Archive for the ‘Dennis McDonald’ Category

by Pete Talbot

I was hoping the pundits and polls were wrong, but they weren’t. What is even more depressing is that Montana followed the national trend of moving to the right. In some cases, moving to the far right.

Let’s start with the PSC races. The Republicans now have a majority on the commission that regulates most of the utilities in our state. Expect looser reins on industry, fewer renewables, a greater emphasis on coal and a short-sighted energy policy. Consumer protection will take a hit, too.

Two veterans, Democratic PSC incumbent Ken Toole and former Democratic State Senator Don Ryan, lost their bids to Republican newcomers Bill Gallagher and Travis Kavulla, respectively. Toole ran a strong campaign — raised money, bought media, worked the district — but it wasn’t enough to overcome the “radical” tag that Gallagher hung on him. And you can also thank Flathead County voters for helping to take Toole down. May their utility rates increase tenfold.

In the other PSC race, let’s face it, Kavulla campaigned harder and raised more money than Ryan in what is basically a Hi-Line district. Even Great falls went for Kavulla.

Democrats lost big in the Montana legislature. Keep on eye on Billings’ Senate District 25, though, where Democrat Kendall Van Dyk is trailing Republican Roy Brown by one vote. Update from Billings Girl: “Last night when the votes were counted. Van Dyk was leading Brown by one vote, not trailing. And after some provisionals were added he is now up by 16. He has stayed ahead the entire time.” Kudos to Kendall.

My math may be a little off but I have the Montana House at 69 68 Republicans to 31 32 Democrats and the senate at 28 Republicans to 21 22 Democrats (the 50th seat to be decided by the Van Dyk/Brown race).

There were a few bright spots but more disappointments. On the upside, in my house district (92), Democrat Bryce Bennett won a close race against Republican Don Harbaugh, 2201-2072.

Two big letdowns. Democrat Willis Curdy losing House District 100 to Republican Champ Edmunds, 1858-1606. Curdy had a great profile and worked his ass off. I don’t know if we’ll ever pick up that seat, which is too bad, because otherwise Missoula County would be an all Democratic delegation.

It was also sad to see Bozeman’s JP Pomnichowski (D) lose to Tom Burnett (R) in HD 63 by 2682-2618.

Glad to see Beth Baker win the Montana Supreme Court race against Nels Swandal.

Finally, after all the “kick out the incumbent bums” election rhetoric, one of the biggest bums had an easy win: Denny Rehberg (around 60% of the vote) against Dennis McDonald (about 34% of the vote). Libertarian Mike Fellows got about 6%.

My take on the elections is that voters are frustrated by the party in power for not fixing things and that trickled down to the Montana races. But what a mess the Democrats were handed, and the voters must be smoking a lot of medical marijuana because their short term memory is shot.

It could also be a disgust with party politics in general as witnessed by the election of an Independent as sheriff (Carl Ibsen) here in Democratic Missoula County. It should also be noted that McDonald even lost Missoula County. It was only by 198 votes out of 34,892 but WTF?

I’ll try to get a post up later on the Montana ballot initiatives (I went 50-50 on those).

But I won’t even get into the national stuff, and I have no further pithy analysis or keen insights into this mid-term disaster, but here are some links to a few Montana folks who do:

http://leftinthewest.com/diary/4450/it-still-hurts-in-the-morning

https://4and20blackbirds.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/how-did-it-all-go-so-wrong/

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/gop_scores_big_in_west/C37/L37/


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by Pete Talbot

Commercial irony

Challenger Dennis McDonald’s latest TV commercial has drawn the ire of Congressman Denny Rehberg. Jhwygirl has a post up on it. Rehberg’s outrage is hypocritical. He and the Republican party having been running negative hit ads for ages.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, though. I hate this kind of campaigning. Rehberg has been worthless as a congressman and that should be enough to get him booted from office. Unfortunately, it’s the personal, not the policy stuff, that commercials focus on these days. I guess that’s what plays best in our ADHD society. It’s a shame.

TV station ownership tends to be conservative but it looks like the stations will continue running the spots despite Rehberg’s lawyers’ threats. There’s money to be made.

A pitiful TV spot

Speaking of spots, this is one of the worst TV commercials I have ever seen. Put the politics behind you for a second, if you can, and just look at the spot aesthetically.

