Montana Politics

The Best We Can Come Up With?

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On Monday, I read with some disbelief that gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock’s big plan for Montana was – what for it – a $400 tax rebate.  I experienced sudden flashbacks and for good reason.

In his first proposal since winning the Democratic nomination last week, Bullock borrowed a page out of Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s playbook. Schweitzer successfully steered the $400-per-homeowner rebates through the Legislature in 2007.

Make no mistake, I am wholeheartedly supporting Bullock for Governor.  The work he has accomplished as Attorney General, his commitment to the middle class, and his willingness to challenge the Citizens United decision make him the right man for the job.

That being said, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed to see Team Bullock roll this out as their first “big” proposal.  To me, it showed a lack of creativity and worries me for one simple reason: Hill will be tough to beat (tougher than a lot of Democrats think) and if Bullock plans on winning in November he can’t simply rely on re-using the Schweitzer/Dem playbook of the past ten-plus years.

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M. Storin

19 Comments

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      • If I’m reading correctly, Hill is promising a $100m statewide permanent reduction in property taxes, which is different from a $400 property tax reduction. Bullock’s rebate is targeted to primary homeowners. Hill’s sounds across the board, not limited to residential, much less primary residential. So for the typical homeowner, Bullock’s plan is a big winner.

        • If by big winner Matt means the typical homeowner will get more money from Bullock’s plan than from Hill’s, I concur with his analysis.

          But it seems to me that no one really wins when both major party candidates start trying to buy votes by promising that the state will have less money to work with to solve problems we all know are there. The campaign has become a revenue reduction to the bottom contest that, if carried to its ultimate conclusion, amounts to a policy of mutually assured bankruptcy. That’s how a government, and the people it serves, commit civic suicide.

          It reminds me of an attorney general election in which both candidates subordinate justice to promises of “I’ll hang ’em higher.”

          • Bullock can hardly run on the promise to expand government. At least this tactic is popular, as Schweitzer showed, and isn’t permanent – it happens once, and then can be repeated if the budget allows in the future. But, it’s a lot easier to not repeat a stunt like this than to repeal the sort of tax cuts Hill is proposing.

  • If I were Bullock, I would take “wholehearted support” in spite of his behavior to mean that I can do whatever I please because Democrats don’t know how to discipline candidates and office holders. That’s a lot of the problem with Democrats.

    You should never trust a candidate nor should you be loyal. That’s weakness. Rather you should demand loyalty from the candidate to you. They respond to sticks but eat carrots for snacks.

    • Mark, I really don’t mean to be offensive, but you’re comments are becoming increasingly trite. It’s like you see a blog post about a Democrat and you just copy and paste your last comment about how Democrats are backstabbing slime that cannot be trusted. You just keep saying the same thing over and over and over again. We get it! You have all the right ideas, you know just how broken the system is, you know how to fix the system, and we’re all just sheep. Got it. Now, would you please start coming up with some new material. I’m sure we’ve all read the same Chomsky-Zinn materials you have. Some of us just view the world and how to make it better a little differently than you. Fine. Great.
      But you’re copy and paste “critique” (if you can even call it that) is getting really, really, really old. Again, WE GET IT.
      And as to your point, “I would take ‘wholehearted support’ in spite of his behavior to mean that I can do whatever I please”… well, it’s wrong. Storin points out why they support Bullock. And I don’t take this post to be an attack on Bullock’s policy – it’s more of a criticism of his team’s creativity.
      Ok. I’m ready. You can now tell me that I’m a cog in the machine.

      • I don’t see much original material around me. Don is beating the same drum, saying the same things. If I may be so bold as to reword your comment, you are simply saying that my words grate on you. It’s not hard to see why. They stick in your craw., and I know why. I am just like everyone. People say all kinds of things about me, but only the things that are true are upsetting. I am not upset by your remarks. I’ve heard them ad nauseum.

        If you were to look at my blog today you’ll see that I’ve pointed out yet another Obama betrayal of his base. No links, don’t care if you go there. It’s important that you understand that you have put the other party in office and are twisting your own opinions to accommodate his behavior. And even before elected, you’re doing it with Bullock as well – you’re telling him he’s free to do as he pleases, and that you’ll vote for him no matter what. That means that he will do as Obama does – work for the financiers, for Wall Street and defense contractors and ignore you. Why not?

        You do this on all levels. the only thing that matters is winning elections, and for that reason, you are the problem.

        • You completely miss the point. What’s wrong with Bullock’s proposal besides it being unoriginal? No one here is saying it’s a bad idea – just that it lacks creativity and Bullock needs to up his game if we’re gunna beat Hill.
          Missing the point, Mark. And when you miss the point it just makes it look like you’re here to preach, rather than engage.

  • A spot on post, Don, except that taking a page from the Schweitzer playbook isn’t a bad idea. Schweitzer’s insights into Montana voters are better than Marc Racicot’s ever were (two of the most popular governors in decades).

    Is this great policy Bullock is advancing? No. Is it a smart campaign move? Yes. Of course we all hope for a better “big” proposal.” It’s still early, though, so maybe he can show us a more serious agenda before November. The sooner the better.

    P.S. I second HelenaInsider’s comment on Tokarski. I’ve appreciated Mark’s comments over the years — he’s got me thinking from time-to-time — and he’s not a stupid man. But he’s turned into the Department of Redundancy Department. And the flame wars between him and other bloggers/commenters have gotten sooooo old.

    • Thanks, Pete. I think it’s worth questioning the people we decide to vote for and holding them accountable, but the continual purity tests are tiring.
      I also agree: “Is this great policy Bullock is advancing? No. Is it a smart campaign move? Yes.”
      Just a side note, this post was written by Storin. Intelligent Discontent is working with three writers now (I think): Pogreba, of course, The Polish Wolf, and Storin.

      • I appreciate the correction and I should have looked at the byline — sorry Don. And for some reason I thought M. Storin and the Polish Wolf were one in the same. Guess I was wrong.

  • Picking Bullock for their candidate (3 years ago), and sticking with him, is simply proof that the Dems have learned nothing about Statewide politics in Monatna.

    Bullock did win a Statewide race, but as far as Governor material he is strictly a second-tier candidate.

    Maybe next he’ll pick a RINO for a running mate like Schweitzer did – LOL

    With the lack of Dem enthusiasm, I think Bullock goes down 55-45, if it’s even that close.

  • I’ll put a six pack on that prediction, Eric. I’m not ready to call the winner, but I’ll bet you a six pack Hill does not get 55 percent of the vote.

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