Archive for the ‘Denny Rehberg’ Category

by Pete Talbot

Well, there are a lot of differences between Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, and some similarities, too.

And, IMHO. Jon isn’t perfect and Max isn’t all bad. As a matter of fact, if you compare Max to Rep. Denny Rehberg, Max looks like a compassionate, progressive statesman — but that isn’t setting the bar very high.

I think this vote speaks volumes, though. The original bill came out of the house as part of the $410 billion omnibus appropriations act (HR 1105). But the senate had to vote specifically on whether members of congress should vote on getting an automatic cost of living raise. Jon voted against the automatic raise. Max voted for it.

It’s hard to tell where Denny is on this one. He voted against HR 1105 but then that was a huge appropriations bill and the pay raise was just a tiny portion of it. He was NOT a co-signer of HR 156, which is a house bill denying the automatic pay raise that’s still in committee. This bill had 112 co-signers from both sides of the aisle, so I’m guessing that Denny, the 15th richest member of the house, is all for a pay increase but we’ll have to wait and see.

Maybe I’m missing something here.  Most Democrats voted the same way Baucus did and most Republicans voted with Tester.  But the Democrats that I have the most respect for, like Russ Feingold out of Wisconsin, voted with Tester.

Oh, and by the way, Max and Denny, how’s your taxpayer-paid health care treating you these days?

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

Missoula cats

Cats bring out the same sort of passion that folks usually reserve for dogs and guns. Just witness the traffic on the unofficial Missoula municipal listserv.

If you’re not a subscriber of this very informative service, go here. And here’s the new ordinance language. (I’ve also copied some of the comments below the fold).

The gist of the ordinance is to cut down on the number of reproducing cats by encouraging spaying and neutering, and requiring a breeder’s license for folks who have more than five felines. This is a good idea and will, I hope, reduce the number of cats that have to be euthanized because they’ve been abandoned, or are feral or just out cruising.

The Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller tells us the ordinance is headed back to committee. While the cat ordinance may not generate the clever copy that the chicken ordinance did, I imagine we’re in for a number of stories on the subject over the next few weeks. There’s going to be some new language suggested for the dog ordinance, too.

Bankruptcy, Baucus and Rehberg

The 2005 Bankruptcy Bill was bad for consumers and a godsend for the banks. Fortunately, congress could be looking at some reform in that law.

Former Montana resident and current political columnist David Sirota writes about a new bankruptcy bill. It would start in the U.S. House, and it will be telling to hear Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg’s input, if any, on the bill. Denny actually had a couple decent votes at the end of the last congressional session (‘no’ on the bailout, for example), breaking a string of horrendous votes.

If it makes it through the House, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus will have a significant role as Finance Committee Chairman. He voted for the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill. Let’s hope he does better on a new bill.

And I’m betting that our other senator, Jon Tester (D), will do what’s best for consumers if a bill comes around. Congratulations, by the way, on your Appropriations Committee appointment, Jon.

(It should be noted that Rehberg is back to form. A recent roll call of his votes this session includes: a vote against women [wage discrimination – HR 12] and a vote for derailing bills [H Res 5]. Is it too soon to start looking for his 2010 opponent? I don’t think so.)


I didn’t realize what a hot ticket the inauguration is. It sounds like a helluva party. Hotels are booked solid and DC residents are renting out their spare rooms to the masses.

Montana’s governor and members of congress will all be riding horseback in the parade, along with members of the Crow Nation.

My ticket must have gotten lost in the mail so I’ll probably head down to the Elks Lodge instead, around 7 p.m. Here are some details.

Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

While I’m not completely cold-hearted and I do sympathize with the situation, someone please explain to me why anyone in Washington – including Rehberg, Tester and Baucus (although the news article doesn’t mention Baucus here) – want to maintain sweetheart real estate deals for cabin lessees on national forest ground?

Now, Georgetown Lake USFS cabin lessees have gained the ear of the Montana Standard, who has apparently taken up their cause.

“I can’t afford to stay there for $8,500 a year,” said Martelli, an Anaconda retiree. “I’m going to try to sell it if I can but I don’t know anybody else that would buy it and pay that kind of lease price.”

Really? With land being bought up faster around that lake than they can build ’em, and he doesn’t think he’d be able to sell that cabin because now one would be able to afford the lease price? An annual lease price that would seem a deal as compared to a mortgage?

What is the benefit? Leaky septic tanks and higher fire danger? Higher fire fighting costs if when fire moves through?

Beyond that those leases – as Martelli alludes to in the article – get passed down from lessee to lessee, often kept in the family forever. They’re not put out there competitively or fairly for the rest of the wanting-a-sweetheart-deal-cabin-site public. Why’s that fair?

I know that sounds harsh – and I’ve talked with several who maintain these cabin sites – but I’ve yet to be able to justify having the federal government facilitate maintenance of a family tradition, a family heirloom – call it what you will.

I’ll even acknowledge that these cabins are for the most part pretty modest – some are shacks, frankly (which doesn’t help my higher fire danger complaint) – and that higher leases will result in the sites being sold over to what will result in higher end cabin lessees.

On the other hand – that additional revenue would end up in the pockets of local government entities via PILT payments.

I’ve blogged about this before, here.

