Education

More Class from Representative Rehberg, Attacking Teachers

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Today seems to be another one of those days in which Representative Rehberg and his campaign staff are doing their best to define just what an ass the Congressman is. Confronted by a reporter in Esquire magazine about Rehberg’s repeated alcohol-related injuries, this was the best response the Rehberg team could muster:

He [Erik Iverson] added that the Rehberg campaign wouldn’t be engaging in such personal attacks, but then in almost the next breath tried to poke holes in “this carefully crafted image that Tester is somehow some sort of centrist conservative Democrat,” saying: “It just isn’t true. I mean, the guy is a liberal former music teacher.”

It seems quite appropriate that in the mind of Dennis Rehberg, calling someone a teacher is some kind of pejorative. Educating himself—or helping others to get an education—has never really been a priority for him.

Compare Senator Tester, who served his community as a teacher and then school board member (and who still manages to serve his constituents and harvest his crops) with Rehberg, who loves Washington more than his roots in Montana:

And the wimp-by-insinuation game can, of course, go both ways. Rehberg, it turns out, is a rancher who doesn’t really ranch anymore, having given up first on cattle and then on cashmere goats because, Iverson admitted, “he couldn’t manage the herd and going back and forth between Montana and D.C.”

One of the candidates for Senate talks about Montana values; the other one lives them.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-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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  • I agree Congressman Rehberg does not impress most of us and his actions do not reflect well on Montana. However, if, as you say, Senator Tester lives Montana values, maybe you can explain his vote on the recent Jobs Bill. I received an explanation most likely written by his staff. It is well crafted. It is good spin. I would have respected and continued to support him if he had been honest enough to simply say, “Look I voted against this jobs bill because it was going to be defeated anyway. I will be in a close race
    in Montana. It is my view that maintaining a strong majority of Democrats in the Senate is essential going forward. So, this was a strategy vote to help me in the state win what I think will be a very close election.” Now, I would respect this candor. That
    may be a Montana value. I would not agree with the strategy; I think the Senator would
    have gained more respect by voted with that honesty. He might take a look at former
    Governor Granholm’s beliefs: “…when you do good policy, the politics will take care of itself”. The Senator’s well crafted explanation by his staff is, as we say down home, that dog just won’t hunt. As for me, his vote shows a lack of strength and concern about
    the average family here in the state who would have benefited by provisions in that bill
    that he and Senator Nelson, alone among Democrats, voted against. Oh yes, it would have helped states and localities temporarily keep teachers and law enforcement in their jobs. The public sector employees are just as important as private sector jobs and employees. The Senator flunked my candor and leadership test on this vote. I will
    abstain or vote for a third party candidate.

    • My take on the Jobs bill came in an earlier post. I think it was an example of poor policy because of the impact on Social Security and poor politics from the Obama admin because the bill had no chance of passage.

      Senator Tester is on record supporting a Jobs bill that would actually build infrastructure–and I hope you’ll consider that when you vote.

  • I think the key word there is “music,” and not teacher. They are trying to paint Tester as soft in the middle, as Baucus once so successfully did by running a hair dressing ad. It’s an attempt at perception management, and not even a good one.

    I am puzzled by this notion that, once elected, Democrats have to fail to fight for things in order to stay in office. It’s as if merely holding office somehow (osmosis?) makes good things come about.

    That seems a frustrating existence, and certainly makes not voting at all the attractive alternative. It beats being soft in the middle.

    • That’s an interesting argument, Mark, given your general attitude about the theater of modern politics.

      My frustration is with President Obama, who pushed this bill, knowing that a) it could not pass and b) it would hurt Democratic Senators in more conservative states. When the President is willing to hurt his own party for short-term gain, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

      What’s more, the Jobs Bill was deeply problematic. Give me a public works style bill, not one centered around tax gimmicks.

      • Of course we all share that frustration. But there is percolation out there, things are heating up. Am I right that Occupy Oakland was at 100,000 in the wake of that police riot? FDR had strong labor unions behind him, but they are gone now. LBJ had a Civil Rights movement to contend with, and feared domestic insurrection if he did not pass civil rights legislation. If the Occupy movement continues to grow, and if it sprouts leaders and focus, Obama will have to do more than give a speech now and then to please the left. We will be a force to reckon with. Fingers crossed here.

