Montana Politics Steve Daines The Media

Daines Extremism Risks Montana, U.S., and Global Economies

When newspapers across the state endorsed Steve Daines back in 2012, they all focused on his reputation as a “responsible businessman,” ignoring, I think his dangerous fixation on TEA Party policies that are neither rooted in sensible business policy nor in what’s best for the United States. He’s repeatedly voted for a set of TEA Party priorities that endanger the people of Montana and threaten global recession, if not worse.

The Billings Gazette, today, on the latest Daines vote to shut down the government, shows just how dangerous that ideology is:

What would happen if Daines and the Tea Party had dragged out debate and the U.S. defaulted?The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, whose bipartisan leadership includes Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, has this to say: Global financial markets would be thrown into chaos, interest rates would rise on U.S. debt, causing interest rates to go up for car loans, home mortgages, credit cards and business investments. Availability of credit would tighten.

In January, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle called out Daines for joining the “most extreme members of Congress” to vote against the Murray-Ryan budget compromise:

Any reasonable person can only conclude that the reason Washington is dysfunctional is because of an unwillingness to search for common ground. Ideological zealotry on both sides of the aisle has deadlocked Congress into inaction for far too long.Daines needs to realize that and distance himself from GOP extremists. If he chooses otherwise, he risks rendering himself an ineffective representative for the people of Montana in either chamber of Congress.

Back in October, the Missoulian called on Daines to stop holding the nation hostage over Obamacare implementation:

And Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., could concede that, while he opposes Obamacare vehemently and will not give up his opposition, he will not hold the nation hostage to its repeal.Too far-fetched, perhaps. These days, many reasonable solutions are considered unrealistic thanks to the political decay eating away at the foundations of our government.

That same month, the Chronicle called what Daines was doing “an abuse of office.” They wrote:

Rep. Steve Daines voted for the measure essential to funding the federal government. But the bill is conditioned on the defunding of the Affordable Care Act, a condition that will be rejected by the Senate and President Obama.Daines is strongly urged to vote for the bill again when the Senate returns it to the House – with Obamacare funding reinstated.The tea partiers certainly have their right to differ with Democrats over health care reform. But using procedural shenanigans to scuttle a law that was legitimately passed by Congress and signed into law is an abuse of office.

I include all of these editorials to make a point: just because Steve Daines will spend the 2014 election the same way he did in 2012, refusing to publicly endorse TEA Party principles when he talks to the press, his voting record makes his priorities clear. He’s not a conservative, “Main Street” Republican, but one who is a committed ideologue and because he’s unwilling or unable to forge consensus, he relies on extremist tactics that threaten the economies of Montana, the U.S., and the globe as a whole.

In the next 10 months, we’re going to be inundated with milquetoast ads about how Steve Daines loves veterans (despite repeatedly voting against them) and Montana (despite not protecting its citizens). When pressed in debates and editorial meetings he will talk a lot about “common sense” solutions, but none of that persona is real. There’s no part of the Daines voting record that demonstrates common sense.

We’re a long way from editorial endorsements in the 2014 Senate election, but editors would do well to remember what they’ve written about Mr. Daines rather than what those nice ads tell them to think.

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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