Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

by jhwygirl

The energy has been high on Tyler Gerant’s congressional democratic primary campaign for weeks now. He’s out raised his other primary contenders – including the former head of the Montana Democratic Party – in the last two FEC filings. His strong position on clean energy and green jobs – along with his consistent position on coal – have garnered the attention of the Montana Conservation Voters.

Gernant speaks to Montanans and the everyday challenges we face. In a strongly increasing corporatized America, Gernant dares to talk about rewarding work, not wealth:

“Somewhere along the line, we forgot the American dream – that anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules should have the opportunity to reach the top.”

That can be achieved, Gernant said, through reforming the tax code to “reward work instead of rewarding wealth” and promoting rural energy production like wind and solar power.

In the last few days, two notable letters to the editor have appeared in newspapers around the state. Sheila Mansfield Miller, speaking for her family, tells Montanans that Gernant has many of her “Uncle Mike’s” (the late statesman Senator Mike Mansfield) characteristics, saying that he is “principled, intelligent, and actually listens to others more then he talks.”

Not bad characteristics, huh?

Missoula Mayor John Engen endorsed Gernant on Friday, calling Tyler “an extremely gifted leader.”

I admire his quick wit, his intelligence and his commitment to the people of Montana. His hard work on the campaign trail, which has included multiple stops in communities throughout the state, and his well-thought-out policies on job creation, new energy and deficit reduction make him the stand-out choice in a talented field of candidates.

Montanans need a leader who will listen and represent – someone who will work for policies that lead to high paying sustainable clean energy jobs for Montanans. Gernant knows that Montana is positioned to be a leader in new energy, and he has taken the time to explore the possibilities of combining both new energy with the jobs that can be created here in Montana. Here’s Gernant in Bozeman, where Independent Power Systems employs 40 people working on solar energy panels:

Gernant is the next Representative that not only Democrats need, but that Montanans need. Someone who understands what it’s like to be the underdog – someone who will fight for hard-working Montanans by ensuring that policies regarding energy, jobs and taxes benefit us here at home.

Tyler Gernant will bring in home in November. Help get him there by voting Tyler Gernant this Tuesday.


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

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

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 Pete Talbot

No breaking news here. This is a short story about Missoula in the ’90s and an alternative party. It was called the New Party and I was a member.

Lately, there has been a lot of venting, some with good reason, over Democratic disappointments: from Obama to Baucus to Tester to Schweitzer. This talk inevitably leads to a call for a third party.

Here’s a very personal third party experience:

After watching a majority of Democrats on city council vote against sustainable land-use planning, affordable housing, a city-wide living wage and numerous other progressive measures, I heard about a third party being formed. I had attended a Missoula County Democratic Central Committee meeting; made up of mostly good old boys and girls whose main concern was where to hold the party’s summer picnic. Then I went to a New Party meeting. Energetic folks from all walks of life were talking strategy: how to recruit and win campaigns, what good policy was and how to achieve it, how to do outreach to the disenfranchised, and much more. I was hooked.

It worked well, for awhile. Missoula’s New Party had four-of-twelve seats on council. With sympathetic votes from two-or-three other councilors, and even the mayor, progressive legislation was enacted.

New Party Icon

A Fair Economy.
A Real Democracy.
A New Party.

We had, at the least, a half-a-dozen year run. Missoula was the better for it.

There were other New Party chapters in places like the Twin Cities and Madison, Wis.; Little Rock, Maryland, Chicago and New York.

I went to a few workshops and conventions. I bunked with Hispanic and African-American activists. I heard from some of the best of the left, folks from outside Montana’s typical political circles. I even met Barrack Obama at a Chicago meeting when he was running for the Illinois Legislature (he was endorsed by the New Party).

And what struck me was how connected we were, all hoping for the same things — things that the Democratic Party had promised: decent health care and a good education; peace; gender, social and economic equality for all. It was transforming.

New Party principles were basically stripped down Democratic principles.

The demise of the New Party started with a Supreme Court decision against fusion voting, in a 6-3 ruling that said folks couldn’t vote on more than one party line.

(Fusion voting wasn’t an easy sell — more complicated to explain than our ingrained two-party system — but it’s actually pretty straightforward. The State of New York does it successfully. Here’s how it would work.)

The SCOTUS decision and some other factors killed the New Party in Missoula. There were a couple of hard-fought contests that the NP lost by small margins, which took some wind out of our sails. And, of course, leadership in the two major parties vilified the New Party, occasionally joining ranks to defeat a New Party candidate. NP membership started drifting away toward other, more specific causes, such as smart growth, gay rights, economic justice, and labor and environmental issues.

I turned my attention to the Democratic Party in hopes of building coalitions and advancing progressive policy. At the time, the state Democratic Party was on the ropes: a Republican governor, and Republican majorities in both chambers. We fared a bit better on the congressional landscape with Pat Williams and Max Baucus, but they had their foils in Ron Marlenee, Rick Hill, Conrad Burns and Denny Rehberg.

Party conventions were sparsely attended. (I was actually elected to the state’s executive board because I was the only person running for the western district seat.) But Democrats made a comeback, picking up seats in both the state house and senate, some statewide offices and finally governor and our other U.S. Senate seat. Nothing like winning to help build the party. So now there’s a machine, and probably not a lot of room for questioning and dissension in the ranks, or for perceived interlopers such as myself.

After reading this account, one might think I have a great fondness for third parties. I do. But I’m not willing to give up on the Democrats, yet.

Montana’s perennial candidate Bob Kelleher (D,R,G) wanted a parliamentary system of government — with its multiple parties and coalition building inherent in that system. Perhaps not a bad idea. But since that isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime, I’ll keep working, and pushing reform when necessary, for the party that best represents the people.