Anyone, please – explain to me why the federal government should be in the business of leasing prime vacation lands at what amounts to effectively subsidized real estate prices?

by Pete Talbot

Dear President-elect Obama,

I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver our three electoral votes to you. You worked hard for them. You visited the state and talked western policy. You set up offices and hired staff and had the best ground game I’ve ever seen. John McCain never set foot in Montana.

You came close — only 12,136 votes separated you from McCain. And compared to the 20-point win that George W. Bush had here four years ago, what you did was miraculous.

I’m still scratching my head, though. In almost every other statewide category, Montana went blue: senator, governor and all four tier b’s (unseating the sole Republican incumbent with a new secretary of state). And two-out-of-three newly-elected PSC commissioners are Democrats.

Another confusing example is Gallatin County. I hoped for better numbers from there. It did, after all, almost go for Sen. Tester in 2006 (Burns won by less than 200 votes). But this year, Obama goes down by over 1400. Perhaps Barack should work on a flattop haircut for 2012. Even Gallatin County voted for you, by a 1609 vote margin.

I don’t believe race was a factor. I think most Montanans who voted for McCain did so because of issues like taxes or defense or the “experience” card or some ingrained conservative Christian belief.

And guns played a role. Even though you came to Montana and assured us you wouldn’t take away our guns, ugly rumors persisted. Next time through, make sure to get that ubiquitous firearm photo op.

We wish you well, Mr. President, and may you bring people together to help solve the numerous problems facing our country. Godspeed.

An unpleasant aside

After saying race wasn’t a factor, well, you still run into this: On my way to Bozeman on election day, I stopped by the Cardwell Store, there between Whitehall and Three Forks, for a cup of coffee and a Slim Jim. Two good-old-boys were at the counter and one said, “I better go vote.” To which the other said, “Yeah, I’d hate to see this election get nigger-rigged.”

I’m not even sure what he meant but I left my merchandise on the counter and walked out. Came up with some really choice things I should have said about five miles down the road.

Now I’m sure that everyone in Cardwell isn’t an ignorant racist pig but I won’t be stopping by again, ever, to find out.

It’s a sad anecdote, but there’s one good thing about it; the guy was old and will soon be dead.

I love Missoula

On a more upbeat note: Missoula delivers. One or two flies in the ointment: that HD-100 race where Willis Curdy is losing by a measly 33 votes to Republican incumbent Bill Nooney (provisional votes still being counted, final results Monday). But that’s democracy; you can choose the anti-education, anti-senior, anti-young person, anti-environment candidate if you want.

Same with SD-7, which has a little bit of Missoula County in it and where veteran lawmaker Paul Clark lost to anti-government zealot Greg Hinkle.

Otherwise it was a sweep: Gutsche over Mood for the PSC, the improbable county commissioner outcome, nine-out-of-ten state reps, and two state senators.

The Emergency Operations Center Bond going down wasn’t really a surprise. With property taxes in the mail and it being a slow economy and all, folks are tightening their belts. In better times, I think it would have passed. It also wasn’t one of the strongest campaigns I’ve seen run in this town.

Ravalli County blues

Is it too harsh to recommend a toll booth at the Ravalli/Missoula County line? Those Bitterrooters should pay extra to come and visit an eclectic town that values education and planning. Maybe we could funnel the toll revenue into preserving Ravalli County open space, while there’s still some left.

I know that there are progressives in Ravalli County but time-and-time again their issues and candidates get hammered.

Both West Fork Blues and Rebecca have excellent comments on the results in the Bitterroot.

Statewide conundrum

Despite Democratic wins in most of the big-ticket races, the Montana House is tied and the senate losses seats (R’s 27-D’s 23). Throw in a Democratic governor and I smell gridlock. But maybe not, lots of talk from candidates of all stripes wanting to “reach across the aisle.” We’ll see.

I, like Jay and others, have to wonder about this split ticket voting. How can our Democratic governor win by an almost two-to-one margin and still have the Montana Senate lose its Democratic majority? Did the Republican Party focus on legislative races because it knew most of the others were hopeless? Any insights?

We’re a two party country

Third parties didn’t fare well. Libertarian Don Eisenmenger received about 7 percent in the OPI race, which I believe was the party’s best showing. Presidential candidate Bob Barr got 0.3 percent. In the U.S. House race, perennial candidate Mike Fellows got 3 percent, and Stan Jones got 2 percent in the governor’s race.

For Constitution Party candidates, Ron Paul got slightly over 2 percent in the presidential race. That party’s best showing was in Missoula County with Kandi Matthew-Jenkins getting a little better than one-third of the votes against Cliff Larson in SD 50 (there was no Republican in that contest). And in the SOS race, Sieglinde Sharbono received around 3.5 percent.

Nadar’s Independent ticket garnered slightly less than 1 percent.

And finally

Who ever thought we’d have a president with a name like Barack Obama? It pales in comparison, though, to the candidate from HD-15 — my favorite name on the ballot — Frosty Boss Calf Ribs. I’ve met some of the Boss Calf Ribs clan up in the Browning area but don’t know Frosty, who was unopposed. Kind of makes our Anglo names like John Smith and Jane Doe seem rather lame. Congratulations, Frosty.

by jhwygirl

Via dKos, and done by Research 2000.

McCain’s lost another point since the last Montana polling information, from NewWest just 10 days ago. It’s now McCain 49, Obama 45. Kos is now painting Montana blue.

