Montana Politics

Rehberg-Lindeen-Fellows Thoughts: Round 2 to the Republicans


This probably won’t be a popular sentiment among my fellow Left bloggers, but Dennis handed it to Lindeen tonight. He was better prepared, more on topic, and effective at dismissing even warranted criticism.

I’ve probably underestimated Dennis. He has improved his public speaking and debate skills, other than the robotic appearance and uncontrolled blinking.

Monica Lindeen needs to be careful about her tone and demeanor. She absolutely needs to be assertive to have any chance in this campaign, but she often crossed the line from assertive to aggressive, allowing Rehberg to depict himself as an affable, pleasant person. That’s not easy to do.

Rehberg is amazing in one sense. It takes cajones to suggest that he understands the plight of the working poor and parents of college students: these were huge openings that were not exploited by Lindeen. Paint Rehberg for what he is–one of the wealthy elite of Montana.

Can someone find a moderator who can remember the rules for one of these debates?

Mike Fellows? A huge letdown after Stan Jones. I was expecting a 9/11 or Moon Landing conspiracy at the least. 

The debate in detail here and at Left in the West

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  • I figured it out. The pin was a spaceship from his home planet. He did not have to be as crazy as Big Blue because his ship was sending “believability” rays into the whole audience, which even the television reproduced in my own home.

  • That did it. I think the rays did, unfortunately, interfere with his voice, generating that awkward cracking sound, but were otherwise a huge success.

  • Conspiracy theory: The terrorists the government put on the moon clearly caused the 9/11 attacks. That or the moon landing was meant to divert us from the government planning 9/11.

  • At least he gave the half crazy conspiracy, ahem, I mean facts, that North America is going to become a Communist union. What’d he say, the “North Ameruero”?

  • I think that you are right, Dennis was much more polished than I expected. However, I can not say that Monica lost because I have never met a politician that is so on spot with my own beliefs. Being a complete populist, I love her message. I got to chat with her for a minute or so after the debate and again relized how very much I like her as a person.

    She told me herself that she did not feel strong at the beginning but felt like she found her ground as she went on. I agree with her.

    I know that I am preaching to the choir here on this, but who would we rather have anyway? A polished career politician who could care less about us or a progressive advocate for the people? Now, of course I know your answer. How do we and the Lindeen campaign show Montana Dennis Rehberg for who he really is? Especially when we live in a world dominated by 30 second soundbites. It’s a big problem and this debate really showed us that this might be a bigger problem than we thought it would be.

  • I think I had the opposite perception about her performance. I thought it became less effective as the debate progressed. As a debate coach who has worked with a lot of female debaters, there is an important factor that occasionally comes up: people (and men, especially) really resist aggressive female speakers. I thought ML crossed the line from assertive to aggressive at the end–and that will hurt her.

    Interesting crowd dynamic, at least from the tape. Were there a lot more Tester supporters at debate 1, and a lot more Rehbergies at debate 2?

  • You can clearly see that most of the D’s left after debate 1 and the r’s stayed till the second one. DISAPPOINTING way to support all the democratic candidates. I mean, if you are already there why not stay to listen and cheer Lindeen on?

    One other thing…since you are so talented in debate and politics I have to ask did you offer your services?

    Hey we don’t want a bunch for career politicians running around here anyway. I like regular folks who are passionate about the issues. It takes a lot of guts to get up there and do that. Glad it wasn’t me but any one who thinks they can do better, I hope you have the chance to run some day and prove it.

    Power to the People!

  • I’m not sure that you got my point. I’m not saying that career politicians are the answer. However, prepared politicians might be nice.

    I’m not sure that I suggested my level of talent, but if you want to make the discussion personal, go ahead. Given your tone, it seems like you might find it a bit presumptuous for me to offer my services. 🙂

    I think it was a poor performance–and a surprisingly good one by Rehberg. He’s improved since his campaign against Baucus, for example.

    It certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t support Monica Lindeen. She is a much better choice than Dennis Rehberg. It’s just been disappointing how invisible the candidates running against him have been, for whatever reason.

  • I reiterate my agreement on eing surprised by Rehberg. I think that he has spent some time polishing himself up for something bigger than the house (Senate? chanllenge Max? Is Max running again? Governor?)

    people (and men, especially) really resist aggressive female speakers

    OK, I am positive that there is some truth here. However, as she turned aggresive, I did not see a woman, I saw a passionate person standing up there and saying what I wish I could say. I appreciated that fact. Is that the norm? Not likley. I claim that your agrument has merit.

  • I’d like to think the sex of the speaker doesn’t impact me, but it’s definitely harder for womyn to negotiate that line.

    I think opened a number of doors for ML–and she never really followed through.

    At least the next debate will get a lot of attention out in Poplar. :0

  • I only caught the last 15 minutes of the debate. I would have to agree that ML’s percieved anger came across as pretty unappealing. I’d say some coaching would really help her out.

    My 2 cents on this is that this race has not been in the public eye enough. These debates should be a push over the cliff for the right candidate. ML and the democratic party should have been doing everything possible to get this race in front of every voter in the state for at least the last six months. Every voter in the state should know the reasons why Rehburg needs to go. ML should have had her message out there week after week. The message needs to be simple and repeated.

    I’d say that communication/PR is a big problem with the MT Dem party as whole, and I’m sure I’ll rant about tha later.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an 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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