Hypocrisy of Rehbergian Proportions

In the course of politics, it’s probably inevitable that some level of hypocrisy is to be expected. In the pursuit of votes, every politician probably has to take positions that are less than consistent at times, but there are few who measure up to Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, in the brazenness of their hypocrisy.

Rehberg’s latest? Calling for Patty Murray to resign from the joint committee charged with developing a deficit reduction plan, because her position makes her too partisan. Rehberg told the Billings Gazette:

Rehberg said that Murray should step down from the bipartisan committee because she’s also chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which helps support Democratic Senate candidates in 2012.
“Having … the top political strategist for Senate Democrats on the committee injects politics into a process that needs to be bipartisan,” he said. “Congress needs to put politics aside and get the job done for the American people.”

Just how did Mr. “put politics aside” spend his day yesterday? At a fundraiser in Billings with Senator John Cornyn, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

Rehberg managed to pull off a rarely seen example of double hypocrisy in the event with Cornyn, who issued a memo last week defending the debt-ceiling deal that Rehberg opposed:

In a public memo, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) defended the deal and urged 2012 candidates to focus on Democrats in their criticisms.

Strangely, Representative Rehberg, who champions the transparency of his public events, has neglected to update his official schedule since August 4th, though I am quite certain he has had public events since then.

Senator Baucus absolutely assessed Rehberg’s political posturing:

“You can’t be effective just by criticizing the other person,” he said. “You have to be sort of quiet about it. … We need results. We can’t just talk. We can’t just grandstand.”

That’s Rehberg’s campaign for Senate in a nutshell. With no record of achievement, all he has to offer is partisan nonsense—all while pretending to be bipartisan.

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.

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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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  • Trifling! Employment plan? Peace plan? Housing plan? Health plan? Retirement plan? Anybody got anything? Obama? Baucus? Tester? I’m all ears.

  • Actually, ladybug, we had an employment plan. It was called Extending the Stimulus, As Direct Investment Boosts GDP And Provides Employment. But Republicans never let that have a chance, presumably because ESADIBGAPE doesn’t spell anything clever and they are not economists.

    We’ve been implementing a peace plan for a while now. You may have noticed the precipitous drop in both casualties and spending in Iraq, and the concrete plans to do the same in Afghanistan. As to our drone strikes and airstrikes throughout the world, you must realize that those are areas where violence is already extant, thus stopping them has nothing to do with peace. Did you mean isolationism plan? That sounds a lot less attractive, since the sign for peace is a nice ‘v’, whereas the sign for Isolationism is a big “I”, made with our longest finger, directed towards the rest of the world.

    I don’t know what you mean by housing plan. Are you referring to reducing homelessness, or increasing the housing industry? Either one is closely related to the ‘jobs program’. Health? Retirement? We have a health plan; it would have even been a good one if Republicans were less stubborn and the Senate more flexible. Retirement plan? We have one; it’s called social security, and I heard a rumor that it’s rather popular still.

  • P.W.
    I am eager to read more about these plans. Can you provide me links to just one link for starters. Let’s start with the one you think is most important right now — to either party — than reducing budget and/or staff.

    Of course, if I get to choose, my choice would be the U.S. Peace Plan. Please show this (link, link) to me if you can. I would very much like to review its contents and discuss it further with you.

  • As I pointed out, the ‘US Peace Plan’ doesn’t make any sense. The US hasn’t started any wars since Iraq; therefore, the US is not causing war, merely continuing wars that are ongoing. So I’m curious what your peace plan is, ladybug. How are you going to bring peace to Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or Pakistan or Libya? Mind that in only one of those cases the violence was directly caused by US action. Lets hear it.

    But no, that’s not what you mean. You mean, how can we get the US out of war, right? How can we save ourselves some money and put these wars back to the inside of the newspaper, right? I’m sorry, but though that may be a popular way to run foreign policy, it’s not a good way.

    Here’s the stimulus plan – predictably it went nowhere, because of the common belief that stimulus is just a waste of money.

    As to the health care, here’s a good plan –
    Sadly, that was never even possible, for reasons I’ve pointed out to Mark. It only takes the most rural fifth of Americans to filibuster everybody else.

    As for retirement and housing, what’s your point? Indeed, I got to go all Norquist on you, but you’re expecting rather a lot from the government to fix the housing market. Moreover, I don’t think most Americans wouldagree with you that the retirement system needs large reform; indeed, isn’t that what Mark, JC and you are always warning us about it?

  • Let’s tackle the peace plan first, okay? We do not have a peace plan. U.S. foreign policy is not a peace plan. Our foreign policy is not clearly articulated. Is it “nation building?” Is it “spreading democracy?” Is it anything we can understand or artuculate? Many have said the U.S. has no coherent foreign policy. I tend to agree.

    My peace plan would begin with a three-part gesture. Step one: Stop building, developing, maintaining, manning, and threatening the world with nuclear weapons. Step two: Close 50% of our foreign military bases. We don’t need them. They erode trust in our peaceful intentions, if that is to be believed. Step three: Stop bombing and rocketing people in foreign countries, whether a war has been declared or not.

    You see, we act violently towards others and expect miraculously that people don’t see that as cramming some policy or ideology down their throats. If bombs and rockets rained down on Montana, we damn sure wouldn’t get all intellectual and abstract about it. Violence is not peace. Simple, no?

    I think it was Howard Zinn who said if we want to end terrorism, we need to stop acting like terrorists.

  • Ladybug –

    “Step one: Stop building, developing, maintaining, manning, and threatening the world with nuclear weapons. Step two: Close 50% of our foreign military bases. We don’t need them. They erode trust in our peaceful intentions, if that is to be believed. Step three: Stop bombing and rocketing people in foreign countries, whether a war has been declared or not.”

    You have described US foreign policy from about February 3rd, 1924 Edit: September 25, 1919, to December 7th, 1941. Not necessarily the most successful period in US foreign policy history. Your plan, thus, is demonstrably foolish. I agree that we don’t have a well articulated plan, but surely we can do better than a tried-and-failed plan, can’t we?

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