Schweitzer-Brown-Jones Debate, Round 1

The Philadelphia Question—surely the most important issue of all time.

Did the editor of the Missoulian really lead with the suggestion that Governor Schweitzer insulted Native Americans? She must read lousy editorials in the morning.

Gloomy Roy just said the election process is not a joke. Tell that to his campaign manager.

Stan Jones is blue. He is not good at math or statistics.

What can the state do to mitigate the warming crisis? Should we build new coal plants?

Roy wants to ‘put aside the scientific research.’ Jesus Christ. Doesn’t have the guts to actually say that he will support new coal plants. Hard to imagine he’s not doing better in the polls. When asked in a follow up to actually answer the question, he didn’t manage to.

Governor Schweitzer says ‘he believes the ‘95% of the scientists about global warming.’ Science=good.

Stan Jones is blue. Hundreds of studies that say that climate change is a natural process, not caused by humans. There is ‘no human caused climate change."’ Wow.

Something about experience in higher education.

Stan Jones: He has a Masters degree in business. Still blue. Government involvement in ‘any activity is a mistake.’

Governor Schweitzer: largest increases in university funding in the history of the state. Best educated workforce best serves the economy.

Gloomy Roy: wants to give a tax credit for college debt. Doesn’t specify is this is something he has proposed or tried to pass during his time in the Legislature.

When Governor Schweitzer tried to explain how Roy Brown has not supported public education in his record, the three members of the audience who support Brown decided to show their classy behavior by trying to cut off the Governor. I wonder if Resodyn bought their seats? 🙂

Energy Development in Montana. HUGE QUESTION for ONE MINUTE EACH

Stan Jones is blue. Government! Liberty! Coal! I don’t believe in renewable resources. Liberty!

Roy Brown wants to stop buying oil from people who hate us. Apparently, Montana has VAST reserves of oil to replace the nation’s oil resources. Gloomy Roy says oil rigs are leaving the state.

Governor Schweitzer uses a statistic, a fact. There has been a 40% increase in oil production. 3 million tons of additional coal since he has become Governor. Support for renewable energy.

Gloomy Roy claims that oil was on a fast rapid climb that Governor Schweitzer had nothing to do with. But, wait…he just told me that oil was decreasing? Very confusing.

Governor Schweitzer destroys Brown. Enough said. Funny how facts do that.

Stan Jones: Hates wind power. Thinks it made him turn blue. I dozed off there, but I think the government made him blue.

Industrial Pollution and the Lack of State resources to deal with it

Governor Schweitzer gives specific examples of the restoration economy—good paying jobs to clean up the mistakes of the past. Montana will be better off than the generation that came before.

Gloomy Roy says that the air, water, and ground are cleaner than ever before, but the Department of Environmental Quality is not doing a good job. He wants to grease the wheels of industry to create more Asarcos and Stimson Mills in the future.

Stan Jones is more afraid of the environmental alarmists than pollution. This from a man who consumed a mineral that turned him blue to avoid the impact of Y2K.

Six Mill Levy. Do you support it? How put college in reach for every student?

Roy Brown supports it, Governor Schweitzer supports it, Stan Jones believes that somehow passing a levy will increase education costs. His church school teaches the children quite cheaply. Rails on those ‘high paid professors’ and that damn research. College can apparently cost $800/year. Colloidal silver apparently allows for time travel.

Dealing with the impact of aging Montana population.

Stan Jones will reduce taxes so that people can invest. The elderly are the wealthiest in our society.

Governor Schweitzer talks about existing programs for Medicare B support and local health care for the elderly. Mentions the importance of keeping the elderly in their own homes, rather than nursing care.

Roy Brown tells us about his parents. He pulls out the oldest trick of the lame politician of all time, THE HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE. That’ll fix it.

Governor Schweitzer says that the highest increase in taxes in the 10 years before his administration was increased property taxes because the government shifted the K-12 burden onto localities.

Stan Jones, finally brings it to the table: SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! North Korea or South Korea. He asks the audience if they would rather live in Cuba or Miami. Bad question for UM—half the audience said Cuba.

Do you support, federally-run universal health care?

Stan turns red. This actually makes him look purple. GOVERNMENT! STALIN! COMMUNISM!