Corporate domination of politics has to be reigned in. We need strong campaign finance reform and lobbyists need to be subservient to legislators, not vice-versa.

Then, maybe, citizens will have renewed faith in and accountability from their elected officials.

The populist movement of the late 1800s came about because the difference in the two major parties at that time was minuscule. Let’s hope that message hasn’t been lost on Democratic Party leadership. As should be obvious, the electorate really wants the change that was promised in 2008. Please, pay attention.

Or how not to alienate your progressive base

by JC

In a move branded by Politico as “Triangulation Lite” President Obama took his Clinton-eque charade out of the closet with his announcement about opening up offshore waters to oil drilling:

And the drilling decision also allows the president to distance himself from liberal environmentalists disdained by some pro-drilling, blue-collar voters.

“It’s not a bad thing to show you’re willing to do something that gets liberals angry right after you pass the biggest liberal bill in a generation,” said a Senate Democrat staffer, whose boss opposes the policy.

Couple this with Obama’s embracing of the following: his health care reform was a warmed-over hodge-podge of republican ideas; he has called for new nuclear power plants; his failure to close Guantanamo as promised; continuation of FISA warrantless wiretapping policies; unwillingness to pursue accountability of the Bush administration for its roll role in Iraq and Justice Department politicization, among other things; protection of Wall Street as Main Street continues to struggle; tepid plans for climate change and financial regulation legislation; failure to repeal DADT; strengthening anti-choice policy; and on and on, it is amazing to hear this quote out of the mouth of DNC Chairman Tim Kaine today about feeling ok with the base:

“My sense is that we are [OK with the base],” Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine told the Huffington Post shortly after health care’s passage. “I think we’re okay. There were tough points along the way, very tough issues along the way, because this is an issue that people feel strongly about.”

And when the Administration starts to display hubris like this:

“Top-ranking officials and strategists express confidence that both the president and the party will suffer little long-term blowback by negotiating away specific policy principles cherished by progressive groups. They note that while… [like how] health care reform was defined for months by howling over the sacrifice of a public option for insurance coverage, by the time the bill came to a vote there was near-Democratic unanimity behind its passage”

it is time for progressives to do something different than howl every time the president uses them to triangulate with the right in order to move to the center and appear moderate and pragmatic (“sacrificing the public option.” Huh… nice plan. Set up the left then whack them with the old “don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good” argument). Because as I say in the title, it takes three to triangulate. And you can’t triangulate with a position that refuses to react.

“Near-Democratic unanimity” does not a governing coalition make. Many, many progressives like myself proclaim themselves to be left of that “democratic unanimity” and are not part of the 30% +/- of the populace that self-identify with the Democratic party. Left-wing independents (or affiliated with dozens of fringe political persuasions like Greens, Social democrats, etc.).

And how do I propose that the left-wing react instead? Well, it’s time to bring forth another third party movement based on progressive principles–not progressive politics. Instead of ranting and raving, progressives just need to divert their attention to supporting a politician who is principled and willing to call out Obama from the left for what he has done, and what he is becoming. A politician who is willing to unite those of whom Obama would use as a point of his triangulation.

Howard Dean (“this isn’t health care reform–it’s tepid insurance reform at best”) is one such person who has shown the willingness to criticize the president, and was shut out of the Administration for his progressive beliefs. There may be more. But one thing is for sure. There are millions of disgruntled progressives who are being taken for granted and used by President Obama in his move to create an illusion of a populist center from which to govern.

That’s not change I can believe in. It is time to begin to consolidate on the left and leave the triangulation politics behind.

My reaction to Obama’s announcement that he wants to open up off-shore waters to drilling and build more nukes? I guess I’m not surprised anymore. And it’s not worth getting all blustered up about it and playing the triangulation game. And I’m going to send off a contribution to DFA earmarked for a Dean primary run against Obama, for starters. And I’m still trying to get off of the OFA mailing list–and they continue to spam me. Infuriating.

Then I’m going to look around for a good third party movement on which to start focusing my attention and energies. Anybody else?

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’d been waiting….frankly, I was a little concerned that he might be recruited by some org in the private sector, and we’d loose a legislative superstar.

Senator Dave Wanzenried announced on Wednesday that he would be once again seeking the senate seat in senate district 49.

Wanzenried currently sits on several senate committees: Finance and Claims, Highways and Transportation, Natural Resources and Rules committees. He is also on the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

In 2007-2008, he chaired the Environmental Quality Council, a product of the Montana Environmental Protection Act in our state constitution. He’s now moved over to vice-chair the Water Policy interim committee.

Ya’all know how I feel about water and natural resource issues.

Which brings me to reference the Missoulian article on his announcement. The article points to two issues Wanzenried highlighted. One being the value of small business to Montana’s economy, and fostering an environment that both bolsters business and enhances expansion.

The other? Water. Wanzenried is committed to solving Montana’s water issues. Issues and events are bringing water issues to an apex or a disaster, depending on your perspective. Here’s the senator on the issue:

“As water flows decline while the demand for water increases, there will be tensions amongst a large number of users: agriculture; municipal, hydroelectric, recreationists, fisheries,” he said. “In our efforts to plan for a drier future, we must preserve the rights of senior water rights holders, the cornerstone of Montana water law.”

by jhwygirl

Looks like HD94 candidate goddess Ellie Hill has her campaign website up and running, and it sure looks nice.

She must know a fabulous photographer. The photographs are beautiful (as was her Christmas card photo).

Go check it out. While you’re there, drop her a Jackson….because you know Ellie Hill is a good investment.

