Montana Politics

2017 in Retrospect: Ten Posts We Hope You Read

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This is the last of our retrospective posts for the year. As we move into 2018, we’ve got a couple of big elections in Montana to focus on and we’ll turn our attention to the campaign to unseat Greg Gianforte and keep Jon Tester representing Montana in the U.S. House.

Thanks for sticking with us through a name change and some growing pains as our server couldn’t quite handle the increase in traffic until we upgraded. We’re excited to head into the next year with you on board, both as readers and as people who contribute to our community.

In 2017, we put up 408 posts, our most ever. In this last retrospective post of the year, here are ten we’re especially proud of and that perhaps best exemplify the kind of work we hope to continue publishing.

Thanks for being a part of this with us.

Generation Columbine: Fear, Trump and Mass Gun Murder

It is in these situations that you see the true heart of your elected officials. They often just back away and ask for quiet reflection on the issue. You see Democrats and Republicans scared to talk about making sure we prevent these shootings. We are the only nation on earth that allows these shooting to continue.

No, Mrs. Zinke. In a Democratic Society, We Absolutely Can–and Must– Criticize the Military

It’s antithetical to the ideals of a democratic society to suggest that the military and members thereof are beyond reproach. Mrs. Zinke and those making the claim that military service immunizing people from public scrutiny undermine the very nature of the civilian-military divide in the United States. No matter how heroic service in the military may have been, members of the military are still employed by the American people and subject to strict oversight and scrutiny from the press and the public.

Montana Democrats’ strategy, 2018 and beyond

It raises a question. Mainstream Republicans quiver in fear from a far-right challenger. Are centrist Democrats threatened by challengers from the left wing of the party? Let’s hope not. Progressive candidates should be encouraged and embraced by the party. In primary elections, let the chips fall where they may.

Majority of Montanans Tell Daines: ‘No On DeVos’

Over the last month many of us around Montana banded together and started organizing against Betsy DeVos’ nomination by doing the work of calls, office visits, letters, and emails to him. In the last week we really ramped up our efforts to engage as many people as possible. This was true grassroots organizing, just passionate citizens who wanted Steve Daines to listen. Groups around the state were part of this: individuals, teachers, activist groups on Facebook, contacts on twitter, county parties, Big Sky Rising groups, friends, and family. Thousands of calls have been made to tell Senator Daines that we, his Montana constituents, want him to vote no on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.

From Car Washes to Junkets to New Zealand, Corey Stapleton’s Freely Spending Your Tax Money

Secretary Stapleton has long sold himself as a fiscal conservative, but his early tenure in office suggests he’s anything but conservative when it comes to spending taxpayer money in trying fiscal times. I’ll report back on how his office explains these charges and, in the meantime, urge you to do some digging of your own to find out how Republican officials who want to kill government are spending state money.

Montana Family Foundation is a cash cow for Laszloffy

If the Montana Family Foundation is really about families, it would be fighting for access to affordable health care and against poverty, or maybe better funding for education or foster care. There’s obviously more, easy money in spreading fear and bigotry.

As Montana Burns, Gianforte, Daines and Zinke move to Slash Disaster Relief Funding

It’s time for Daines, Gianforte and Zinke to start delivering or they can just stay in D.C. with all the sellout politicians, we don’t need them here in Montana, they aren’t fighting for Montana, they don’t care about Montanans. It is obvious by their phony smiles and backstabbing policies.

The Little Matter of Greg Gianforte’s Failure To Pay Taxes on Land Worth a Half Million Dollars

It also suggests a rather implausible story about Mr. Gianforte, a property owner and developer who owns other lots in Gallatin County. We’re to believe that this self-proclaimed businessman and expert in finance, a man who kept arguing his attention for detail would make him an excellent governor, never thought it strange over a period of years that a prime piece of real estate was being valued at less than a tenth of a percentage of its real value and never thought to check that valuation with the state.

Commander Zinke Has Failed Us Again

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has spent most of his adult life playing dress-up for something he is not. He talks about his lethal record as a Navy SEAL but he spent most of his time being ignored by his fellow sailors or siphoning Navy money. He pretended to be a moderate, understanding politician but really just wanted to enrich himself and those who funded his illicit rise. So it should not be a surprise that the Teddy Roosevelt-costumed Interior Secretary is doing his best to turn back public land protections he promised to uphold.

An afternoon in Hamilton with Trump Jr., Gianforte and Daines

What’s disappointing, though, is that rally goers really believe Gianforte is going to “drain the swamp” or “keep public lands in public hands,” that Republicans have a solution to the health care crisis, that Rob Quist is going to take away their guns or Trump is really a Godly man. I don’t believe that those in attendance were white supremacists, or even anti-gay or anti-woman — women made up about 40 percent of the crowd — but the cheap sound bites and the message of fear can be motivating. And because of that, unless there were a lot of millionaires in the audience, they’re going to vote against their own self interest.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a 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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