Montana Politics

Rehberg makes the Oscars


Catch the Oscars this evening?  Well, Rehberg made at least two appearances during the 3 hour program.  The ad called out Rehberg on the issue of public land access, which is becoming an increasing problematic issue for the Congressman.  Remember these three spots?

Rehberg: Public land is my “Privately owned land” and No Rehberg Land Grab and No Rehberg Land Grab 2.

People like The Montana Hunters and Anglers and John Gibson are going to continue drawing attention to Rehberg’s disdain for public land and water access.  Seems like a winning strategy.

Soon as possible, I’ll post this evening’s TV spot.  No luck finding it online, yet.


Here’s the ad that aired last night.  It was paid for by the Montana Wildlife Federation.

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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  • Weak sauce. The most serious threat to Montana's remaning roadless lands is called The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, which you would likely oppose were it introduced by a Republican instead of a Democrat. It's a Trojan rabbit.

  • It's more than just a little ironic that this site will complain about all the anonymous, outside money from the Chamber of Comm or Rove's group going to buy ads blasting Tester, but then when anonymous, outside money goes to ads blasting Rehberg this site lauds it as a "winning strategy."

    Would it perhaps be better for progressives to just say that political ads from these 501 C4 “educational groups” (that don’t need to identify their donors) are bad news, whether they are supporting Dems or Republicans? Would progressives be better off just clearly stating that this secret, anonymous money in politics stinks either way?

    It's interesting that Mark brought up Tester's mandated logging bill (FJRA), because many of the people “starring” in these "Montana Hunters and Anglers ads are vocal supporters of Tester’s mandated logging bill and/or are part of Sen Tester’s Sportsmen’s Caucus advisory group,

    Here's some info about one of the ad buys:



    A Montana hunting-and-angling group with Democratic ties has made a large TV ad buy rapping Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg for his support of a bill that gives the U.S. Border Patrol access to all federal lands for border-security purposes.

    Calling the bill a “federal land grab of the highest order,” Montana Hunters and Anglers Action bought ads in the Missoula and Billings television markets that urged viewers to call Rehberg and ask him to oppose the bill.

    The ads, airing on network and cable TV stations, began Monday and will continue for three weeks, said Land Tawney of Missoula, president of the newly formed group.

    Tawney, a senior manager for the National Wildlife Federation, wouldn’t reveal the cost of the buy, but sources told the Lee Newspapers State Bureau that it’s between $200,000 and $250,000….

    The group registered with the Montana secretary of state’s office on Oct. 6 as a nonprofit group.

    In addition to Tawney, its officers include Democratic state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk of Billings; Barrett Kaiser, a Billings communications consultant and former aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; and George Cooper, a senior vice president for a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm and former news producer for CNN.

    As a 501(c) (4) “educational” group, Montana Hunters and Anglers Action is not required to reveal its financial donors. Tawney said the donors have asked not to be identified, but that they include individuals and organizations.

    • Matthew Koehler: "Would it perhaps be better for progressives to just say that political ads from these 501 C4 “educational groups” (that don’t need to identify their donors) are bad news, whether they are supporting Dems or Republicans? Would progressives be better off just clearly stating that this secret, anonymous money in politics stinks either way? "

      Fine questions, Matthew. But, as per your usual, you insinuate answers with no explanation of why one would or should answer as you see fit. Still, here are my answers: 1) No. It is narrow-minded, ignorant and anti-progressive to judge a product with only an eye to how it was produced without judging the product itself. A progressive person would not judge a universal cure for cancer based on the fact that it was produced by an evil corporation like Pfizer. That would be rightwing thinking, and if you'd like to disagree then kindly explain what just happened between the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood. 2) No. A progressive should actually want progress. Supporting tactics that work towards progress does not lessen one's progressive 'cred' just because another says that the tactic is icky. Denying tactics that work just because they might seem icky cedes the contest to those who do use those tactics and quite admittedly work against what the good progressive values. There is not one progressive value that can be forwarded by replacing a Democrat with a Republican.

  • Both Tester and Rehberg worship at the same neoliberal alter. Both represent real threats to public land and public water.
    One is ambitious, somewhat clever, and active, while the other is lazy, unaccomplished, and mostly rhetorical. Which do you think represents the greatest threat to cherished public values?

    • I've come to realize that neoliberal, neoconservative, Democrat, Republican, liberal and conservative, in the USA, are synonymous.

      The only alternative to the above is "fringe."

      Pretty neat system. It self-validates. You either talk the talk, quack like a duck, or you are an annoyance or worse, an obstructionist to gradualism.

