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Reasons Montana Needs Tester and Obama – Part One

There are many people, many of my personal friends included, who believe that local elections are far more important than national or statewide ones. They reason that since national elections are financed by those with a lot of money, the two parties are never far apart in their positions. It’s an oversimplification, but there is some truth to it – local politics are more personal, generally have a more direct effect, and often present more widely divergent viewpoints than the big ticket races. But it is becoming clear that the ghosts of Republican Administrations past continue to haunt Montana and deprive us of the freedom to govern our state as we see fit.

The biggest example is obviously Citizen’s United, where 2 W. appointees, one appointed by his father and two appointed by Reagan, handed down a ruling that overturned a century old Montana law.

But to add insult to injury, another Reagan appointee struck down another Montana law, which seems eminently reasonable, disallowing knowingly false statements during a campaign.

Whoever is president for the next our years will likely make at least one supreme court appointment and multiple appointments to Federal courts. We cannot afford that person to be Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. Moreover, we need the senate that will advise and consent to these appointments to be composed of reasonable people, not obstructionist ideologues like Denny Rehberg. Even if Obama’s other actions are not progressive as some activists would like, his Supreme Court appointments have been consistently better than any Republican president in memory, and there’s no reason to believe that if given another opportunity in the next four years, they will be any different.

UPDATE: For example, I’m not sure Obama would have nominated this guy.

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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The Polish Wolf


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  • Rehberg=reckless. Why trade an effective organic farmer for a litigious lackey?

    Rehberg’s behavior is unsustainable…just as his party is burning the Earth’s candle at both ends. Denny Rehberg is in the way. It’s time to put a price on carbon: support the efforts of the Democratic Party to make the United States a leader in sustainability.

    Antibiotics administered to livestock are killing wetlands: keep invasive species like Angus off public land and ensure that effluent from their manure no longer drains into Montana watersheds.

    Senator Tester is moving to honor Montanan Elouise Cobell.

    The forests of the Rocky Mountains are broken. Senator Tester has a plan to mitigate the effects of climate change on some of Montana’s public land.

    Montana is on the front lines of jobs v. earth: we have the opportunity to reverse red state collapse.

  • I agree entirely. A senator Rehberg would be a disaster not only for us but for the whole country.

    About Citizens United — I'm very disappointed that the ACLU, of which I've been a member for years, has decided to support the decision and not support legislation that would overturn it. I asked for an explanation from them. I got back a long tortured answer that I'm still trying to figure out.

    • I understand the position of the ACLU, but that's one of the setbacks of limited-issue groups – they are valuable, but they are also restricted and sometimes they have to take positions that to most people seem irrational, on the theory that by pushing as far as they can on every front of a particular issue, they can assure that the general zeitgeist moves in their direction. You just have to take their positions with a grain of salt. I support NARAL in general, but Laslovich's 90% from them doesn't bother me because understand the realities of politics are different than the realities of advocacy and activism.

  • I too have bought in to this idea that no matter what else the similarities, we get better judges with Democrats. It's a slim reed.

    I'm not sure it's true. If Democrats merely pretend to have progressive ideals when they run for office and do not, why would judicial nominees be different?

    What if the whole party was a fraud?

    • "I'm not sure it's true. If Democrats merely pretend to have progressive ideals when they run for office and do not, why would judicial nominees be different?

      What if the whole party was a fraud? "

      The justices appointed by Clinton and Obama have voted with progressive causes, the justices appointed by Republicans have at best been moderate, and at worst absolutely atrocious. That's a consistent correlation, more than enough to imply causation.

      And that sheds some light on the party entirely – if Democrats are phonies, why would they be at their most liberal in their appointment of justices, who get less media coverage relative to their influence than the other two branches. Do you suppose it's possible that in fact elected Democrats are more conservative than you wish because they are representing the makeup of the Senate, the House, and electoral college, two of which are slanted towards the rural and conservative? And like I explained to Lizard, even if judicial appointments are the only provable argument for democrats, an entire third of our government is neither the bottom of the barrel nor a thin reed.