Roy Brown concedes that health care costs are important. What is the answer? A HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE! Oh, good. Tort Reform. Got to get that talking point out there. That will resolve the issue of health care.

Governor Schweitzer uses some pesky facts. Health care costs are increasing faster than wages. This is unsustainable. Makes the argument that providing health care for all people actually reduces costs—we need to work on  a universal health care system to make our economy competitive. No need for a commission, the next President

Gloomy Roy says universal health care will lead to rationing, and tells us we have the best health care system in the world. Maybe oil men do. The 20% of Montanans without health care are likely to disagree.

Stan: LAYERS! BUREAURCRACY! HEALTH CARE FIVE TIMES ITS COST! FREE ENTERPRISE! The free market will cause doctors to drive to our houses to deliver babies.

Burdened with debt, half of graduates leave Montana

Schweitzer: Last report, Montana is actually increasing jobs for people with degrees and advanced degrees. Montana needs young graduates to take these jobs, with skills. Cannot fill science/math jobs fast enough.

Senator Brown goes back to the tax credit well for the third time. Awkwardly, transfers to teachers leaving for Wyoming, so that he can bring up his incredibly lame teacher bonus plan. Where is the TASK FORCE?

Stan Jones does not see the high tech jobs in Montana. Maybe the silver affected his ability to read Department of Labor reports. He certainly can’t read science journals or warnings on home remedies about pigmentation.

National Economic Downturn, Montana Business Suffering. What will you do to help this?

Gloomy Roy reminds us that the sky is falling. THE SKY IS FALLING. What was that? THE SKY IS FALLING. (Here’s why Roy Brown should not be governor. When asked a softball in his wheelhouse, tax reductions, he doesn’t even give one specific proposal. Not one suggested tax cut, not one program to train workers. He’s so committed to the idea that Montana is going to fail that he can’t present one idea to help.)

Governor Schweitzer says that Montana has 10x the investment in oil refining that North Dakota has, despite Roy’s love for the state. Reminds the panel that Montana has the 7th friendliest business climate in the nation. Darn, facts are stubborn things.

Stan, thankfully gets to the Federal Reserve. Please, please, please talk about the Amero! Gas is expensive because we use something crazy. We use dollars!

Roy has to be asked again what he will specifically do in his first year. Roy would eliminate the business equipment tax. He will lower property taxes. He will “straighten out” the Workers Comp program. That’s a bold specific proposal.

Governor Schweitzer says that 75% of business taxes go to local governments, not the state, and that Senator Brown voted against SB 48, which would have reduced it. Schweitzer wants business taxes for only 3,000 of the 44,000 businesses in Montana. Brown says that Schweitzer unilaterally kept the business tax in place, and that the local revenue will magically be replaced at the state level.

Stan Jones does not like government.

Closing Statements

Roy Brown brings out his sad “workhorse, show horse” stump line. Pathetically brings up the Trial Lawyers meeting for the third time. Throws out some faith buzzwords. He delivers a speech like John McCain reads one.

Stan Jones is concerned about LIBERTY! Awkwardly cites the Freedom House International report, ignoring the fact that the nations ahead of us almost all have universal health care, which, as we know, DESTROYS FREEDOM.

Governor Schweitzer appeals to the young voters in the crowd, suggesting they are the greatest generation. I say, what about me?

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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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  • Roy Brown supporters were loud and rude and don’t have any idea what a debate means. “Foul! Foul!”. I was surrounded on 3 sides by them, all wearing McCain/Palin and Nobama buttons and Roy Brown t-shirts.

    After the debate, Gov. Schweitzer was 2 feet away from me and I was waiting to shake his hand. One of Brown’s supporters came over to me and said “Have we converted you?” I politely said “No. But thank you.” “Well, the Governor is an embarrassment.” “Ma’am, don’t you think you should be more polite? He’s 2 feet away from us.” “He’s a jackass. I’m just stating the truth.” She strolled away and I stared after her in disbelief.

  • Great summary of the Schweitzer-Brown-Papa Smurf debate, Pogie.

    All I could think when Stan was talking about how his church educates its members’ kids for $110 a pop was, “Really? Those flannel board figures cost that much?”

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