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If Senator Daines Is Too Craven to Face the People of Bozeman, He’ll Never Find the Courage to Represent Us

File Photo of Senator Daines by Erin Erickson. Used with Permission

Over the past few weeks, I have excoriated Senator Steve Daines–on Twitter, on Facebook, and on this blog–for his cowardice. After a long period of reflection this evening, I realized that perhaps I’ve been unfair and that I might even owe an apology.

To cowards.

Because, as Kenny Rogers once sagely observed, even the coward of the county reaches a moment where he must find his courage, an event that seems increasingly unlikely for Senator Daines, who has followed to years of slavish devotion to the President with silence and stonewalling now that his Dear Leader’s unfitness for office has become obvious to everyone other than those who believe Brian Kilmeade from Fox and Friends should be dictating American foreign policy.

Daines’s cowardice was perhaps most acutely on display over the weekend, when he hid from the people of his hometown during MSU’s homecoming parade. It’s a longstanding tradition for Montana politicians to meet with people, walk the streets, and shake some hands, but Senator Daines spent the weekend in hiding, hoping some empty words on Twitter would suffice while his tiny band of volunteers braved the imaginary threat of the genial Bozeman crowd.

One of the best responses was a Daines-modified version of the MSU fight song:

Stand up and cheer,
I won’t be here For dear Montana State
For today we dodged The blue and gold to hide
From rather then answer to
Those who strive for truth
We’ve got the vim,
We’re here to win
But not for dear Montana State!

And now is not the time for cowards who lack the courage to walk a parade route.

While Daines hides from his responsibilities, President Trump is destroying American credibility in the Middle East, empowering our rivals, allowing ISIS terrorists to run free, and ignoring the deaths of our Kurdish allies.

While Daines hides from his constituents, Turkish-backed forces are murdering civilians and targeting American military sites with artillery.

While Daines retreats from the press, President Trump’s backers at a high-end campaign event at one of his resorts were enjoying a horrific video showing the President attacking the media, President Obama, and others. No calls for civility after that from Senator Daines.

While Daines cowers away from Montana farmers, the President’s destructive trade war with China threatens more family farms on the brink of collapse. Meanwhile, Daines posts on Facebook about the National Day of the Farmer.

And while all of these are happening, Senator Daines, who has been on a recess from the Senate to work with and meet with his constituents, has been running, dodging the light of accountability. While I’m sure the proprietors of cafes in Montana towns with fewer than 400 residents appreciate his frequent visits, don’t the people of Great Falls and Missoula deserve some face time with their Senator? Don’t the people of Bozeman deserve more than seeing him scurry through the airport?

As the shoddily-constructed edifice of Trumpism begins its final collapse, Daines is like a rodent caught in the lights: too terrified to make a sound, he’s hoping his paralysis will keep anyone from noticing that he’s quivering in fear: fear of his constituents, fear of the press, fear of being held accountable for his shameful role helping enable a President who has neither the intellect nor moral wisdom to lead our country in complex times.

In Montana, we have strong opinions about our politics, and if Senator Daines ever found the courage to burrow out of the hole he hides in when he visits Montana, he’d certainly face tough questions, just like Jon Tester does when he holds town halls.

What Daines seems not to know about us, though, is that we can abide–even respect–political differences in our state, but what Montanans can’t respect is a politician who is so afraid of his record that he’d rather scurry under a rock than take a few tough questions.

For now, Senator Daines works for us, not President Trump. He owes it to his employers to answer our questions. Does he support the abandonment of our allies that has been condemned by nearly every foreign policy and military expert in the country? Does he support the President’s reckless trade policies? His authoritarian attacks on the press?

Courage, Aristotle taught, was like any virtue: a person can only acquire it by practicing it. If Senator Daines can’t find the fortitude to face the friendly folks of his hometown, how can we ever believe he’ll find the courage to check this President when his behavior gets even more erratic and dangerous?

It’s hard to believe he ever will, and that’s precisely why we need to vote Senator Daines out of office so he can hide in peace while others lead.

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.

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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  • Steve Daines will remain the Virtual Senator and equally sadly the Teflon Senator as long as he can continue to fund his campaigns in a similar manner to the past.

    Total Funds Raised Career $13.5 million Source

    Top 5 Contributors Total Individuals PACs
    Elliott Management $149,100 $149,100 $0
    Yellowstone Bank $79,800 $79,800 $0
    Procter & Gamble $73,450 $49,450 $24,000
    Koch Industries $61,200 $31,200 $30,000
    Langlas & Assoc $58,300 $58,300 $0

    Top 5 Industries Total Individuals PACs
    Retired $976,820 $976,820
    Securities & Investment $835,332 $743,832 $91,500
    Oil & Gas $753,646 $443,146 $310,500
    Leadership PACs $748,614 $567 $748,047
    Real Estate $438,277 $379,777 $58,500

  • I suppose it’s appropriate to compare Daines’ behavior to that of a rodent, but I’ve always leaned more toward the cockroach. Walk into a dark room, turn on the light, and all you see is their rears as they scurry for the shadows.

    • Always appreciate the Fox News links, Mark, especially when they focus on important decision makers like Barbara Streisand.

      • Pete and Don, perhaps you should keep an open mine and see both sides. Are the Streisand/Hollywood, academia, media, and career politician Dem elites any different now days? Have you seen any Democratic town halls being crashed by crazy ass Republican or riots, fires / protest outside campaign rallys? I have. Does this remind you of the Brown Shirts? Do your party leaders care about you or power and paying their property tax? Free everything, why don’t the just give me $5000 to vote for them and then jack the hell out of my taxes.

        You should try Fox, Judge Jeanne on Saturday night or Sean Hannity on week day nights or Steve Hilton and Mark Levine on Sunday nights. You know what that say to keep your friends close and your enemy closer. I watch both CNN and Fox. You should do the same and tell me who does the more fact based reporting. Tell me who uses inductive or deducting reasoning to report the news or to fit their political bias. This is now the 4th impeachment as the other 3 got never came to fruition.

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