Poor Jan Rehberg. She could be a nice woman, for all I know, but she should kick the ass of whomever conned her into doing this spot for Nels Swandal. Who let those robots on the set?

Bad script, bad delivery, bad composition, bad lighting, bad everything.

This is also supposed to be a nonpartisan position but I guess we know where Nels stands on the issues. We’re looking at Tea Parties during recess.

In this race for Montana Supreme Court Justice, and I hate to judge a candidate by their TV (no pun intended) but Nels’ commercial is painful to watch. Even though I’m voting for Beth Baker — Swandal’s opponent — I’d give her a hard time, too, if she’d produced such a low-rent spot.

A little humor

Let’s end this post with some levity. I used to be pathologically obsessed with yard signs but when you think about it, it is a funny way to advance a candidate. Anyway, here’s the Onion‘s take on it:

Yard Sign With Candidate’s Name On It Electrifies Congressional Race

October 25, 2010 | ISSUE 46•43

The sign, above, which pundits say may have fundamentally altered the American political landscape.
 

by jhwygirl

Suing the City of Billings and its fire department isn’t enough, Dennis Rehberg’s gotta set to serving papers on his opponent for Montana’s lone congressional seat – Dennis McDonald.

First – You have to see the ad:

You know, I really have no problem with this ad – Rehberg did do “all of the above” – that and more.

Rehberg may not like that there is an ad that says these things, but truly, who’s fault is that? He’s the one who made an embarrassment out of himself and Montana when he was in Kazakhstan. That’s well-documented in a variety of news sources.

The ad doesn’t mention a 2008 expense account claim – which he later amended – that billed his campaign for a couch that he slept on in the basement of a Washington DC bar……

Keep that in mind when you think of the claim that he sleeps on a couch in his office in DC – all of the above of which are also well-documented.

Is his office the bar? Or is it the other way around?

Then there’s that pesky boat incident. His friend Greg Barkus has managed to keep the trial off until after election day. Convenient for Rehberg to not have to testify during a campaign.

McDonald’s ad, apparently, is a distraction from the campaign for Mr. Rehberg. Considering that it really isn’t untrue, Rehberg mighta been better to let the ad play itself out for whatever McDonald spent on it….but Rehberg and his darn staff of fools went out and are now trying to lawyer themselves out of a public embarrassment.

Making it, not-so-ironically, a public embarrassment.

by Pete Talbot

The numbers were already in when I arrived, late, at the Union Club. It doesn’t take long to tally votes in a primary.

Tyler Gernant was there and had mixed emotions about the outcome. He did much better than he could have hoped for when he first launched his campaign, but it wasn’t enough. The Democrat’s standard bearer, Dennis McDonald, had a 14 point lead. Gernant, with 15,724 votes, received 24% and McDonald, with 24,134 votes, had 38%.

It wasn’t a shock but I predicted closer numbers in the Gernant/McDonald contest.

Melinda Gopher with 13,287 and 21% came in a close third (which surprised both me and Gernant since she didn’t have a strong field operation). She did well with tribal voters and I’m guessing women, too. She definitely pulled some votes from Gernant.

As did Sam Rankin, who also raised very little money and didn’t really have an organization, but pulled an amazing 16% (10,233).

I and other Missoula area bloggers have been accused of being “Missoulacentric.” After all, Missoula is the center of the universe. But being here in the Garden City, one’s point of view can become a bit jaded. Tyler seemed to be doing so well in Missoula and he did capture 1143 more votes than McDonald in Missoula County. So, obviously, McDonald worked hard in other Montana counties. This shatters one of my long held opinions that if you can win Missoula County in the Democratic primary, you win the state.

I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Gernant, though.

Another race I thought would be closer was Teresa Henry’s loss to Tom Facey by 26 points. Tom’s door-to-door work is unparalleled, they say, and as a Missoula area teacher for decades, he has good name recognition. Still, Ms. Henry has a fine track record in Helena and has served more recently than Facey. I thought this race would go down to the wire but Facey ended up with nearly 63% (1190) to Henry’s 37% (708).