Schweitzer is having a pleasant time this election season – Schweitzer 57, Brown 40. His approval rating sure looks great too – While Dems have him at 62/33, Republicans put the Good Guv’s approval at 52/41. Even Independents are loving’ the Good Gov – Brian gets a 66/31 approval with them.

Brown’s approval ratings are pretty dismal – overall he’s got a 41% approval 31% disapproval…women don’t seem to take a liking to him either – there he musters a 38, and even Independents give Brown a 37. Men give Brown a little better grade – a 44%.


Rehberg sure isn’t skating by…..most recent polling has Rehberg polling at 52%, and John Driscoll with 38%.

And Driscoll isn’t even really campaigning! He’s not raised any funds, and he’s not traveling to do any campaigning. The only campaigning he’s doing is that travel which he had already planned. I haven’t heard – the guy lives in Helena – if he’s even door knockin’ there.

Man, I don’t know, but I’m thinking that’s gotta hurt.

Anyways, there you go – some numbers to mull over. But now is not the time to get complacent – write those letters to the editor, head down to the Obama campaign and make a few calls, knock a few doors…or, better yet, contact any of the local state races (links in this post) and do some door knocking for them.

Weather’s great – and it gives you a chance to meet some neighbors.

by Pete Talbot

Here’s what I hear:

Field office phones are ringing positive for Sen. Jon Tester — not so much for Sen. Max Baucus.

Rep. Denny Rehberg’s folks don’t talk to me a lot but I’ve heard he’s getting positive feedback, too.

For the record, Tester and Rehberg voted no on the $700 billion bailout bill (Rehberg — twice). Baucus voted yes. Some folks are calling campaign offices to have their ‘Max’ signs pulled from their yards.

Max followed leadership and voted with the majority, doing what I’m sure he thought was the right thing.

Tester’s not up for election, and Rehberg and Baucus will surely win, so these three all voted their conscience. Of course, the entire Montana delegation is getting a ton of calls, pro-and-con, on the vote … and the economy. People are scared and for the first time in eight years, fear may help the Democratic Party.

The people want change which is why Rehberg voted “no” (one of the smartest vote he’s made since he’s been in office). They admire Tester’s vote.

Baucus is in Montana doing damage control, talking to the press and his constituents about why he voted the way he did.

But still, the market dipped below 10,000 for the first time in four years. Wall Street wonks are wondering if $700 billion is enough. All the candidates have their work cut out for them — especially after the election when they’ll have to try and fix this financial crisis.

by Pete Talbot

Jhwygirl broke the story first but here’s some more information on Gary Brown’s resignation from the HD 100 race. From the Missoula County Democrats:

“Due to a very unfortunate circumstance, we will be selecting a new candidate to run for the legislature in House District 100. Candidate Gary Brown has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is giving up his race for the legislature in order to devote his time to much more important issues. The Central Committee will be meeting to select his replacement. The meeting will be next Tuesday, (Aug. 12) 7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers, 140 East Pine.”
Running for public office is one of the highest forms of community service. Thank you, Gary, for throwing your hat in the ring. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
This just in, though: there seems to be a bum’s rush to appoint Willis Curdy to the position. Willis is the candidate who lost to Brown in the primary (albeit by about 70 votes). While I appreciate Missoula Democratic leadership and others for advancing a candidate — please hold on, Bill Vaughn and area legislators — it’s not your call. Let’s see what happens at the meeting.
Denny Rehberg: drama king
Rep. Rehberg is headed back to D.C. during the break because he, and other Republicans, are outraged over the high price of gas. His service to date is what helped get us to $4-a gallon-gas.
Denny’s push to drill where no man has drilled before is going to bring prices down, so he says. Not in this decade and not by much, say the critics. This from Spiegel International:
“The reality, as usual, is far more complicated. Drilling in the now-restricted areas would require years of extensive seismic research before a single rig could operate. Even then, companies would not embark on such massive projects unless the profitability were clear. What’s more, the federal Energy Information Administration estimates that access to new US deposits would not significantly affect overall domestic production for 22 years.”
Rehberg has supported the Cheney/Bush energy policy from day one: big tax breaks for big oil, “no” to alternative energy or transportation; and he’s accepted large contribitions from the oil, gas and coal industry. This is GOP theatrics at its best.
Go to the Western Montana Fair
Last night, I ate two tacos, two vikings, a corndog, corn-on-the-cob, a tater pig and fry bread — I’m slacking — must be getting old.
Some people hate the fair and some people love it. I love it. It is the quintessential Western Montana experience — the people watching is the best — the pigs, goats and other livestock aren’t bad either.
It’s too bad about the horse racing but still worth the price of admission.

by jhwygirl

Correction: Doug, of The Montana Misanthrope, notes in a post of his own that both Tester and Baucus also signed the letter referred to in the post below. I don’t know where he got that letter but it doesn’t change my view. As I said in the comments – until someone wants to cut me a check to subsidize my primary residence (at the very least), I say “No” to subsidizing second homes for anyone, irregardless of their income.

Representative Dennis Rehberg thinks that it is unfair for holders of cabin lessees on federal lands to have to pay rental fees based on fair appraised values of their cabin sites.

Now, why would an anti-tax guy like Rehberg feel that 2nd home owners on federal lands should be given a discounted subsidized-by-the-taxpayers free ride on federal lands? Seriously?

The Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000, to which Rehberg refers in his letter to USFS undersecretary Mark Rey, was passed by the House on June 16, 2000 with an overwhelmingly nonpartisan vote. Even his predecessor Rick Hill voted for it. Both of Montana’s Senators – Burns and Baucus – voted for it too. The Cabin User Fee Fairness Act was part of the 2000 Department of the Interior appropriations bill.

The feds charge a rental fee based on the value of the lands – and the local forest offices have been gradually bringing these rental fees – for all types of uses – up to par with the going market prices on similarly situated property values. Are cabin lessees going to see increases in prices? In places where property values are going up, you bet. Should they? Why not? Why should vacation home owners – no matter how humble their abodes – get a free ride? A subsidized ride on the back of all federal taxpayers?

The USFS has to maintain the roads to these places – and they have to provide fire protection. Tyvek wrap isn’t cheap, nor are those retardant drops. There’s inspections and staffing and paperwork. That stuff isn’t cheap either. Then there’s the increased fire danger merely by having these things around. While many of these are off the grid, a whole bunch of them have electricity wired to them – older wooden structures with even older utility poles carrying electricity through miles of national forest. Lovely.

Apparently Rehberg and some others feel that the intent of the legislation is different from the printed word. They have a problem, it seems with “a fair appraisal process,” which is part of the legislation.

At a time when the USFS is strapped for operating monies, why would Denny call on the USFS to be reducing rental fees on vacation homes located in public national forests?

I mean, how many votes is that gonna get him? Does he really need to pander that far down the pole?

We probably don’t have to worry about Mark Rey caving on this one, though – cabin lessees, I doubt, reach the influence level of large corporations.

by jhwygirl

NewWest’s Rob Struckman posted a piece this afternoon, based on some information that has come his way, that Smurfit-Stone is mulling some tough decisions. He’s spot-on with all of it – their woes over pulp have been widely known for some time.

Sincerely troubling news. Not only does Smurfit employ well over 400 employees, it’s a fantastic community citizen. A huge tax base. If they close, the reverberations will be felt much further than Missoula alone.

Reuter’s has this story on its consecutive quarterly losses.

Struckman’s piece reports that Dick King of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation is working hard to try and keep Smurfit-Stone up and running.

Let’s hope that Dick King has some help – everyone from the Mayor and our Board of County Commissioners, to the Governor and his base of economic funding, to Representative Rehberg, to Senators Baucus and Tester…..230 good paying, family-raising, community-benefiting jobs is too much for any Montana city to loose – let alone the state.

If the Governor and the Department of Commerce can find $400,000 for Deerlodge’s Sun Mountain Lumber, surely they can find a solution for Smurfit-Stone.

If the USFS can put together over $600,000 in community grants based on slash, sawdust and small-diameter timber thinning projects, surely they can do something here.

Fact is – any solution must involve local communities and the USFS. The USFS is the only property owner with large enough holdings to sustain this industry. But communities, too, have to work together to realize that bug kill isn’t going to go away, and thinning projects will, in the long run, reduce fire danger to Montana’s sprawling communities. Forestry practices can be sustainable – and the key is to involve the communities and natural resource advocates up front. There are solutions.

And industry is the key word here folks. Unless we Montanans are content to survive on Burger King and hotel jobs, we need to have industry jobs. Tech would be nice, and so would medical – but until our universities start focusing on those types of jobs and drawing those industries to the state, we gotta work to keep what industry we have. Otherwise, huge tax bases are going to be gone, and the burden will be shouldered more and more on individual taxpayers.

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


by jhwygirl

Standing in front of a solar panel, Montana’s congressman, Representative “I-sleep-on-my-couch” Rehberg announced his plan for America’s Energy Independence.

Rehberg has proudly supporting 7 bills:

HR 3089 which builds more oil refineries and “making available more homegrown energy through environmentally sensitive exploration of the Arctic Energy Slope and America’s Deep-Sea Energy Reserves”;

HR 2279 which streamlines refinery application processes and “requiring the President to open at least three closed military installations for the purpose of siting new and reliable American refineries.”;

HR 2208, which promotes coal-to-liquid by authorizing the Secretary of Energy to enter into loan agreements for these projects. Yep – you read that rights – loan agreements for the federal government. And just who are those loans going to come from? China?;

HR 5656 which pushes forward alternative fuels acquisitions by the federal government in oil shale, tar sands, and coal-to-liquid (who knew coal and oil were alternative fuels? Not me….);

HR 2493 which reduces the price of gasoline by removing fuel blend requirements and onerous government mandates if they contribute to unaffordable gas prices;

HR 6107 which opens the Arctic Energy Slope to environmentally sensitive American energy exploration, and creates a “alternative energy trust fund” from .01% of the revenues. With coal and oil shale being alternative fuels, I don’t know if I buy it – and, yes folks, he’s championing “environmentally sensitive American energy exploration.”; and finally,

HR 6108 is titled “Deep Oceans Energy Resources Act of 2008,” and I think you know what that means: Drill. Drill. Drill. Yipee Ki Yay!

Contrast all Rehberg’s gobbly-gook to Senator Max Baucus’ S.3125, introduced June 12 and titled the “Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008.”

