Jon Tester Montana Politics

Tester and Rehberg on Citizens United

Senator Tester, on NPR’s All Things Considered, today:

“Well, I think corporations are a whole lot different than people. I don’t know corporations that can be put in prison. I do know people that can be put in prison. I mean, it’s a totally different entity. I don’t think the forefathers envisioned when this country was setup that we would have corporations that had the same rights or more rights than people…

“It’s ridiculous and it’s not what our forefathers sought and it really goes against our democracy. It goes against what this country is built upon.”

Representative Rehberg, after cashing his $10,000 check from the group that wants to turn multinational corporations into people:


Paints a pretty striking contrast, doesn’t it?

Surely Montana newspapers have to report that Rehberg took money from Citizens United, right?

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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  • Here's an exercise that should be taught in all civics classes (do they even exist?) Candidates ought to be judged solely on actions without regard to words, especially words spoken during campaign years. What exactly has Tester done with regard to CU? Has he worked behind the scenes for repeal? Has he been clever in using the legislative process as leverage to get some action – using compromise while forcing compromise from others? Has he sought to bring factions together (aka "leading")?

    No. No. No. He's running for office. That's all. Like Obama, he sees that populist rhetoric plays well.

    By the way, I regard my role as one of introducing cognitive dissonance into poltical discussions by pointing out things that do not set well – the idea that two parties are really one (or that politicians merely say words for effect and not meaning) is unsettling if you are deeply invested in this system.

      • If you were to try to answer my questions, you'd find the exercise even more infuriating. Put up, Don! What's he done? What has he actually done? Huh? Huh? Huh?

          • The "one note" merely happens to be one that makes you uncomfortable. If my "one note" was what a great guy Tester is, or how Dems rock, you'd be cool. It is discomfort, that queezy feeling we get when someone says something that might be right. Do an experiment. Merely find out what Tester has done concerning CU aside from making populist statements. Can you do that? You might be able to plant my face in it, prove me wrong, but I'm betting … Nuttin. He's done nothing. He's in campaign mode, just like Obama. He needs his left again, after five years.

            • I imagine a Randian hero like yourself would force Congress and the states to pass his constitutional amendment in a single day.

              Tester's doing what he can–and it's the right thing. For you, that will never be good enough, because despite the veneer of sophistication you present to yourself, it's just the same, reductionist, simplistic, fallacious argument over and over again.

              That's great you believe it–and that you're contributing something to the discourse, but it's just tiresome for everyone else.

              • You are deflecting. If you want to use words like reductionist, fallacious, and simplistic,,then you need to beef them up with example of each. I am quite specific. I say that Tester is now in campaign mode, and needing his lefty base is directing comments to that base that offer comfort. What I want Is evidence that deeds support words. That is a challenge. Meet it.

                I am a nemesis personality, and I offer no comfort. I come here and sow seeds of discord, demanding that you put up. That makes you angry, as you cannot do it, and yet are invested in mythology to the degree ha you find it easier to attack me than defend your man. Do the opposite. Man up. Ignore me. Defend him.

                • Repeat the same tiresome nonsense repeatedly and imagine that anyone cares much?

                  Use your own blog and lay out a case for a world that you envision. Instead of this absurd, reductionist (said it again) fantasy, tell me how we achieve your aims, your ideal government.

                  The rest of us, who live in the real world who love to know how you imagine that might happen.

                • That I have discovered what might be true versus how much people care? Please, I am aware of how much people care. Democrats only care about winning elections. This opens a door for people like Tester who say the right words at the right time.

                  don't make it so easy for him! I can see he's fraud, and you can too if you remove your rose colored glasses.

                • This is same nonsense I'm talking about. You have no substance, no evidence, no argument. It's just your narrow worldview repeated ad nauseam.

                • Here's what I am trying to say, as politely as I can. We all get it. We all get that you believe that the political process is broken, that the two parties are nothing more than corporate pawns. We're not stupid; we just disagree with you.

                  Repeating it over and over again doesn't make your argument any more persuasive. If you have specific problem with Tester's position on this issue, articulate it and find some evidence to support it.

                  You're not winning. You're not changing minds. I'm happy to argue the question with you, but not when it's the same argument every time.

                  Your assertion that all this site does is cheer on Democrats is laughable, given both the content of the site and your singular fixation on the same position.

