Archive for the ‘2010 Election’ Category

by Pete Talbot

The federal deadline for the final campaign finance reports before the primary election was yesterday and there are some interesting numbers.

In the congressional contest, the far right and the far, far right did pretty well.

Of course, Republican incumbent Dennis Rehberg has an obscene amount of net receipts: $913,941.

Next up on the Republican side is Mark French at $58,068. That’s a nice chunk of change for a guy who makes Mussolini look progressive.

The moderate in this race, A.J. Otjen, raised $23,013.

On the Democratic side, Dennis McDonald has the highest net receipts but Tyler Gernant isn’t too far behind: McDonald, $167,716; Gernant, $124,565.

Sam Rankin of Billings made a showing at $8639.

Unfortunately, Melinda Gopher didn’t report, so she either didn’t raise the $5000 needed to require a report or she just didn’t report. Neither of these is a good sign for her campaign.

This is too bad. For a while there I was leaning toward Gopher but unfortunately a candidate needs more than passion and a progressive platform to take out the likes of Denny Rehberg.

Sam Rankin seems like a decent guy but like Gopher, his campaign lacks the organization it will take to give Rehberg a run.

Gernant seems to be gaining momentum while McDonald looks to be treading water. Add to that McDonald’s nebulous stand on coal development … well, unless something new breaks, I guess I’m leaning Gernant.

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by jhwygirl

Montana Conservation Voters recently sent out an email that all but reverses their previous (disappointing) stance of not endorsing in Montana’s hotly contested Democratic and Republican primary races for the U.S. House of Representation.

MCV’s email highlights Tyler Gernant’s strong stance on helping bring Montana new jobs through support of sustainable clean energy. The emailing also highlights Dennis McDonald’s flip-flopping ways on coal. Theresa Keaveny, Executive Director writes:

Hello, MCV members inquiring about the U.S. House primary,

Some of you have asked about Montana Conservation Voters’ endorsement in the U.S. House of Representative’s primary election. MCV did not endorse in this race, as we are focusing resources in state legislative primaries. We have included information on the Congressional race on the MCV web site at http://www.mtvoters.org including the press release and video by Tyler Gernant about Dennis McDonald’s comments on energy development and the Otter Creek coal tracts, and Dennis McDonald’s statement. Both are found below. I am sending this to you and posting on the web site as voters make up their minds who to support in the June 8th primary. As candidates make further information available, it will be posted on the web site.

