In an article headlined ‘Conservatives chosen for top leadership posts in Montana Senate”, it seems as though they forget the quotations around the word ‘Conservative’, as the top spot went to Jeff Essmann.
Why do I doubt Essmann’s conservative credentials? A couple reasons. The first is of course his opposition to medical marijuana and to capitalism more broadly. Attacking businesses for providing a product demanded by thousands of sick people, and providing documented benefits to them, is not a conservative thing to do – it is the epitome of big government. Prohibiting a business to “accept anything of value, including monetary remuneration, for any services or products provided”, as Essmann’s MMJ bill does, is not the act of someone who believes in the free market.
Moreover, championing the introduction of a sales tax to Montana is hardly the act of a Montana conservative. Granted, Essmann’s sales tax proposal was rather modest and would ostensibly give some property tax relief (only 35% of the raised tax, however).
Finally, Essmann, with other Republicans, insisted in spite of all evidence that the State didn’t have enough money, losing an opportunity to invest hundreds of millions of dollars that already belonged to Montana. Conservatives claim to stand up for government accountability and running government like a business, but no real business manager fails so spectacularly to invest revenue and then tries to give that money away when they don’t use it effectively.
All in all, putting Essmann in another position of leadership is surely not an indication that the Montana GOP is seeking to authentically represent conservative Montanans. Rather, it’s a sign that they are sill sticking to their bizarre formula from the last couple sessions – give government more power over what is truly personal, while cutting government services in the name of ‘personal freedom’.
And a special thanks to Montanafesto , the true Jeff Essmann experts.