                • The subject at hand is Jon Tester, and the question I bring up is his credibility as a genuine liberal, much less progressive figure in politics. I claim that politicians in your party have an easy time of it because you and your fellows do not hold him to high standards. Instead, you act as cheerleaders. I point out your cheerleading and ask you to provide substance, as in this case where he merely said a few words about Citizens United, and you jumped up to proclaim that based on these words, he presents a good alternative to his opponent. I asked you for substance, and you attacked me as lacking credibility for bringing the same message I always bring, that there is no substance behind the words. Your better response would be to provide some substance, but since you have nothing to put on the table, the subject becomes me.

                  I bring doubt to the table. Democrats live in a sterile environment. You are seldom rewarded with substantial policy victories, and your leaders rarely inspire with deeds. But there is nothing else for you. What little you have is all you are going to have, ever. So you engage in mental gymnastics, existentialism, almost, affirming the existence of something that you cannot give evidence of. Such a mental state requires repeated self-indoctrination, affirmation by hanging out with like-minded brethren and exclusion of any who remind you that you are living in a self-affirming dream, a bubble. The most common response is to tell me to go away, leave you be, and your refrain, that I bring a message that is consistent over time, and that you get it, is not useful. The problem is that you do not bring substance to your side, and merely chastise me for making your life unpleasant.

                  I get it. I'm not stupid. I know how the human mind works, the power of denial and fear of futility. Face your fears, stop making me the object. It is that mirror that troubles you so, cognitive dissonance, a troublesome reality.

                  I asked you for some evidence that Jon Tester has ever done anything useful regarding CU. Do so please. It's an easy task. if there is substance there, it is easy to find. Use the Google.

  • Two corporate candidates duking it out. No winners here. What's the point? Lesser of two evils. We've seen this movie so many times we can recite all the words. And if you don't think minds are being changed, please take note of the rising tide of eligible voters with one simple message to all politicians: I belong to the I-do-not-vote party. Montana loses either way in this election.

  • So you agree! Steve? Are you sure? Is there some good reason for your ethical breach blog master?
    You call Miller "ethically challenged." Double-standard much?

  • This blog site lays out the following rules for comments: "Disagreement doesn’t have to be unpleasant and it doesn’t have to be personal. The closer comments adhere to the idea that arguments are best focused on principles than people, the better off we’ll all be." What has happened here? Perhaps these existing rules need to be amended to expand discussions of a more personal nature.

  • IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? Sorry to yell. If we go by words alone, yes, in this year 2012 there are profound differences. If we ignore words and look at deeds … Tester is Burns II.

    I write on a host of subjects on my blog, and you never come there! I write about religion, politics, economics, even philosophy, though I'm not good at it. I write about two-party fantasy, perception management, wars and torture, health care and a whole lotta stuff. What I find is that Democrats do not come to my blog. That's due to discomfort.

    People rarely change their minds about anything. But when they do, it is only due to discomfort. Inner and outer worlds are at odds. Sometimes, and only rarely, people address discomfort and follow it to its source. I did that once.

    Will you someday do that?

    • Tester is Burns II. That's why people don't read your stuff, Mark.

      It's not true. It's not supported. It's not even close to representing reality.

      Your hyperbolic reductionist logic makes it impossible to discuss or debate with you.

      If you believe that Tester is wrong on this issue, why not explain how? Explain what he should do.

      That might lead to some discussion.

  • You wrote "Tester is Burns II. That's why people don't read your stuff, Mark. It's not true. It's not supported. It's not even close to representing reality. Your hyperbolic reductionist logic makes it impossible to discuss or debate with you. If you believe that Tester is wrong on this issue, why not explain how? Explain what he should do. That might lead to some discussion. "

    It's interesting phenomena, that's all. People debate with me all the time and it's a lot of fun. I get lots of traffic over at POM, but no Dems. But the psychology of personal validation via Democratic office holders is too much for my brain to wrap around. As with Obama, if you merely separate actions from names, and then describe the actions, you would not be able to identify who did what. But when a "D" appears by an action or statement, you affirm it with complete credulity. For this reason, Tester carries forward with efforts that before were conducted through Burns to monetize Montana's last remaining roadless commons, but because it has "D" by it, it's considered reasonable legislation. You circle the wagons. But critically, the corporate attack on Montana's commons continued through Tester after Burns's defeat and in the same manner. There was no change.

