Bohlinger Defends Reproductive Rights For 56 Seconds

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Former Republican Lt. Governor  and current Democratic candidate for Senate John Bohlinger released a video today telling Montana voters that he is pro-choice, in response to “innuendo” that he has a weak record on reproductive rights. As I’ve said before, I’m glad that Mr. Bohlinger seems to have realized that he was terribly wrong on reproductive rights as recently as ten years ago, but the video released today was hardly persuasive.

For one thing, Bohlinger’s primary defense rests on his “standing beside” Governor Schweitzer as the governor vetoed anti-choice legislation during the “batcrap crazy” session of 2011. That’s not terribly useful information. Bohlinger didn’t have to sign or veto those bills himself, and I can find no record of him publicly condemning Montana Republicans at that time for these anti-choice bills.

More significantly, some of those anti-choice bills that Governor Schweitzer vetoed had nearly the exact same language as bills that Mr. Bohlinger voted for as a legislator.  For example, in 2011, Schweitzer vetoed HB 167, which would have criminalized an offense involving the death of an unborn child.  In 2001, Bohlinger voted for a Fetal Protection Act which “would have made it a separate crime—and imposed additional criminal penalties—to injure or kill a fetus by assaulting a pregnant woman.”

A folksy video assuring viewers that Mr. Bohlinger is pro-choice simply isn’t enough. He’s going to need to explain to voters a) why his rhetoric now should be taken more seriously than his record as a legislator, and b) how and when he changed his mind on this core issue of women’s health and rights.

As a final note, it’s probably not terribly compelling when a candidate releases a video called “John Bohlinger on a Woman’s Right to Choose” and then only speaks about reproductive health for 56 seconds before transitioning to another subject for two-thirds of the video.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an 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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Larry Kralj, Environmental RangersDon PogrebaDick HammerNorma DuffyTokarski Recent comment authors
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Tokarski
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Tokarski

So then, a candidate’s position on legal abortion, an issue which he can only barely and distantly affect while in office, is some kind of … what’s that word … searching here … it’s almost like a litmus test! Yeah, that’s it. You are willing to trash him in total for a minor inconsistency. On the other hand, I see major defects in candidates you do support without reservation, too many to list. If you were less responsive to wedge politics and more attentive to the overall integrity of the people who run for office ( as long as elections… Read more »

Pogie
Guest

It takes a remarkable degree of male privilege to opposing reproductive rights as a a “minor inconsistency.” In his last opportunity to cast ballots on the record, Mr. Bohlinger voted for the worst kind of anti-choice bills. To my knowledge, he’s never explained why he changed his views. I’d argue that a flip of that magnitude deserves more than 56 seconds.

And it’s not just abortion rights. His record on labor was bad, as was his record on education.

How many “minor inconsistencies” does he get?

Norma Duffy
Guest

Your comment as usual is behind the times Mark. We Do offer a big tent as democrats. but don is right what Bolinger used to stand for was against our party Platform. Pro life is one of them. We accept pro-choice and a womans right to choose. Now I am not saying Bolinger hasnt become a changed man, he looks to have embraced democratic Ideas readily enough, at least to me he looks as he has…. But Walsh as always espoused more our values from the beginning, than Bolinger. He got in line before Bolinger did to be democratic. That… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

You probably should try and distance yourself from commenting on Montana Politics, because you live elsewhere, and are affected by Colorado laws …. the sooner the better I say!

Tokarski
Guest

I’d be happy if you would refrain form commenting on Montana politics, as your understanding is about as deep as “Bolinger.” Politics in general is seemingly beyond your grasp, as it appears to you to be WYSIWYG. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why Bohlinger is running as a Democrat? Obviously his service in the Schweitzer Administration disqualified him from the other party. So what? What’s in a name? He’ll probalby demonstrate during the primary attitudes appealing to the progressives in your party, as Tester did in 2006, and if successful come under the control of the financiers, as… Read more »

Pogie
Guest

Explain how a candidate who, eight years ago, voted against women, labor, and education is going to ignite progressive values in the Democratic Party.

