be undone. Why the constant state of Panic?

    • petetalbot

      I’ve given some thought to the “what’s the harm of losing an election in the long run.”

      The greatest damage being done to our political system right now is the huge amounts of money raised and spent in campaigns: millionaire contributions, PACs, Super PACs, dark money …

      Yes, I know the Democrats chase this money just like the Republicans. I don’t expect the Democrats to roll over, but I believe that the majority of them would like campaign finance reform; maybe even public financed elections.

      So, if we don’t get Democrats elected in the short term, campaign finance reform will never happen and the moneyed interests will continue to control the political scene.

      I was disappointed that Amanda never responded to questions about Keystone XL, or the continued mining, burning and transportation of coal, but I will support her.

      (I particularly like her standing up to Gary ‘Bazookas for Babies’ Marbut and his MSSA. I can already see the 30-second “Amanda Curtis is going to take away your guns” TV spots from Daines and the NRA. This could be more damaging than the fallout she’d get from disparaging the XL and coal. But I figure the gun and the carbon camp are close to the same, so it wouldn’t have hurt her to take a stand.)

      You’re right that the Democrats need to think long range. I will support them in the short run, though, in hopes that they will move away from Republican Lite and advance a truly progressive agenda, once the money is out of politics.

      • Two junkies are slumped in the corner of an opium den, delirious, emaciated, close to starvation, and one says to the other “we need to quit this stuff.”

      • Turner

        I agree entirely Pete. I was at both candidate meetings last Friday night and saw both Curtis and Adams up close. I like Adams’ environmentalist views, but his claim that “coal is dead” would’ve made him a loser.

        I was one of the 82 delegates who nominated Curtis.

        We do have to win to effect political change. Tokarski is simply wrong about elections not mattering. There are way too many examples of elections counting to cite.

        • So you were part of the selecting committee? Please answer a question: Why does the primary not count for anything? Should not the nomination cede to second place when the winner bows out? Or is that only something that happens in democratic processes?

          Please do not oversimplify or caricature my views. If you wish to discuss them versus yours, I am always available, and you know where.

          • Corrine

            I, also was part of the selecting committee. The answer to your question is-that is how the rules are written. Every two years, there is a rules convention and voting delegates decide on how are rules for our party will be written. Follow Amanda Curtis’s advice on her TEDX talk. Get involved, join your county central committee and pay attention.
            That said, at Amanda’s meet and greet on Friday night, she did address her position on the Keystone pipeline. She would far rather pursue investment in a refinery in Montana that would create more real jobs here at home than support the temporary jobs the pipeline would create. She acknowledges that the energy aspect of Montana’s economy is real and Montanans are dependent upon it for their livelihoods. It doesn’t have to be an “us against them” scenario. We need levelheaded people at the table to work on the transition from extraction to sustainable energy. Amanda is the right person to negotiate with the unions.

          • Turner

            The alternative to a nominating convention that you suggest is not in the Party’s rules. If you lived in Montana, and were willing to help Democrats change their rules, you’d be welcome.

            I’m not aware of having caricatured your views, though I suppose they lend themselves pretty easily to caricature.

          • To both of your answers, that you do it that way because that is the way it is done, you can do it better. If your rules are written as your candidates are handed down, I suspect that the process was, like this, essentially undemocratic. I marvel at how, just as with Walsh, a candidate is handed down from above and by the time the process is done, people think it was bottom-up.

            Of course, I lived in Montana longer than either of you have likely been alive, own property there, will probalby return someday. But get involved with the Democrats? Please. I ran for legislature in 1996 and learned all I need to know about your party – that it despises progressives, cloaks right wingers, and only exists to win elections. Period.

            Your Pogie-ish arrogance about my views, Turner, says far more about you than me.

            • Corrine

              So, rules and process don’t matter? The rules are set so that, in the event this or any other sort of issue comes up, there is a way to deal with it. It’s fine for you to write a blog and weigh in with your opinion. That’s free speech at it’s finest. But to expect that your opinion should overrule the established process, set down by people who are engaged in the real work of nominating, selecting and supporting candidates has as much credibility as that random woman from Billings deciding that Jeff Bridges should be our next Senatorial candidate because she thought so. Nice idea, but not terribly realistic.

              • Huh? I said that your rules, like your candidates, appear to be top-down affairs. I did not say they should not be followed, but when they are defective, ought to be changed. Further, rules should originate on the floor and work their way up, at least in a democratic system. I’ve seen your party at work – your leadership is running the show, and your members go along, many imagining things that are decreed form above are their idea.

