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Montana Politics Steve Daines US Politics

Profiles in Cowardice: Steve Daines Tries to Retcon His Support for Roy Moore

In a night filled with almost unimaginable levels of schadenfreude, perhaps the best moment other than Roy Moore refusing to admit defeat was the spectacle of Montana’s future single-term Senator Steve Daines trying to retcon his previous support for the most famous sex offender in Alabama.

Shortly after the networks called the Alabama race for Doug Jones, Senator Daines took to his phone to peevishly tweet his disappointment that Luther Strange was not the Republican nominee:

That’s a fascinating tweet on many levels. I can’t find any record that Daines endorsed Strange before the primary he lost to Judge Moore, even as other Senators lined up to try to block Moore from being the Republican nominee. Perhaps, like President Trump, Daines deleted all record of his previous support for Strange, but the more likely answer is that Daines lacked the courage to make an endorsement in the race.

As pathetic as an endorsement for a candidate two elections late was, it hardly captures just how cowardly the tweet Daines sent out last night was. What he’s hoping Montanans will forget is that he enthusiastically endorsed Moore just over a month ago, ignoring that Moore had twice been removed for judicial misconduct and had been recorded making overtly racist and xenophobic remarks. Three days later, after almost every mainstream Republican in Washington had pulled his/her endorsement, Daines pulled his overt endorsement and replaced it with a tepid statement suggesting that the women accusing Moore of sexual assault could well be lying.

Perhaps Daines was feeling sensitive this evening because his former boss, Representative Greg Gianforte, spent most of his telephone faux townhall blaming Daines and the Senate for failing to make America great again. Perhaps, weak as his political game is, Daines realized that he needed to distance himself a bit further from the Alabama sex offender after he lost his race. Or perhaps Steve Daines thinks so little of Montana voters and the press here that he assumed he could simply rewrite his failure to condemn the hateful, bigoted dangerous worldview represented by a candidate like Roy Moore.

Let’s not let him forget.

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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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