Archive for the ‘Steve Dogiakos’ Category

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 Pete Talbot

Curse the Missoulian. I had a couple of pithy posts bouncing around in my brain this weekend and then opened the Sunday paper to see my ideas in print. Well, here’s my take:

Young Republicans on the move

H.D. 93 candidate Steve Dogiakos and H.D. 92 candidate Dan Stusek are featured in the Sunday dead-tree edition. I like it when youngsters get involved in politics, no matter what their stripe. I really do. And I like Steve’s gnarly Mohawk.

I have a few problems with them as candidates, though. First, neither bothered to fill out the Missoulian questionnaire on local legislative races. One has to wonder if this was on the advice of higher-ups or whether they just wanted to keep their constituents in the dark. Hardly what I’d call voter outreach.

Steve is running against retired UM economics professor Dick Barrett. Barrett has authored numerous papers on Montana economic trends and has done research on Northwest economic, employment and environmental policy. I’m thinking that Dick would be a better legislator in these uncertain times.

Dan is running against H.D. 92 stalwart Robin Hamilton. Dan’s number one political issue is family values. This would be fine if he defined family values as making sure that families don’t have their homes foreclosed on, that they can earn a decent wage, have decent health care, get a decent education, have a healthy environment … I imagine his family values have more to do with gay marriage, prayer in schools, abortion — issues that are about as relevant these days as horse-and-buggy legislation.

But you can read about them here

I stumbled across this website the other day. It’s written by UM journalism students and features interviews with many western Montana legislative candidates. There’s one with Mr. Dogiakos and a brief profile on Mr. Stusek. I suppose those two think that at least, maybe, they can snag a few student votes by filling out UM student journalist questionnaires. The site is called “Missoula’s Choice 2008” and is worth checking out.

Ignorance is bliss

And some more university news: twelve conservative groups are urging Montanans NOT to vote for Legislative Referendum 118, the six-mill levy that helps fund the Montana university system. The Missoulian’s Helena Bureau Chief, Chuck Johnson, takes an historic look at past foes of the six-mill levy. Those foes include the Anaconda Copper Company and the John Birch Society. Another opponent was an ROTC lieutenant colonel who didn’t like the language in an assigned English course essay. The colonel was later arrested in Salt Lake City for soliciting sex from an undercover meter maid.

So, it’s great company that the conservatives are keeping in their bid to continue underfunding the university system. I’ve never even heard of half the folks trying to block the funding but some of them, like the Montana Family Coalition, Roger Koopman and Gary “Bazookas for Eight-Year-Olds” Marbut, are well familiar to me.

I suppose by helping crush critical thinking and dissent at the university level, they’ll be able to recruit more idiots into their ranks.

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