The email contains more – and I’ve linked it up on my google docs account.

~~~~~
A while back, Gernant did a Clean Energy and Jobs tour of the state, and stopped in at Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Company in Belgrade, where he spoke with Dave Tyler. Dave ranches a beautiful spread where he organically raises sheep and cattle on land that chemical fertilizers and herbicides. His ranch is also certified “predator friendly,” as Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool uses natural less invasive methods of control:

Our principal protection against native predators are our guard dogs and llamas and our own vigilance; because we have chosen not to use lethal control methods against coyotes, bears, wolves, mountain lions, our ranch is certified as “predator friendly”. It is a choice which, like many of our land management decisions, acknowledges risk in the interest of learning how to coexist with native species while caring for the land.

Watch Dave talk about his ranch and its sustainable solar water heaters that he uses for their wool production. As Dave explains, Tyler Gernant is the type of candidate we need in both Washington:

Thirteen Mile offers some great products. The hats are just some of the lovely items they create, sustainable, here in Montana.

by jhwygirl

Via The Clark Fork Chronicle, news comes to us that the Mineral County Sheriff’s race is heating up with one of the candidates – Ernie Ornelas – saying that he would not enforce federal laws. He cites the United Nations Small Arms Treaty as one he has problems with:

“The U.N. can pass the small arms treaty, but they cannot usurp our constitutional rights,” he said. “There are those in the federal government who believe they should. We have Supreme Court justices citing other countries’ rulings and U.N. rulings in their Supreme Court decisions, and that’s not constitutional.”

One he likes is House Bill 246, passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. I mentioned this bill last session here, calling it “another one of those crazy unconstitutional ones”:

“Those are the types of things I’m talking about when states are trying to assert their rights,” he said. “Not just Second Amendment rights, but anything. Our states and states across the U.S. are starting to exert their Tenth Amendment rights.”

The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The problem is that the federal government has been expanding its purview and assuming powers over matters that should have been reserved to the States and the people. “I am going to stand up for our state,” he said. “As a sheriff of a Montana county–a political subdivision of the state–to the extent that the federal government is trying to usurp the authority of the states, I’m standing up for what our state believes in.”

Lovely.

Mike Johnson, who is also vying for the seat, shot back today with an op-ed in The Clark Fork Chronicle, saying that a sheriff who picks and chooses which laws to enforce is violating the very checks and balances that form the basis of our government:

A Constitutional Sheriff? As a candidate and a resident in this county, what does that mean to all of us living here? If Mr. Ornelas objects to a law, does that mean he’s not going to enforce it? Does he even have the authority or the ethical right to pick and choose, for everyone, what laws he will or will not enforce?

The questions continue. If Mr. Ornelas is elected, how will the actions and decisions of a “Constitutional Sheriff” affect the working relationships we now have with federal organizations we rely on? I’m talking about agencies like the Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshals Service who are in charge of sending us federal inmates. I’m talking about federal grants and Forest Service contracts that put money into the budget.

Right now we have working relationships with HIDTA and ICE. HIDTA is the drug task force with whom Mineral County has worked for years. ICE is Immigration and Customs who have invited the Sheriff’s department to participate in drug interdictions on the interstate and pay for it. How will a “Constitutional Sheriff” affect these relationships?

On one hand Mr. Ornelas states that Mineral County has limited resources. On the other hand, if he realizes it or not, he is proposing to isolate Mineral County from federal agencies who provide us with resource assistance.

Johnson is right – and points to some of the very basic federal funding sources that Mineral County relies on heavily. PILT and SRS funding payments, for example, (I’ve written about those here and here) supplement schools and Mineral County’s general budget. National Security grants help to upgrade 911 systems…and as Johnson points out, HIDTA and ICE have provided assistance to the department for years with both training and enforcement assistance.

All this for a rural county that is comprised of 1,223-square-miles, much of it forested area connected by dirt roads. 6 deputies (and the sheriff) cover this entire area.

This upcoming election in Mineral County also brings with it a 3-year temporary 25-mill levy for public safety. That might seem harsh – but consider that in order to make up the $200,000 that the levy would raise, the department would have to cut 2 deputies and one dispatcher.

Ornelas’s solution? To “avoid vicarious liability”, he would sue the county.

Yeah – that’s conservative talk. Shun federal money and sue your own employers. What will that cost?

Mineral County residents would do well to send Ornelas packing and pick the 18-year Mineral County Sheriff’s department veteran and Montana native Mike Johnson who understands the issues…and plainly has some common sense.

by jhwygirl

Gernant’s been at testing the waters and campaigning now for more than a year, and as we near the less-than-two-weeks before the primary election (Tuesday, June 8th!), it’s television ads that make-up some of the last efforts to reach voters that a candidate may not have reached over the last 10 months.

For many voters, it’s the only information they’ll gather on the candidate…so while it takes more than a television ad (things like blood, sweat and, sadly, money), this kind of visibility is important.

He’s got two playing around the state. This one’s my favorite, probably because he’s confronting one of the more empty but oft repeated criticisms of his candidacy. Pretty bold, if you ask me.

Gernant has 16 videos uploaded on YouTube. You should check them out.

So while I’m at it, I am going to go ahead and call on supporters to send some $ to the campaign to help keep these things on air and rolling around the state. “There’s no other way to say it,” I’ve told supporters that I’ve called, “running a campaign takes money.”

You can donate to Gernant here.

by jhwygirl

I’m not saying anything more than go read it at Pogie’s.

by jhwygirl

Apparently, Dennis McDonald and Melinda Gopher didn’t bother with replying to Don Pogreba, author of Intelligent Discontent. Sam Rankin at least called Don and told him he wouldn’t be “speaking until after the primary.”

And kudos to Pogie for sending out a questionnaire. It’s a lot of work (I’ve done it in the past) to come up with thoughtful questions that aren’t cliche, and that add insight into current issues and the candidate.

Gernant gets a kudos too – reaching out to blogs is certainly one of the many ways a candidate can effectively reach core political types that are often worth a number of votes – because readers of Montana blogs clearly love politics, and they do discuss the stuff with their friends and family.

Anyways – gotta head on over to Don’s place to read ’em – and of course, I think it’s well worth your time, as I believe Tyler Gernant is the best candidate on the Democratic primary ticket.

 
“Rehberg has shown to be diligent at one thing–avoiding accountability. “
–Melinda Gopher, candidate for the Democratic House nomination

By JC

Well, it was just a matter of time until Melinda Gopher unleashed part of her strategy to unseat incumbent Denny Rehberg for Montana’s lone House seat: attack Rehberg’s vulnerability created by his drinking and poor decision-making abilities during last year’s near fatal boat crash:

“Montanans want answers. Since August 27th, there has been a veil of secrecy around Rep. Rehberg regarding the boat crash in which all occupants of the boat were injured, one very seriously. Were it not for rescuers delivering life-saving aid; Dustin Frost, a then-Rehberg staffer–would be dead…

I challenge all of my Democratic opponents to state their position on this; they want to seek offices requiring judgment and leadership–their opinons must be known because Montanans have a right to know where they stand on this issue.”

Invoking a House ethics investigation would be a great way to drag Denny out of the shadows over his abuse of power that night on Flathead Lake. I’m not going to get into the details of the accident and aftermath, it’s been chronicled to a great degree here at 4&20, and elsewhere outside of the mainstream media.

What I will say is that I admire a political candidate who is willing to speak truth to power, and raise the issues that neither any of the other candidates or the media is willing to tackle: Rehberg’s fitness to hold public office. Here’s the meat of her argument:

“Rehberg has shown to be diligent at one thing–avoiding accountability. It is time to call him on this. I am asking for four things:

