Elsie Arntzen’s “Unique” Perspective? Typical Republican Talking Points

I don’t really understand the news value of the puff piece candidate profiles about the US House candidates appearing this week in the Lee Newspapers, but even a chance to offer unfiltered spin offers a window into the viewpoint of candidates. Today’s feature, about Republican Elsie Arntzen shows that she would hardly offer “a unique perspective on how to govern,” as she claims, but would embrace the reactionary wing of her party if elected to Washington.

Before falling back on the tired non-policy of selling insurance across state lines, Arntzen makes it clear that she doesn’t want kids to be able to remain on their parents’ policies until after college and that she believes people with pre-existing conditions should not have coverage:

Arntzen called for repealing the Affordable Care Act, saying it can’t be fixed.

“This has all been about insurance rather than making Montanans healthier,” she said. “We need to make Montanans and Americans be in charge of their own health, and have them make the choice, rather than the government.”

Arntzen also made it clear that she wants to cut college aid for middle and lower class families, turn Medicare into an unstable voucher program, raise taxes on working families, and slow the U.S. economic recovery: in other words, she supports the negligent and fiscally absurd Ryan budget.

As for the federal budget, Arntzen called U.S. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget “courageous” and supports turning some entitlement programs such as Medicaid back to the states. She endorsed his idea of balancing the budget within 10 years.

She’s also opposed to giving workers a fair wage for their efforts, not only opposing President Obama’s proposal, but suggesting an end to the federal minimum wage:

The decision should be left up to the states, she said, and the federal government should stay out of “the employers’ purview.”

Finally, throughout the piece, Arntzen tries to argue that her experience as a teacher makes her a candidate who will be committed to education. Her voting record makes it abundantly clear that’s not the case. During the 2013 session, she voted for public money for private schools, destabilizing the funding formula for Montana schools, against needed construction of schools, and against retirement benefits for educators.

Arntzen may believe that she has a unique perspective, but her positions on the issues are those of the mainstream of Montana’s Republican Party: out of touch with the interests of Montana’s workers, students, and retirees.

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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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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  • I guess the intention of the piece is to inform voters of the candidates, often using the candidate’s own thoughts. They’re doing so with all the candidates.

    What’s the problem, not fair and balanced enough for you?

    The disposable post of the day award goes to you, Don. I sure hope you put up something with value tonight.

  • Hypocrite SHE BE, she’s got generous health benefits from her
    teaching background (fought for by unions) AND serving as a legislator, so how can she be so unmoved, heartless about those
    without, thanks to HER participation in the LARGEST DEATH PANEL in the state, called the GOP LEGISLATURE who denied
    Medicaid expansion!!!

  • There were some real gems in today’s profile of Corey Stapleton. My favorite was his take on the Affordable Care Act. He says he’d repeal it and replace it with “basic provisions that most people can agree on” like “prohibit(ing) insurance companies from denying coverage to people based on their pre-existing health conditions.” So, he’s going to scrap “Obamacare” and replace it with the cornerstone policies of “Obamacare.” Brilliant.

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