In the past, we’ve looked at former Republican John Bohlinger’s troubling record on reproductive rights (lifetime 17% rating from pro-choice organizations), organized labor, and his commitment to the Republican Party, including candidates like John McCain. Although his campaign staff keeps suggesting that the Bohlinger campaign will be issue-based, other than a few state issues, it has almost entirely been about attacking the record of the John Walsh, the Democrat in the race.
Despite Bohlinger’s effort to position himself as the progressive in the Senate race, his campaign web site has listed “the issues” as “coming soon” since the opening of his campaign—and his previous record as a Legislator suggests that he was anything but a progressive.
After the 1998 session in the Montana Legislature, Bohlinger stopped answering questions for Project Vote Smart’s Political Courage Test, but his answers then are illuminating and suggest a candidate who held some troubling views. To be sure, Bohlinger was no reactionary member of the TEA Party, but he certainly wasn’t a progressive. I’d say it’s time for a candidate who wants to be issue-based to explain if his views on these policies has changed, and when, and why.
On taxation, does John Bohlinger still support the imposition of a regressive sales tax roundly and repeatedly opposed by Montana voters? Back then, he wrote:
When elected to the State Senate, I will introduce legislation that will constitutionally eliminate taxes on ones dwelling place, not commercial properties. I will eliminate taxes on business equipment, in another bill and replace the lost revenue to State Government with a 4% retail sales tax–the sales tax bill will omit from taxation food items purchased in grocery stores and drugs.
On abortion rights, does John Bohlinger still believe that:
- abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
- the government should prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as “partial-birth” abortion?
- Montana government funding should not be provided to clinics and medical facilities that provides abortion services?
On crime, does John Bohlinger still believe the government should:
- expand the use of the death penalty for additional circumstances relating to murder?
- impose the death penalty?
- strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes?
On education, does John Bohlinger still endorse teacher-led voluntary prayer in public schools?
On budget matters, does John Bohlinger still plan to support:
- an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget? (Progressives generally believe this would be disastrous for the safety net and Social Security)
- “greatly decreasing” the capital gains tax rate?
On human rights, does John Bohlinger still oppose same-sex marriages?