Ellie Hill’s victory received a rousing round of shouts and applause at the Club when her numbers were announced. She beat Lou Ann Crowley by almost 100 votes (Hill, 712 or 53% to Crowley’s 618 or 46%). Ellie ran a textbook campaign — fundraising, the doors, targeted mailing, GOTV — she did everything it takes to win and she pulled it off. I thought this race would be closer, too, but some of the yard signs of the many I saw for Crowley were in Republican yards and those folks probably voted in the Republican primary.

And on the Republican side, congressionally, voters went big for the right (incumbent Denny Rehberg got 86,271 or nearly 75% of the vote), followed by the far, far right (Mark French, 21,989 or almost 20%). Not a lot of moderate votes cast (A.J. Otjen, 6668 or close to 6%).

Some other noteworthy observations: Republican voters went to the polls at twice the number of Democrats — 129,165 to 62,811. This does not bode well for the fall general election, especially in the congressional contest. The Democrats have their work cut out for them.

And the petition gatherers for CI-102, the “amoebas are human beings” constitutional initiative, showed real class. They paraded around outside Lowell Elementary School with posters of dead fetuses.

by jhwygirl

This post was updated.

Democratic congressional primary candidate Tyler Gernant has gained even more momentum in the last few days with news from both ABCMontana and the Flathead Beacon that the race is too close to call.

That in the context of taking on Dennis McDonald who was, much earlier this year, the presumed winner.

Gernant has worked hard – honestly, I am in awe of his steadfast work ethic and commitment to his campaign. The guy DOES NOT rest. Will he work for me in congress? Will he work for Montanans? You betcha!

TODAY he gained the endorsements of Jay Stevens at Left in the West – who thoroughly articulates his reasons for supporting Gernant and James Conner of Flathead Memo, who also, gives a fine analysis of why he is supporting Gernant along with a nice synopsis of the other candidates.

James Conner is a fine writer who provides (not often enough, IMO) thorough thoughtful nonpartisan commentary when it comes to politics. Moderates and Independents should take note of James’ endorsement.

Matt Singer – one of the finest people I know in progressive politics and someone I admire immensely – has put out a few posts on Tyler (like this one, Rehberg Gets Schooled by Tyler Gernant), and today he takes note of the momentum that Gernant has and says “I’d make a small bet that he pulls off this primary tomorrow evening — a victory that will be newsworthy for his age and the fact that McDonald should have this in a walk.”

Don Pogreba, a 2008 Democratic primary gubernatorial candidate, is calling the race for Gernant, saying “While Dennis McDonald certainly had an advantage in name recognition and connection to the party establishment, Gernant’s had a much more energetic and visible campaign.”

I have to say, all of this brings me great joy. Key factor here now is Getting Out The Vote. Give your friends around the state a call or an email tonight and remind them to vote in this important primary. Make sure your fellow coworkers have gotten their ballots in, or offer to get them to the polls.

Not registered? Head over to the fairgrounds. You can register right there.

by jhwygirl

Even if you like coal and supported development of the Otter Creek tracts, this should cause you pause.

Clean coal is a fallacy. The coal industry spends far more in dividend payments and buying bigger diesel-gobbling machinery than it does in search of technology for clean coal – and when that won’t work, they’ll just continue shipping the stuff off to China.

It’s a multitude of old industries joined together in the common cause of coal..holding on to the market they have for coal and mining machinery, railroad equipment and rail building, large-scale shipping. All subsidized by state and federal tax dollars – yours. Lobbying against clean energy and any policies that might lead us towards weaning our power industry off of coal.

Kinda like drug dealers, you know?

Meanwhile the U.S. lags behind in green industries. The windmill here in Montana? Built in Germany, Denmark, Spain and China. Congress has been, with all intent and purpose, walking away from the one burgeoning industry potential here in the U.S. Even industrialist and oil man T. Boone Pickens knows that wind energy is the future of America.

McDonald gives one statement to Montana Conservation Voters, another to the crowds here in Missoula, and a different one to the voters out east in Billings and Bozeman? What’s a voter to believe? I know I heard him here in Missoula say that ‘until coal can be made clean,’ he didn’t think we should be developing coal.

In a big state with such a small main street, why would any candidate put out a mixed message on such a high-profile issue?

Yikes.

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

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.