1. State Democratic party leaders call for his resignation from office and an ethics investigation into Rehberg’s role in this criminal matter.
2. Join my demand that Rep. Rehberg give full disclosure of the night surrounding the incident; including his time spent those very sequestered two hours at the Kalispell hospital.
3. It took two full hours to obtain BAC samples from all involved, given the seriousness of the accident. What sort of atmosphere was created in the hospital, was there an attempt to conceal, destroy, or tamper with evidence–or otherwise mislead authorities? Unidentified sources claim the hospital went out of its way, far beyond normal procedure–to lock down the facility. There was a great deal of secrecy the night the crash victims were brought in–this is unusual given these are public servants. It would be prudent to review the entire manner the hospital handled this event.
4. Because of the nature of Rep. Rehberg and Sen. Barkus’s public offices; it is crucial the U.S. House look into the misleading public statements made by Rehberg. His statements had the effect of misleading an official investigation where multiple crimes were committed, people’s lives were greatly imperiled, and state laws were broken. This rises to the level of the need for an ethics investigation.

As a candidate for this office, I want Montanans to have the benefit of full and complete information of the night of the incident–to make their choices on June 8, and in the general election. We are not running a government of secrecy–it is our right to know. With the latest delay to postpone the trial until after the general election; not only Rehberg but Republicans are attempting to circumvent the fallout that full public disclosure will bring to Montana voters. To continue a pattern of secrecy and denial suggests there is something to hide.”

I like what I hear coming out of the Gopher campaign: a well written and cogent attack on Rehberg, and an understanding of the big issues before us today. If you haven’t yet, hop on over to her new campaign website. It is very appealing, full of lots of information, and regularly updated! I like her approach, taking on Rehberg and the issues at a time when other candidates are trying to build name recognition or define their campaigns before the Rehberg attack machine does it for them.

I’d love to see a contest between Rehberg and Gopher. Denny has two basic approaches to that matchup: ignore her, or attack her. He isn’t capable of running a campaign on the issues. He is a long term incumbent running during an election when incumbency is a huge detriment. And what is he going to do? Attack a native american woman with a wonderful biography, and a history of working hard for the people? Go negative on a person who the average Montanan can see has risen up out of abject poverty to succeed and take on a silver-spoon politician in an era of ideological purity in the teabagger-dominated republican party?

If I were Gopher, I’d say bring on the attack machine, and we’ll turn it right around on Rehberg, and let the people see him for who he truly is: a drunken rich-boy bully. And if Rehberg chooses to ignore her, that would be a big mistake when the public mood is 2 to 1 against incumbents this year.

We need a candidate who is willing to run hard against an ethically challenged, incompetent, and do-nothing incumbent. The more I see what Gopher is doing, the more that I see she is that candidate.

by jhwygirl

Montana Conservation Voters came out a while back with some of its endorsements in contested races.

Pete has reported on this in the past…so I hope I’m not stepping on any toes…

MCV had some trouble, it seems with many of the races – a failure to endorse in the congressional race is truly a disappointment for me, considering the clear differences in issues such as coal and renewable resources and green energy/jobs. Tyler Gernant clearly leads with those issues when compared with Dennis McDonald.

Wherein I see I’ve digressed…

Two local races facing Democratic primaries are HD94 and HD92 – and Montana Conservation Voters have made clear endorsements in those races – endorsing Bryce Bennett in HD92 and endorsing Ellie Hill for HD94.

Both are fine candidates and very hardworking progressives for both Missoula and the state of Montana. Their work alone should earn them your vote and the right to represent Missoula residents in Helena…but these two have been knockin’ doors (Ellie up there on Hillview? Good Lord the woman has tenacity!) and making calls, in between their regular 9 to 9 jobs that serve this community.

Clearly, they are excellent choices. Missoula is fortunate with such a wealth in quality for these two house candidates.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Mail-in ballots are in the mail, if not delivered today. Be sure to vote early. Save county Elections Administration Vicki Zeier and the rest of the staff that last minute rush.

In the upcoming day’s I’ll be offering a few more endorsements. Of course, I’ve clearly said Tyler Gernant is the best choice for Democrats if they want to take out Dennis Rehberg in the congressional race….but we’ve got a couple other races that I plan to opine on in the near future.

by jhwygirl

It sure works out that way for Representative Dennis Rehberg, who’d likely be (if he hasn’t already) depositioned in the case – if not subpoenaed for trial testimony.

Flathead Beacon is reporting that a tentative trial date has been scheduled for state Senator Greg Barkus, of Kallispell, in the matter of his tragic drunken boat ride (which included another drunk, Representative Dennis Rehberg) on Flathead Lake last summer.

Barkus has been charged with 3 felonies.

Rehberg has not been charged – he’s allowed to be drunk, there is no law against that – and that has been his defense all along. Rehberg, in fact, as recently reported by papers throughout the state, has not even changed his office’s policies concerning alcohol and work policies in the aftermath of the crash.

Dennis “I. Was. Not. Drunk. At. The. Time. Of. The. Crash.” Rehberg – sound familiar?

Only he was.

Rehberg’s a notorious drunk – he fell off his horse while drunk on a government-paid boondoggle in Kazakhstan a few years back….and many of you likely recall the expense report he submitted about 3 years ago in which he looked for compensation on bar tab from downtown Washington DC, claiming it to be for lodging (which was actually a couch in the basement, where he slept off his evening of over-indulgent alcohol consumption.)

Dennis Rehberg is an embarrassment. Looks like he’ll be saved the spectacle of the Barkus trial for this election cycle, though – with a trial date set at November 29th, he’ll escape public scrutiny of his role in the Flathead boat crash incident for both is primary and the general (if he makes it that far).

by jhwygirl

Cowgirl took a hoof to my congressional candidate Tyler Gernant today, with a title that misguidedly uses the word “analysis” and a proof-positive that is pretty much pot-kettle-black. {Sigh}

So let’s do some analysis. Not like I hadn’t looked at the numbers – I made mention of that in a comment to a previous post. So I could of written this post up a week ago, but I didn’t really want to go there. But since MtC did, well as any lawyer would say, the door’s been opened.

So let’s look at the last quarter –
Dennis McDonald claims total contributions of $24,262 (link)
Tyler Gernant claims total contributions of $23,566 (link).

BUT, when you take out “In-kind: Campaign Services” donations from Dennis McDonald’s staffers (maximum $2,400 from three of them, and $2,300 from the other) – a total of $9.500 – well, that brings McDonald down to $14,762 in total contributions.

Gernant has some “In-kind” donations himself – $110 in office supplies from his dad, $120 in promotional pencils from someone in Billings, and $163 from Tyler (himself). That’s a total of $393, bringing Gernant down to $23,173.

Gernant $23,173 to McDonald’s $14,762?

Cowgirl’s making hay over the fact that Gernant got $362 more in out-of-state contributions than McDonald? And Gernant has family that now live out-of-state? While McDonald is from San Francisco? That’s the “nearly pot-kettle-black” part I mentioned above.

Let’s look at loans the candidates make to themselves: Gernant has loaned himself a total of $1,800 bucks the whole campaign. McDonald’s loaned himself a total of $10,835, with $9,835 coming just this last quarter.

Wouldn’t you think McDonald would be doing better at raising funds as we drill down to the primary?

Sure seems to me like Gernant has some momentum going….and maybe that’s why she’s going after Gernant instead of going after the other Dennis’ PAC money…something our own b’birder Pete points out in his comment to Cowgirl’s post.

Of course, Dennis Rehberg’s pulled in over $153,000 this quarter, with $53,000 of it coming from PAC’s (Gernant has $0 PAC, McDonald with $100).

Some of Rehberg’s PAC and industry money?

$1,000 from the Sugar Cane League PAC in Louisiana (and another $500 from the American Sugarbeet Grower’s Association in Washington DC).
$1,000 from the BP North America Employee PAC in Illinois.
ConocoPhillips Spirit PAC out of Oklahoma gave $1,000.
Another one out of Oaklahoma – Devon Energy Corporation PAC – gave $1,000.
Employees of Northrop Grumman Corp PAC of California gave $1,000 ($6,000 to date).