His votes are problematic. Bohlinger being the best of a bad lot of Republicans was an excellent reason for Brian Schweitzer to select Bohlinger, but that’s hardly reason to believe he’s a progressive.

It’s interesting that you’re willing to support someone with a demonstrated record of voting against progressive values and positions. I think that says more about your desire to be a misguided gadfly than it does about Montana politics.

Norma Duffy
Guest

and this is the reason, reason vexs Mark.

Everyone in his bubble and reality agrees with him…. and he can say all his unfounded opinions, and conspiracy theories from the comfort of his baby high-chair 700 miles south from the Border of Montana without repercussions in public

Safe in the knowledge that he wont get called a numskull there, in the parking lot of some supermarket while the world looks on laughing.

A sad little man and expert of nothing worth our time in Montana issues!

Norma Duffy
Guest

And for a guy who says he follows Ralph Nader, who has always been a consumer watchdog and who believes Obamacare is the start for protecting consumers against a perverse insurance industry… you dont follow him at all. Thats right Nader is for Obamacare. Look it up! Because the alternative from your bankrupt side of thought is “crickets.” Nader is also for a womans right to choose. and in his usual diligence — if we were to follow Naders investigative style regarding protecting the rights of women….. He would be just as suspicious of Bolinger as Don is.

Norma Duffy
Guest

Nader on Obamacare: “Ending the preexisting conditions. There are some good preventative factors in 2700 — 2700 pages that will, you know, push out. The key is to transfer a little bit more power to the consumer. ” “Because prevention is not very profitable for the corporation. But it sure is profitable for human beings.” Nader on the right to choose: Ralph Nader endorses the full eleven-point agenda for economic, social and political rights of women put forward by the National Organization for Women, which includes the following section on Reproductive Rights: “NOW supports access to safe and legal abortion,… Read more »

Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

This is revealing, Norma: you’re saying that because Nader said something, and because I admire Nader, I should agree with him. That is how blind followers think. ACA is, overall, a huge negative. I am familiar with most of its details, and have run tests on policies available down here, comparing 12 of them with a data set to see which played out as the best. What I learned has been reinforced by others: Our best bet is to buy the cheapest policy we can. I’ve written extensively about this, but because you only seek out people you know you… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

Hey you opened your mouth and used him to make a point! Look in the Mirror, and try and pass it off as never happening. Im sure the guy looking back will agree with you, he seems to be the only one who does!

Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

Norma, I happen to think that Nader’s 2000 run was a mistake, in retrospect, because it set the Democratic rage machine in motion and set third party politics back decades. Since that time it has only become more difficult to challenge the big “two” parties that are really one. But the man is still, for me, an accomplished citizen with a sterling record of public service. Whom I deeply admire. I don’t know what the hell quoting him on any given subject has to do with anything, but that’s your little private Idaho. His thoughts are not mine, but are… Read more »

Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

s/b ” as it was understood that BROWN would not veto it.”

Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

Don, I am constantly told that I should be happy getting a little something from people from whom I get the nothing, like Obama, because he is a Democrat. A mere label puts the base to sleep, and he has been able to carry forward with the Bush agenda. All that your people care about is D. I would indeed be happy with someone from whom I actually get a few of the many progressive values I cherish. A former Republican who I knew to be rebellious, intelligent and ethical and who indeed espouses some progressive values is, to me… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest
Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

interesting links, Norma. it would help if you could analyze the content. “50” accomplishments, as put forth by an obvious Obama op or sympathizer, is merely the opening round of debate rather than a definitive statement. Just one, for instance, ending the war in Iraq, the administration merely followed through with the Agreement put in place by the Bush Administration to remove all ground troops by the end of 2011. And Obama did not do this willingly – he wanted troops in place and fought to overturn the Bush agreement, but Iraq refused to budge. See how misleading that is?… Read more »

Tokarski
Guest
Tokarski

Very off-topic here too, Norma, using Pogie’s blog to engage me in non-relevant debate. I should not have responded and would not complain if my remarks were deleted for that reason.

If you want to debate me, and you seem that way, you know where I am at.