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

(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 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 jhwygirl

Missoula County Democrats will be hosting a Democratic congressional candidate forum Tuesday night, 7:30 p.m., in city council chambers, located at 140 W. Pine.

Tyler Gernant, Melinda Gopher and Dennis McDonald will speak, with an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates.

If you’ve yet to meet any of the candidates, this is a great opportunity to hear them speak.

by jhwygirl

Yeah, I been wearing my Tyler Gernant sticker…and I love telling people who he is: ‘Tyler is our next representative for the Great State of Montana who’s going to take out Denny Rehberg who hasn’t done a thing in 10 years,’ is how I start off.

I’ve had two skeptics right off the bat of my beginning statement say “Really? Rehberg’s done nothing?” (as if “nothing” couldn’t possibly be true), and I confidently tell them yep – nothing. Dennis Rehberg’s proposed two bills – one was a congratulation to Carroll College, the other one was to wish the City of Billings happy birthday – it died in committee.

“Of course he’s good at earmarks, though,” I continue.

I point to Rehberg’s hypocritical stance of railing against earmarks and stimulus money while traveling the state to get his picture take with the big photo-op checks as they’re handed out. Then there’s Rehberg’s calls to decrease spending while calling for tax cuts and how Denny doesn’t – even after 10 years I emphasize – understand basic budgetary principles…which is why (I further emphasize) we’re now in this mess.

Anyways…to get back on topic, because this post is about Tyler Gernant…I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with Tyler on more than a few occasions. Gernant is one hard working candidate (I’m betting he’s crisscrossed this entire state nearly twice already). He’ll meet with anyone, and I’m thoroughly impressed with his dedication.

Tyler’s smart, he’s knowledgeable about tax law and tax code and I believe he will go to Washington seeking forward-moving change.

So when Tyler Gernant was making his official announcement at the beginning of this month down at The Wilma here in Missoula, I made sure to leave work early in order to support him. A lovely sized crowd turned out, and while there was buzz in the room because a staffer for Dennis MacDonald’s campaign was in attendance, my only words of advice on that was to embrace the guy – clearly, MacDonald sees Gernant as a worthy opponent, otherwise he wouldn’t have sent anyone.

Gernant gave a substantive speech. That alone was impressive. I didn’t see him use even notes. That’s not to say he did it on the fly – clearly he was prepared. But he didn’t give a speech like this, in substance and in length (and perfectly) without a clear vision of both his own capabilities and of what he wants to accomplish.

If I questioned who I would support in the Democratic primary for Montana’s lone congressional representative that morning, I didn’t after I heard Tyler Gernant announce that evening,to Montana. that he would seek to be Montana’s next representative in the U.S. Congress.

Here are Tyler Gernant’s words announcing his candidacy:

Good afternoon, and welcome to the historic Wilma Theatre on what promises to be a historic groundhog day.  You see, much like Bill Murray in that classic film Groundhog Day, Dennis Rehberg has been reliving the same day over and over and over again since 2001.  He’s been stuck in yesterday, thinking there will be no tomorrow and no long-term consequences for his actions.  Yet, each day we wake up to see bigger budget deficits, fewer jobs, and folks in Washington who think that responsibility means blame.  But today’s different.  Today we can stop fearing Dennis Rehberg’s shadow.  Because today, Congressman Rehberg finally woke up to a new day.  And every day from here on out, he’ll wake up to find that responsibility isn’t about finding a scapegoat, it’s about finding a solution.  And so today, I stand before you prepared to take on that responsibility and declare myself a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

As you all know, we’re facing some pretty difficult times.  But I wouldn’t be running if I thought this would be easy.  If this were 2000 and we had a 200 billion dollar budget surplus, when we were creating jobs and growing our economy, I wouldn’t be interested in this race.  No, I’m running because I’ve seen too many of my friends lose their jobs in the last year and a half and have to leave Montana.  I’m running because we have to balance our checkbook if we want to protect the progressive programs that we all hold dear.  Programs like social security and medicare.  Because if we don’t balance our checkbook, we’ll never be able to implement the kinds of progressive programs that our country needs.  But most importantly, I’m running because we need to restore responsibility back to Washington.  And by responsibility, I don’t mean assigning blame.  What I mean is the responsibility to tackle our problems head on and work to find solutions. 

