Well, it's been a few days, so it must be time for another story straight from Dennis Rehberg's press office to make the rounds of the Lee papers. In this story, readers are delighted with the exploits of our intrepid Congressman as he makes plans to visit Fort Harrison weeks after the Walter Reed scandal broke. Dennis cares about Montana's veterans…he said so himself:
“The quality of care is no less important,” Rehberg said. “Montana’s veterans deserve the best care possible, and I look forward to speaking with them about their healthcare needs.”
How much is that rhetoric worth? Not much, according to the veterans Rehberg claims to support. Project Vote Smart tallies the results:
2006 In 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Representative Rehberg a grade of C.
2006 Representative Rehberg supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 50 percent in 2006.
2005 Representative Rehberg supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 0 percent in 2005.
2004 Representative Rehberg supported the interests of the Disabled American Veterans 0 percent in 2004.
2004 On the votes that the The Retired Enlisted Association considered to be the most important in 2004, Representative Rehberg voted their preferred position 33 percent of the time.
2003 On the votes that the Disabled American Veterans – House considered to be the most important in 2003, Representative Rehberg voted their preferred position 0 percent of the time.
To be fair, that did take me almost a minute to find. I can understand the pressures of day to day journalism that would make fact checking political statements like this transparent PR ploy pretty difficult, but the next time you read an indignant editorial in some newspaper decrying the influence of money politics, maybe you should ask yourself if that's the real problem. When the press acts like a PR firm for our elected officials, is it any wonder that we rarely toss out incumbents?