She has an expansive working knowledge of veterans issues. So much so, that her work with the Pov was not only discussed in committee by Sen. Jon Tester (who was testifying in a Senate committee on proposed legislation), but members of that committee asked plenty of questions about how an org like the Pov functions. When a respected Senator like Jon Tester testifies on veterans issues and mentions the Missoula Poverello Center as a shining example of an underfunded and overcapacity service provider for veterans, other senators listen.

Montana has more veterans per capita than any other state. Her knowledge in that regards would substantially benefit veterans in terms of addressing legislation.

She also has quite an amount of expertise on social service issues. This is in direct relation to her understanding of veterans issues. She knows what works and what doesnt. What wastes money, and what is effective. With the limited funds available in those regards, it’s important that taxpayers get value for whatever they spend there. Again – Ellie Hill is an asset.

I don’t know all Ellie’s issues – I don’t need to.

What I do know is that veteran’s issues are important to me and they’re important to Montana. Homelessness goes hand in hand there with veteran’s issues, since statistics show nearly 30% can be veterans. Food, shelter, mental and physical health care is all important stuff in those regards. When the legislature is addressing these issues, I know that Ellie Hill is able to address those issues like the professional she is.

by Pete Talbot

Filing deadline isn’t until March 15 at 5 p.m. but there are already some interesting developments in Missoula area races.

First, a little flip-flop. Democratic Rep. Teresa Henry has filed for termed-out Democratic Sen. Carolyn Squires’ seat (SD 48). And Ms. Squires has filed for Ms. Henry’s house seat (HD 96). Teresa still had two years before she was termed out in her old house seat, so this is an unusual move. Adding to the mix is veteran Democratic legislator Tom Facey, who’s challenging Ms. Henry in the primary. No Republican has filed for SD 48 yet.

The only other senate seat up for grabs out of five in the Missoula area is SD 49. The incumbent Democrat, Sen. Dave Wanzenried, hasn’t filed, nor have any challengers.

Since they ran in 2008, SD 46’s Carol Williams, SD 47’s Ron Erickson and SD 50’s Cliff Larson — all Democrats — get a pass.

The Missoula area has ten Montana House districts, nine-out-of-ten are held by Democrats and they’re all on the 2010 ballot.

Democratic incumbent Tim Furey is the only one to file in HD 91. Same with Democratic incumbents Dick Barrett (HD 93), Diane Sands (HD 95), Michele Reinhart (HD 97) and Betsy Hands (HD 99).

There are some new faces on the landscape. Robin Hamilton, the incumbent in my district (HD 92) chose not to run again. Community organizer Bryce Bennett has filed and is actively campaigning. Another Democrat, Dean McGovern, head of UM’s Campus Compact, was vigorously exploring a run at this house seat earlier, but he hasn’t filed and I haven’t heard much from him lately. He does have a website up, though.

Then there’s Ellie Hill, a name synonymous with the Poverello Center and many other nonprofits. She’s the sole entry, and running as a Democrat, in HD 94. That’s Dave McAlpin’s old seat but he’s now the head of the state crime lab here in Missoula and he probably won’t get time off to run, or serve.

I’ve already mentioned Carolyn Squires in HD 96.

The only Republican to file in the Missoula area is Michael Sopuch in HD 98. This is incumbent Sue Malek’s seat but she hasn’t filed, yet. I couldn’t find a website for Sopuch. Indeed, the only reference I could find was testimony given by a Michael Sopuch of Cash King LTD, a title loan company. This was before the Montana Department of Administration about title loan company practices.

Finally, there’s HD 100. Democrat Willis Curdy has filed. He ran last time and lost to Incumbent Republican Bill Nooney by 79 votes. Nooney has yet to file but as Nooney’s arch-nemesis Bill Vaughn points out, Nooney has a lot on his plate these days (you’ll have to scroll down to the red sub-head that reads “Falling Down”).

By the way, here’s a map to show where these districts are. The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 8.

(I’m working on candidate website links.  Most are under construction or old, if I could find them at all.  Please contact me so I can update this and future posts with current website info.  Thanks.)

by jhwygirl

Whatever happen to the Republican/Lieberman ideal of not wanting government to come between the patient and the doctor?


By now you’ve heard of the passage of the House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act. Before that vote could hit the floor, conservative Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak put forth an amendment pro-choice people are accurately calling The Stupak Coathanger Amendment. It prohibits the health insurance plans in any government health insurance exchange from covering abortions.

64 Democrats and all but one Republican (Shadegg, of Arizona, who won’t vote for any reform) voted for the bill, and there you have it – the end result being that those most in need of health care – those that have the least – will be left to fend for themselves as those with private coverage move to the front of the line.

For abortions.

Don’t kid yourself, either, into thinking it was anything less.

That amendment didn’t need to occur. Reform was going to pass, and Stupak was bluffing, and many were calling Dems on that bluff up to the vote.

Women’s rights are that expendable for that many? For what? For a show?

Shakesville’s quixote summarizes it well:

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.


Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away.

When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away. Think about that.

The most superior Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (of Florida) is over this bill already, saying it will be stripped in conference, after which there is no chance to offer amendments – it becomes an up-or-down vote only.

I trust in Wasserman-Schultz. She’s the type of person you don’t want to get in front of – she’ll run ya’ down if you aren’t going top speed.

40 lawmakers have signed on to a letter saying that they will not support reform if Stupak’s amendment remains.

There are some things you don’t budge on. Pro-choice and preservation of that choice are building block components of the Democratic Party platform. There is no wiggle there.

No wiggle there with my vote either, btw.

Not one vote Not one dime Not one moment of time. Period.

“Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home”

by JC

Conventional wisdom already is telling us that the lesson democrats should take home (and republicans and the MSM is amplifying) is that when the base doesn’t turn out, as it didn’t in the NJ and Virginia gubernatorial races, that candidates should move to the right in order to capture moderates and independents.