    I have asked you here to do some research and find out exactly what your man has done regarding CU other than use it in his current campaign stumping. You and I both know the answer is "nothing", and I feel your building anger and I know I will soon be booted, but I want to be clear about one point here: At no point have I disrespected you, insulted you, or done anything more than forcefully make my case. The repercussions, if I were to be right in my analysis of Tester's behavior, would require either retrenchment or a change of outlook on your part.

    I know the anger you feel, as I have felt it myself, but I usually, even if not right away, come to my senses and admit that someone made a better case than me, and a that I should reconsider my opinions. I was, after all. A Democrat at one time. I was never disrespected or spurned – I was treated quite well by very nice people. But there were too may glazed eyes …. That's all. I've been wrong more often than right, but critically, when wrong, usually reflect and adjust accordingly. It's painful.

    • As I said once before, the only thing less readable than your screeds about how the two parties are the same are your forays into amateur psychology.

      Factually, this site (and I) have been critical of Democrats and we'll continue to be so, when appropriate. That you can't see that has nothing to do with "the psychology of personal validation." It's that you're willfully blind.

      I posted a premise that Tester is better handling the the Citizens United decision than Representative Rehberg. I'm under no obligation to answer your specious generalizations, nor do I have any interest in doing so.

      You're welcome to keep posting what you believe (that Senator Tester is the same as Senator Burns, for instance) no matter how laughable the claim. I just wish you'd try to use some evidence and reasoning. I think the problem is that neither evidence nor reason support your claims.

  • I appreciate your patience then. Regarding psychology, it appears to me that there is no objective reality in politics. Parties routinely switch sides on issues. Deficits is a great example, once a Democratic issue, musical chairs, now a Republican issue.

    It's not complicated, however. The driving force in politics is concentrated wealth. Neither party can ignore it as there is just too much power there. Any office holder can be scandalized, have a well-financed primary or general election opponent. Campaign dollars either go to him or to his oponent, so each $1 is worth $2. Tester is only doing what he must to survive. I do not believe that anyone can be effective in office anymore. We're pretty much over.

    The reason I know that Tester has done nothing and will do nothing re CU is that it is a powerful wire – if he touches it, he'll fry.

    • It's certainly possible that I'm naive to believe it matters, but I'm not ready to give up. Broken process though we may have, I'm not ready to assume there's no difference between the candidates we choose.

      We'll probably just have to agree to disagree on that.

    • Mark, you keep repeating yourself, so I'll repeat myself, as you still haven't replied on the thread where it originated (not to blame you, it's pretty far back now).

      "There are two choices: rightward drift, or aggressive right-wing advancement. Given that choice, is not the best option to buy a tent, find a location, and occupy?"

      Remember that conversation you had with Rob about false dilemmas? Go occupy if you think it will help, but that doesn't keep you from voting, and it certainly doesn't mean you have to encourage others not to. Rightward drift sounds a bit more attractive to me than aggressive right-wing advancement. Right Wing drift in the nineties seemed fine; the economy ran fine, our national finances were intact, our soldiers were by and large safe. Come 2000, and a few hundred people like you in Florida decide that the difference between rightward drift and right-wing advancement wasn't big enough, voted for Nader or didn't vote at all, and then we saw just what a big difference it was. And you would blame it on Gore! He wasn't liberal enough; it was his own fault. The fact that 49% of American voters found him too liberal isn't convincing to you.

      Now, with trillions of additional debt, thousands of additional soldiers dead, you're still telling me that the difference between rightward drift and aggressive right-wing advancement is insignificant? Are you just hoping that conservatives get more and more powerful, liberals more and more radical, until we hit an extreme, and potentially violent, rock bottom? That's the same thing John Boehner (without the violence) and the right wing militia movements (with) are looking for. Organize, run primary campaigns, occupy, but do it smart. You're not going to elect Bernie Sanders in Montana, and insisting on it will only give the seats to Republicans, and I frankly don't know how many more years of them we can afford.

  • Mark I personally witnessed Tester encourge people to engage and communicate with others to foster the grass roots efforts that you state are neccesary to overturn CU. I would imagine he probably did the same thing at many other appearances. He directly encouraged people to get off their ass and organize some opposition to CU, exactly what you write on your blog is needed. Other than speak out against the CU decision and encourage citizens to organize and do so on their own as well…what was he supposed to do?

  • It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

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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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