Jon Tester Montana Politics

Quick Hits: Tester and Daines on NSA, The Threat of Kansas, Craft Beer, and Football

I love a lot of the political reporting coming from the Rolling Stone and this piece by Mark Binnelli about the far right hijacking the political system in Kansas is no exception. The story of a state known for producing pragmatic Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower transforming into a ground for a Koch-inspired “ultraconservative utopia” is one for Montanans to give their attention. Some of the most extreme examples from the Legislature–slashing education funding, allowing guns in every public space, and legislating warnings about the dangers of fluoride are straight from the Republican guidebook here in Montana. Every day, I’m more thankful for Steve Bullock and Brian Schweitzer,as well as reminded about the need to get more progressives (hell, moderates) in the Montana Legislature.

As I have mentioned a few times, Senator Tester has come out swinging against NSA spying–demanding that the government declassify documents so that the American people can decide the scope of the program. On the other hand, Representative Daines has been incredibly quiet on the issue, other than issuing politicized and generic “concerns.” The would-be Senator has had plenty of time to poll test a message. Shouldn’t he tell Montanans what he believes?

While the Montana Tavern Association and its allies tried to slow the craft beer movement in Montana, the movement is growing across the country. The New Yorker notes that only two states saw a reduction in craft beer production, Vermont and North Dakota. Why did our neighbors see a decline, despite the oil boom? The culprits were “onerous licensing and distribution policies, as well as production maximums, have historically made the state what one beer entrepreneur, in a 2010 article in the Bismarck Tribune, called “a dead zone for craft brewing.” Sounds like a message for the Montana Legislature to pay attention to.

While I think my former student Bob Funk is one heck of a guy, I can’t abide his support for that football team in Washington. You know it’s bad when the team has hired conservative spinmeister Frank Luntz to “sell people” on its racist and offensive name. Come on, Washington–it’s time to enter the 21st century and rename your team.

They’ll pry my 406 area code from my dead, dialing digits.

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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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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