Montana Politics

Butte, Montana Live Debate Blog, Part 2

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Question 6: Traditional underfunding of veterans

Burns: I passed the largest increase in veterans funds ever. Veterans are getting along just fine. Fort Harrison is ranked in the top five of veterans hospitals in the country…now thanks himself for facilities in Eastern Montana…and now “I built a nursing home for veterans.” Jesus–self-aggrandizing and deluded. Burns runs well over time. I’m sure Charles Johnson will note that tomorrow.

Tester: Tester needs to be stronger here. He’s right about Burns failing to fund Veterans…but needs some specifics. Too quiet again, story about veteran he knows falls a little flat.

Burns: Every now and again, people who run into problems with bureaucracy, he helps them.

Question 7: Questions posed to each other.

Tester asks Burns: You filled out a survey advocating a national sales tax. Why?

Burns: I don’t support it…something else that caught my eye. Burns stumbles drunkenly around trying to figure out what the Project Vote Smart is–and claims he does not support a national sales tax. Then says everyone needs to pay their fair share.

Burns asks Tester: (Maybe someone should explain to Senator Burns what a question is. And explain to him how it’s not possible for Jon Tester to have raised taxes on the American people. Finally, after some ridiculousness about knowing the price of copper, which Tester nails, he asks about taxes. Tester nails him on this question–the birth tax, Abramoff, shifting the burden to middle class and working families. Great answer!

Question 8: (to Tester)Importance of earmarks for Montana. Will you reject them?

Tester: Wants transparency. Will not cast votes based on money passed to him. I’d really like to see the Tester people get more aggressive on this…for every Montana appropriation that Burns brags about, stick him with some other absurd appropriation somewhere else.

Burns: Tester was in D.C. having a fundraiser with those lobbyists…hypocritical, odd. I was being lobbied by the American Cancer Society. How about the humanities and the arts? (Uh…Senator, haven’t you repeatedly voted to cut these programs?) Calls Tester dishonest.

Tester: Zing! Here is the difference: not once has a lobbyist changed my votes. Burns skipped the Missoula debate to be with lobbyists…denied 911 access for Vonage, flied to Big Fork. Nice.!

Question 9 (to Burns): The debt has ballooned to $30,000 per American, not counting the Iraq War–under Republicans.

Burns: No doubt we’ve got a spending problem. 9/11 had an impact on this time, more than anyone could imagine. Says terrorists can rule us by fear….uh, they aren’t the only ones. Somehow, Katrina and 9/11, caused all of this…and our debt-asset ratio kept in line. We inherited a recession in 2000. And now he tries to explain that the tax cuts got the economy moving. It doesn’t make any sense.

Tester: Goes after Burns with new math…Senator Burns finally teaching me how it works. Goes after claim that the economy is loping right along, and yet there is no fiscal responsibility. Need to prioritize the budget

Burns: Claims that Tester weakens “Our families” I’d love to hear an explanation for that…a little code talk for the right-wing crazies.

Makes vague promises to grow the economy and stem spending…uh, how about doing it now? Why should we believe Burns when he keeps saying he’ll do things?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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