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More on Burns…

Until something breaks on this story, I promise this is my last post about it….

Seriously: I really want to understand this issue from all perspectives. I was poking around Montana blogs today and ran into this post from a blogging attorney in Great Falls. He is complaining that the Tribune only trashes on Democrats when they can take a shot at Republicans, too. Obviously, the point he is trying to make is that the Tribune (have I mentioned they won a Pulitzer Prize? If not, they will…) is somehow part of this vast liberal media and when they finally have to admit that the Democrats are doing something wrong, they only report it when the Republicans can have their hand slapped, too.

I was a resident of Great Falls for most of my life (and much of that time, I thought I was a Republican, but that’s another story) and I have no memory of thinking that the Tribune was some mouthpiece for the left, even when I bought into the Republican Party mantra that the media was too liberal. The Great Falls blogger begins his criticism with this, as the liberal bias speaks for itself. I don’t see it. Care to explain?

A couple of thoughts…

…If you read the Great Falls blog, he points to this article in the Gazatte as a means of proving that “gee! the Democrats back peddled because their ad is fully of dirty lies!” Read the article. I don’t see that anywhere. The Democrats changed the ad from Burns received money from Abramoff to Burns received money from Abramoff and his associates. If that’s the best the Republicans have against these accusations, I have a feeling this is even bigger than it looks.

…How is this mudslinging, anyways? If dirty money is running through the Burn machine, shouldn’t that stop? If there were illegal (or at least unethical) trips or exchanges of cash, shouldn’t that stop?

…On the odd chance there are Republicans reading this, please, explain to me what the deal is with this silly party report that you keep complaining about. I really want to know. Schweitzer said he’d release a report, something no other governor has had to do. He did. You complained it is not detailed enough. WHO CARES? What do you expect to find in that report? Proof that the Governor is a bad man? Someone you don’t like gave him $20 bucks for shrimp cocktail? I just don’t understand.

…One more question for the Republicans. Explain to me Burns going back on his promise to only run for two terms (I know, it’s back in 1988 and our collectively memories don’t that far back, unless it is to fondly remember Ronald Reagan or bemoan FDR). Didn’t he promise to stay out of Washington after two terms due because he didn’t want to become dirty money man? It’s popular to answer this question with a question, “Didn’t so and so do this bad thing, too?” or “Didn’t Clinton do (insert blah blah blah here)?” But…I really want to know.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Burns’ “two terms only” promise was a minor issue during the 1990 campaign and the Burns camp justified reneging on his 1988 promise because there “was still so much good” the senator could do for the state.
    His campaign posited, wouldn’t it be a shame if Conrad retired when he was just now getting seniority and gaining the influence to do some real good for the state?
    It was a pretty weak argument then and looks even worse today.

  • As the Great Falls attorney referred to in this post, let me offer my two cents worth.

    First, I have been a resident here my whole life too, and I agree that the Great Falls Tribune has not always been a mouthpiece for the left. In fact, for most of my life it was one of the most respected dailies in the region. But since it was Gannett-ized, it has clearly assumed a leftward slant, especially on the editorial page. In fact, this leftward slant of the editorial writers is an admitted slant. You cannot regularly read the Tribune’s editorials and argue to the contrary, at least not with a straight face.

    Second, I don’t think I claimed the Democrats’ Burns ad was “fully [sic] of dirty lies!” I said it was “misleading and false.” If it was accurate and not misleading, why did they change the ad? And why does the Tribune refer to the Democrats taking a page out of “the Republicans’ attack book” unless they are implying that the Republicans wrote the book on dirty politics, and the lily-white Democrats just took a page this one time? Why not say the Republicans took a page out of “the Democrats’ attack book?”

    Third, I don’t pretend to understand federal election laws. I don’t practice in that field and, frankly, don’t have time to learn the law. So, if you have evidence that Burns did something “illegal (or at least unethical),” let it fly.

    Fourth, I agree with you that the whole issue of Schweitzer’s Inaugural Ball is a tempest in a teapot, and I think I said as much in one of the posts.

    Finally, your final paragraph is a great contradiction. Jumping off of the whole issue of the Burns/lobbyist question, you ask us to explain why it is ok that he broke his promise to serve only two terms (By the way, it isn’t ok. But that doesn’t mean I will vote for a Democrat.) And then you admonish us not to respond to your ‘two term inquiry’ with a question about Clinton, or someone else.

    The funny part, though, is that you did exactly what you admonish us not to do. We’re talking about the Tribune’s coverage and the lobbyist issue and, what do you do? You jump to the two term issue.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. And while I obviously disagree with you, I appreciate the chance to discuss these things in a somewhat thoughtful way. You must have been a Rustler!

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