We all have those friends who make commitments, have you build your plans around them, and then flake out at the last minute. They are hard to deal with, especially when they don’t understand how inconsiderate they are being. Jon Tester and the Montana Broadcasters Association have one of those friends in Denny Rehberg. The best solution for dealing with a flaky friend? Stop inviting them, and have your party without planning on their showing up.
I was excited to see Jon Tester debate Dan Cox, and I think he should extend an invitation to make it happen anyway. It’s obviously unlikely, but as I see it there would be three main benefits to Montana:
1. It would be a better debate. Rehberg is almost as good at weaseling his way out of taking positions as he is at weaseling his way out of scheduled debates. A debate between two candidates who have a clear ideological difference of opinion and could both stand their ground would be of much higher quality than a three way debate that included Rehberg.
2. It would increase exposure of a 3rd party. Any time we get a chance to hear a voice not supporting one of the two major parties, we see a much wider political spectrum than in a two way debate. It increases our societal discourse about issues and makes us all better educated.
3. It would provide actual consequences for failing to debate, and it would help Jon Tester. Honestly, Jon is in no position to pick up any libertarian votes, having voted for the ACA and the first stimulus plan. He’s not going to lose his voting base to Cox. Rehberg, on the other hand, is building his campaign about supposedly being an independent voice for Montana, yet his votes have been deeply unappealing to many people with libertarian beliefs who may not know anything about Dan Cox. My personal opinions on libertarianism aside, I believe it is fundamentally better that they get a chance to be educated about a candidate who might agree with their beliefs. And Tester will ultimately benefit if Libertarians look closely at Denny’s record and realize he’s really not one of them.