Max’s bill – read twice already and now sitting in the Finance Committee – does the following:

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend various provisions relating to energy production and conservation and to individual and business-related activities;

Extends through 2009 the tax credit for producing electricity from wind facilities and through 2011 for closed and open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, and trash combustion facilities. Includes marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy as a renewable resource for purposes of such tax credit;

Extends through 2014: (1) the energy tax credits for solar energy, fuel cell, and microturbine property; and (2) the residential energy efficient property tax credit. Allows a new investment tax credit for combined heat and power system property;

Allows a tax credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles;

Extends through 2013 the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial building expenditures;

Extends through 2010 the tax credit for energy efficient appliances;

…and so it goes.

Now, to be fair – he’s got an inclusion which “allows tax credits for investment in advanced coal electricity and coal gasification projects,” but he’s also got this one, which “extends through 2018 the temporary increase in coal excise taxes, but sets forth special rules for refunds of coal excise taxes to certain producers or exporters.”

So someone please explain to me how Rehberg can stand there and make his announcement in front of a solar panel while endorsing offshore drilling, Artic drilling and coal-to-liquid, in every which way you can possibly imagine – especially in the context of our Good Senator Baucus’ bill – which is essentially a renumeration of stuff that he has been advocating for years?

Sure does make him look silly now, doesn’t it?

by Pete Talbot

Good political insights and some great self promotion over at Daily Kos by Democratic candidate Peter Rosten (HD 57 87 in the Bitterroot). This is one of many Montana legislative campaigns that has great potential and could use our support. Rosten is a film and video producer, which is close to my heart, and he’s done innovative work in Western Montana schools. Here’s his website.

I was remiss in my last ‘favorite links’ not to mention Wulfgar’s! (is that where the apostrophe and exclamation point go?) introspective Obama piece — over at LiTW, of all places. This link is a little late but there’s still some wild commentary going on — presidential retrospectives, recriminations, gender issues — it’s worth a look. Remember, we’re all Democrats here so let us keep our eye on the prize.

Montana congressional candidate John Driscoll is certainly an optimist but then again, he won the Democratic primary without doing any campaigning or raising any money. I sincerely hope he gets his ass in gear and makes a serious run at Rehberg. Driscoll needs to keep Rehberg busy, otherwise Denny will spend his money and time helping other Republican candidates (particularly state legislators) get elected.

So now we know what John Sinrud has been up to since he decided not to run for the legislature: figuring out how to rape the Montana landscape. Along with extractive booster and former Republican Congressman Ron Marlenee, Sinrud has formed the innocuous sounding Western Tradition Partnership. Jim Jenson of the MEIC nicely skewers this organization’s goals.

by jhwygirl

A bill (HR 3058) that would have extended payments for 4 more years to rural communities throughout the west via the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) failed in a largely party-line vote today in Congress. Rehberg voted against extending it.

For some background on this, check this piece that I did back in January.

SRS is funded by timber sales on federal lands, and helps rural communities – based on the amount of untaxed federal lands – pay for services such as police, fire, teachers, roads and emergency services.

174 Republicans and 19 Democrats – Dennis Rehberg amongst them – objected to the inclusion of provisions for the establishment of conservation of resources fees for federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rehberg and friends also objected to the requirement that the Secretary of the Interior incorporate price thresholds applicable to royalty suspension provisions, or amend existing price thresholds, of a specified amount per barrel for oil and per million Btu for natural gas for any lease for Central and Western Gulf of Mexico tracts issued during the period of January 1, 1998, through December 31, 1999.

In other words, Rehberg chose Big Oil over Montana’s rural communities.

Way to go there, Lap Dog!

by Jay Stevens

You may remember that both Pete Talbot and I went to see Ron Paul when he made his appearance here in Missoula, and we both liked some of the things he was saying.


Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has a seductive message: get the U.S. out of Iraq, get the government out of personal lives, and put the country on a sound financial footing….

To probably the biggest applause of the evening: “End this war!” — it’s hard not to agree with that.

“How you spread democracy is by setting an example” and, hinting at the current administration, “we should teach a few people in this country about democracy.”

He’s anti-Patriot Act. He opposes FISA and warrantless searches. He’s against torture: “We’re known around the world as torturers.”

Our current economic policy “destroys the middle class and sends money to the Wall Street rich.”

And I even gave Paul kudos for speaking out for traditional conservative values, like sane fiscal policies:

And, while I certainly don’t share Paul’s vision of a crippled government, of regressive taxes and deregulation of business, it was at least refreshing to hear a Republican genuinely embrace those issues, and to see his supporters passionately voice their support to those ideas. It was certainly a marked contrast to the actions, voting records, and deeds of the current incarnation of the GOP at the state and national levels, which seems dedicated to bloated, inefficient government, irresponsible fiscal management, and authoritarianism.

It should definitely come as a surprise and a disappointment to Paul fans that his rhetoric appears to be just that: hot air.

Why, do you ask, am I saying this?

He endorsed Dennis Rehberg.

Can you think of a Republican who more embodies everything that Ron Paul was speaking out against in the UC Ballroom? Does Rehberg support the war, and has he supported it since its inception? Check. Did he gladly support the administration’s illegal “anti-terror” policies? Check. Is he one of the “spend-and-run” Republicans? Check.