Chevron Employees PAC (of California, too) gave $1,000 ($2,000 to date).
EnergySolutions Inc Fund/Effective Govt (tea baggy sounding, no?) out of Washington DC gave $1,000 ($2,000 to date)
Florida Sugar Cane League PAC (of Washington DC) $1,000
Halliburton/Brown & Root PAC (Washington DC, of course) $1,000

The list goes one.

I didn’t know Montana grew sugar cane.

by Pete Talbot

Hey! Since corporations can now give unlimited amounts to federal campaigns, why not allow political parties the same latitude? At least that’s the Republican Party’s take on the recent Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Special interests don’t have enough influence in national elections and policy, the GOP’s thinking goes. Now, not just corporations, but political parties can raise and spend unlimited dollars on federal campaigns. That is, if the Supremes rule in favor of the GOP request, and there’s no reason to think they won’t.

It’s called ‘soft money’ and the Republicans want to raise and spend big bucks to, “help elect GOP candidates to state offices, finance congressional redistricting efforts following the 2010 census, and fund lobbying efforts on federal legislation.”

As the AP reports, Democrats have opposed the Republican effort, even though they, too, would be allowed to collect unlimited contributions.

This is going to make for one long, sickening political season. You can now look forward to even bigger campaign war chests and more independent expenditures on TV, radio, direct mail, et al. Look for even more lobbying on behalf of corporations and parties, too, which is almost impossible to fathom.


by jhwygirl

Got mine the other day….and what is really neat is the Missoula County has created an online ballot tracking system that allows absentee voters to track their ballot online.

How cool is that?! First in the state, I hear.

County officials believe the online tracking system will also help reduce the call volume the Elections Office receives leading up to elections freeing up busy staff to focus on other Election Day related duties.

“The tracking system allows voters to participate in elections in a new way,” remarked Vickie Zeier, Elections Administrator. “The voters get to check on their ballot and make sure it’s moving through the process as it should be. It’s really exciting to give electors that option.”

Not registered absentee yet? Check this page out.

In other news, Missoulian Editor’s blog from Sherry Devlin reports that the Missoulian has created a k-12 schools beat – and have an assigned reporter, veteran Jamie Kelly.

That is great news. I hear very interesting things – good things – coming from both Big Sky and Hellgate High Schools, and it’d be good to hear more from these young citizens of Missoula. School board coverage should be more apparent too. Besides that – we’ve got the school trustee and levy requests on the ballot, and hell, I don’t even know the who what where (and I can’t find a sample ballot).

Anyways – looking forward to that school beat coverage.

“I challenge white male privilege in this election”

by JC

Well, that didn’t take long! Two days ago 4&20’s own Pete Talbot wrote up a quick profile of Montana’s Congressional race. And of course, by doing so, he had a few things to say about Melinda Gopher. First off, the platitudes:

“I really like Ms. Gopher. Her straightforward campaign is quite refreshing and her enthusiasm for progressive issues is contagious… The inspirational, refreshing and candid Ojibwe woman.”

Then the digs:

“A few things bother me, though: her late entry into the campaign leaves her way behind in fundraising and organizational staff, her ability to do outreach to constituencies outside of the human rights’ sphere is questionable, and the fact that she’s using Republican talking points against primary opponent Dennis McDonald. Please, Melinda, stick with the issues and leave the negative, policy-avoiding rhetoric to Rep. Rehberg.”

To all of which Gopher replied on her blog today:

“I got in this race, after failing to seeing an electable Democratic candidate step forward. My family has a long and proud tradition in the state of advancing equality. To attempt to pigeonhole me in a particular constituency is unfair, as Pete Talbot does in his post on 4& 20 Blackbird…

First, Talbot singles me out: no other candidate in this race has the track record I have in addressing Montana civil rights and environmental issues, and that includes the incumbent. Second, McDonald’s representation–that was detailed as, a friendship of sorts, by two different writers; of a crime family hit man are not Republican talking points–his electability is fair game and a valid consideration in this race. Certainly Montana voters I have spoken to, now too many to count–are alarmed. Third, accusing me of policy-avoiding rhetoric is just plain untrue. All one has to do is read my campaign blog right here, to see that I–unlike all of my other opponents, have been doing that very thing. Every forum, rather than play it safe, and deliver a canned five minutes, I put my skin out there and do just that–I talk about the issues. Of course, Talbot chooses to single me out and hold me to the high bar. And thats ok, I expect that, I was prepared for it, that is why I will win. Thank you Pete Talbot.”

Yes, thank you Pete Talbot! For once we get to see a candidate who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and speak her mind, no matter whom gets in her cross hairs. And it is our very own Pete Talbot who gets to sharpen Ms. Gopher’s foil!

Much ado has been made about all of the regular political process for the democratic primary to pick a worthy opponent to try and unseat Denny Rehberg. And much of that primary already has consisted of three dems trying to garner some attention by trying to differentiate themselves from the other. But what it really comes down to is who has a chance to beat Rehberg in the fall.

Traditional politics would tell us that the candidate with the most money and name recognition will do best. But the 2008 campaign would tell us differently, when John Driscoll ran a campaign in which he did virtually nothing–didn’t raise any money, and didn’t run a traditional effort. And for that he won a third of the vote. Not a single candidate running against Rehberg in the last 4 elections has garnered more than 40% of the vote, two of which ran conventional campaigns fullof money, staff, and outreach: Velazquez in ’04 and Lindeen in ’06. So what’s a candidate to do?

If any democrat is going to have any success in unseating Denny, they’re going to have to take an unconventional approach. And Gopher seems to be settling into hers: grab the bull by the horns and twist them till they cry uncle. Speak truth to power.

One way I think about which of the candidates would have the most success is by looking at how Rehberg would respond to them. How will McDonald and Gernant campaign against Denny? How would Gopher? If Gopher were to take Rehberg head on like she went after Pete, then I think she has a fighting chance. After all, what is Rehberg going to do? Go negative on a Native American woman activist rising out of her HIll 57 roots? Ignore her? Answer her policy challenges? Most likely he would try and swat her aside, as he previously did with challengers Driscoll, Lindeen, Velasquez, and Kelly. McDonald and Gernant pose large targets for Rehberg. Gernant with his youth and inexperience. McDonald for his role as party insider and out-of-stater baggage.

Many people would like to make this an election about ideas and policies, where if we could have a rational debate, that reason would win, and Rehberg lose. But the national political climate is anything but attuned to that sort of rhetoric. Candidates bandy about policy points finely tuned to match a poll indicating where the wind blows.

I want a candidate who is willing to attack Rehberg for all they’re worth. A candidate who isn’t afraid to step on some toes as she guns for the jugular and rips the silver spoon out of Denny’s mouth. And the only candidate I see that seems willing to do what needs to be done in order to beat Rehberg seems to be Melinda Gopher.

Pete’s lamentations about his perceptions of Gopher’s downside can be addressed: money can be raised; staff built and organized; and outreach expanded beyond her traditional base. As to the “the negative, policy-avoiding rhetoric” he decried, well, that’s politics. I see plenty of policy meat in Gopher’s writings, indicating a keen mind willing to jump into the policy arena and debate: “I challenge any of my other opponents to delve as deeply into the issues as I have; they all lack the political courage to do so”. And that negative rhetoric, well, I have to agree that McDonald has some baggage that is just going to make him an easy target in the fall, and make for an ugly campaign.

People have lambasted me for wanting to make Rehberg’s character an issue in this election. But I think it is key, as the regular policy debates have become useless talking points dictated by polling and regulated by media megaphones. And no one seems concerned about Rehberg’s lack of achievement. In fact, many think his lack of achievement is a bonus, as it leaves him with little controversy over his accomplishments–there are none. I think that if voters were to look to the character of our candidates, they will see a clear difference between Gopher and Rehberg.