Ezra Klein explains this phenomenon:

“…Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot yesterday, and he won’t be on the ballot in 2010. If his voters stayed home last night, many politicians will take that as proof that they’ll stay home in 2010, too. That doesn’t just make the map harder for Democrats. It also moves Democrats to the right, as their consultants will explain that a winning coalition requires more voters from relatively conservative blocs, like seniors and downscale independents, and thus a more centrist campaign strategy.”

Kos takes the opposite approach, and clearly lays out why dems need to move to their left in order to shore up their electoral chances:

There will be much number-crunching tomorrow, but preliminary numbers (at least in Virginia) show that GOP turnout remained the same as last year, but Democratic turnout collapsed. This is a base problem, and this is what Democrats better take from tonight:

  • If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship”, you will lose votes.
  • If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.
  • If you forget why you were elected — health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform — you will lose votes.

Tonight proved conclusively that we’re not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home. And you aren’t going to make up the margins with conservative voters. They already know exactly who they’re voting for, and it ain’t you.

So as we head into the 2010 election season, dems have a choice: work for the progressive base that swept Obama to power, and ignite them to help fight for change; or follow the CW and continue the tack to the right in the off-year election, in hopes of capturing enough independent and centrist votes to make up for the loss of the base.

It isn’t just the right that is struggling with a split in their party–conservatives ejecting RINOs in an attempt to purify the republican party is indicative of the failure of GOP politics. The left likewise is split with a strong progressive section that refuses to follow timid democrats ratcheting to the right. Bad dem politics, as exhibited by the likes of Max Baucus, already is beginning to cement a growing rift between progressives and mainstream democrats on the left.

Democrats need to make up their minds what is more important to their party heading into ’10: progressive ideals, or conservative, centrist and corporatist pandering. Because without a candidate like Obama on the ticket to turn out the progressive, young and minority base that his presidency owes its existence to, they’re left to their own devices (good policy votes for incumbents, strong stances by challengers) to motivate those voters to turn out.

As Kos said: “We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.”

Obama should take that as a wakeup call for ’12.

Ted busts a bronc

by Pete Talbot


Came across this photo at Daily Kos. It’s the recently deceased Sen. Edward Kennedy in Miles City riding a bronc. Here’s some background.

by jhwygirl

…are becoming increasingly clear for some, including Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

Bingham is a member of what has been called The Gang of Six, the six members of the Senate Finance Committee that is headed up by our Sen. Baucus. The senators who are actually writing the piece of health care legislation that everyone is talking about but no one has seen.

Wanna understand the power of The Gang of Six? Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress does that quite well.

Baucus recently spoke publicly about his support for public option. I think that is great. If Grassley can be tweeting that ‘we don’t need any public option’, then Baucus shouldn’t feel a need to hold back on his personal preferences for a public option.

In fact, I hope that our Senator Baucus speaks more about why a public option is important. As the man who has been working on this very issue for years, Baucus’ support of a public option is something everyone who truly supports reform (everyone – left and right) should want to understand.

by jhwygirl

Figure this as Part II of a previous post, titled Beware of Public Option Smokescreens.

A little over a week ago, Jane Hamsher, principle blogger behind firedoglake whipped out with what is being called The Whip Project. It is/was a call to action for progressives to contact any and all Blue Dog Democrats and gain commitments from them for meaningful health care reform that includes a strong public option. They’ve had some success, most recently gaining commitments from Senator Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (New York) for strong public options or a no vote.

Many advocacy groups have taken up television ads in Washington DC and the home states of those electeds being targeted. This has obviously caused some consternation amongst those Blue Dogs and their protective staff. So much so that one primary Blue Dog – Montana’s very own Sen. Max Baucus – agreed to meet with one such group (Laborers’ International Union of North America) upon their promise to take down an ad it had been airing.

Other groups, too, have removed ads with promises of meetings. Big groups have conceded their ads (for now): AARP, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Federation of American Hospitals and AdvaMed. As Roll Call reports (sorry, subscription required):

Several major industry stakeholders, however, will be noticeably absent from the advertising airwaves over the July Fourth recess….AARP, the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Federation of American Hospitals and AdvaMed all say they are sitting out this recess when it comes to advertising campaigns.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America will be running positive ads touting health care reform.

The groups have been holding their fire in response to threats from the staff of Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and White House aides, who have warned that any groups that run ads attacking reform efforts before the bills have been crafted would lose their seats at the bargaining table.

Say what?! More threats? A month ago Baucus warned K Street to stay away from anti-health care reform electeds.

At least his staff are equal opportunity threateners (sic), right?

Not to be outdone, Obama has gotten into the fray, too: Washington Post reports that just yesterday, in a strategy call with half a dozen Senate and House Democrats, Obama complained that liberal advocacy groups ought to drop their attacks on Democratic lawmakers and devote their energy to promoting passage of comprehensive legislation:

We shouldn’t be focusing resources on each other,” Obama opined in the call, according to three sources who participated in or listened to the conversation. “We ought to be focused on winning this debate.

Boy – what to say about that? Most doctors and nurses agree – hell, even the AMA recently came out saying the same – that a public option was necessary for meaningful health care reform.

What’s increasing clear is that getting that meaningful public option means whipping a whole bunch of Dems into committing to a strong public option.

So why Obama would be critical of progressive groups seeking to ensure, essentially, meaningful health care reform leaves me a little perplexed.

Half-assed reform-in-name only isn’t why I voted for Obama – and I’m pretty darn sure it isn’t why a whole bunch of others voted for him either. There are other reasons, certainly, why I cast that vote for Obama – but let me just say that breaking another (Gitmo, anyone?) “big one” would be a tremendous disappointment.