I already quoted Rehberg from the Choteau shrimp peel, but it’s worth repeating in context of Paul’s endorsement:

Rehberg, giving an overview of national politics, defended George W. Bush’s policies and “You bet I defend George Bush.” The current president’s policies will someday be viewed as successes in a historic perspective, he said. Rehberg said Americans have enjoyed safety and no more attacks on U.S. soil since 9-11 because Bush took the war on terrorism abroad.

Really, what else can we possibly think of Ron Paul after this move, other than he really didn’t mean much of what he said here in Missoula? I mean, really? You support Dennis Rehberg?

by Pete Talbot

Erik Iverson, Rep. Denny Rehberg’s hatchet man and chairman of Montana’s Republican Party, has a guest column in today’s Missoulian.

In Montana, there probably isn’t a more divisive subject than guns and Iverson uses this wedge issue to attack Barack Obama.

” … Obama has shown that if elected president he will try to take away many of the freedoms we hold dear … ,” Iverson writes.

That’s rather a sweeping statement. So is the line that Obama will ” … arm the criminals and prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves.”

Looks like Iverson is taking a page out of the Karl Rove play book on smear tactics.

Obama has already stated that he’s a defender of the Second Amendment. And even if he has some concerns about concealed weapons, he’s not going to start chipping away at gun rights when he gets in office. He has a few other issues on his plate, thanks to the current administration: things like Iraq and Afghanistan, health care, and a recession.

I’ve haven’t seen any platform coming out of Obama’s campaign that would suggest an anti-gun stance. And also keep in mind that there are a few checks and balances in place. We have a Supreme Court that just ruled against the Washington, D.C., gun ban. There’s also a Congress that is loathe to advance any gun control legislation (the Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2007, which would re-up the expired 1994 assault weapon ban, is still languishing in Congress).

So why would Iverson hint that Obama wants to take away your guns? Because it’s a hot-button issue, like gay marriage or flag burning, that’s meant to distract voters from the lousy record that Republicans (i.e. Rehberg) have on the pressing issues of the day.

And why would getting rid of Rehberg help stem this flow of political sleaze? Because as Rehberg’s Chief of Staff, Iverson’s paycheck comes from Rehberg’s office (well, actually, the taxpayers).

Dump Denny and you shut down Iverson and his brand of gutter sniping, at least for awhile.

Mission accomplished.

by Pete Talbot

Rep. Denny Rehberg says that President Bush is a “victim of his own success.”

Recession? Check. Energy woes? Check. Health care crisis? Check. Torture, wiretapping, the Iraq War? Check, check, check.

If that’s Denny’s recipe for success, what’s his definition of failure?

Rehberg was speaking to Helena-area Republicans, as reported by Lee Newspapers‘ Mike Dennison. I hate to just rehash news from the morning paper but this one was to rich to pass up. Denny went on to say:

“The day will come that we will thank him (Bush) for what he’s doing.”

I’m sure my kids and grandkids will be thrilled to be paying off the greatest national debt, ever, thanks to tax cuts in a time of war.

Do you think Denny actually believes this stuff? Let’s send him packing. Montanans have to keep Rehberg from serving a fifth term.

by Pete Talbot

Last weekend, congressional candidate Jim Hunt stopped by a seminal meeting of the Progressive Democrats of Montana (PDM) to introduce himself. That in itself impressed me. (More on PDM in the near future.)

“My values are markedly different than Rehberg’s,” the Democratic candidate said.

It was an all-to-brief meeting with Hunt — to date, Denny’s only challenger — but everyone was pressed for time. Here’s some of the stuff he said:

“Nobody called me and asked me to run.”

That’s good to hear. The Republicans were making hay over the fact that the Democrats couldn’t recruit anyone. Jim decided to step up to the plate on his own.

He says he’ll be his own man: “I’m not beholdin’ to anyone.”

He’s flying by the seat of his pants: “I have a six week plan.” Let’s hope he gets some staff in place soon.

He also said, and I couldn’t agree more: “Montanans are closer to my values than Denny Rehberg’s.”

He’s retired military, a small business owner, an attorney — he has solid credentials. He opposes the Bush/Rehberg voting record on Iraq, the Patriot Act, FISA, the environment … the list goes on and on.

He’s not a party insider — which can cut both ways.

Which brings up funding. Denny has a fair war chest but now that he has a real challenger, he’ll actually have to start working and raise even more money. Let’s hope that Max and Brian help with money and expertise on Hunt’s campaign, as I don’t see the senior Senator or Good Gov. in very tight races. I hear that Sen. Tester has lent his support.

The Republicans are already smearing: they raised a bogus complaint when Hunt announced at Fort Harrison — something about him using federal property for political purposes. He actually stood outside the gate at a place assigned to him by the Fort’s staff.

Republicans say he’s a desperate, late entry into the race. He seemed pretty confident to me: “I wouldn’t have gotten into this race if I didn’t think I could win.”

They even attacked him for using blue and yellow as his campaign colors, which happen to be the same colors as Rehberg’s. Turns out blue and yellow are the colors of Chester High School, where Hunt went to school.

But worst of all: he’s a “trial lawyer.”

The Republicans are going negative because there aren’t that many positives for their man Rehberg.  Other than his consistent support of Bush, can you think of any issues where Denny has taken the lead? And he’s been in Congress how long now? Almost eight years?

Anyway, my initial impression is that Denny has a race on his hands.

by jhwygirl

GeeGuy at Electric City Weblog has a piece up that essentially defends Rehberg’s inexcusable homophobic behavior during a Middle East congressional delegation trip in February.

