Lindeen-Rehberg-Fellows Debate Impressions

Opening Statements

Mike Fellows seems like he might die out of embarrassment. This is the worst thing I have ever seen in a debate. James Stockdale made a more powerful impression in the 1992 VP debate. Wow. No words to describe this. Guns! Volunteers! Crazy talk!

Monica Lindeen opens with a joke (ugh). “In case you haven’t heard, I am running for the U.S. Congress.” This might be too hard to even watch. Platitudes about God, family, and success. Mishandles the time, ends with “But Something Has Gone Wrong.”

Denny Rehberg may well be the first mechanical Congressman. Despite his millions, tells us that he is having a difficult time paying for college. I am overwhelmed with sympathy.

Question 1: Seemingly insatiable appetite to consume resources…what should Congress do?

Lindeen: We have a dependence on foreign oil and we consume too much. We need a real energy plan. Renewables.

Rehberg: Read a book called Holistic Resource Management. Government creates inefficiences. Energy Policy Act of 2005: opportunities for other energy sources. I wonder if they believe repetition of this lie will make it true? Does more appeal to the common person of Montana, explaining his frequent trips to Europe and the energy efficiency there.

Fellows: (Worried about him dying on stage) I’ve never seen a more nervous person at a political event, ever. Freedom!

Question 2: What Role Congress Play in Dealing with North Korea?

Fellows: Must defend our borders….look at that threat. Wait and see attitude. Kim Jong Il/George won’t talk…I’ll admit I was hoping he would call Kim crazy, as that would have made better joke fodder.

Rehberg: Dennis Rehberg wants to bring a human aspect to the problem. That might be the single most ridiculous thing a robot has ever said. Non-answer, evasion, sigh. Good Lord, I think he slipped into Klingon there for a bit.

Lindeen: Please tell me she didn’t just make a reference to the Matthew Broderick film “Wargames” to answer this question. Please. The line she misquoted is kind of like this debate: “Nobody Wins.”

Rehberg: Ah…not being reported accurately. See, record casualties and death squads in hopsitals are imaginary! Cut and run! Cut and run!

Question 3: What should be the role of federal government reducing tuition costs?

Rehberg: Increased Pell Grant chances…now you can get two, if you get through faster. Reduced origination fee, increased amounts of Stafford Loans…because loan debt is no big deal. Always looking for ideas..brilliant!

[Can they get someone to actually moderate these debates properly?]

Lindeen: Dennis Rehberg has voted to cut student loan assistance, more expensive to pay back those loans. Rehberg has a zero percent rating from the DAV the past four years.

Fellows: Dept of Education budget is $50 billion. Homeschool! Privatize schools! Charter schools.

Rehberg: Eliminiated loopholes for the rich; we have done nothing to make loans more difficult. By lowering the fee, reduced from 4%-1%. Wrote the law to allow consolidate the debt.

[Can someone explain the rules to this debate? Why does Rehberg get two speeches on each question]

Question 4: Fire Season Costs 

Lindeen: Rambling. Calls out Rehberg for not getting assistance for the farmers in agriculture.

Fellows: Cut down your own trees. (Disappointingly rational)

Rehberg: Lies about the Healthy Forests Initiative. Under-harvested forests kill the forests. I wonder how trees survived before logging? It’s a good thing we came along to save trees from themselves.

[Audience shot…they look riveted by Rehberg’s answer]


Question 5:  What is your solution to immigration?

Fellows: End welfare, that will end immigration. Just what we needed; a healthy dash of racist nativism to add to the Libertarian stew. Three cups crazy, one cup 1780s Constitutionalism, and a dash of racism=Libertarianism.

Rehberg: Border control first.

Lindeen: This Congress put a band-aid on the border…there are bigger ways to solve this problem. Broken trade agreements. Borrows the “Let’s Talk about…” motif from Tester. Goes way over time, gets the moderator awfully testy with her.


Question 6: Do You Support Stem Cell Research?

Rehberg: Does not support federal spending on embryonic stem cell research…then talks about his resume for a bit. Then, says that the federal government should not be involved because of emotions.

Lindeen: Attacks Rehberg for a terrible answer…attacks his federal health care benefits. Then argues that we need federal research. Comes across way too personal, way too emotional.

Fellows: Get rid of business equipment taxes to pay for this. (sigh)


Question 7: Minimum Wage

Lindeen: Always supported minimum wage, immoral not to increase it. While Congress votes for $160,000 salaries for 90 days/year, they vote against minimum wage.

Fellows: 50% of income on taxes…we have a problem! We just need to lower the tax rates…even though the tax rate on low income workers…whatever.

Rehberg: Tax reductions! Tax reductions! Will cost people jobs if we increase minimum wage. Reminds us of the emotional struggle he has faced as a millionaire, being forced to sell a portion of the huge ranch he has inherited. I find myself agreeing. In fact, how dare those minimum wage flunkies even compare their plight to the plight of a millionaire rancher? Dennis struggles every day.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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