        But movements define political progress. The right is effective because they are organized, top to bottom. Politicians who misbehave are punished. Not so with Democrats. There’s no discipline, no punishment for Obama for all that he has done to us. there’s only this creepy fear that if not him, there will be someone worse, and that, frankly, makes him an effective force, for the Republican Party, which is where I think he hails.

    • I agree with Mark. “Music” is the key word. I’m surprised he wasn’t accused of teaching French music.

      In the meantime, here are some lyrics for Denny, set to a French children’s tune:

      Denny Rehberg, jaunty Denny Rehberg,
      Denny Rehberg, he gets his whistle wet.
      Can he stay atop a horse,
      Do his votes cause him remorse?
      Ride a horse? Cause remorse?
      Oh, oh, oh, oh, jaunty Denny,
      He gets his whistle wet.

  • Seems to me you guys are a bit too defensive here. Iverson simply stated the fact that Tester is a liberal former music teacher. Why are you all worked up over that?

    Tester should be proud of his past career. He should also be proud he inherited his farm and butcher shop and spent four rigorous years earning a BS in Music at the prestigious College of Great Falls. Talk about qualifications to be a Senator of the United States! Wow. That’s who I want making decisions in Washington.

    • Couple’a points, Candy. One, just WHERE did Sen. Cornrad Buns go to college? No one from the Pubbie side would EVER answer that question! Why? Were they ashamed that Cornrad didn’t even have a college degree? And really, Cornrad, a dude who only occasionally and accidentally used a subject that agreed with the verb while ponificating mightily but incoherently on the senate floor, punctuating his bucolic, senseless, racist witticisms with liberal doses of tobacco spittle, was qualified?

      And two. Dopey Reeburp is a real scholar???? I don’t THINK so! You see, Candy, it’s YOUR side that believes that morons should be running the country. Where is the Dem sarah palin, or michelle barfman? There are none.

      And lastly, you insult the College of Great Falls. When Tester attended, it was a great school. For it’s size, it has probably produced more doctors per capita than any U in the state. Granted, it’s changed. But at one time it was a topnotch school.

  • Rehberg is a fascinating story in GOP stupidity, like numerous others of his party. The GOP have had this Bozo in office for ten years and not once did they take the time to make him an Elder statesman… they just let him and others in their party become pandering Hobos!

    Voting for Rehberg would be like allowing him to drive Montana and the nation off a cliff… my vote is far more important to my community then his snakeoil, rhinestone cowboy charm!

    As for the Jobs bill I think Mike Lawler is right. Tester has me pretty upset with him also, not voting for the Jobs act, and I have yet to see even your argument pan out Don. ALL the popularly read economists Have like this Jobs Bill…. as I have reading it!
    But I am not gonna run out and be against this Tester with just under a year to go. I think we can force Tester as the Voting Public to make better decisions down the road, or give ourselves the time to look for a better Candidate next election!

    Tester right now is the right choice for Montana and, luckily he still doesn’t fit under the lesser of two evil scenarios…..But I will be keeping my eye on him and making calls to his office. If he wants to be a senator in the years to come, he is gonna have to find a way to work better for all Montanans.

    • I definitely understand why some are upset with Tester on the JOBS bill vote, but I understand his decision based on both policy (tax gimmicks) and politics (no chance of passage).

      I appreciate your position–that one can be upset with the Senator without embracing an absolutist position that says we need to not vote for him.

    • Better Tester than Rehberg, so he gets my vote. But I think he would benefit from a credible primary challenge from a candidate of the Bernie Sanders genre. Tester keeps positioning himself further and further to the right, trying to keep his distance from “that socialist” Obama, the effete pinkos in Washington, and everyone else thought unpopular in Montana — yet as long as there is no credible presence on the left proving to voters how moderate he really is — and he really is a pretty conservative guy, a debt fearing farmer from the northern high plains — he appears to be in dangerous proximity to the likes of moveon.org simply because Rehberg is further to his right while no one is further to his left.

      Montana once had more political diversity on the left than it has today. See:

      http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2011/july_september/2011-08-02_MT_demos_declining_ushouse_majority.html

  • I’d never criticize Tester for being a former teacher – after all, with 5 years of his voting record to look at, there are volumes of other reasons not to vote for him.

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  • I don’t really get how how this is much different between the San Diego Tribune publishing this or some internet blog. Stuff like this needs to be administered out more frequently. I wish that citizens in America would stand up for peoples rights like this.

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