On another note – that WaPo article mentioned that in that Friday-before-the-Saturday July-4th-holiday call, leaders of both chambers expressed optimism that they will hold floor votes on legislation to overhaul the $2.2 trillion health system before Congress breaks in early August.

So what do I take out of all of this? I take out of it that continual calls and emails to Baucus, Tester and Rehberg are having some effect. I take out of it that donations, however nominal that you can muster, to organizations like Democracy for America, Move On, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Progressive Change Campaign Committee – groups that are keeping the pressure up and have the infrastructure to
mount the massive effort needed – are helpful also.

Let them know politics have changed. That they were elected to represent, and that they represent you – not PhRMA – and that failing to recognize that will have dire consequences for their re-election.

by jhwygirl

Maher nailed it last week when he openly criticized Obama for not doing more to push forward a public option. This week he takes on Democrats. It starts at the 2 minute mark:

“We have met the enemy and he is us” Pogo Possum

by jhwygirl

Not once, but twice.


by jhwygirl

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton Administration has a blog, succinctly titled Robert Reich’s Blog. With that resume, he isn’t your stereotypical blogger, and well worthy of paying careful attention.

In his most recent piece, titled How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do, he provides first hand information on what the public option means for Republicans, moderates and those opposed to national health care reform.

Disappointing stuff to read, I have to say. Very disappointing. If you are advocating for single-payer, or even willing to accept a strong public option – and especially if you are from Montana – you will find this post not only disappointing, but disturbing, to say the least:

So they’re pulling out all the stops — pushing Democrats and a handful of so-called “moderate” Republicans who say they’re in favor of a public option to support legislation that would include it in name only. One of their proposals is to break up the public option into small pieces under multiple regional third-party administrators that would have little or no bargaining leverage. A second is to give the public option to the states where Big Pharma and Big Insurance can easily buy off legislators and officials, as they’ve been doing for years. A third is bind the public plan to the same rules private insurers have already wangled, thereby making it impossible for the public plan to put competitive pressure on the insurers.

Max Baucus, Chair of Senate Finance (now exactly why does the Senate Finance Committee have so much say over health care?) hasn’t shown his cards but staffers tell me he’s more than happy to sign on to any one of these. But Baucus is waiting for more support from his colleagues, and none of the three proposals has emerged as the leading candidate for those who want to kill the public option without showing they’re killing it. Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy and his staff are still pushing for a full public option, but with Kennedy ailing, he might not be able to round up the votes. (Kennedy’s health committee released a draft of a bill today, which contains the full public option.)

A few days ago I came across this article in Bloomberg, titled Kennedy Health Plan Would Include Public Insurance. It was paragraph 7 that drew my ire:

Kennedy’s proposals might go further than another plan being drafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, has said he is weighing whether to include a government-run program in a measure and, if so, how it might be structured to attract Republican votes and industry support.


I had to check the date on that article. “Is this thing a month old, or what?,” I thought. But nope – that was written just two Fridays ago. I let that one ride, thinking, possibly, that the article was overly-biased to its corporate-leaning audience…but with Reich’s post this past Friday, I’m not thinking that any more.

Baucus got away with Medicare Part D back in (what was it?) 2005. With little repercussions and plenty of kudos from the Republican side, looks like all he took out of it was encouragement. Which is rearing its ugly head once again.

Jon Tester campaigned for his senate seat mentioning the Medicare Part D fiasco at nearly every campaign stop he made. At some point, Senator Jon Tester needs to speak out and talk about meaningful public option, and he needs to let both Montanans and Baucus know that is where he stands, and that a strong and viable public option is what he expects.

Montanans want to know that we’re getting some representation over there in Washington, and it is becoming increasingly clear that Baucus is not only ignoring us, he’s obfuscating a public option plan.

From the looks of things, he’s trying to pull a Medicare Part D type ‘reform’ – in name only – again.

by jhwygirl did up a nice piece, with interview, about congressional candidate Tyler Gernant’s use of the Kindle (an wireless electronic reading device) in his campaign.

Gernant recently announced the release of his policy papers – which can also be obtained on his website at – in electronic format for Kindle download at, for .99 cents each.

From Tyler Gernant’s blog:

While we understand that these are the same policy papers that are available on our website, there is something that’s a little different about our Kindle program. First of all, the Kindle content allows you to more easily share issue positions with your friends while you’re away from your computer. You won’t have to carry around a bunch of loose papers or squint to read text on your phone or blackberry. In fact, Kindle’s text-to-speech feature can read the issue positions to you. More importantly, though, 100% of the money that we make will go back into Montana . . . literally. For every Kindle download, we receive a portion of the proceeds, and all of those proceeds will be used to plant trees right here in Montana. This is a creative new way to help us spread our message of opportunity while ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy Montana’s natural wonders.

I bet that Kindle is great for the college crowd. I don’t own one, and I don’t think I’d use it for books – I tend to underline and highlight and write notes in the margins (I know, I know – the horror!) – but I’d sure love to have it to download magazines, newspapers, and individual articles….and it’d be especially great for camping, flying and long road trips.

by Pete Talbot

Meet Tyler Gernant, potential Denny Rehberg opponent.

First he has to file (he has an exploratory committee now) then he has to win the primary, then he’d face Rehberg in November, 2010.

But hats off to anyone who gets out early, does the background work and then takes a shot at Denny.

Over coffee at Bernice’s, Tyler said he “has no illusions about the hurdles ahead.” He’d most likely be taking on Montana Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald, among others, in the primary. Some of the big dogs, like Schweitzer and Baucus, have advanced McDonald’s candidacy all along, so Tyler would have a battle on his hands.

