Montana Politics

Is Liane Pronounced Lyin’? A Pathetic Defense of Dennis Rehberg’s Record

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One would think that a five term Representative would have a better defense of his record than the one that appeared in the Independent Record today. The commentary, by Republican Party Chair Liane Johnson, demonstrates the paucity of achievements and ideas that have come out of Representative Rehberg’s office in five terms, while illustrating that the incompetence of the Montana GOP can never be underestimated.

Liane opens her letter with an intriguing line of attack:

Unfortunately, McDonald’s ambition to rise from his current post as a hyper-partisan, double-talking party boss leads him to make statements that are politically convenient rather than truthful or accurate.

Given that she currently holds the exact same position Dennis McDonald does, opening her screed with a criticism of party leaders seems like a poor choice. Given that her piece is a fact-challenged mess of personal attacks, it may just be a window into her subconscious.

Liane continues:

It was convenient to accuse fifth-generation Montana rancher Denny Rehberg of failing to support an increase in the minimum wage, but it’s simply not true because Congressman Rehberg has voted to increase the minimum wage. . .

Technically, yes. Unfortunately, her comments ignores the fact that Rehberg voted himself raise and against the minimum wage in 2006, voted it against it in 2007, specifically criticized the idea of increasing the minimum wage when he ‘did not oppose its increase’, only supported increasing the minimum wage when it was linked to reductions in the estate tax, and has consistently received F grades from the the Drum Major Institute on middle class issues.

Johnson is defending Rehberg for being Rehberg. This is the same Congressman who runs around the state talking about earmarks he’s secured in budgets he voted against and who claims to support veterans, despite voting against expanded education benefits to protect the super-wealthy.

The rest of the piece reveals just how bereft of ideas the Montana Republican Party has become. Despite criticizing McDonald for an ‘absence of solutions’, Johnson certainly doesn’t show any solutions offered by Dennis Rehberg in his five terms in Washington. Instead, she devotes the last half of her piece recycling the already tired attack that Dennis McDonald (gasp!) defended criminal clients as criminal attorney. I realize the idea of doing a job is probably quite foreign to Montana’s preeminent subdivision rancher, but I think most Montanans will appreciate the fact that McDonald actually had to work for a living. Johnson, of course, also fails to mention that McDonald’s work led to Frattiano testifying against high-level members of the Mafia.

If this is the best Montana’s Republican Party has to offer, it’s going to be one long election season.

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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