But the race has finally hit the first turn, and is heating up. This should be fun!

by Pete Talbot

(Before I get into the meat of this post, I must say this to all Democratic congressional candidates: Spend your campaign dollars in Montana. A quick look at Denny Rehberg’s campaign expenditures shows the majority of his money going to consultants in Virginia and Tennessee, a researcher in Philadelphia, a phone bank in Arizona, direct mail in Utah, etc. Granted, a chunk of Denny’s change goes to Missoula’s own Erik Iverson for political consulting and to Huntley, Montana’s Tyler Matthews, Rehberg’s campaign manager, but the bulk of his money is being spent out-of-state. And I don’t care what party you’re in, few things disappoint me more than Montana campaigns spending their dollars out-of-state when there are businesses right here that can do the same job.)

OK. One would hope that the 2010 race for Montana’s lone congressional seat would remain civil. Fat chance; this is, after all, politics.

I remember a political operative telling me, years ago: “if you’re trailing in the polls, go negative.” It left a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, Denny Rehberg is hardly trailing in the polls but he’s already gone negative. His “mafia ties” campaign against Democratic candidate Dennis McDonald is in high gear. That’s unfortunate, but I suppose it’s easier than mounting a campaign based on substance. Seriously, Denny, how about a discussion on how Wall Street should be regulated, or how to fix the health care crisis, or how climate change should be mitigated, or how to grow sustainable jobs and the Montana economy? Although, again, it’s easier to just follow the party line and vote “no” on any legislation offered up by Democrats than to work toward solutions.

There’s also A.J. Otjen, a moderate, and Mark French (who should have filed as a Constitutionalist), running in the Republican primary.

On the Democratic side, well, this is a tough one for me. I want the candidate who has the best chances of unseating Rehberg. Period. I’m not sure who that is yet.

Jhwygirl has a post up on Melinda Gopher that has generated a plethora of comments — a couple from one of Rehberg’s primary challengers, A.J. Otjen. I really like Ms. Gopher. Her straightforward campaign is quite refreshing and her enthusiasm for progressive issues is contagious. A few things bother me, though: her late entry into the campaign leaves her way behind in fundraising and organizational staff, her ability to do outreach to constituencies outside of the human rights’ sphere is questionable, and the fact that she’s using Republican talking points against primary opponent Dennis McDonald. Please, Melinda, stick with the issues and leave the negative, policy-avoiding rhetoric to Rep. Rehberg.

Then there’s Tyler Gernant. This sharp, young fellow has mounted a quality campaign and is only slightly behind McDonald in the fundraising category. As opposed to Gopher, though, and even McDonald, his campaign lacks the inspiration that would fire up an activist like me. He’s being tentative and I don’t think that serves a candidate well in the primary. Here’s a quote from Helena progressive Frank Kromkowski to Mr. Gernant in a recent email blast:

From what I can tell, your campaign platform has very little substance and nothing bold and progressive that will help Montana get beyond the superficial conservative Rehberg line … Say something significant, for example, about the illegal and disastrous US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan — such as “Bring the troops home” and “no more money for war” — and use the dollars wasted on military adventures that have no real value to US security for jobs, housing, health care, protection and improvement of the aging water and wastewater systems in Montana’s cities and town. We need a progressive Democrat to replace Rehberg (not just another Baucus).
On the other hand, Tyler has been hitting the road and working the counties and the media. And underneath his rather soft message, I believe beats the heart of a progressive.
The third Democratic candidate, Melville rancher Dennis McDonald, is the one the party has been grooming for this race. That’s both good and bad. Having support of party leadership gets one lists and funding and organization. But it also proffers the title of “insider” or part of “the machine.” I’m not so sure that’s a good title to have these days. I’ll give McDonald credit, though, for bucking our Montana Senators and coming out early for single-payer, universal health care. It should also be noted that a frequent Republican commenter at 4&20, Pogo Possum, and other conservatives I’ve talked to believe that McDonald is the strongest Democratic candidate in the field. McDonald also has the Montana AFL-CIO endorsement.
There’s a fourth candidate, Sam Rankin, out of Billings. I like what I saw on his website but otherwise know nothing about this fellow. Better get your butt up to Missoula, the county with the most Democratic voters in the state, and get your message out if you expect to be a player at all. And feel free to get a hold of us at 4&20, we’d be glad to post your talking points.
So who gets the nod? The inspirational, refreshing and candid Ojibwe woman — who’s underfunded and not well-connected (outside of tribal politics) and is a party outsider? The other new face — the policy-smart, well-organized and politically savvy candidate with a potentially great future in Montana Democratic politics (but has a less than passionate campaign thus far)? Or the established, out front, Montana rancher who is the best known and may have the best demographic appeal but, is also considered a party insider (and has received the most press, both positive and negative)?
Consider this an open thread. What are your insights into this race, gentle reader? I haven’t made up my mind, yet, and there are only seven weeks left until the June 8 primary election.


by jhwygirl

That, from Democratic primary candidate Melinda Gopher:

There is one intractable fact and I will hammer this home: Dennis McDonald is not electable. I am hearing it from Democrat, Republican and undecided voters alike. His advancement in the June primary will most assuredly guarantee another Rehberg win in the fall. A.J. Otjen is not convincing as a credible Republican challenger, she has not put the effort into it. Mark French is on the extreme right fringe. At the same time, long time Republican party veterans already concede this seat will fall in the Democratic aisle.

Melinda Gopher has some guts. She titled her post “Melinda Gets Tough with Montana,” and truly, she is saying what plenty of people have been pondering…but none have put in print.

(I don’t know that I’d write off A.J. Otjen as unconvincing or not credible, but I believe Gopher is being kind describing Mark French as being “on the extreme right fringe”)

Her most recent blog post, published yesterday morning, takes Dennis McDonald (and others) to task for a number of things…but mainly she “gets tough” with McDonald on a number of issues, including his AFL-CIO endorsements, his associations with mobster “Jimmy the Weasel”, and his handling of the 2008 congressional race (as head of the Montana Democratic Party).

While she somewhat unfairly blames the lack of support for Jim Hunt on McDonald’s leadership (Hunt lost the Democratic congressional primary in 2008, and the state party wouldn’t help a candidate until after they win the primary), she does allude to him having made decisions in the past that brought him to an advantage in this year’s race:

“I have another question,” she asks. “Did Mr. McDonald manipulate the state party strategy in 2008 to position himself for this race? I would have to say, based on his statements on the campaign trail; yes he did. As he likes to say; “this office is the only statewide race we (Democrats) did not win, so I wanted to come back and finish the job myself.””

Gopher doesn’t stop there – she then goes on to highlight Montana’s hugest disappointment – Representative Dennis Rehberg, Montana’s 10-year congressional do-nothing:

We cannot deny history, this is a pivotal race on the national stage. This race is where the tire meets the road for the Democratic electoral strategy in 2012. It is where–for too long; the person occupying the seat of this nation’s largest geographic district has been literally “drunk at the helm.” This is why Montana is at the bottom in disposable income, we cannot afford to educate our children, we cannot retain those fortunate to receive an education. We have a disjointed leadership in D.C., while passing three bills in his entire nine years–as Tyler Gernant points out—all to name federal buildings: Rehberg is the 12th wealthiest member of the U.S. House. His response to largely his own failure to lead, disguised as faux right wing earmark rage, just stated this past week: we are all on the Titanic.

Her piece is lengthy, so really – go read it. Melinda is a pretty straightforward speaker who I’ve yet to see mince words. Clearly, she does the same with her writing.

by jhwygirl

I certainly hope the Dems in Kalispell are paying attention to this.

Democratic candidate for HD8, Dane Clark, of Kalispell was handing out tea party pamphlets, packin’ heat (because rumors of agent provocateurs, it seemed prudent) and passing out campaign lit for Mark French, Republican primary congressional wingnut racist bigot from Sanders County.

