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Jon Tester Montana Politics

Senator Tester and Representative Rehberg on the Patriot Act

Thanks, Senator Tester, for standing up for the Constitution:

Long before I ever got to the Senate, the Patriot Act was sold to us as a toolbox of sorts to give U.S. agents the tools they need to find, fight and kill terrorists. But what we got from the Patriot Act was a law that is killing the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. When we give up our rights, we give way to exactly what terrorists want for us: Fewer freedoms. Invasion of privacy. That’s not acceptable in Montana. I’m sure it’s not acceptable anywhere else.

Senator Tester has consistently opposed the Patriot Act and its overreach into the lives of American citizens. His opponent, Representative Rehberg, has had a slightly less coherent and consistent position:

  • He initially voted for the Patriot Act in 2001.
  • He repeatedly voted to reauthorize it between 2001-2010, voting in 2005 to make it permanent.
  • In 2011, he voted against reauthorization before voting for it before voting against it.

When it comes to fundamental questions about civil liberties, I prefer my Senator to have one position—not one that changes as the TEA leaves settle.

Thanks, Senator Tester, for voting to protect the Constitution.

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.

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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  • Just a couple of thoughts: one, lopsided votes are not a true test of a politician’s true mettle. Tester was free to vote either way on this without changing the outcome. It may well be that he opposed the bill and would have withstood intense pressure and voted against it had his vote been critical for passage, but this is not a test.

    Secondly, all this ‘thanking’ politicians for doing what is expected of them is degrading. The greatest failing of the Democratic followship is the tendency to pledge support without demanding honor. Politicians don’t care about people who they know will vote for them no matter what. You’ve given them no reason. If you threaten to bolt on him he’ll think about you with some trepidation. As it is, you’ve left him free to do as he pleases, which explains his many acts of trachery to progressive causes.

    In other words, the proper stance here is not ‘thank you thank you thank you!’ but rather ‘damned straight you vote that way. Would have exited if you had betrayed me.’

      • Your candidate may win, and you lose, and somehow that satisfies you? This is the essence of the problem of Democrats, fealty without demand for action. I don’t know if it is the nature of your psychological makeups, or training and psychological manipulation, but devotion to a man over issues is not good citizenship, and constant compromise of principles to achieve never-quite-achieved interim goals is the ten word dictionary defining of “losing.” You can look it up.

  • Just a couple of thoughts: one, lopsided votes are not a true test of a politician’s true mettle. Tester was free to vote either way on this without changing the outcome. It may well be that he opposed the bill and would have withstood intense pressure and voted against it had his vote been critical for passage, but this is not a test.

    Secondly, all this ‘thanking’ politicians for doing what is expected of them is degrading. The greatest failing of the Democratic followship is the tendency to pledge support without demanding honor. Politicians don’t care about people who they know will vote for them no matter what. You’ve given them no reason. If you threaten to bolt on him he’ll think about you with some trepidation. As it is, you’ve left him free to do as he pleases, which explains his many acts of trachery to progressive causes.

    In other words, the proper stance here is not ‘thank you thank you thank you!’ but rather ‘damned straight you vote that way. Would have exited if you had betrayed me.’

      • Your candidate may win, and you lose, and somehow that satisfies you? This is the essence of the problem of Democrats, fealty without demand for action. I don’t know if it is the nature of your psychological makeups, or training and psychological manipulation, but devotion to a man over issues is not good citizenship, and constant compromise of principles to achieve never-quite-achieved interim goals is the ten word dictionary defining of “losing.” You can look it up.

  • So, Tokarski, who are you running against Jon Tester?  Nobody? You got nothing?  That, my friend, would be the definition of “losing”.

  • So, Tokarski, who are you running against Jon Tester?  Nobody? You got nothing?  That, my friend, would be the definition of “losing”.

  • What’s the practical difference between your not voting and my voting for somewhat at least marginally better than the opposition?  And where do you get off thinking that I ‘lose’?  I’m doing quite fine, thank you, relative to global and historical norms.  I’m aware of injustice, but throwing my vote away does no more to combat it than voting for Tester, and at least I can hope for Tester to decrease the injustice by some margin. 

    • [Face palm] … I’ll try again: You’re not marginally better off with Tester. While you are asleep at the wheel, he gets away with murder. With Rehberg, you are alert, attentive, vigilant, a good citizen.

      • Murder?  That’s a new one to me.  I’m neither better nor worse with either Senator, to be honest.  If I’m more attentive, it’s no better than if I’m not.  At least now gay men and women can join the military, veterans get a slightly better deal, and 9-11 first responders can be properly taken care of.  At least we got one Keynesian stimulus package, though we could have used more.  Thus, marginally better. 

        • The intellectual exercise you are going through can be done with anyone given the vast array of legislative issues at come before them. It’s selective. Unless you assign relative value to issues, ignore those of lesser value, and at the same time analyze the voting record to see where his vote has actually made a difference (versus those times when he is free to select sides without affecintg the outcome), you got nothing.

          In that situation, without rigorous analysis, you’re merely looking for justification for the absence of vigilance. You’ve let partisan politics override your objective observations.

          Of course, this ignores the bigger problem – the fact that you pledge fealty to him no matter his behavior. This gives him the luxury of ignoring you.

          • Whatever you say, Mark.  On most of the votes I care about, Tester and I agree.  On those where we disagree, his position is at least one I can understand.  Unlike you, I recognize that my positions lie to the left of most Americans, and far to the left of most Montanans.  I’d rather have an acceptable senator who can keep Rehberg out than a great one that can’t get elected. 

  • What’s the practical difference between your not voting and my voting for somewhat at least marginally better than the opposition?  And where do you get off thinking that I ‘lose’?  I’m doing quite fine, thank you, relative to global and historical norms.  I’m aware of injustice, but throwing my vote away does no more to combat it than voting for Tester, and at least I can hope for Tester to decrease the injustice by some margin. 

    • [Face palm] … I’ll try again: You’re not marginally better off with Tester. While you are asleep at the wheel, he gets away with murder. With Rehberg, you are alert, attentive, vigilant, a good citizen.

      • Murder?  That’s a new one to me.  I’m neither better nor worse with either Senator, to be honest.  If I’m more attentive, it’s no better than if I’m not.  At least now gay men and women can join the military, veterans get a slightly better deal, and 9-11 first responders can be properly taken care of.  At least we got one Keynesian stimulus package, though we could have used more.  Thus, marginally better. 

        • The intellectual exercise you are going through can be done with anyone given the vast array of legislative issues at come before them. It’s selective. Unless you assign relative value to issues, ignore those of lesser value, and at the same time analyze the voting record to see where his vote has actually made a difference (versus those times when he is free to select sides without affecintg the outcome), you got nothing.

          In that situation, without rigorous analysis, you’re merely looking for justification for the absence of vigilance. You’ve let partisan politics override your objective observations.

          Of course, this ignores the bigger problem – the fact that you pledge fealty to him no matter his behavior. This gives him the luxury of ignoring you.

          • Whatever you say, Mark.  On most of the votes I care about, Tester and I agree.  On those where we disagree, his position is at least one I can understand.  Unlike you, I recognize that my positions lie to the left of most Americans, and far to the left of most Montanans.  I’d rather have an acceptable senator who can keep Rehberg out than a great one that can’t get elected. 

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