Montana Politics

Dennis Rehberg Exploits Two Tragedies for Politics in Two Days

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Representative Rehberg seems to have forgotten the long-held adage of American politics that political campaigns end on America’s shores. Along the way, he’s chosen to ignore basic human respect in the face of tragedy. Straight out of the Mitt Romney school of wrong-headed foreign policy, Montana’s Congressman offered this statement following the tragic deaths in Libya:

“Our nation stands united behind the families and loved ones of the victims of this intolerant act of violence.  These American heroes were not attacked because of any actions they took, but because they represented the freedom that the United States embodies.  For religious extremists who demand total control, the freedom and tolerance demonstrated by the United States stands in stark contrast to their goal.  America must never, ever apologize for being the light of hope for countless millions facing the darkness of tyranny.”

Even fellow Republicans have criticized Mitt Romney’s horrible attempt to politicize yesterday’s terrible day in Libya, and most Republicans have had the decency to leave politics out what is a deep personal tragedy and vexing geopolitical problem. Not Dennis Rehberg, though, who couldn’t resist the temptation to make baseless accusations about American foreign policy.

Of course this kind of exploitation of personal suffering is nothing new for Representative Rehberg. Yesterday, he offered this statement on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

Today, our nation pauses to remember the senseless and cowardly September 11th terrorist attacks.  We reflect on those who died, including the heroic first-responders who came to the aid of their fellow Americans.

While Rehberg “remembers” the heroic first responders, he certainly doesn’t believe in assisting them with medical care necessitated by the attacks. In fact, Representative Rehberg repeatedly voted against increasing health benefits for 9/11 first responders, even voting against them in a bill that passed the Senate unanimously.  While I am sure that 9/11 first responders appreciate that Representative Rehberg “remembers” them, they’d much prefer that he actually help them.

When people ask me why I have so little respect for Rehberg, I typically point them to this vote. In a career defined by  craven obeisance to the likes of Grover Norquist, this vote, in which Rehberg cynically voted against real heroes who made real sacrifices, stands out in a crowded field of terrible, hypocritical positions and demonstrates the kind of values Rehberg really holds.

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.

6 Comments

  • Here Here, Well written, and one of the biggest reasons I don’t like him either. He has no concerns for Firefighters, Policeman, or even our veterans….. continually voting against helping them in bills that come before the house. No Benefits, no Lifesaving equipment for our soldiers in the field, the man is a menace to our decency and our standard bearers of peace.

    Just today he has voted to reauthorize spying on our United States and Montana citizens. Rehberg wants government in your bedroom, up women’s Uterus’s, and in the sky over your head…And he considers that small government? I call it Fascism.

  • In my opinion denny rehburg is for himself. His statement on the Libya attack was ignorant. As usual he did not have “the rest of the story” just like romney. The statement from the embassy did not come from the President–it came from the embassy who was under attack. It was to defuse the situation. If he had a 1000 people attacking him, I wonder how he would react–my first thought he would be in hiding. His agreement on the republican platform is useless for an independent female voter like me. The repubs hate women, and especially romney who due to his religion does not recognize women in a higher position. Also, the republicans did not recognize the vets. Never mention the war or even have one vet speak at their convention, shows their true colors. These are just a few of the reasons that I switched parties in 2004 & the fake weapons of mass destruction by “junior bush”.

  • Look in the mirror. Pot to kettle and all. Now commenting on a president’s handling of a tragedy and the words he/she uses is as American as it gets.

    I would like to see a poll on these words:

    America must never, ever apologize for being the light of hope for countless millions facing the darkness of tyranny.

    IMHO it would get at least 80% thumbs up from voting citizens.

    • Even if you were right that I politicized a tragedy (which you are clearly not), the observation does little to change what Rehberg did. Seriously, look into the Tu Quoque fallacy. It will eliminate 94% of your comments:
      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/tuquoque.html

      As for the apology question, it has nothing to do with the events in Libya or Egypt, no matter how desperately some neocons are to believe that Obama is a sympathizer for Muslim extremists.

      There must be a hole in your bucket today. Usually you do a much better job of carrying water for Rehberg.

  • enjoyed the link Moorcat and added the website to my favorites. it can replace 4&20 which I deleted a while back after the ‘authoritarian’ incident. 😉

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