The tale of two Ryans
The breaking news is U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is coming to Billings on behalf of congressional candidate Ryan Zinke.
Good news for Zinke but also for challenger Denise Juneau. There are 435 House races this year so why Speaker Ryan would campaign for Ryan Zinke would indicate a competitive House race.
The two Ryans make for strange bedfellows as Zinke has steadfastly supported Donald Trump and Ryan has tried to distance himself from the Trump candidacy by about a million miles. But Ryan’s visit might dampen Zinke’s appearance as a rabid Trumpeter. At least that’s one perspective.
This could also portend Republican’s attempt to rebuild the party. Putting Zinke and Ryan on the same stage may signal an endeavor at conflict resolution.
Good luck with that.
Yes or No on I-181?
With a number of people who are close to me suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, at first blush I was leaning ‘Yes’ on I-181. I was more conflicted about this item on the ballot than perhaps any other.
And although I don’t put a lot of stock in Billings Gazette endorsements, today’s column recommending a ‘No’ vote was factual and thoughtful.
One of the main opponents of I-181, state Sen. Dick Barrett, is a well-respected Democrat and retired UM economics professor. Another key opponent is Republican state Sen. Rob Story, a former senate president. So, this is a common sense, not partisan, issue. It just doesn’t seem to pencil out.
I’m voting ‘No’ on I-181.
But you gotta vote
It has come to my attention that there are folks who are not voting, at all, in the 2016 election. I can understand the frustration in some of the choices being offered and as a way of protest, folks aren’t casting a ballot.
This would be a mistake. I’ll cite just one down-ticket example that’s in my district. My friend, Gail Gutsche, is running against incumbent Bob Lake for a seat on the PSC. So you have a choice between someone who is going to push for more renewables and energy conservation (Gail) and one who seems to be pretty cozy with the status quo, meaning fossil fuels and utility companies (Bob).
Then there are legislative and judicial races, initiatives, and U.S. House and gubernatorial candidates. Imagine the damage that could be done if the Republicans hold majorities in both houses of the legislature and there’s no veto pen.
To the anarchists out there who would like to see the whole, corrupt system crumble and aren’t voting, well, there’s some appeal in that. But it’s always a crapshoot in what might follow: could be utopia or could be totalitarianism. I’m not ready to take that gamble.