Gernant is 26 and a lawyer living in Missoula — potentially a lethal resume for a statewide candidate — but stranger things have happened. A political neophyte by the name of Brian Schweitzer almost took out three-term Senator Conrad Burns in 2000 (and that was before the Abramoff scandal).

And Tyler has roots in Eastern Montana; his grandfather homesteaded in Whitetail, which is about as far east (and north) as you can get and still be in Montana.

When asked why he didn’t start off with slightly smaller goals, like the state legislature or a Tier B statewide position, Gernant said this is a “perfect time” to run for congress and that federal issues are what pique his interest.

Gernant is politically savvy, having interned for Sen. Baucus and two congressmen, and worked on Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign.

He plays the young card well. He says he’ll “bring fresh ideas” and a “different way of doing politics.” He’ll tap into the “netroots … which is a natural consistency” (a strategy that has been effective in recent campaigns).

Although he counts progressives and populists among supporters, the issues he raises are more mainstream: tax reform, deficit reduction, rural revitalization and energy.

Rehberg (I know, I’ve said it before) should be vulnerable. He basically voted the Bush agenda for the last eight years; including the free trade, free market, deregulation, privatization and voodoo economics that helped get us into our current economic mess. But then he votes against the stimulus package. What a guy.

Can you name any important legislation that Rehberg has offered and has passed congress in the four terms he’s been in office? I didn’t think so.

It’s been awhile since Rehberg had a serious challenger. He deserves one this next time out.

Tyler says he’s going on a tour — “testing the waters” in Eastern Montana and cities like Great Falls, Helena and Billings. He also says he’s putting the final touches on a website and some position papers. We’ll keep you posted.

Please note, it’s too early to be making endorsements. I’m just glad folks are lining up against Rehberg.

by Pete Talbot

I’ll cut to the chase. Baucus did the wrong thing, again, and Tester did the right thing – I think.

The vote on Thursday to release the second half of the funds ($350 billion) to ailing financial institutions passed the senate.

Baucus voted to release the funds; Tester voted present, “giving live pair.

I thought I was a reasonably savvy student of congressional voting but “giving live pair” was a new one for me. Here’s how that vote was explained over at Daily Kos:

What “giving live pair” means is that he was exchanging a vote with someone who wasn’t there. Three senators weren’t there. One of those three is who Tester was “giving live pair” for.

Say Tester was going to vote “no,” and Senator X was going to vote “yes,” but wanted to attend his daughter’s piano recital today. Sen. X approaches Tester and asks him to “give live pair.” If Sen. X showed up at the vote and voted “yes,” and Sen. Tester voted “no,” the outcome of the bill would be the same as if neither of them voted. So Tester votes “present, giving live pair,” and Sen. X goes to the piano recital, knowing his absence didn’t affect the outcome of the vote.

(Quick note: if you go to the roll call link above, a “no” vote was to release the funds and “yes” vote was to withhold them. The vote to release the funds passed 52-42, with two voting “present” [Tester and Hatch] and three not voting [Brown, Bunning and Kennedy].)

In an earlier press release, Tester indicated displeasure with the bailout and specifically the lack of oversight. So, I’m guessing he would have voted “no” but gave one of the three senators who weren’t there and was going to vote “yes,” a break.

This is weird stuff and although I believe Tester did what was right, I’m not sure a “giving live pair’ vote will play that well in Montana. Folks here kind of like votes to be a simple “yes” or “no,” and will tolerate an occasional abstention.

I hope that Tester can adequately explain why he did what he did because I believe he’s a principled fellow.  I won’t hold my breath for an explanation from Max on his vote.

Equally interesting is that mostly Republicans voted against the bailout but they were joined by Democrats like Bayh and Feingold.  And mostly Democrats voted for the bailout but were joined by a number of staunch Republicans.

Finally, don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of a stimulus package and believe the government has an extremely important role in getting our economy back on its feet. I’m just not a big fan of throwing billions of dollars, with little or no oversight, at the folks that got us into this mess.

by Pete Talbot


Please take these thoughtful endorsements from Planned Parenthood’s action committee into consideration when you vote:

… We are days away from an historic election here in Montana and we want to help you participate in that process.

Evaluating a candidate’s voting history, her PPAM (Planned Parenthood Activists of Montana) candidate questionnaire, or interviewing him personally, PPAM has endorsed and/or recommended 64 statewide and local candidates.

Check out our webpage at for the full listing by community.

A special shout-out to the following statewide and judicial candidates who are a top priority for Planned Parenthood:

Steve Bullock, Attorney General

Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Schools

Mike McGrath, Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court

Monica Lindeen, State Auditor

Linda McCulloch, Secretary of State

Kathy Seeley, First Judicial District Court Judge (Helena-area only)

Planned Parenthood is counting on you, the pro-choice voter, to make a difference in these races. Again, visit, share with friends, and vote.”

I’m going to use the ‘S’ word

Socialist. There you go, I said it. And I must be one, too, big time, if that’s what they’re calling Barack Obama. I see Obama’s policies as pretty moderate on: taxes, health care, defense, the economy, the environment …

Takes you back to the good old days of witch hunts and the Red Scare.

Just what are Socialists, anyway? People in Canada, Norway and Australia? Folks in England, France, Germany and our other NATO allies? They seem to be doing as well as anyone these days, economically. Is there something nasty, scary about these governments that I should know about?

A Canadian columnist for The Globe and Mail in Toronto is scratching his head. In a piece entitled, “An election on Socialism, without a Socialist in sight:”

” … Socialism is not defined by state intervention in an economy. All states intervene in the economy, the United States more than most. It busts open foreign markets, fights for global resources (such as oil), controls labour militancy, develops new products (such as the Internet), which it then hands off to business. Above all, its military spending fuels its economy, and has for generations. Bank bailouts fit like a hand in a glove.”