Norma Duffy
Guest

Not looking to debate a guy who has no understanding of Montana Values, and doesn’t live here Mark! I dont read your blog because your issues are 700 miles away.

I read Dons Blog.

Why? Because it is revelant to Montana Issues, were I live. Not Colorado.

Tokarski
Guest

Unless you are older than 59, I lived there longer than you.

There is no such thing as “Montana values.” That’s a bumper sticker and a campaign ad.

And you don’t read my blog because you are prone to disagree with its content, and you avoid all material that you are not inclined in advance to agree with.

I’ve heard that old song and dance before. But still, don’t go to my blog. I don’t need your answering-yourself comment strings, name-calling, insults, black/white mindset. Just stop the disingenuous attitude about it.

Norma Duffy
Guest

There is no Montana Values? That’s exactly the why you are the poster child of the GOP today. You don’t care where you came from, that’s why it was so easy for you to leave here…. and snake oil salemen like the GOP to sell Montana out, today!

Dick Hammer
Guest
Dick Hammer

I think he is waffling because he knows in his heart that abortion is a bad decision and instead of jumping on the “progressive” band wagon he struggles because he’s also a logical man. If you are “progressive” then you aren’t logical. Logical people wouldn’t decide that it’s a decision to kill an unborn baby but once she/he is born it’s no longer ok. Logic does not come in to play when a president thinks 30 million or so uninsured people can jump on an insurance plan and it will be cheaper for tax payers. “Progressive” thinking and logic don’t… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

Logical? A logical man would side with women not, a man of religious values. A logical man would use science and decide a fetus is not human, and adds no religious value. whereas the woman carrying a child, has all the rights and liberties as a human being to make a decision about her body. What your saying therefore is not logical. You are basing your opinion on religious value. and again I remind you that Colonial America stoned children to death if they didn’t listen intently to their parents, as part of religious value. “In 1646 the General Court… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

Thats logical!

Dick Hammer
Guest
Dick Hammer

You demonstrated my point well, thank you.

P.S. You say a fetus is not human….what is it?
And why is the fetus considered an un-born child when a pregnant woman is killed?

You mentioned all those children killed by parents in 1966…I’m sure you supported that…or at least you should since it should be their choice, right?

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
Guest
Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Got a vagina do ya, Mr. Dick? SOUNDS like you do! You’re kinda putin’ your HEAD where it don’t belong, doncha think? I’m sorry, you DON’T think! Mr. Dick, when you get the sex change you so badly seem to want, THEM you can speak for women and their bodies! You’re welcome in advance!

Norma Duffy
Guest

all you can do is laugh Larry. the guy puts the non human being not walking on the earth yet, before the human already inhabiting its space in the USA.

If the unborn were considered human, why has no country on earth counted them as alive in their census?

Lets see Dick Hammer argue against that logic????

Dick Hammer
Guest
Dick Hammer

That argument is old Larry. Since abortion leaves out the other unwilling participant, I’ll go ahead and speak for them. They don’t get to go home, they go in the medical waste bucket. They are as human and you and me but they don’t get a choice.

Norma Duffy
Guest

And neither do the mothers have any say, who every day your kind tries to take their rights away….because of pseudo religious values All you Ann Rand Believers who don’t listen correctly to. “One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living.” ~Ann RAnd~ And just so you know where I stand I believe a Planned parenthood office should be in every high school right next to the nurse and Counselors office. If they were on every campus in… Read more »

Norma Duffy
Guest

You’re Hopelessly lost in dogma, Richard. A Dogma that wasn’t stopped by your religion but real people who by their varied lifestyles asked the Government and courts to intervene. Your faith based Ideology actually condoned infantcide here in America and you wont see it…. good luck in following you teachers true teachings. I see it hasn’t helped this country heal because of it….yet!

Thats why none of our forefathers believed in it!

Dick Hammer
Guest
Dick Hammer

I walk the walk and like you I understand the real purpose of PP. I’m glad there are laws that protect kids once they are born but unfortunately, incredibly ignorance prevents those laws from protecting the unborn. Keep drinking the koolaid and blaming it on religion Norma.

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