Steve Daines is the model for what is broken about American politics. In his undistinguished term, while his Democratic colleague has had thirteen bills signed by a Republican president, Daines has had to satisfy himself with making headlines for pandering proposals to ban flag burning that went nowhere and proposals to prevent abandoned federal buildings from becoming blights on their communities the way the one in Billings has that went nowhere.
He runs from his constituents, embarrasses himself with 30-hour faux boycotts of airlines, and endorses bigoted pedophiles to join him in the Senate. By any measure, he’s a middle manager elevated to a job he has no business holding through unearned luck and public disinterest at critical moments.
In the past few weeks, though, Daines has outdone himself. While Senator Tester worked tirelessly to secure funding and rightly received credit for its inclusion in the last spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, Daines sat on the sidelines, posturing while the real work of Congress was being done. Congress is certainly a mess and governance has become more complex and frustrating every day, but while Senator Tester works the process, Daines collects checks for issuing news releases and appeasing his corporate and ideological masters.
Perhaps nothing better illustrates just how dishonest and ineffective Daines is than his decision this week to send an email this week taking credit for securing funding the Butte Veterans facility, even though he voted against the bill, calling it a “disaster.”
He neither did the work to get the language inserted nor even had the fortitude to vote for veterans, for keeping the government running, and against reactionaries like the Koch Brothers and the Club for Growth. Despite this, Daines wants Montanans–and its veteran community–that he has their backs, that his patriotism extends farther than putting a flag on his lapel for the camera.
Daines, of course, is the kind of Christian conservative who votes against hurricane relief and the kind of Senator who takes credit for forest litigation reform language tucked into the same spending bill he opposed, but it takes a special kind of amoral behavior to lie to veterans who’ve served the country, claim to support them, and then vote against their interests.
That’s Steve Daines, though. Greg Gianforte’s errand boy, the assistant to the regional manager somehow elevated to the Senate where he continues not only to embarrass our state but to work against it and its people.