      LB, you and Mathew are out of step!

    • If one actually accepted your vastly unfounded claim about Tester and Rehberg worshiping the same Mammon, or your somehow ridiculous claim about Rehberg, you may have a point.

      Kindly explain, if you can, what is "real threat" to public land and public water.

      Rehberg is not "unaccomplished". He has done exactly what he was tasked to do; he has supported the right wing extractive, corporate monarchist agenda to the letter. The fact that he has done nothing of his own accord is a separate issue altogether. He has helped accomplish much, most of it very very bad.

      And before you next throw out the sentimentalist pap of "cherished public values", you might want to take notice of two things: what state you live in and how people express their values through voting.

  • Tester is not "unaccomplished". He has done exactly what he was tasked to do; he has supported the right wing extractive, corporate monarchist agenda to the letter. The fact that he has done nothing of his own accord is a separate issue altogether. He has helped accomplish much, most of it very very bad.

              • Are you daft? Don't answer. It's money, you sorry fool. It is important for the sake of domestic tranquility to have elections, and at the same time important for stability that elections not matter. I've explained it a thousands times. You're either stupid or blind.

                • Specifics please. Why would Goldman Sachs invest in a man who works against their interest? Why would any savvy business person invest and not expect a return? You argue against nature, and for a fairy land.

                • Why are the interests of Goldman Sachs necessarily in opposition to the interests of the country? And you have to understand that it's more than an investment in who you want to win. If that were the case, they would only give to one party. They have to give to both to keep access to both. Money can try to push a candidate into office, or it can work to moderate a candidate who may otherwise be hostile. That doesn't mean the two candidates are the same, merely that giving money to both sides hedges bets.

                • Now you're capitulating to Wall Street rule of Washington? You are a piece of work!

                  They are not making bets. They are investing. There was a huge influx of Wall Street money into the Obama campaign, and if the Investment Theory of Politics is correct, then that influx meant that Wall Street (a collective noun, and not a person) decided that Obama was a better investment than McCain.

                  And what happened? Obama won, and immediately brought in the people who had caused the meltdown to fix the meltdown. As one wag put it, the people he brought in should not have been given appointments, but rather subpoenas.

  • I am working on my stepping, but progress is slow.

    Bulldozers are a real threat to public forests. Stumps are not trees. Forests conserve cold, clean water. Forests release water slowly for late-season uses, which also ensures survival of native fisheries. Forests push evaporated water into the atmosphere so it will fall as rain or snow downwind. Forests provide security cover from predators, and stabilize soils from erosion and mass failure. Roaded forests with stumps do not function well at all. Neoliberal "growth" principles threaten all these life-giving functions by valuing them at (0) zero dollars. The cost of forest development is ALWAYS underestimated to hoodwink taxpayers, create government-dependent job and buy votes. Public forests are so much more than that. And I am talking about federal public lands that belong to all Americans. I am well aware of what this state cherishes. Thank you for reminding us all how very far we need to travel before it's too late.

  • Politely? I think you need to work on that. I support everybody's right to vote, while trying to change the politics. I have accused no person of anything, but willingly challenge the systemic rot that affects us all. Worry not about what I think or do, I am but one small voice with little money and no clout with either Party.

    • Politely? You banty the word and yet you don't seem to know what it means. If you think it means pleasing and agreeable to you, then, no. That isn't what it means.

      You accuse many people of many things, despite your "polite" claim to the contrary. You consistently denigrate anyone who you claim supports 'party politics'. Is it truly necessary that I provide the obvious examples? I don't think so.

      I am right to 'worry' about your "voice", small as it might be. You support a great deal of clout with the opposition of what you claim to want. "Party is bad, so don't vote". That assists one side only, the right wing. Congratulations on your victory in 2010. How did that work out for your desires? Just curious …

      • Too funny! If your "left wing" (is that what you call it, really?) had amounted to squat when given a chance, then people would have supported you in 2010. It's not that they didn't show up. Democrats forgot to show up, 2008-2010.

        • Lying based on assumptions of what others think, feel and believe is not actually polite. It may well be that those lies are well and gently spoken. That makes makes them genteel, but no more 'polite' than I've questioned.

  • Thanks for the interest in the ad, and in MWF. I would point out that the Montana Wildlife Federation is a 501(C)3 organization however. We raised the funds for this ad through a variety of means, so not sure what Koehler is talking about, as he's clearly got us confused with a PAC that we have no collaboration with.