                Blogs are not “free speech at their finest.” Free speech at its finest is, for example, a person holding controversial views who speaks in public, whose views are aired for wider consideration, and who is not blacklisted, boycotted, shut down. That rarely happens, as we don’t have free speech. Any damned fool can write a blog.

                The real work of putting a candidate in office, not this throw-away affair after the Walsh debacle: One: She is selected, or anointed, but communication among elite, as someone who is controllable, and who might have voter appeal. Two, favorable press magnetically appears. Pictures in the paper, sits on panels, writes editorials. Three, she is declared a “front-runner.” Four, the public, taking its cue, offers support in a poll, sometimes a real one. Five, money rolls in, and TV ads appear. Six, she wins the election. Seven, she goes to work for those who anointed her in step one.

            • Lets take a quick look at your views, shall we Mark?
              1) I’ve met Turner. Your boast that you lived in Montana longer than he’s been alive is silly, almost to the point of extremely goofy. What’s goofier still is that boast concerning another while chiding that other that they don’t know you or ‘your views’. Your views are at least on display here and elsewhere.
              2) I am amusedly curious where you get the idea that an opportunity falling to a person who *lost* a primary election is “more democratic”. If we had run-off or positional elections, then that idea would make sense. We don’t. If the primary had resulted in win by small plurality then your view might still not make complete sense, but it would seem to be defensible. Walsh didn’t slightly defeat Bohlinger and Adams; he crushed them. We have oppositional elections as mandated by the Constitutions of nation and state, even in primary. Right or wrong, agreeable or otherwise, Walsh was democratically chosen by the majority of voters whose first choice was to fill out a Democratic ballot. The also-rans have no claim to the candidacy because voters already told them “no”. That, my friend, is American democracy.

              Back about 5 years ago, surely you didn’t miss all those folks screaming that Obama should be impeached and the Presidency given to McCain, right? Back just last year, didn’t you see a whole lot of screechers saying that Obama should be impeached and Romney installed? You are an aware guy, Mark. You couldn’t have missed all that. Are you seriously telling me that caterwaul made sense to you as “democracy”?

              Whether Walsh came by the Senate seat legitimately is and will remain a topic of contention. But his candidacy was clearly validated by the rules people accept for electing their governance. The rules for choosing his replacement were also openly established by the people accepting how such choice will be made. Your bluster here, concerning others, is really just an expression that you don’t like the rules others have rather democratically agreed to. Fine. Change the rules if you can. All power to you; I’ll help as I’m able. But attacking and demeaning the very people who worked on, made effort for and voted for those rules you don’t like because you don’t like them, stands as the most undemocratic thing in this thread.

            • That’s a fair attack, as I have not really stated my views honestly, since they upset people. One, most of politics is mere suggestion. Financiers select candidates in advance, media takes cues (it is more direct- publishers run that show) and hype the selected ones, party leadership suggests to the party regulars who is going to be the candidate, and then we have a vote, the outcome usually known in advance. With only two parties, both under control, by the time we have a vote, it does not matter.

              I like the idea of democracy, but we live in a low information environment with a poorly educated populace, so it doesn’t work. People follow leaders, so our problem is how to find good leaders. A political system that is run by money people is not it. The idea that a bunch of Democrats get together and run their own show is ludicrous. They were herded to their decision.

              • Yes, they ‘run their own show’. And the show has a script. Yelling at the actors ain’t gonna improve the play.

              • I don’t think they do.

                Here’s a real world example: I ran for legislature as a Democrat in 96 and lost. I watched the 97 session closely. Towards the end, both legislative bodies were steamrolled by Racicot, Goldman Sachs, Montana Power, and passed electrical deregulation outside of their own rules.

                Had I been part of that session, I too,would have been steamrolled because it was experts against novices. Term limits robbed the legislature leaders, the ones who could stand up,to,power, and the kids were in charge. They didn’t have a clue.

                So too was the Democrat nominating convention steamrolled. I know they think they ran their own show, as the scam would not work without that naïveté. But it is experts managing kids, parents schooling kids, schools allowing the student council to think it is in charge.

              • With the exception of the conclusion, which is ‘quit bullying the children’, I think we just said the same thing, Mark. And for what you will likely see as the ‘first time ever’, I said it more succinctly than you did.

              • I did not say “quit bullying the children.” I am more like “children do not know they are children.”

