Montana Politics

Quick Hits: Rehberg, Skees, Jesus, Socialism and More

When I think about the critical issues facing Montana in the 2012 Senate election, I, like most voters, probably think issues like health care, unemployment, education, and massive transfers of land to the operational control of the Federal government are the most pressing concerns. Not Denny Rehberg, though. He’s choosing to spend his time at a “listening session” pursuing the most critical issue of all: a kitschy statue of Jesus that provides an excellent opportunity for photo ops for skiers and politicians of all ability levels.

Maybe someone should ask him if his HR 1505 would give federal border agents the ability to remove the statue since Rehberg never managed to have any listening sessions about that. Please, dear media, don’t be led around by this circus sideshow. Give this “listening session” all the attention it deserves: absolutely none.

I absolutely loved the editorial by director Milos Forman today in the New York Times, which dismantles the common Republican argument that President Obama is some kind of socialist. The whole piece is certainly worth reading, but this was a standout line:

The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.

Derek Skees understands the Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act about as well as he understands which side was in the right during the Civil War. It’s a small request, but could someone please explain to Mr. Skees what the State Auditor actually does? I think he believes he would, if miraculously elected, have the unilateral ability to strike down Obamacare, but that’s actually not in the Auditor’s purview. Just sayin’.

Speaking of socialism, The Atlantic Monthly uses the oft-maligned facts and statistics to demolish the idea that social welfare spending is responsible for sluggish economic growth. I know some people hate when evidence contradicts ideology, so they may just want to ignore this one.

You know how the GOP/Rehberg front group Americans for Prosperity keeps claiming that Jon Tester has received more lobbyist money than any member of Congress? Well, hold on to your hat, but it turns out that they aren’t telling the truth, as Politifact notes. The choice in the Senate race is pretty clear when it comes to campaign finance: while both candidates are certainly taking a lot of money from all over the country, Senator Tester believes in full disclosure of those funds and is working to mandate it, while Representative Rehberg is opposed to disclosure, opposed to Montana law, and opposed to telling the truth.

Great news for Democrats as Franke Wilmer announced yesterday that she’s going to run against Bozeman’s very own proponent of child hunger, Tom Burnett. There were certainly a number of unhinged members of the Republican caucus in 2011, but one devoted to working against nutritional assistance for children and those in poverty is an especially odious member of the group. Best of luck to Ms. Wilmer, who has both the brains and heart that Mr. Burnett so clearly lacks.

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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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