Barack Obama is not a Socialist, he just happens to have different policies than Bush/McCain.

Knock it off

Everybody. Please.

Most Montana campaigns start off pretty tame, with the candidates explaining why people should vote for them. But as we get closer to election day, the gloves come off and folks get nasty. Witness today’s flurry of accusations and counter charges:

Attorney general candidate Tim Fox being smeared by the Montana Democratic Party (granted, Fox’s opponent, Steve Bullock, got smeared earlier by the Republicans). Then there are the radio attack ads against Linda McCulloch, Democratic candidate for secretary of state. And, of course, supporters of Republican OPI candidate Elaine Sollie Herman and the campaign’s “professional Indian” and “young Indian” comments, directed at Democratic candidate Denise Juneau.

Who approves these ads and innuendo, anyway? Erik Iverson, Montana Republican Party Chairman; Dennis MacDonald, the Montana Democratic Party Chairman; someone higher up the food chain; or some boneheaded, overpaid, beltway consultant?

Montanans deserve better. It makes me want to puke slugs.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Good news for those of you who are asking the question “Who is Barack Obama?” PBS’ Frontline is airing The Choice 2008 on Tuesday night. It’s an in depth look at the candidates. If after the broadcast, and after four years of being in the national spotlight, two years on the campaign trail, thousands of interviews and speeches, two autobiographies, numerous books both pro and con, and hundreds of websites devoted to the man, you insist you still don’t know the guy, I’m guessing there’s no answer that will satisfy someone with such a startlingly distinct lack of intellectual acumen. Or maybe, just maybe, your question is insincere. Regardless, by all means keep on parroting the subtle race-baiting used by a politician our nation was introduced to just six weeks ago; a person who really refuses to face media scrutiny.

Did you know Johnny Ramone was a Republican? No, really, he was. This profile in today’s Missoulian reminded me of that fun little fact.

Steven Dogiakos hopes his ideas speak louder than his looks. This coming from a 23-year-old with a spiky, multi-tone Mohawk inspired by punk bands such as The Ramones and Stiff Little Fingers.

Look, legendary punk guitarists aside, if you’ve come away from the punk movement with a healthy respect for authority, a desire to stand up for the status quo, support for preemptive military strikes and expansion of government power, a membership in the political party of corporate America and the religious right, and you take the side of the powerful against the powerless, well, I hate to be the first to break it to ya, kid: you missed the point entirely.

Or maybe this is the ultimate use of irony. I don’t know. If so, keep on keepin’ on, Steve, you mavericky maverick you.

by jhwygirl

Warning: This digressed, I’m afraid, into a rant. With that being said, I invite you all to join in.

Who can keep it all straight anymore? News is moving so gosh darn fast you can’t read the stuff fast enough before something changes, there’s so much going on.

Is there a better plan to be had? Better plan in who’s point of view? A Republican’s or a Democrat’s? Are we that divided and drawn up to our corners that it’s gotten to a point that we’ll be lucky to hold it all together until Thursday at noon when the House re-convenes? ‘Cause it’s sure sounding like it.

Nancy made what Republicans are saying was a bad speech. The way I see it, she failed to give any credit to Republicans for negotiating out a better bailout package than the original 3 page I’m-King-of-the-World proposal from Paulson.

Eric Cantor, Republican, blames Pelosi, waiving the text of her speech around for all news cameras to see. He agrees we need a bailout, he agrees something has to be done, he agrees it’s a crisis – but, gosh darn it, Nancy said something mean.

House Minority leader John Bohner, too, blames it on Nancy’s partisan speech, saying “I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” adding that Pelosi “poisoned” the GOP conference.

So what did Democrats have to say? Barney Frank summed it up well: “Give me those 12 people’s names, and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.”

So let me get this straight? You all agree that something needs to be done, but Nancy said something bad and you guys can’t get your egos out of the way so you vote nay? Because that’s what you both said…to dozens of television cameras, for all the world to hear…

Gingrich is now calling for the firing of Paulson, calling the situation the “Final Collapse of the Bush Administration”. But he’s also blaming Democrats. And he’s also saying he’da voted for today’s package.

The Negotiators claim to be protecting us from “golden parachutes.” That’s a lie. I hate laws with no teeth. And, excuse me, FUCK giving those wall street guys bonuses for putting us into this mess.

We are seeing fraud of the highest level, committed against the citizens of the United States of American.

Paulson? The guy who said that limiting parachutes would be a “poison pill”? The guy who got $18.7 million in bonus’ for 6-months of work for Goldman-Sachs in 2006 – the year he started as Treasure Secretary? If you clink that link above from moneycentral, Paulson gets to decide who gets bonuses. Do you really want this guy deciding who deserves a bonus and who doesn’t? What currently sitting CEO that needs a bailout deserves a bonus? What fucking plant is this guy on?

Excuse me, but I’m pissed off.

And come to say it – Paulson has been Treasure Secretary since 2006 and he’s not done a gosh darn thing about this until now? And people want to blame Democrats since they’ve “been in charge of congress since January 2007”? Dispel that thought from any Einstein mind that is thinking that with this simple yet concise comment from Councilman Ed Childers.

Problembear has a nice little bio on Paulson that shouldn’t be missed.

So here we are – the House is in recess until noon on Thursday. We’ve got nothing, stocks falling in every market around the world.

Is this the shit history is made of? Paulson on bended knee begging Nancy Pelosi not to ‘kill the deal’? Republicans voting nay because they are offended by Nancy Pelosi? While banks close, fortunes are being lost, businesses are failing?

Maybe for the next day or so we can get back to the election.

I’m not betting on it. But I’m wishing on it.