For me that sense of responsibility has been handed down through four generations of Montanans.  My great-grandfather homesteaded up near Whitetail, which, for those that don’t know where that is, it’s a small town in the Northeast corner of the state.  Up in between Plentywood and Scobey.  And as any descendant of a homesteader is aware, it was not an easy life.  From there, my family really fanned out across the state.  I had a grandpa who worked in the smelter in Anaconda and my other grandpa was a truck driver in Great Falls.  Through their hard work, my folks were able to attend Carroll College, where they first met.  After college, my folks found their way here to Missoula, where my dad became a high school math teacher and football coach over at Hellgate and my mom worked at what was then the Appletree restaurant. 

And although I never realized it when I was young, that sense of responsibility had been born into me.  In fact, I can remember back when I was about ten years old; I had set my sights on this little black and white television set.  And since our family only had one TV at the time, this little black and white set meant a lot more to me than just a new toy.  It meant freedom, so that I could finally watch whatever I wanted to watch.  Unfortunately, it also meant sixty bucks. Sixty bucks that I didn’t have.  And since, at that time, my only steady source of income was a dollar a week allowance, it was a pretty lengthy proposition.  Coincidentally, though, the 1992 Presidential election was occurring about the same time.  And since I didn’t have any other TV to watch, I ended up watching those Ross Perot infomercials with my parents.  And I specifically remember him saying that if we have to balance our check books, then why doesn’t the government.  And I thought to myself, “if I have to scrimp and save to buy this little TV, why doesn’t the government have to save to buy what it wants.”  Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot more about economics since then, but that basic sense of responsibility is something that Dennis Rehberg never learned.

You know, when Dennis Rehberg took office, we had over a $100 billion budget surplus.  We haven’t balanced the budget since.  Now we have a $12 trillion national debt, and if you add in the unfunded obligations of social security and medicare, that national debt approaches $56 trillion.  Which means that every American man, woman and child would owe $175,000.  All this from a guy who claims that fiscal responsibility is at the very core of his being.  Yet he voted for a massive tax cut for the wealthy that completely eliminates our budget surplus and returned us to deficits.  He votes to put two wars on our credit card, and then he votes for a prescription drug plan that lets big pharmaceutical companies charge our government whatever they want for prescription drugs, creating one of the single largest deficit increases in our nations history.  Worse yet, he’s pledging to vote against a health care reform bill that has been rated as the single largest deficit reduction bill in the history of our country.

So while Rehberg’s whispering these sweet nothings about financial restraint into our ears, he’s stealing our credit cards and spending money like a drunken sailor.

But you know what, today isn’t about blame, today is about solutions.  Today is about what we can do together to ensure that we have a future.  To do that, we need to address our massive budget deficit.  Unfortunately, there’s no single solution that’s going to wipe the red slate clean and return us to the black.  But there are some things that we can do to stem the tide without threatening our economic recovery.

 First of all, we need to reinstitute the pay go system.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, pay go was a system that was in place throughout the 90’s that said that every item of new spending had to be accompanied by a way to pay for it.  Coincidentally, that system expired in 2002 and we all saw what happened.  Our budget deficit returned and began growing at it’s fastest pace ever.

We also need to end the use it or lose it system that pervades the budgeting process for our federal agencies.  Essentially, this system encourages government bureaucrats to spend every penny that is given to them in their budget, because they’re told that if they don’t spend it all they’ll get less next year.  Federal employees are literally forced to take unnecessary trips at the end of the budget year so that there won’t be any money left in the coffers.  It’s a perverse incentive that needs to be replaced with one to encourage our federal agencies to save money.

And considering the dramatic advances in technology, it truly is sad that we don’t have any meaningful and accessible system for the public to see where our tax dollars are spent.  We need to increase transparency in the budgeting process so that we can hold our elected officials accountable when they throw away our money.  To that end, we need to make a comprehensive budget available to the public over the internet.

But you know, the truth is, that all of these things can’t hold a candle to the most effective way to reduce our budget deficit, and that is to grow our economy and create jobs.  As we saw in the 90’s the most effective way to close the budget gap is to ensure that everyone’s working and contributing to our economy.  Only then will we see our economy gain the strength it needs to take us out of these deficits.

