Education Montana Politics

Quick Takes: Missoulian on Bullock, Daines on Environment, War on Property Rights, and More

In light of an ill-considered and largely intemperate editorial that has Montana Republicans terribly excited, I was reminded of another Missoulian editorial about Steve Bullock and John Walsh, from October 2012:

Bullock’s running mate, recently retired Adjutant General for Montana John Walsh, is a well-known and well-respected name throughout Montana. He served in the Montana National Guard for more than 30 years, and led the state unit into Iraq in 2004.

Both men know a thing or two about what it takes to lead large, complex organizations. And they have offered a cohesive, coherent plan for Montana’s economic future.

That sounds like both a ringing endorsement of Governor Bullock’s judgment and Senator Walsh’s qualifications to me.

Walsh will all but certainly face Representative Steve Daines in the November 2014 election, and the media would do well to report that Daines is no friend of Montana’s environment, having achieved a worse environmental record than Dennis Rehberg did. According to the Montana Conservation Voters:

Executive Director Theresa Keaveny says congressman Daines scored less than congressman Rehberg did when Rehberg made the dirty dozen list in 2012.

The 2013 environmental scorecard ranks Senator Baucus at 85%, Senator Tester at 92%, and congressman Daines at 4%.

Want to understand a practical implication of the abuse of eminent domain? Look no further than Alexis Bonogofsky’s report about the proposed Tongue River Railroad route:

Regardless of your political affiliation or your views on coal you have to ask yourself if seizing people’s property against their will so a corporation can make massive profits is right?

There’s more excellent news out today about Montana’s schools. On the heels of reports about increased graduation rates across the state, the College Board is touting the achievement of Montana students on Advanced Placement exams, which offer the promise of college credit and advanced coursework. In the last decade, Montana schools have seen a 38% increase in the number of students taking the exams—while results continue to be excellent. While local districts are certainly making strides, it’s hard to ignore the sustained leadership from Denise Juneau and the Office of Public Instruction that has driven both improved scores and graduation rates.

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, perhaps the press has reported the facts about Daines and the environment.

    Daines, a Bozeman businessman elected in November, held the conference to announce his support for the North Fork Watershed Protection Act. The act would prevent hardrock mining, energy development and coal mining in 400,000 acres of the North Fork of the Flathead Valley, immediately adjacent to Glacier National Park. The bill is supported by Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester–both Democrats.

    Here’s what I found remarkable: It was the first time Montana’s entire congressional delegation — of both parties and both houses — agreed on a piece of public lands legislation in at least 25 years.

    “It’s time to put aside the fact we have a D next to our name or an R next to our name and remember we have MT next our name,” Daines said. “Washington could learn a lot about how we do things in Montana.”

    Just three months into office, Daines was clearly trying to step from the shadow of his predecessors who made a tradition of green-baiting and driving partisan wedges.

  • Some folks are born, made to wave the flag. OOh that red white and blue! Hail to the Senator General Walsh! Lets drone us some Iranians.

  • LCV works hard to avoid those nasty neoliberal riders that creep into “comprehensive” ligislation like the “Farm Bill.” LCV also funds campaigns. green

  • Looks like Daines has invited Walsh to coffee.

    Dear Senator John Walsh,

    Congratulations on your recent appointment to the United States Senate. I look forward to working with you in your new role.

    I also want to take the opportunity to extend an invitation for you to join Senator Jon Tester and myself at our weekly “Montana Coffee” gatherings, held every Wednesday morning while the Senate is in session.

    Last year, I reached out to Max and Jon and began the tradition of bipartisan Montana Coffees, attended by the entire delegation. Since then, Montanans have enjoyed the opportunity to meet all members of Montana’s Congressional delegation in a casual, politics-free setting. We intend to carry on this bipartisan tradition, and welcome you to join.

    Our next Montana Coffee is schedule for Wednesday, February 12 at 8:15AM EST in Room 512 of the Hart Senate Office Building. We hope to see you there.



  • This is for Don!
    “In yet another instance of science belatedly confirming what common sense has already told us, a new paper from researchers at three Canadian universities concludes that Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.”

    Like we didn’t already read that in the comment section here from Montana Conservatives and Coloradans who pretend to be Democrats LOL !

    • As long as George is pointing out the obvious, he’s fine. But when he heads into bizarro world, he loses it! Pat Williams is done. Ya can’t go home again, es PECIALLY to D.C. He left the ring once already, threw up his hands threw in the towel, tapped out, and like ol’ manos de piedra himself, cried in a loud voice, NO MAS! NO MAS! He wanted to spend “more time in Montana”. Well, LET him! The ONLY thing I have to say to Paddyphiles is NO MAS! NO MAS! Ya see, there’s no do overs in Montana. You quit, well, you made your decision. Now LIVE with it! We don’t cotton to quitters here in Montana! If ya die in office, that’s acceptable. But if you wimp out, limp out, gimp out, or pimp out, you’re done! We’re through with ya! Ya only get one shot in life. Go for the gusto or go home! Guess we know which one pat picked! HOME!

      • Larry, when it comes to Walsh perhaps you and Ochenski have more in common than differences. Remember last fall when you wrote these words as to why Walsh was an underwhelming pick:

        Simple. We can do better than a military retread. Look, the dude hasn’t had to worry about missing in a meal in the last thirty years! No health care! Nor a job! He has NOTHING in common with your average Montanan. We can do better. The military is NOT reality, especially here in Montana. Gubmint tit all the way. If you don’t get so fat that they kick you out, you’ve got it made in the shade! I simply do not believe that the military prepares one for anything but being in the military. That’s it. I have the exact same beef with Corky Stumblebum. Look, I known many lifers and consider them close friends. There great guys and fun to go drinkin’ with and run the whores. But they are not senatorial material. Give me the gentlemen farmers, or maybe an intellectual. Name me a few military lifers in the senate. I can think of none off hand.

        • Still holds true, craig. I stand by those words. But at the same time, I actually met an old timer today who spent thirty years in the Guard as a senior enlisted man. He was NOT overly impressed with Walsh. Told a story about how a bunch of troops were taking a break down in Galen I believe it was when there was a strike on a while back. The Guard was called in to replace the strikers. These guys were workin’ their asses off making things work during the strike, but all the senior NCOs happened to be sitting in a room taking a much deserved break and talking things over. Well sir, in walks an adjutant general along with Walsh. Walsh mouths off sumthin’ about how it was amazing that anything got down with all these senior staff sitting on their butts. This guy, without missing a beat replies that it was amazing that ANYTHING got done with command staff like you who comes waltzin’ in making dumb comments!

          Well sir, I guess that the general felt that comment was funny as hell and laughed his ass off at Walsh’s expense, and Walsh was more than a leetle embarrassed at that fact. True story. Ask Walsh some time.

          But anyway, although this guy thought Walsh was no great shakes, he said he’d be a WHOLE lot better than Daines! And that’s where we’re at, ABD, Anybody but Daines!

          Walsh is simply an opportunist. He’s been in the right place at the right time. Will he rise to the challenge? I’m willing to give him a chance, for I too believe in ABD!

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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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