                But we essentially agree.

    • JFK also lead when it came to Iraq.

      “JFK’s C.I.A. was complicit in the February 1963 coup that overthrew Iraq’s dictator Abd al-Karim Qasim and killed 50,000 Iraqis.”-P.J. O’Rourke

  2. My prediction. This be the worst showing ever for a Dem. in a senatorial race. Mostly because what’s happening nationally and the Walsh debacle.

    It’s refeashing tho to see liberal candidate profess her true beliefs so close to the election instead of the constant lies every 5th year from Jon and Max.

    For that honesty I wish her luck.

    • I just marvel that after all our years of back and forth, you automatically invest your whole being in party politics and get your validation there. Ms. Curtis will take a beating, but has an opportunity to show her intelligence and personal strength and expose the Democrats for the hypocrites they are. But the worst part is even if she were to win, one person alone cannot change this corrupt system. Nor could Daines, in whom I see no desire to do so. In you, I see no hint of a breath of a notion that there is a problem.

  3. Eric

    “Amanda Curtis: Liberal Lion or Sacrificial Lamb?”

    She’s a sacrificial lamb.

    Max spent 10 million bucks, and has over a year to campaign to keep this seat – while Curtis has about 40 days until the mail-in ballots go out, and she’s got about $10 bucks to spend.

    Watch the Dems, the party of the rich, sit on their wallets now, and watch her go down.

    • petetalbot

      “Watch the Dems, the party of the rich … ” Damn, I wish you were right, Eric. I’d be lounging on my deck at the Yellowstone Club instead of sitting under this tree poaching my neighbor’s Wi-Fi.

      • Eric

        Actually, Curtis will have about $2010 bucks, since Walsh announced gifting her campaign $2k.

        I’m not talking local Dems as being the party of he rich, I’m talking about George Soros, John Kerry, Senators Warner & Kohl, Al Franken, Jon Corzine, Robert Rubin, Arlen Specter, etc. the list goes on.

  4. Carla Augustad

    Wow, just wow. I agree that yelling at the actors does not change our poorly educated populace, but I don’t believe that Amanda will take a beating any more than I believe Bullock and Tester are at the top level of Montana Politics.

    As to the process, we were polled about our choices in my local Democratic club-I doubt that anything came out of Colorado.

    Of course Max Baucus spent 10 million dollars- most of the people knew him well and were no longer willing to show up and bust their ass for them the way we did before Hilltop Solutions took his campaign over and did really stupid things like requiring me to lose my 99% sign before allowing me into the Kalispell office.

    Amanda will not need tens of millions of dollars if she does not retain Hilltop Speaking of Hilltop, I have some questions about the timing of John and John and Jon introducing legislation against privatization of the military, about changing the system that allows corporations to hoard their wealth tax free & the discovery of John Walsh’s lack of attribution on a college paper.

    When Max Baucus tried to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership he was awarded the position of our Ambassador to China.

    Isn’t that interesting?

    • Your comments are interesting, such as “any more than I believe Bullock and Tester are at the top level of Montana Politics.” There is a sentient being here, it appears.

      No doubt you were polled, as polling is an essential part of opinion management, allowing you to believe you have input. Just know, they do not listen to your opinion. They only want to manage it, and knowing what you think allows them to guide you to where they want to take you. When you answer the opinion poll, you unknowingly cooperate. Best thing you can do there is lie. Messes them up good if enough people do it.

      Amanda ain’t got a rabbit’s chance in a coyote den. I do want to know who she is, if she is a thinker and fighter, if she is willing to lift that pivotal finger, the middle one, to the Democrat establishment. I was advised today that the reason party leadership settled on her instead of Adams was that Adams could not be controlled.

      There’s a thought.

      • Carla Augustad

        Amanda IS a thinker and a fighter. She really has been very good in the past. Her tag line last session Pay attention, get involved, make a difference.

        Something is wrong at cowgirl’s site but maybe you can see my Amanda post here

      • Turnert

        Oh, really? So now you’re claiming to have information (you were “advised”) about the deliberations of our Democratic Party? What crap!

      • Did not mean to sound mysterious, but I am not a name dropper. It happened in the comments in my blog, a trusted source, not a Democrat but one who knows how Democrats roll. I have no connections to the inner workings of your party, nor am I connected to organized crime, international drug cartels, for that matters. I am just a spectator at the circus.

  5. Carla Augustad

    The above should read privatization of the military and “possibly” something about changing the system…

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