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Montana Politics

Rehberg Politics While Montana Floods

For much of his career, it’s been easy to dismiss Dennis Rehberg nothing more than a political opportunist willing to change his ideology and political rhetoric as the ground underneath him shifts. In the past 15 months or so, he’s tried to change his tack, from being the undisputed King of Washington pork barrel spending to some kind of fierce critic of government spending.

During that time, it’s been easy to just dismiss this “conversion” as nothing more than cynical, hypocritical political posturing typical of Rehberg’s career. After all, his only constant passion has been self-promotion and hucksterism, with his constituents—the people of Montana just an afterthought. Today, however, this cynical opportunism and naked disregard for the people of our state became abundantly clear.

Today, in a House Appropriations Committee meeting, Rehberg voted against restoring FEMA funds for local and state disaster relief, as flood waters are rising across the state, endangering lives, livelihoods, and property. These are no insignificant cuts, as The Hill notes:

The second amendment restores cuts to FEMA state and local programs as well as the firefighter program.

The current bill cuts Federal Emergency Management Agency State and Local programs to 55 percent below the enacted FY2011 level, and 70 percent below the FY2010 level

At the same time, Rehberg sent out staffers to offer empty promises to affected families, as the Great Falls Tribune reports:

U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., sent staff members to impacted regions to report to federal officials in Washington, D.C., the damage and offered assistance to the governor and county leaders across the state.

Montanans who are watching creeks and rivers rise don’t need empty words and press releases; they need real assistance—to reduce damage in the short term and to assist in recovery in the long term.

Hypocrisy and naked political maneuvering are bad enough. When those decisions have a real impact on the lives of Montanan families, Representative Rehberg has demonstrated that he is far more interested in appealing to the TEA Party fringe than representing the people of this state.

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.

120 Comments

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  • Just typical bs from rehberg, doesn’t really care about people at all, especially us in Montana.  Always has been out for himself, and he’ll do anything to get his way.  He’s about done here.

  • Just typical bs from rehberg, doesn’t really care about people at all, especially us in Montana.  Always has been out for himself, and he’ll do anything to get his way.  He’s about done here.

  • I know of at least one example of where what you’re saying here is a bald faced lie.  In Fergus County, you have Tester’s staffers out promising FEMA aid to a community where the County Commission won’t even vote on mills necessary to get state aid enacted.  So are Tester’s people just lying, or do they not understand what the hell they’re talking about???  I have not heard the same about Rehberg’s staff.

    The funding streams for emergency management money are very complex.  (Imagine that from a bloated government bureaucracy). The real problem here is that Governor Schweitzer appointed one of his incompetent cronies (Ed Tinsley) to manage Montana’s Disaster and Emergency Services agency, or DES.  DES at the state level has been MIA for all of this flooding!  They’re too busy covering up internal scandals while all the decent people are leaving the organization or getting kicked out.

     Tinsley’s qualifications for the job included: being a former County Commission (hint- that is not a real qualification) and the fact that his wife works directly for the Governor.  It seems like that should be illegal.  Why don’t you look into it???

    You need to look at the real problems regarding emergency management in Montana and quit being a stupid, left wing propoganda machine.

  • I know of at least one example of where what you’re saying here is a bald faced lie.  In Fergus County, you have Tester’s staffers out promising FEMA aid to a community where the County Commission won’t even vote on mills necessary to get state aid enacted.  So are Tester’s people just lying, or do they not understand what the hell they’re talking about???  I have not heard the same about Rehberg’s staff.

    The funding streams for emergency management money are very complex.  (Imagine that from a bloated government bureaucracy). The real problem here is that Governor Schweitzer appointed one of his incompetent cronies (Ed Tinsley) to manage Montana’s Disaster and Emergency Services agency, or DES.  DES at the state level has been MIA for all of this flooding!  They’re too busy covering up internal scandals while all the decent people are leaving the organization or getting kicked out.

     Tinsley’s qualifications for the job included: being a former County Commission (hint- that is not a real qualification) and the fact that his wife works directly for the Governor.  It seems like that should be illegal.  Why don’t you look into it???

    You need to look at the real problems regarding emergency management in Montana and quit being a stupid, left wing propoganda machine.

  • Um…I’m not sure what you think I said was a lie. Let’s compare our comments. I used my name, cited actual evidence, and made a claim about policy.  You are posting under a pseudonym, made ad hominem attacks against me and a government official, and cannot cite any evidence to back up your claims.