Oh – and How ‘Bout Them Steelers?!

by Pete Talbot

(The serious blogging is coming out of Denver but someone needs to cover the bases back home. Here is some local insight, light fare and escapism.)

Obama, yes, but no Dick

Barack Obama’s last stop before hitting the Democratic National Convention in Denver is Billings. He’ll hold a town hall style meeting on Wednesday.

Vice President Cheney cancelled his Wednesday visit to Bozeman to raise funds for Montana Republicans. He’s on a mission to Georgia (not the peach state) where he’ll surely garner more respect for the U.S. and sow the seeds of peace.

Digital hijinks

Naughty software is to blame for Helena’s KTVH broadcast of the Olympics with Mystery Science Theater 3000 characters superimposed on the screen. Wish I could have seen it. (I loved that program — the Olympics weren’t bad either – what a great combo those two shows would make).

Apparently, the used equipment’s ‘Flexcoder,’ recently purchased by the NBC affiliate, only affected high-definition signals. This story is making the rounds on the internet.

Different strokes

Hispanic singer Daddy Yankee endorses John McCain. That’s the biggest news out of the Republican camp lately. Hey, no candidate is immune from uninformed celebrity endorsements but I feel sorry for the Latino community on this one. Does ‘Daddy’ really have credibility?


Finally, with most of my blogger friends down in Denver (or should it be up in Denver, since it is the Mile High City) here’s a little You Tube hit from Bobby Vinton. Anyone born after, maybe 1957, won’t recognize this song.

I liked the little anti-war line at the end of the song. That’s a new twist from Bobby.

by jhwygirl

The shame brought to us by the Bush Administration never ends, does it?

First, a review of some of my outrages – because this isn’t the type of stuff you “move forward” on:
More Shame From the Bush Administration

More Disrespect for the Troops from the Commander-in-Chief

Symbiotic Relationship of Bush Administration and Mainstream Media Has No Bounds

From the VA: Shhh, 1,000 Attempted Suicided Per Month

Before I go further, just imagine the stuff you don’t hear about….

James B. Peake, Secretary for Veteran’s Affairs, has issued a directive that bans non-partisan voter registration drives from federally-financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans.

Peake was nominated by the White House in 2007, and his job is described as “the principal advocate for veterans in the U.S. government.” He graduated from West Point, and served in the Army Infantry Division. He went on to get is medical doctorate degree in 1972, and retired as a Lieutenant General in 2004.

Why would a military guy oversee – in fact, facilitate – impediments to voting for the very veterans he has sworn an oath to protect? Why would he do something like this when voting is one of the very basic of rights the military is there to uphold for the United States? What kind of military guy does this?

Peake is citing the Hatch Act in his defense. The Hatch Act forbids federal workers from engaging in partisan political activity.

Registering voters is NOT a partisan political activity. No matter who is doing the registering.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Robert A. Brady (Pa.) and Bob Filner (Ca.), have sent a letter to Peake, asking him to halt the directive.

Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barack Obama (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced legislation to require the VA to facilitate voter registration for veterans. Since being introduced on July 22nd, Sens. Rick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) have signed on to S.3308.

I’ve asked this before – but someone please explain to me why something that is in the best interests of everyone, of all veterans – why aren’t there any Republicans signing on to this bill?

Or, put another way, why wouldn’t Republicans want to make sure that veterans can vote?

Please take a moment to contact Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and ask them to support S.3308.

Oh – and don’t forget Representative Dennis Rehberg.

by jhwygirl

Hey there BS Cairn. Good morning. Nice to meet you.

I didn’t mentioned our “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg’s HR 6566, otherwise known as the American Energy Act of 2008, because it wasn’t up on his website when I wrote the original piece.

How many hours did it take him to add it, once the alert went out on my post?

As for “snarky”? Sometimes truth is more humorous (if not ironic) than fiction. It’s interesting, though, that you find Rehberg’s hypocrisy “snarky”.

Now, let’s analyze the bill that Mr. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” supports – the one you suggested I intentionally did not mention. Its purpose is: “To bring down energy prices by increasing safe, domestic production, encouraging the development of alternative and renewable energy, and promoting conservation.”

Well – there we go again – increasing domestic fuel production. Translate? More drilling, more welfare-for-the-oil-corporations federally-financed refineries – lovely.

As for “encouraging development of alternative and renewable energy and promoting conservation,” I see little specifics on that. In fact, the whole so-lovely-called American Energy Act of 2008 is a shell of a piece of introduced legislation, with an extremely short list of things probably taken off of Max’s SB 3125, otherwise known as the Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008.

Why do I say that? Because the HR 6566 that Mr. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” wants to support does the following:
–Tax credit for new qualified electric plug-in vehicles
–Tax credit for new alternative fuel vehicles
–Extension of tax credits for alternative fuel refueling properties
–Extension of tax credits for energy efficient appliances

Check, check, check, check.

Clearly there’s a pattern there, BS.

As for the allegation that Baucus has a “colossal policy failure” when it comes to energy, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to what Max has been doing in the Senate. He’s stood behind alternative fuels for as long as you’ve at least been out of high school – and dare-I-suggest, probably a lot longer.

As for your “I-sleep-on-my-couch” guy? When was the last time he did anything but piggy-back on other industry lapdogs like Rep. John A. Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO),Rep. Don Young (R-AK), and Rep. Sue Wilkins-Myrick (R-NC).

Of course – gotta give credit when credit is due, Rep. “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg did piggy-back on Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) for HR 2208, which is Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Act.

Still doesn’t make me like coal. And it still – believe it – doesn’t make me think Denny is doing the right stuff for Montanans.

On that note – let’s not leave this post without Mr. Rehberg’s grades. Here they are, from


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