~~~~
James Conner never writes enough for me. I wish he wrote more – but it looks like he’s done two pieces recently, both regarding Flathead County politics.

I did read his eulogy for friend Loren Kreck, back when he posted it a couple weeks ago. Loren Kreck is an environmental hero that I had never heard of, yet generations of Montanans – generations of people – will benefit from his diligent work to preserve the North Fork of the Flathead.

James? You did Loren righteous. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

by jhwygirl

Haven’t met Willis Curdy yet? Curdy came late to the HD100 race in 2008….and this time around, given his hard work last time, along with his very impressive resume, he’s clearly the winning candidate. We liked Curdy before, we like him even more now.

Curdy is a 4th generation Montana, small business owner, retired high school teach and retired smokejumper Willis has years of experience dealing with it takes to make Montana a strong state. His plans include working on Protecting Access to Public Lands,creating good paying jobs with benefits, assuring there is quality education at all levels, and supporting community organizations.

You can meet Willis Curdy at a fundraising reception for Willis Curdy at the MEA-MFT office, 1001 Southwest Higgins Ave, on Thursday, April 8th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. For more information, contact wcurdy@bridgemail.com.

If your unable to attend, but would like to support Willis in this important legislative race, please donate online or by sending a check to “Willis Curdy for HD100” 11280 Kona Ranch Road, Missoula, MT 59804.

by jhwygirl

Tyler Gernant, Democratic candidate for Montana’s lone congressional seat, will be attending two candidate forums this week in Ravalli County. Both events are sponsored by the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce and will include questions from a media guest panel.

Tomorrow’s forum is at the Hamilton Middle School, 209 S. Fifth St., from 7 to 9 p.m.

Thursday’s is at the Stevensville High School, at 300 Park St. and it starts at 7 p.m. also.

I’m a Gernant supporter. Common sense is something that appeals to me, and Gernant has that.

