Montana Politics

Representative Rehberg’s Unique Definition of Shared Sacrifice, Episode 1


I’d like to introduce you all to a new recurring theme at Intelligent Discontent: Representative Rehberg’s Unique Definition of Shared Sacrifice. In it, we’ll take a look at how Representative Rehberg looks at how every American can work together to reduce the deficit and improve the economy, as well as what voters can look forward to if Rehberg increases his power and influence as a Senator.

What’s an unreasonable sacrifice, according to Rehberg?

  • A windfall profits tax on vast multinational oil companies.
  • A tax on huge estates. You know, the kind Representative Rehberg owns, but fewer than 2% of the population does.
  • A small surcharge on income that businesses earn outside the United States.

What are reasonable sacrifices, if you ask Denny?

  • Diminished Access to Health Care for 9/11 First Responders? Decidedly.
  • Reduced services For Seniors Citizens? Absolutely.
  • Cuts in Pell Grants for College Students? Indubitably.
  • Cuts in Health Services for Poor Women? Undoubtedly.
  • Reduced drug interdiction and community policing? Assuredly.

That last item is especially interesting. In 2008, Rehberg said this, about federal funding for police in Montana:

“As a father of three, I understand the importance of doing everything possible to keep our communities safe,” said Rehberg, the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation on the Appropriations Committee.  “Unfortunately, many of the programs Montana’s law enforcement agencies rely on took severe funding hits last year.  But, I worked with my colleagues and made it clear these cuts were unacceptable, and we were able to provide a boost in funding to those programs this week.”

What did he say in 2011? Something quite different:

Montana has a single seat in the House, held by Republican Denny Rehberg. Rehberg this month was appointed by the leadership of the incoming GOP majority to chair one of 12 subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee.

Asked to respond to worries about law enforcement cuts, he offered a statement that said in part, “there’s just not enough money to fund everything we want. No program is immune from waste, so there are no more sacred cows.”

I know Rehberg has a penchant for disrespecting public servants and especially those who risk their lives serving, but I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to criticize “waste” in law enforcement, when three years earlier, Rehberg was campaigning on the idea that these funds were critical for the safety of our communities and his family.

It would seem that Representative Rehberg is either the least decisive political leader in Montana’s history or an unrepentant charlatan, willing to sell a new set of lies during every campaign. I’ll leave the choice to to you.

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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