    MWF has been an advocate for Roadless Areas and the Roadless Area Conservation Rule since we first had a resolution on our books dating back to 2000. Unfortunately, the attacks from Congress through HR 1581 would eliminate some of the best elk hunting in the state. We also strongly believe that any landscape level bill needs to have come from the landscapes in which people have been able to forge a compromise.

    This ad campaign, and our ensuing advocacy for wild country has nothing to do with the current race. It has to do with a 76 year legacy of hunters and anglers standing up and not only supporting good legislation and bad legislation, but putting our money where our mouth is. Hunters and Anglers provide over 80% of the funding for fish and wildlife conservation in America. We've also been at the heart of the repopulation of wildlife through sensible management of lands and critters.

    You can find out more about the Montana Wildlife Federation at and more about our position on HR 1581 at

  • Thanks for your comment Ben. Just for the record, this post by "M. Storin" was updated after I had already posted my comment.

    As you can see, the original post from M.Storin didn't include a link to your ad and didn't include the info that it was paid for by MWF. M. Storin added that information after the post was already up, and after some of us had already commented.

    In fact, as you can also clearly see, M. Storin's original post very much made it seem as if the Oscars ad was produced by Montana Hunters and Anglers, which is, in fact, a 501c4 organization that isn't required to reveal their donors and, to my knowledge, hasn't done so. If M. Storin' wouldn't have incorrectly implied that it was a Montana Hunters and Anglers ad I would have never made that comment. Thanks.

    Ben, while I have your attention, you mention that you that MWF has been an advocate for Roadless Areas. That's great, as lots of us love roadless areas too. However, I also notice that MWF has been a big supporter of Senator Tester's mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. A bill that would:

    • Classify about 1 million acres of inventoried roadless lands on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest as "Timber Suitable or Open to Harvest" (Source:

    • "Undesignate” Roadless Areas within the Axolotl Lakes Wilderness Study Area, Bell/Limekiln Canyons Wilderness Study Area, East Fork Blacktail Wilderness Study Area, Henneberry Ridge Wilderness Study Area, and Hidden Pasture Wilderness Study Area.

    Below is the exact language from Senator Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act regarding the release of Wilderness Study Areas in Montana.


    (a) FINDING.—Congress finds that, for purposes of section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782), any portion of a wilderness study area described in subsection (b) that is not designated as a wilderness area by section 203 or any other Act enacted before the date of enactment of this Act has been adequately studied for wilderness.

    (b) DESCRIPTION OF STUDY AREAS.—The study areas referred to in subsection (a) are—

    (1) the Axolotl Lakes Wilderness Study Area;
    (2) the Bell and Limekiln Canyons Wilderness Study Area;
    (3) the Blacktail Mountains Wilderness Study Area;
    (4) the Centennial Mountains Wilderness Study Area;
    (5) the Farlin Creek Wilderness Study Area;
    (6) the Henneberry Ridge Wilderness Study Area;
    (7) the Hidden Pasture Wilderness Study Area;
    (8) the Humbug Spires Wilderness Study Area;
    (9) the Ruby Mountains Wilderness Study Area.

    (c) RELEASE.—Any study area described in subsection (b) that is not designated as a wilderness area by
    section 203—

    (1) is no longer subject to section 603(c) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782(c)); and
    (2) shall be managed in accordance with the applicable land management plans adopted under section 202 of that Act (43 U.S.C. 1712).


    (a) FINDINGS.—Congress finds that—

    (1) the studies conducted under section 2 of the Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977 (Public Law 95–150; 91 Stat. 1243) regarding each study area described in subsection (b) are adequate for the consideration of the suitability of each study area for inclusion as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System; and (2) the Secretary of Agriculture is not required—

    (A) to review the wilderness option for each study area described in subsection (b) prior to the revision of the forest plan required for each land that comprises each study area in accordance with the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.); and

    (B) to manage the portion of each study area described in subsection (b) that is not designated as wilderness by section 203 to ensure the suitability of the area for designation as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System pending revision of the applicable forest plan.

    Finally, Ben, you likely are aware that I've attempted to post (about a half dozen times over the past month) substantive comments regarding the FJRA to an article you wrote for the Hellgate Hunters and Angles blog (

    In fact, I've attempted to post portions of the exact language of the bill at the HHA blog, as well as the official testimony regarding FJRA of the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, the very person who manages the entire National Forest system. Unfortunately, every single time the manager of the HHA blog has chosen to censor and remove my substantive comments, including censoring the posting of FJRA bill language and the official testimony of the Forest Service head. What's up with that?

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