Jon Tester Montana Politics

Tester-Burns-Blue Man Group Debate in Bozeman, Part 2

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Question 5 (from audience): Practical Example of Reducing the Deficit

Jones: Eliminate Dept of Ed, HUD, Energy, Health and Welfare–all unconstitutional! Crazy! Can’t understand how anyone could interpret the Constitution differently than his 1.4% fringe party.

Burns: Only one way: grow the economy, and control spending.  Burns claims that the past two years, they have brought down discretionary funding. Tax cuts have energized the economy! Makes the specious claim that 9/11, Katrina, and War on Terror have caused the economic decline…and we can always ‘grow through it.’ 17% more money coming into the Treasury than we thought last year.

Amazing! Answers a question about cutting spending by bragging about the pork he brings to Bozeman! This man has no shame.

Tester: No-bid contracts in Iraq, drug giveaway in Medicare, balancing the budget. Burns is ranked 10th of 13 subcommittee chairs in terms of getting money back to Montana. Tester says Montana will be his first priority

Question 6 (from audience): Do you support Kyoto?

Burns: It taxes the economy…doesn’t get to the real folks who should control greenhouse emissions. Uh…which people, Senator? We’ve been warming since the Ice Age, says Connie. That’s a pretty well-known fact, he says.

Tester: Pulling out of Kyoto Accord is exactly what is wrong. We all know what happened in North Korea–makes the point about carbon from other renewables, need for carbon sequestration, nails Burns on the issue of warming. Much more specific, strong answer.

Jones: See…”it’s a recovery from the Little Ice Age.” Global warming is a natural recovery, not harmful…scientists have proven that CO2 is 5% of greenhouse. It’s only the Northern Hemisphere…eh.

Question 7: How do the candidates feel about executive authority?

Tester: Ought not be taking rights away from tax-paying Americans…let’s go after terrorist cells in the world…let’s not pull troops out of Afgahnistan for Iraq. The truth is if there’s a cell, the feds will have the information they need.

Jones: Burns is reversing the presumption of innocence, and so is Bush with the Patriot Act.

Burns: Clinton set the record for executive orders, they, too pushed the envelope of the constitution. Then, why, Conrad, don’t you challenge them now and didn’t you then? Wanders back to his talking points…Patriot Act…FEAR…FEAR…FEAR.

Closing Remarks

Jones: Jones is worried about sounding like a conspiracy theorist…then goes into a rant about the secret organizations of the world, headed into a one-world Communist state. (No, I am not making this up…that’s what he really is saying.) President has signed two secret agreements to create MexUniteCan (okay, I made that part up). But, then he said we will have a new currency called, the Amero (I didn’t make that part up). Communism! National ID Cards, RIF! Russia! Terrorism of the “Most Worst Kind!”

Burns: Burns talks about the two SC justices he supported, then moves to the Kelo decision…for no apparent reason at all. Must have had a talking point saved up. Need to make the tax cuts permanent; if we do not, tax obligation to the federal govt: 58% increase in taxes. New tax cuts are more progressive than Clinton tax increases. People who make over $184,000 pay 84% of the income taxes paid to the federal government.

Tester: Senator Burns wants to put a 23% sales tax on Montanans. His priorities are Jack Abramoff and K Street. Let’s get serious on the War on Terror–let’s not talk about it in terms of CIA/FBI: who is running the show around here? Checks and balances, not just a rubber stamp. The last two SC justices didn’t have to answer questions–I want to know the answers.

Tester’s best part of the debate. Strong, detailed, passionate.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-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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