And for Montana, the best way for us to create jobs and grow our economy is to invest ourselves in the new energy industry.  And by that, I mean one that is based on clean, renewable and sustainable sources of energy.  Montana has such huge potential in terms of wind, solar, bio-mass, bio-fuels and even some geothermal across the state.  But in order to realize our potential, it’s going to take an investment in a smarter and expanded power grid to ensure that we can transport that energy in an efficient manner.  It’s also going to take an investment in our education system to ensure that we can perform the research and development necessary to fully harness these new sources of energy.

But if we want to make these changes we have to change who we send to Washington.

Since Dennis Rehberg took office in 2001, he’s managed to enact only three of his sponsored bills, and all three of them were to name federal buildings.  Which, when you think about it, means that we pay this guy $170,000 a year, and what do we get for it.  Well, on average, he’ll name one federal building for us every three years.

But you know what, you don’t have to take my word for it, just ask his Chief of Staff.  In fact they did just that.  Last cycle, they asked him what Rehberg’s greatest legislative accomplishments had been in his, by then, eight years in office.  And he listed off a resolution congratulating the Carroll College football team on a football championship and, this is no joke, a resolution wishing the city of Billings a happy birthday, which we later found out died in committee.

We have a right to expect more from our Congressman.  We have a right to expect a Congressman who will work towards the next generation instead of the next election.  So that is why today I am here to ask for your support in this campaign.  Because together, we can kick a lazy Congressman off his couch and create opportunities for Montana’s families and small businesses.  Thank You!

 

by jhwygirl

With nary an official announcement, I, too, noticed Mike Mansfield’s name at the bottom of one of my more recent emailings from Democratic congressional candidate Tyler Gernant – as did Missoulian reporter Chelsi Moy. She was perplexed – I was pleasantly surprised.

Having the nephew of Montana’s former Senator Mike Mansfield heading up the treasurer position for Gernant’s campaign certainly came as a good signal to me that not only was Gernant very serious about his search for our lone congressional seat, but that he was deserving of the support of a political insider like Mike Mansfield.

There’s much ado being made over Dennis McDonald’s declaration today that he supports single payer. Me? I’m skeptical of candidates taking strong and hard positions on something they’ll not have to vote for or for things of which they have no standing to take credit.

Not that Dennis isn’t a nice guy. I found him genuinely pleasant when I met him at the Democratic National Convention, when one of the things I took notice of was that his cowboy hat was the real thing, dirt and all – not like that show hat Rehberg wears, with so perfect a rim. It’s just that I view any and all show-boating during a primary with a significantly skeptical eye. Regardless of who it is from.

That cowboy hat thing might seem a little weird – but it’s the small things like the handshake and the eye contact, and yes, the cowboy hat, that can tell a whole lot about the person.

I’d much rather hear from both of these candidates regarding what changes they’d want to see to prevent the near collapse we’ve seen of our financial system. Or, regarding a position on health care, something specific as to how it can be paid for – rather than an elementary “I support single-payer.”

Frankly, with regards to McDonald’s recent declaration regarding single-payer, I DO have to ask: Where were you three months ago? Two months ago? Last month? That bus has kinda left the building, no? Single-payer? Call me crazy, but I can compare taking McDonald taking this position now to Rehberg running around taking credit for stimulus funding he didn’t vote for.

Of course, when am I ever not the cynic?

Gernant out raised McDonald last quarter, and this current quarter closes Tuesday. Think about stopping by his Act Blue page and dropping him a donation of a few bucks.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

Well, a hell of a week, I’d say. Yesterday, especially, was really a WTF? With Bozeman still in major catastrophic mode, an early morning quake rocked the area – 4.2 – centered just south of Whitehall. Not good for a bunch of former buildings now laying like sticks. News reports used the words minor, and moved on…but my thought was “4.2? Hell, that’s enough to rattle some stuff off walls.” A short time later, downtown Whitehall was on fire. The Bozeman Chronicle reports this morning that at least 5 businesses are a loss.

Frequent 4&20 commenter goof hoolihan has added his observations and after-thoughts to Pete’s post – this morning was another.

