Why do Republican political figures hate Montana so much and why do they believe that constant criticism of the state (without meaningful solutions) is an effective campaign strategy?
Candidate Rick Hill, when not scrubbing his Wikipedia page, seems to enjoy criticizing the state, but has little time to develop the kind of solutions we expect from our leaders. Yesterday, his campaign web site took on auto insurance:
CBS Moneywatch reported today on another unfortunate distinction for Montana: we have the fourth-highest average auto insurance rates in the nation. In fact, we’re one of only four states with an average rate of over $2,000. A number of factors probably contribute to the high rates suffered by Montana and some, like our severe weather, are probably out of our control. But there is
Montanans, on average, pay $396 more than NoDaks, $476 more than Wyomingans, $483 more than South Dakotans, and an amazing $865 more than Idahoans.
While the truly unfortunate part of that paragraph is its grammar, I expected Hill to offer a solution that he would enact as governor. Instead, he offers a general criticism of the entire state and a call to fix it:
It’s no accident that rates like these are higher in Montana than elsewhere. Our auto insurance rates, our workers comp insurance rates, and I’m sure the rates of other categories of insurance, are comparably higher in Montana due to willful policy decisions and a poor judicial system. Comparative advantage matters; these things add up and have an impact on our economy. We can surely do better.
Talk about bold leadership. For as much as Republicans have spent the last six years crying about how mean Governor Schweitzer has been to them, it’s hard to deny that he does something they seem almost incapable of doing: leading. It’s easy for someone to sit out from political life for a decade to condemn a “poor judicial system,” but a governor has to have better answers than that.
It’s one thing for the TEA Party to complain about the entirety of the state and federal government, but a governor needs to develop bold policy initiatives, not just complain about problems.