Great New Ad from Steve Bullock

There are a lot of reasons that I’m supporting Steve Bullock to become the next governor of Montana, but none are more important than his decision to defend Montana’s century-old restrictions on corporate donations in elections. The latest ad from the Bullock campaign makes the case for the importance of this decision, in which Bullock was the single Attorney General across the nation to defend his state’s law.


While Attorney General Bullock is  reminding Montanans about real achievements in his office, his Republican rivals are running around the state trying to prove just how out of touch with the mainstream they are.  Instead of grandstanding about nullifying federal laws, Bullock took action to defend Montana’s law and crafted an argument the Court could accept.

While the corporate-controlled Supreme Court may end up ruling against the people of Montana, it’s worth remembering John Paul Stevens’s stinging dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

Stevens—and Bullock—are right, of course, and Montanans would be well-served choosing a governor who knows the importance of limiting corporate influence on elections.

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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  • Since the ad is longer than 15 seconds, it was produced for the Internet and will not be seen by most citizens. However, the production values are of high quality, with smooth cuts and transitions, a professional and modulated background voice, soft music, and including the fence-leaning posture required in Montana, though to his credit he did not do the plaid-shirt hunting shot.

    Conclusion: He's got a pretty good ad agency, either in Denver or Minneapolis. They've polled and found a soft spot among voters. And he's got good money behind him, probably out-of-state.

    Is he the real thing? Who the hell knows. After all, this is advertising. It has no substance and is only done to manipulate voters.

    • I have avoided wading into blog comments, but this is one demands a response and there hasn't been one. Steve Bullock stood up to Citizen's United and won. It's right there, sourced in the video, available everywhere in the news. "Is he the real thing? Who the hell knows." Wrong! Everyone knows, except this commenter.

      Montanans want to limit corporate influence on elections for very good reasons. There are different ways to address the issue. Steve Bullock has been successful with his approach.

      • I know what he did as well as you. I'm not easily swayed and need more from him. This ad was very expensive and is aimed at a very narrow audience. He's well moneyed. Don't ignore that and don't just throw flowers at his feet. Make him earn it in every way you can. This is the problem of Democrats – too much a faiith-based party.

        • Not sure how a person can please you, Mark. If an actual achievement doesn't count, what does?

          Reflexively criticizing every decision a Democrat makes might make you feel smarter, but it doesn't make you any more correct.

          • I am very pleased with the decision of the Montana Supreme Court, and just as certain it will not stand. Since Democrats are not participating in citizen movements to eliminate corporate personhood and are not attempting to reform campaign finance, I fail to see where electing Bullock governor is of any importance.

            But if it is, then you need to question why he can afford to pay for such a slick and expensive ad aimed at such a narrow audience. Campaign rhetoric does not contain information and is only intended for effect. Your job is to ferret out his finances, and to find out who is or is attempting to buy the office of governor. You need to vet your own man, establish high standards and hold him accountable. Faith and flowers at his feet is not a good way to do politics.

  • Come to think of it 23 states joined in the challenge of ObamaCare.

    Steve passed.

    Now we him supporting a DOA state law.

    He's either a dedicated fringe ideologue or a couple volumes short of a law library.

    • "He's either a dedicated fringe ideologue or a couple volumes short of a law library. "

      A fringe ideologue? Steve Bullock stands with three quarters of Americans in opposing the citizen's united ruling. The Supreme Court is promoting a fringe ideology, thus far successfully.

      • While I wouldn't expect the average citizen (75%) to be up to speed on constitutional law I do believe however our highest barrister to have some sort of clue.

        Maybe even read the decision? Judge Kennedy's comments perhaps? Perused Wiki?

        "The majority opinion,[19] authored by Justice Kennedy, found that 2 U.S.C. § 441(b)'s prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions was invalid and could not be applied to spending such as that in Hillary: The Movie. Justice Kennedy wrote:

        “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

        Justice Kennedy also noted that since there was no way to distinguish between media and other corporations, these restrictions would allow Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television and blogs."

        Looks like Kennedy was acting in your behalf, PW.

        • I start my Thursday with the knowledge that Ingy regard opponents of CU s "fringe." It reminds me if the John Wayne movie The Green Berets where the final scene has the Duke walking on the beach at sunset telling a kid that "It's all about you," the problem being that Vietnam has an eastern shoreline, so that the world would have to be spinning backward to have sunset on the beach in that manner.

          Ingy, your world spins backwards, and this is your non-sequitur for the day. You're welcome.

  • I am curious, Ingy, had you been around for Dredd Scott, where slaves were found not to be legal persons, if you would have said "pesky constitution." The word of five justices is not the same as he words of the constitution. Your judges are activists, writing laws from the bench.

    This may seem off-topic, but is not: What is your opinion of union shops versus "right to work?"

    • I was around genetically. My non-scandi side family tree has Honest Abe's VP on one of it's branches. Hannibal Hamlin.

      I read something the other day regarding RTW vs. US states. Seems to me the later had better employment numbers.

      Is that the reason you moved to CO?

      • I'm fairly sure my grandfather dodged a Eurpoean war. I llke my genes too.

        The question is: Corporations, public ones, consist of shareholders, executives, directors, employees and stakeholders. Labor might be unionized. Sharholders might consist of retirees, hedge funds, mutual funds and retirement funds and even government pension funds.

        How can that organization with so many facets be a person? When the executives decide to back a candidate, which interest do they serve? Do minority views matter?

        The standard right wing argument against unions is that it is wrong to force minorities to join. Even if on.y 20% object, your side say that the 20% must be respected by disallowing a closed shop.

        In the same manner, should not a corporation shut up in order to respect minority views?

        You are Mr. Linkydink, so why no link on your stats? And CO is not RTW. It's crazy right wing, but not RTW.

        • Minority shareholder rights in the context of political speech. Maybe they should get dissenter's rights to payment of full value of their shares if they dont agree with the political speech. Thats an interesting question. It would probably be an effective way to squelch a lot of it and get around citizens united. Maybe.

        • Could unions be tied to numerous facets? For instance do their pensions participate in the market? Funds? Government contracts?

          I'm all for equal treartment, but until you change the word "associations" (def. "An organized body of people who have an interest, activity, or purpose in common; a society."), you're f'ed.

          • By definition a group of people cannot act as one without overriding minority interests. Groups of people never agree on everything. By definition a corporation is a legal construct invented to facilitate commerce. To say that the legal construct which facilitates commerce and which should be under our control actually lives and breathes and rules and can ignore human minorities in favor of executive privilege (only executives speak- everyone else is silenced) … Is an insult to our intelligence. We all know better. We know better. All of us. This ruling is a legal roundhouse punch to democratic governance, deliberate and calculated. The five justices have to know on some level that they have crossed a bright line. If they do not they are stupid, otherwise they are intent on doing wrong to us. I suspect the latter – this is the advance of what was called, in the 1930's and 40's, "fascism"', or marriage of corporation and state.

            But you're right. By virtue of this ruling, we are indeed f'ed.

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