Gernant is a fourth-generation Montanan, Tyler’s family has called Montana home for nearly a century. After graduating from law school at the University of Montana, Tyler entered the private practice of law representing small businesses and working on low-income housing tax credit projects. Tyler co-founded the Rural Advocacy League and the Missoula Greenhorns, a networking group for young professionals.

~~~
I’m not aware which other candidates will be attending. The Bitterroot Valley CoC doesn’t have any additional info.

by jhywgirl

Well, this is rich, coming from our very own lone congressional Representative Dennis Rehberg – He’s swearing off earmarks for a year, “in a symbolic stance against federal spending.”

Where was he his other 9 years in congress?

Dennis, you see, loves to (first) put earmarks in bills, (next) vote against said bills in a sudden fit of fiscal conservatism, and (finally) take credit for earmark that he placed in the bill he voted against.

Pogie – who has an affection for Rehberg that I certainly admire – is quick on Matt Gouras’ latest Rehberg blurb, pointing out that Rehberg has been a drunken sailor for the last 9 years, and his latest stance is yet another example of his ongoing inconsistency regarding his claims of fiscal conservatism.

I mean – Pogie had Dennis Rehberg pegged a drunken sailor back in April of last year.

Voters shouldn’t be fooled by Rehberg’s election year antics. He goes through this every two years, occasionally pulling out some vote that reaches for the moderate voters of this state – two years ago it was his switch in voting for CHIP funding, this year apparently he’s trying to bill himself as a deficit hawk.

A deficit hawk who touts deficit spending to reduce the deficit.

That’s right folks – after 10 years in congress, Dennis Rehberg has yet to comprehend basic budgetary principles. Let’s not forget the schooling the Kaimin did of Rehberg earlier this year.

What a joke.

Head through Pogie’s archives for your reality check on our hypocritical Rep. Dennis Rehberg…and once your done there, feel free to peruse our own archives here.

by jhwygirl

These guys and gals are really digging themselves a hole, aren’t they?

Finance reform is a another big important honey-do for Obama…but frankly, it shouldn’t matter who is president and what party you are a member.  The need for finance reform should not be lost on anyone.

Apparently it is lost on Republicans. Over the weekend, Republicans withdrew over 300 amendments to proposed reform. Finance reform has been kicking around for as long as health reform. Republicans have used every tactic to delay moving it forward.

Sound familiar?

Just about 10 days ago, as a whole bunch of us were getting sick and tired of inaction, Dodd set the stage to move reform forward with or without Republican support.

Today, in a party-line vote of 13-10 in Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Dodd moved his finance reform bill forward.

I find it unbelievable that Republicans won’t participate in the forward movement of anything with regards to domestic policy. Withdraw proposed amendments? How are they going to spin that one? Bill Clinton made ’em do it?

What possible justification do they have in objecting to finance reform that prohibits future bank bailouts?

Our own Senator Jon Tester seems to have had his own gut-fill of the situation, speaking out in a guest opinion in today’s Missoulian of the tactics employed by Wall Street to halt reform.

I’m glad Senator Tester is continuing his strong support of finance reform.

If this nation can regulate pork and wheat futures, we can darn well regulate banking futures. Frankly, the whole idea that banks can bank on futures and consider that solid investment seems obscene to me. It makes banking little more than a crap shoot.

Which is damned near what it was starting 2 years ago, remember?

Take time to contact Sen. Tester and thank him for standing strong in support of meaningful finance reform.

While you’re at it, contact Sen. Baucus and ask him to support finance reform.

Another one who should be getting a call is Rep. Dennis Rehberg.  It’s an election year…maybe he should be asked to commit to reform.

Does he support the current bill? If not, what does he support?

Rehberg should not get a free pass on this one. I do not want to hear him criticize that which he offered nothing meaningful or constructive.  Which is all he did on health insurance reform.

Let’s hope Montana’s media hold Rehberg to some sort of constructive position on finance reform. He should not be allowed to get away with just criticizing something without offering real solutions.

by jhwygirl

That, from Democratic congressional candidate Tyler Gernant in today’s Helena Independent op-ed section.

Dennis Rehberg has been twittering the-sky-is-falling for weeks – no, make that months – now of the impending doom of healthcare.

Rehberg’s done nothing to contribute to meaningful discussion on reform – Rehberg has, in fact, been part of the teaparty movement of heckling some of the people who need health reform the most.

That’s right – Rehberg heckled a wheelchair-bound Hamilton woman to illustrate his meaningful input on health insurance reform.

Ugh.

As health reform legislation works its way to President Obama’s desk tonight (or what may be tomorrow, eastern time), many of us recognize that this reform is not perfect…but it is an important first step that will save lives. Gernant notes that in his editorial:

That is not to say that this legislation is perfect; it is not. Montanans still need a meaningful alternative to private insurance through a deficit-neutral public option. We still need a system that pays doctors for the value of their services instead of the volume. Although we may not get everything this year, there are a lot of positive changes that this legislation would bring to our health care system. We have waited nearly 40 years to attempt reform that would merely get us out of the starting gate. We cannot wait another 40 years for Dennis Rehberg to decide that true health care reform means more than to join a gym and stop smoking.

No battle is easy – and none is without loss to all who attempt the task. This bill includes over 200 Republican amendments, yet Republicans can not find even one vote in support. It does not provide the public option or single payer that so many progressives wanted to see.

With Rehberg, Montanan’s get even less – we get a man who heckles Montanans who need health insurance reform the most…a representative who would chose to leave 564,000 Montanans on the loosing end of completely unregulated health insurance industry.

by Pete Talbot

Many comments on the blogs I read say the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans: health care, war, the environment, the economy — Congress and the President have not done the job and there’s no salvaging the system. Sometimes, it’s hard not to agree.

There needs to be monumental change, the comments say. Maybe a third or fourth party, maybe revolution, maybe anarchy — but I haven’t seen consensus on the best solution or, really, any viable alternative.

One reason I’m still a Democrat is Denny Rehberg. He defines the distinction between the two parties. Any of the three candidates running in the Democratic primary for Montana’s lone U.S. Representative would be so much better. Here are just a few, recent Rehberg antics:

Pogie writes about Rehberg’s earmark grandstanding.

Montana Cowgirl posts on Denny’s posse.

And then I get an email (I’m a subscriber) from Rehberg’s e-newsletter. He’s outraged about the U.S. House vote on the health care bill, and writes:

Tomorrow, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to force a vote on her government-takeover of health care.

Ah, if only it were true. The Republicans should be jumping up-and-down at the lack of a public option, serious regulation and oversight — really, the lack of teeth that this bill has.

And it’s not like the Republicans didn’t employ some of the same voting procedures Pelosi might try when they controlled Congress, but I guess that’s different.

Denny, reading off a teleprompter, even posted a YouTube video that was so riddled with misinformation, and fear and loathing, that it boggles the mind.

So, seeing as there’s no strong third-party candidate in almost every race on almost every ballot, I will remain a Democrat, knowing that doing nothing will continue to get folks like Denny Rehberg elected, and re-elected.

by jhwygirl

64 legislative filings in one day? That has got to be some sort of record.

No word yet on whether we’ve got ourselves a primary race for county commissioner.

It does look, though, that Republicans haven’t totally bailed on Missoula. Looks like a number of races now have a Republican challenger.

We’ve also gained another candidate for the Democratic congressional primary…and looks like Missoula Libertarian Mike Fellows is also taking a run against Rehberg.

So the congressional race is scoring out with 4 Democrats, 3 Republicans and one Libertarian.

Some points of interest as I read:
We’re rid of Ed Butcher? Really?

by jhwygirl

At Tuesday’s congressional candidate forum held by the Missoula County Democrats – Pete did a great write-up on it – Dennis McDonald, Democratic primary candidate for congress rattled off a couple of his endorsements during his introduction, finishing off the list with “and tomorrow I expect to have the AFL-CIO (endorsement)”.

I found that interesting, given that the AFL-CIO usually has a go at its members before endorsing, and I hadn’t heard anything.