      • You are again searching the desert for blooming flowers – it does happen, but deserts are not where most flowers grow. There are indeed Democrats who are progressive, but they are a minority of the party, and in my view are wasting their time there as the party leadership and apparatchiks work to keep them off to the margins. The idea that progressives could ever take control of the Democratic Party is an invitation to a life of futility. One purpose of the party is to build a fence around progressives and keep them contained and ineffective. (Remember the Farmer-Labor Parties? Rainbow Coalition? They were absorbed into the Democratic Party, and ceased to function. They were gelded.

        But if that is your argument – that resistance is futile, then I will stipulate that the only reason to vote for a Democrat over a Republican is the possibility of getting better judges. It is not unimportant, but two caveats:

        One: The Democrats could have performed a vital public service by blocking the nominations of John Roberts and Sam Alito, forcing Bush to appoint more moderate candidates. They capitulated on both and the supposed "nuclear option", chickening out. A second party would have been useful at that time.

        Second, somnambulism: Democrats now support the Bush agenda because it is being carried our by Democrats.

        Given those two factors – the chicken shit perception and sleep walking, I choose to avoid Democrats and fight both parties, or the perception of two parties.

  • Miranda rights weakened thanks to Sotomayor. the push, still, is to the right. the SCOTUS argument is the scraping of the barrel.

    • Link please, Lizard. I don't disbelieve you, but I'm curious what cases you have in mind particularly. I can't find any examples of Sotomayor being the deciding vote in a case involving Miranda. The Republican appointed majority is consistent. Sotomayor was in the majority on a 7-2 case and a 9-0 case clarifying Miranda rights, but her first major dissension was also in a Miranda case. Sotomayor may not be a hundred percent progressive all the time, but the root of the problem lies with those five conservative justices that continue to push through some of the worst decisions we've seen in decades. And the argument is not limited to the SCOTUS – the President has a great deal of influence by appointing lower court judges. Given that it is a third of our system, it's hardly an argument that is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        • Kagan filed a brief in that case, so your point makes some sense if you assume that Justices don't change their opinions at all when they are appointed to the bench; given that she replaced a justice who dissented from the decision, that is evidence of a slight rightward shift. Nonetheless, she is certainly a better option than anyone we would have likely gotten from McCain. And though I don't agree with the decision, I don't think it's a civil rights disaster – you still have the right to ask for a lawyer, or to remain silent – the latter is just not equivalent to the former.

            • Yes, I'll acknowledge that the Supreme Court in general has experienced a nudge to the right, which has been in progress for at least a decade.

  • As (one of) Rehberg's employers, I find his 10-year productivity in his current job to be poor, his absentee rate too high, he gets along poorly with colleagues and customers and he frequently shows up to work with a hangover.
    He's is a poor candidate for a promotion.

  • "But it is becoming clear that the ghosts of Republican Administrations past continue to haunt Montana and deprive us of the freedom to govern our state as we see fit."

    Two points.

    1. The SCOTUS overturned MT's liberal justices. I also personally feel if asked fairly Montanans would agree with DC's decision. Especially if the question was framed using the first amendment as a reference.

    2. The feds have been limiting our states freedom for decades. Take for instance this adm., currently MT farmers are under attack by the DOT, EPA, and child labor laws and Obamacare's mandates tighten the noose even further.

    • Canyon Ferry Lake is a chemical toilet: laden with the residue of a century of environmental degradation from population growth, ag producers and mining. It's not sustainable, Swede.

    • "The SCOTUS overturned MT's liberal justices."

      Who were upholding Montana law, the will of the people of Montana.

      ". I also personally feel if asked fairly Montanans would agree with DC's decision."

      Then why was the law never repealed by our elected representatives?

      "The feds have been limiting our states freedom for decades."

      Your examples fall short of the feds actively overturning Montana law. Now, Federal behavior towards medical marijuana seems a bit more heavy handed. I'm still waiting for any of our elected officials to deal with that one.

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