The whole downtown Main Street will be suffering from the affects of this for quite a while. Don’t rule Bozeman out for a ski trip for the last few weekends here of ski season, folks – many of those businesses in that area – while vehicle traffic might not be possible – will be open for foot traffic. Many of the open businesses are going to help out and employ – in these tough economic times – their neighbors who are unemployed because they don’t have a building to go to. They’ll need some extra consumers. Keep that in mind.

And with that one woman still missing, rescue and recovery works? Safety first.

I actually started this V&S about two weeks ago? Maybe three? So picking up from there….

Back then, the Obama Administration is considering a lift of the ban on media coverage of returning fallen soldiers. A little over a week later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the ban would be lifted.

Also from the NY Times, a graphic presentation of 2008’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wherein I find out that my Britta water filter is fairly worthless. The Atlantic has the story.

Wulfgar! did a great piece on the Republican folly aftermath of President Obama’s State of the Union address.

The whole Michael Steele/Rush Limbaugh thing has been fascinating. I had happened to catch the interview that has initiated the whole most recent conservative firing squad – it was on the D.L. Hughley show on CNN. DL circled in – with a co-host – on Steele, pushing him on not only his party’s failure to address black issues, but on how Rush was really the leader of the party. How if Steele was really the leader of the party, wouldn’t he and the party want to marginalize someone who openly spoke of wanting our President to fail? How speaking that way is very contradictory to what Republican’s have been accusing Democrats of doing for the last 8 years?…

Steele mealy-mouthed his way through the interview, and finally gave Hughley what he was looking for – Steele saying Rush wasn’t leader. Neither statement there lasted long – Steele has been under attack form conservatives since then – he’s apologized to Limbaugh, and he’s had to take down his blog at the RNC because of the overwhelmingly critical posts coming from conservatives.

DL Hughley? His show was cancelled on Thursday in a release titled DL Hughley takes new role at CNN.

Guess Rush Limbaugh, an OxyContin and hydrocodone-loving buffoon, really is the head of the RNC.

Bunk the West takes on rural healthcare issues.

Pogie tells us about Sen. Bob Story’s pathetic defense of not funding CHIP in the state house. He also feigned some tears for the poor professionals who make more than $250,000 a year, who are belly-achin’ about Obama’s tax plan.

The Button Valley Bugle brings us a history of a house that had to be burned before it fell into the river – with a nifty picture, don’t miss it – and a call, again, for support of the Big Sky Rivers Act. This one is still in the House, folks…let’s give it a lift and tell that House Natural Resources Committee to get it moving!

Help out if you can for pancreatic cancer research? There is a 7-week challenge going on, that requires but a few seconds of your time at a keyboard. Karbon Kounty Moos tells you all about it. Small things really do make a difference. The keyboard can be mightier than the sword.

Robert Struckman is back, blogging for Montana Change That Works, a project of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union..a very very fine group of people. Don’t miss his stuff over at Left in the West

One more…

Politics, Peaks, and Valleys had a nice thorough analysis of the early pickin’s in Montana’s U.S. congressional race. Insider v. outsider: Who’ll bloody Rehberg? I’m very much enjoying that blog over there…

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

(The “2010” was added to the headline because I’ve used “Rehberg is challenged” before — I kinda like the double entendre.)

Montana Democratic Party Chairman Dennis McDonald has filed papers with the intent of challenging Rep. Dennis Rehberg next year. Now Dennis v. Dennis might be confusing to some but keep in mind that Rep. Rehberg always goes by “Denny.”

This could be a real race, compared to the “challenge” put forward by John Driscoll in the 2008 contest. McDonald is a bona fide candidate: he can raise money, has the backing of the big dogs (Schweitzer and Baucus) and has toured the state and made plenty of contacts in his job as party chair.

I’m not endorsing McDonald. It’s still early and other people could file. But I like the fact that he’s getting out early and throwing down the gauntlet.

And I personally like McDonald. This might surprise some folks because I ran against him for state party chair in 2005. Got my butt kicked, too.

Sure, I wish he was a little further left, but then I wish that for just about everyone.

I do hope that if McDonald is elected he votes more like Tester than Baucus.

Anyone would be better than Rehberg, though. He’s a George W. Bush clone: a pro-war, pro-privatization, anti-choice, anti-stimulus package, anti-environment, anti-health care … well you get the idea.



by Pete Talbot

Endorsements

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 www.ppamt.org 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 www.ppamt.org, 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.




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