The problem is that his whole piece fails to recognize how damned offensive Rehberg’s actions were to the LGBT community. He equates my piece purely with Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) – I never even mention Idaho’s soon-to-be-gone and recently chastised by the Senate Ethic’ Committee Senator – and provides a link to 4&20 by saying “Only liberals can make fun of Larry Craig.”

Carol, our lovely conserva-a-blogger from Missoulapolis, and perennial 4&20 commenter, dips further into the defense of Rehberg by telling us that Rehberg’s behavior really wasn’t homophobic because he was making fun of homosexuals.

Can they really be that dense?

With that convoluted logic, I’m guessing that they think people who tell jokes with the n-word aren’t racist.

But now that GeeGuy opened the door on Senator Craig….

Even now – nearly a year later, they don’t understand that all of the Larry Craig stuff being said in 100’s of places, on television (that link from right-winger’s favorite Chris Matthews, has one great comment: “I just wonder how far hypocrisy can go in this business. I thought ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ was the high mark, but I think he’s just surpassed it.”), on the web, in print, in newspapers in his own state (plenty of media interviews there with Larry, too), and in blogs, are being said not to make fun of Larry Craig being gay – they’re being said to drive home the overwhelming hypocrisy of Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig.

Craig knew his party would bail on him – which is why he withdrew his guilty plea. He thought that by pleading guilty he’d keep the incident from public purview. In the end, he became the embarrassment that he knew he would become – all because he didn’t want anyone to know he was gay.

I didn’t categorize the previous piece with Republicans before, but I am now.

by jhwygirl

Lovely. Via The Hill, LiTW, Montana Netroots, the Helena Independent, KPAX, Great Falls Tribune, KXMC (North Dakota!), we all get a sense of Denny’s sense of humor:

When you’re from Montana, it’s hard to find things to do — so practical jokes come in handy.  Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) recently played a gag on Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) on their Middle East congressional delegation trip last month.

Rehberg left an “Idaho Travel Package” on Simpson’s airplane seat.

Contents included a stuffed sheep with gloves attached to it (draw your own conclusions), a Village People CD, books on cross-dressing and sign language and a T-shirt that reads, “My senator may not be gay, but my governor is Butch.”

Rehberg is proud of the gift bag. “I spent a bit of time putting the things together,” he boasted.

(name missing) was amused but not surprised that Rehberg was the bearer of such presents. “You can always find those materials in Montana,” he said, laughing.


The Montana Human Rights Network(MHRN) is calling on Rehberg – who is up for re-election this November – to apologize. “We find this highly insulting, especially from a lawmaker with a consistent anti-gay voting record,” said Christine Kaufmann, director of the Montana Human Rights Network, and a state Senator.

The MHRN, which recently launched its Equality Project, and the Community Center of Missoula, have requested a meeting with Rep. Rehberg to discuss the prank and his voting record. “He uses us for jokes, while he votes to continue employment discrimination. He plays silly pranks while he votes against hate crimes protections,” said Kaufmann, “We’re not laughing.”

Like Shane said, this guy’s got to go. He’s an embarrassment for all of Montana.

by Pete Talbot

Good news but a bit incomplete. I had two emails in my inbox this morning with this update: Jim Hunt is announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Unless another Democrat gets into the race and beats Hunt in the primary — an unlikely scenario — Hunt will face Montana’s lone congressman, Denny Rehberg, this November. Unfortunately, the press announcement which I pasted below gives very little detail. The emails I received came from a couple progressives whom I know, so that’s a good sign. Here’s all the info I have:

Jim Hunt to Launch Campaign for Congress

Fourth generation Montanan and retired guardsman to announce his statewide campaign to replace Congressman Rehberg for Montana’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives

On Tuesday, February 12, at 11:00 AM, Jim Hunt will hold a press conference to officially launch his campaign to defeat 7 year incumbent Congressman Dennis Rehberg for Montana’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The event will take place in front of the entrance gate at Fort Harrison Training Support Center, near Helena.

Born in Montana and raised on the Hi-Line, Jim Hunt is a Chester native and a fourth-generation Montanan. He served 23 years in the Montana Army National Guard – retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Hunt was educated in Montana, is a lifetime member of the NRA, Chancellor for the Episcopal Diocese of Montana, an avid sportsman and conservationist, and a consumer lawyer in Helena. He and his wife Barb have been married for 24 years, and they have two daughters, Hannah and Isabelle.

I can’t find a website for the guy. Here’s a week old Lee story with a little more detail. As always, 4&20 will keep our loyal readers abreast of any new developments.

by Pete Talbot

The topics above are too abbreviated to stand alone. So, instead of making separate posts, here’s my abridged take on some current events.

Governor Schweitzer has an electric, new message.

He was in Missoula last night for a fundraiser. I hadn’t seen him for a while so I went to hear what he had to say.

He still has it: that glad-handing, kissing babies, intimate sort of charisma.

But he has a new message, at least in Missoula. It’s not the clean coal mantra but electric. He spoke at length about electric cars, the energy to power these cars and the new, electric, alternative-energy economy, and he did it well.

Some would say it’s a pie-in-the-sky vision like coal gasification and carbon sequestration. I’ll take a clean-electric vision over a coal-powered vision any day of the week, though.