So I sent out a few emails. It really seemed like a pretty bold move to announce that you would be getting the endorsement of such a large organization.

Then again – it’s that party-insider kind of stuff that not only shocks me, but really kind of turns me off. Deals cut in back rooms. And here I thought that unions (I am the daughter of an AFL-CIO card holder) were open with their processes. Votes and all that good stuff?

What did I find of my inquiries? The AFL-CIO Board has endorsed. No one I contacted had heard, one wasn’t surprised (Helena), and three that were shocked (Billings and Missoula).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the hypocrisy I see to this: At Tuesday’s forum, McDonald was asked about Sen. Tester’s wilderness bill – and he said something to the effect that he did largely support it but the one thing he didn’t like about the bill (“..and I’ve been upfront with Jon about this,” he said) is its lack of transparency or it having gone to the public and how it locked out agriculture and some other group.

So how does McDonald announce that he expects the AFL-CIO endorsement two days before they announce? And how does the AFL-CIO endorse without going out and talking to its members? And shouldn’t they tell their members first, before the candidate?

How does McDonald criticize Tester for lack of transparency while championing an endorsement that has yet to be announced by the organization? To its members?

All the kind of backroom dealings that really make politics stinky.

by Pete Talbot

Knowing nothing of Melinda Gopher before the forum, I was impressed by her depth, her knowledge of the issues and, mostly, her passion.

When asked why she hadn’t filed yet and why her campaign was, at this point, lower key than the other two candidates’ campaigns, she responded, “I’m building intrigue.”

I wouldn’t call her the “winner.” All three Democratic Congressional candidates showed their strengths but Gopher gets the inspiration award. And, of course, any one of the three would be so superior to our current Congressman.

Dennis McDonald talked about his credentials, his ranching experience, his support from organized labor and his ability to work across the aisle. He also emulates the Schweitzer/Montana populist style in his campaign persona.

Tyler Gernant billed himself as an outsider — a young newcomer who touts “life experience over political experience” and “represents everything that isn’t Washington.” He called himself “the anti-incumbent.”

This was the first forum to be held where all three candidates attended. It was sponsored by the Missoula County Democrats and about 75 people showed up for the 90 minute presentation.

Gernant seemed to me to have the tightest policy proposals, from taxation to trade to the deficit. A Republican fellow I ran into at the forum said the he was the most impressed by Gernant, for what that’s worth.

McDonald had a strong opening stump speech. He’s the party’s highest profile candidate and is adapting to his role. But he also wasn’t above questioning the party status quo — he had problems with the Tester wilderness bill and was aggressive on health care reform.

Gopher talked about growing up on Hill 57 in Great Falls (I’d never heard of it — doesn’t sound like one of the Electric City’s most prestigious neighborhoods). The sixth of seven children, she called herself a “scrapper.”

All three were strong pro-choice supporters. All three opened with jobs being a priority. All three expressed disappointment with our current energy policy.

And all three were gracious toward each other, although Gopher, sitting in the middle, said with a smile that she was ready to take on Rep. Rehberg, “as soon as I dispatch these two guys sitting next to me,” which got a chuckle.

Here’s some other info I gleaned: Gopher said she wanted to “steer the Democrats back on track.” McDonald made local references to the closing of Smurfit and Macy’s — always a good move. Gernant touted a pay-as-you-go policy to rein in debt.

Gernant spoke of this being a “transformational time” to change how business is conducted in Washington, and that he’s poised to take on the challenge. He said it’s time to “move away from divisive politics” and become actively involved in finding solutions.

McDonald mentioned that he’s visited all 56 counties in Montana, shaken a lot of hands, and his work effort and “lifetime commitment” to Democratic policies make him the best candidate to take on Rehberg. He also said his main platform would be “empowering people.”

Gopher advocated for single-payer health care, tackled immigration reform and disparaged our continued role in questionable wars. She also called herself “the most improbable candidate.”

A final note. As I’ve said time-and-time again, I am not a reporter. If you want more accurate quotes, a more objective view and more depth, tune into MCAT’s channel 11 on Sunday, March 14, at 8 p.m. for a replay of the event.

by JC

run over

Simon Johnson has an interesting piece over at The Baseline Scenario: “Does The Obama Administration Even Want To Win In November?” Johnson is, as some of you may remember, the author of The Atlantic article “the Quiet Coup” where he lays out the case for crony capitalism having taken control of our country.

In this piece, he dishes out some information about how Obama administration officials have already conceded losing the House to the Republicans this fall, and believe that will help him get reelected in 2012, and give the Democrats an opportunity to recapture the House.

Increasingly, senior administration officials shrug when you mention the November mid-term elections. “We did all we could,” and “it’s not our fault” is the line; their point being that if jobs (miraculously at this point) come back quickly, the Democrats have a fighting chance – but not otherwise…

But ever so quietly, you get the impression the Obama team itself is not so very unhappy – they know the jobs will come back by 2012, they feel that Republican control of the House will just energize the Democratic base, and no one will be able to blame the White House for getting nothing done from 2010 on…

The Obama team – both political and economic wings – seems to feel that their base has nowhere else to go, and all they need to do is drift towards the right in a moderately confused fashion to assure re-election for the president.

Jimmy Carter had the same sort of idea.

And of course, that gave rise to Reaganomics. This time it could be Palinomics.

I guess once you squander your first mandate, try, try again?

by jhwygirl

I missed this one, but came across it over the weekend. It is an editorial written by Laura Lundquist, a non-traditional student working on her master’s degree in journalism at the University of Montana. It’s not just an opinion piece – she did a bit of research going back to Rep. Denny Rehberg’s voting record and points out:

Rehberg was first elected in 2000, entering Washington politics at the same time as that other financial wiz, George W. They inherited a federal budget that had been running surpluses and wound up adding more than $4 trillion to the national debt. Then they left us with the economic mess we have now.

Where was Rehberg’s crusading call then?

It might have been stifled by all the shouts of “yea” he made when voting for appropriations. Rehberg’s “yea” votes far out-numbered his “nay” votes from 2001 through 2006 on budget issues. For example, in 2005, one of his more negative years, three of his 37 votes were “nay.” He barely questioned a single dollar being spent or a single tax cut.

She notes a reversing trend in 2007 when Democrats took control of congress, where he switches to only supporting appropriations bills that also include tax cuts:

Then, suddenly the trend reversed in 2007. Did this coincide with Rehberg having a sudden economic epiphany? A more likely explanation is that the Democrats gained control of the House in 2007. Since that point, at least half of his votes have been against. Now in his contrarian mode, he supports budget bills dealing only with tax cuts, including the $152 billion 2008 Stimulus Plan, and agriculture appropriations, so as not to anger his primary supporters, Montana’s farmers and ranchers. But if he is re-elected and if, at some point, the Republicans regain control, my guess is that suddenly “yea” will be his catch phrase again, even if it means greater deficits.

And how are those tax cuts working out for ya’, Denny? The funny thing is that by his black-and-white thinking, we should just eliminate all taxes all together and this country would run itself. There’s never any rhyme or reason to the conservative call for tax cuts, it’s just tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts.

Lundquist explains the lack of logic behind Rep. Denny Rehberg’s recent call for more tax cuts:

Here, let me explain: Cutting taxes may help the economy but doesn’t reduce the deficit. Taxes are income for the government. Reducing taxes reduces the government’s income. How is the government supposed to control the deficit with less money when it can’t even do it with the money it has? If you couldn’t pay your rent with your current income, you’d be crazy to request fewer hours.

Ms. Lunquist has all kinds of goodies tucked into her well-researched op-ed. Be sure to check out and read the whole thing.

Our illustrious Representative Denny Rehberg? He might do best to take a little Economics 101. I’m thinking the Billings campus of UM might have one available for him.

Or maybe at least a Billings staffer that can screen Rehberg’s emails before they go out and make him look foolish.




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