Steve Daines Reaches a New Craven Low with Today’s Telephone Town Hall

I know that writing about Steve Daines’s cowardice when it comes to facing Montana voters is a bit like writing about the sun rising in the East, but his shameful effort to pretend today that he cares about our opinions reached a new low today. While the Daines town halls are typically orchestrated shams ensuring that the Senator never faces a challenging question from a concerned constituent without the ability to screen calls or be fed a talking point by a staffer, today’s effort was especially craven.

Daines called Montanans on his phone list at 4:06 p.m. On a workday. While that may have been an ideal time for people who eat supper at five and go to sleep after Jeopardy!, it’s hardly an ideal time for Daines to face questions from working Montanans who are paying more taxes so he and corporations could pay less, from Montana teachers who want to question his support for Trump’s disastrous Education Secretary, or even from people who support him.

4:06 on a workday is the time someone who doesn’t want you to answer calls, a time when even telemarketers realize no one will take the call. It’s the time when someone who has such contempt for his constituents that he doesn’t even bother to hide it anymore calls to pretend that he’s listening to their views.

And Daines has a lot to answer for this week. Given new revelations about how the FBI and Senate ignored credible reports of more incidents of sexual harassment and assault by Brett Kavanaugh, Daines owes it to us to explain not only why he voted for Kavanaugh, but why he and his staff were so willing to smear a survivor coming forward with her story. Given his sickly deference to President Trump on matters large and small, he owes us an answer about whether he supports Trump’s promise that we would start a war in the Middle East at the direction of the Saudi regime that is committing genocide in Yemen and murdering journalists.

Instead, Daines called us while we worked, something he and the Republican-controlled Senate so rarely manage to do.

Senator Daines has never cared what we think. From the outset, he’s seen his work in Washington as just one thing: finding more ways to enrich himself at our expense. Is it too much to ask that he stop insulting our intelligence and stop pretending like anything we say will change that?

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 got Daines’ call today a little after 4 while driving home. I couldn’t pick up, of course. Thought about calling in when I got back to the house, using my wife’s phone, a different name and saying I’m from Lolo (I’m sure my real name, phone # and that I live in Missoula would have never made it by the data base for a chance to talk). But it’s a total sham, and a waste of time, as we all know.

  • Daines, or rather his staff, responded to my letter to him on Aug 8 to urge consideration of gun control legislation in response to the El Paso and Dayton mass killings. My response came the day after I sent my message, that is on Aug 9, telling me: ” I will not, however, support controversial firearm restriction proposals that would undermine our Second Amendment rights”. He thinks that legislation to address the explosion in this country of mass hate killings is too controversial to support. Since our current Senate is split on all legislation, Daines is unable to support any legislation unless it is put forward by Evangelical Christian gun rights zealots uninterested in the most important principle of this country: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For Daines, happiness and the right to a life are reserved for his Evangelical Christian millionaire friends. That’s a small group. The rest of us be damned to an afterlife they alone believe in: (out of their ignorant acceptance as divine truth, the so called Holy Bible), that is, the dark fairy tale of Christian scripture, hell. It’s a spiteful religion that rules it’s uninformed flock with the threat of it’s mythical devil. The flock is learning to read though and beginning to know that the devil is among us all right, target shooting his AR-15 at a local gun range or ranch pasture for the day of his spiteful reckoning against any random gathering of his choice. We all know that these weapons must be banned and we all know that Daines and his ilk will always oppose common sense. The fastest growing religious group in the US is the combined group, agnostics and atheists. The agnostics and atheists aren’t the ones buying AR-15’s though. That group of individuals is disproportionately composed of white supremacists who never seem to fail to profess their Evangelical Christian beliefs in some manifesto or another.

  • I received a call at work from Daines who said he was calling to invite me to his telephone town hall. I figured I would listen and find out how to participate. He went through his spiel about “working for Montanans” and then the call just ended. It hung up without giving me a number or anything to call in. Did I expect better? Nah.

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