I would have liked to hear more about how this new, electric economy affects growth, transportation and sustainability in Western Montana, but it’s a start. And I’m sure we’ll hear more about it as the campaign progresses.

It will also be interesting to hear what his opponent, oilman Roy Brown, has to say on the subject of clean, alternative energy.

I’ve been disappointed on the coverage by the local media of Missoula’s most recent murder. This was a horrendous crime and deserves follow up.

I want to know more about the victim and his circumstances. How does a Missoula resident and veteran end up on the riverfront at night in the middle of winter?

I want to know more about the alleged murderers. What sort of rage prompts this kind of attack? Was there anything in these kids’ previous behavior that should have tipped somebody off?

Mainly, I want to know how this could have happened in my hometown. There probably aren’t any simple answers but I hope someone is doing some investigative reporting. Maybe if we can put a face on the victim and get some insight into the perpetrators, we can begin to understand this heinous attack, and maybe in the future we can avoid a repetition of such a sick act.

Congressman Rehberg surprised me.

As readers well know, I’m not a big fan of Denny’s. His consistent support of Bush’s policies, his total disregard for those less fortunate and his disdain for the environment are just a few of his failings, IMHO.

His statements last Friday to the Associated Press on the Republican presidential candidates, however, were a pleasant surprise and should be noted by Democratic candidates and consultants. Why is Denny plugging Rudy?

Both Jay and Matt over at Left in the West have a different take than I.

While I’m no big fan of Rudy Giuliani’s, either, I thought Rehberg had some interesting comments.

He held out no hope for John McCain’s candidacy. One would think that Rehberg would be more supportive of a fellow Westerner, and I certainly haven’t written off the Arizona Senator. What does Denny know that I don’t?

You also have to wonder why Rehberg isn’t promoting Mitt Romney, whose views seem to parallel our congressman’s. (Can you spell M-O-R-M-O-N?)

But the most surprising comments from Denny had to do with the “trust issue.”

According to Matt Gouras’ story, Rehberg said: “Montanans have a tendency to say, ‘You are more liberal than me so I don’t agree with your politics, but you are true to your philosophy, you articulate your philosophy, you don’t back off it,’ ” and voters in the state are willing to support such candidates.

Those whose positions shift, as Romney’s have, get lower marks, Rehberg said. Of the way Romney is perceived in Montana, Rehberg said, “So you look like you are changing your position to curry my vote.”

This has been a debate among political consultants for awhile: do voters prefer a candidate who stands by his beliefs and can articulate them or do they prefer a candidate who says the things that voters want to hear, whether those things change from time-to-time, depending on who the candidate is speaking to?

As the polls here in Montana start to come out, we’ll see if Rehberg is correct in his assumption of the “trust issue.”

by jhwygirl

See. I told you I believe.

Steve Doherty, former Great Falls state senator and current chair of the five-member Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks commission, appears to be seriously contemplating a run against 4-term Dennis Rehberg.

Steve is founding co-chair of Progressive States Network and an attorney who practices Indian Law. He has been recognized for his commitment to providing pro bono legal services.

Doherty’s name has been tossed around since talk first began on who was to replace Kennedy.

The Montana Democratic Party could not get a better candidate. How very exciting.

by jhwygirl

It’s been 2 1/2 weeks that Montana Democrats have been without a candidate to run against Dennis “Boy Wonder” Rehberg. That caused some angst amongst us political junkies who ascribe to the state democratic party – after all, Kennedy had been doing quite well in the fundraising against Dennis – and most of his cash was coming from small donations. More donors meant lots of supporters.

I took that to be a good sign. It meant to me that Denny wasn’t as snug as the bug as state republicans would have us believe.

Since then I’ve convinced myself, despite the lack of a candidate, that there are plenty of reasons to believe that Denny is beatable. I think back to this space in time in 2005 – Tester was “Tester who?” to many people. Morris had the primary all but signed, sealed, and delivered – and even at that, Conrad (Conrad who?) was thought to be unbeatable by a whole hell of a lot of people in Montana.

Not me – I believed in Jon. So did a whole bunch of other democrats and progressives and political junkies.

Conrad was a big old tree to burn last time around – it took blood, sweat, and (admittedly) a good amount of cash. But we got it done!

Now comes 2007 – with November 4, 2008 waiting in the wings. 4-term Rehberg is still slacking along – sleeping on the couch (not quite the visual I’d like to think of for Montana’s congressional representation) – and continuing to float along on mediocrity.

He’s also voting against things like the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

He’s voted against the Clean Energy Act of 2007.

He’s voted against the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007. Against the Renewable Energy Standards bill. Against the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act.

He voted against the United States Attorney Act of 2007, which helped preserve the independence of U.S. Attorneys from influence of the Executive Branch. It passed without his support – 306-114.

He voted against the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Subprime Lending Act just last month.

Don’t even get me started on his take on the Montana’s Rocky Mountain front.

Man, I could go on – but really – do we need to list all the reasons why Denny needs to go?

Anything is possible. November 7, 2006 taught me that.

So for now I will believe.

Let’s Get ‘Er Done!

by jhwygirl

Looks like Dave Wanzenried, a State Senator representing the Missoula area, won’t be running against Dennis Rehberg for our one, at-large, U.S. Representative seat.

A statement released today confirms it.

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