    Do better next time, please. I think it’s important to hold all of our political leaders accountable, but anonymous personal attacks are hardly the way to best do that.

    Thanks.

  • Um…I’m not sure what you think I said was a lie. Let’s compare our comments. I used my name, cited actual evidence, and made a claim about policy.  You are posting under a pseudonym, made ad hominem attacks against me and a government official, and cannot cite any evidence to back up your claims.

    Do better next time, please. I think it’s important to hold all of our political leaders accountable, but anonymous personal attacks are hardly the way to best do that.

    Thanks.

  • I work for state government.  If I post my real name, I will be fired or my job will be “reorganized” out of existence i.e. the typical Schweitzer method.  I’ve personally watched it happen to friends of mine when they went up against the Scheitzer machine.  So if you agree to pay for my legal defense fund, I’ll reveal my name.
     
    As far as your lies, they are simple: I know Denny and his actions are not at all as you describe.  “nothing more than cynical, hypocritical political posturing typical of Rehberg’s career. After all, his only constant passion has been self-promotion and hucksterism.”  And Rehberg is not politicking any more than Tester is.  Your whole arguement is a one sided, biased account of what’s going on. 

    It is natural for you, as a leftist, to disagree with positions.  But when you don’t even understand the process by which communities request assistance/receive assistance/etc, then you’re just making stuff up.

    Furthermore, who in their right mind would advocate for 2011 levels of ANYTHING?  We are out of money, thanks to leftist boondoggles that are now going to bankrupt the entire country.  Do you not understand that?  And don’t spout off about wars or tax cuts for the rich.  The entire DoD budget, combined with seizing all assets from “the rich” would not solve our debt problem.  You know the numbers when it comes to entitlement programs and you choose to distort the issue.  Typical Saul Alinsky i.e. typical corrupt socialist crap.

  • I work for state government.  If I post my real name, I will be fired or my job will be “reorganized” out of existence i.e. the typical Schweitzer method.  I’ve personally watched it happen to friends of mine when they went up against the Scheitzer machine.  So if you agree to pay for my legal defense fund, I’ll reveal my name.
     
    As far as your lies, they are simple: I know Denny and his actions are not at all as you describe.  “nothing more than cynical, hypocritical political posturing typical of Rehberg’s career. After all, his only constant passion has been self-promotion and hucksterism.”  And Rehberg is not politicking any more than Tester is.  Your whole arguement is a one sided, biased account of what’s going on. 

    It is natural for you, as a leftist, to disagree with positions.  But when you don’t even understand the process by which communities request assistance/receive assistance/etc, then you’re just making stuff up.

    Furthermore, who in their right mind would advocate for 2011 levels of ANYTHING?  We are out of money, thanks to leftist boondoggles that are now going to bankrupt the entire country.  Do you not understand that?  And don’t spout off about wars or tax cuts for the rich.  The entire DoD budget, combined with seizing all assets from “the rich” would not solve our debt problem.  You know the numbers when it comes to entitlement programs and you choose to distort the issue.  Typical Saul Alinsky i.e. typical corrupt socialist crap.

  • Did Rehberg vote to cut FEMA local disaster funds? Yes.
    Is Montana flooding? Yes.

    Facts.

    Your observations? Infantile rants.

    Really? We couldn’t significantly cut the deficit by getting rid of the Bush tax cuts? But we could.

    • Did Obama propose defense cuts?  Yes
      Are we at war?  Yes.
       
      Facts.
       
      Your infantile rants?  Infantile rants. 
       
      You

    • The problem here is that your arguement is so utterly simplistic, it insults the intelligence of your readers. 

  • Did Rehberg vote to cut FEMA local disaster funds? Yes.
    Is Montana flooding? Yes.

    Facts.

    Your observations? Infantile rants.

    Really? We couldn’t significantly cut the deficit by getting rid of the Bush tax cuts? But we could.

    • Did Obama propose defense cuts?  Yes
      Are we at war?  Yes.
       
      Facts.
       
      Your infantile rants?  Infantile rants. 
       
      You

    • The problem here is that your arguement is so utterly simplistic, it insults the intelligence of your readers. 

  • So by your logic, Obama wants our soldiers, sailors airmen and marines to lose the war.  Is that what you think? 

    And do you think it’s patriotic to threaten the pay of military personnel unless congress keeps funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget?
    And do you think that maybe, sometime this century, Senator Tester’s boss Harry Reed might want to even PASS a budget?????

    Calculate the amount of hassle that a non-budget is causing to all federal employees everywhere, and then thank the democrat party.

    • Thankavet – the spending on the wars is separate from general defense spending, and is separately authorized.  So there’s no point there.  Indeed, our warfighting would be better aided by keeping money in reserve so that we can pay for deployments when they occur, rather than spending billions on technologies and weapons systems that are next to useless in the kinds of conflicts in which we are actually involved.

  • So by your logic, Obama wants our soldiers, sailors airmen and marines to lose the war.  Is that what you think? 

    And do you think it’s patriotic to threaten the pay of military personnel unless congress keeps funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget?
    And do you think that maybe, sometime this century, Senator Tester’s boss Harry Reed might want to even PASS a budget?????

    Calculate the amount of hassle that a non-budget is causing to all federal employees everywhere, and then thank the democrat party.

    • Thankavet – the spending on the wars is separate from general defense spending, and is separately authorized.  So there’s no point there.  Indeed, our warfighting would be better aided by keeping money in reserve so that we can pay for deployments when they occur, rather than spending billions on technologies and weapons systems that are next to useless in the kinds of conflicts in which we are actually involved.

  • You should learn how to spell Harry Reid’s name. You should read a book about logic. You should check to see if your TV machine gets a channel other than Fox News.

    When the only arguments you can make are the talking points Fox News rails about endlessly, it’s not contributing to the discourse.

    It’s great that you are a conservative. Just try to be an informed, original one.

    • I know how defense spending is authorized and you still don’t have funds held over fiscal year by fiscal year.  I’ll even cede that some of the weapons systems are a waste.  Conservatives don’t advocate for wasteful spending in any area of government. 

      The point, however, is that a generic talking point like “cuts FEMA” can be derived from any cut of any line item anywhere and is not necessarily a relevant statement.  And it’s instructive that the comback is some esoteric reference to books on logic.

      And if either of you actually care about spending, are you both happy that HARRY BALLS REID does not have the balls to actually pass a budget?????? 

      Ok, I’m ready for some stupid statement about how Fox News sucks and how conservatives are unedumacated etc. etc.  I know that MY Master’s Degree doesn’t count because I just don’t get it. 

      Why don’t you demonstrate your intellectual superiority and call me a stupid slut?  Ed would be proud.  Or use some of Olberman’s lengthy insults about nothing?  Oh wait.  And are you ballsy enough to say that you’re a socialist like Lawrence O’donnell?  Why don’t you say that you don’t believe people have the right to bear arms??

      Perhaps we should quote media matters, which Hillary personaly took credit for helping start.  Now there’s an unbiased source.  Or the daily Kos?  Or the Huffington Post?(of which I’m also a member). 

      I know.  I’m stupid.  I should pull my head out.  You don’t even need to respond.     

  • You should learn how to spell Harry Reid’s name. You should read a book about logic. You should check to see if your TV machine gets a channel other than Fox News.

    When the only arguments you can make are the talking points Fox News rails about endlessly, it’s not contributing to the discourse.

    It’s great that you are a conservative. Just try to be an informed, original one.

    • I know how defense spending is authorized and you still don’t have funds held over fiscal year by fiscal year.  I’ll even cede that some of the weapons systems are a waste.  Conservatives don’t advocate for wasteful spending in any area of government. 

      The point, however, is that a generic talking point like “cuts FEMA” can be derived from any cut of any line item anywhere and is not necessarily a relevant statement.  And it’s instructive that the comback is some esoteric reference to books on logic.

      And if either of you actually care about spending, are you both happy that HARRY BALLS REID does not have the balls to actually pass a budget?????? 

      Ok, I’m ready for some stupid statement about how Fox News sucks and how conservatives are unedumacated etc. etc.  I know that MY Master’s Degree doesn’t count because I just don’t get it. 

      Why don’t you demonstrate your intellectual superiority and call me a stupid slut?  Ed would be proud.  Or use some of Olberman’s lengthy insults about nothing?  Oh wait.  And are you ballsy enough to say that you’re a socialist like Lawrence O’donnell?  Why don’t you say that you don’t believe people have the right to bear arms??

      Perhaps we should quote media matters, which Hillary personaly took credit for helping start.  Now there’s an unbiased source.  Or the daily Kos?  Or the Huffington Post?(of which I’m also a member). 

      I know.  I’m stupid.  I should pull my head out.  You don’t even need to respond.     

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