The Unbearable Weakness of Senator Steve Daines

Even to the casual observer, it’s obvious that I spend energy every week monitoring and calling out Steve Daines on his Twitter account. We all need a hobby; and if mine is exposing the self-serving junior senator’s servility toward a corrupt administration to the cleansing light of sunshine, it’s a valuable expenditure of my time.

On March 10th, Steve Daines magically turned on a dime and realized there’s a deadly virus coursing through the world.

The next day the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. Pandemics don’t happen overnight. The Senate has been routinely briefed (in both 2019 and 2020), as has President Trump, on the severity of the novel virus as it has affected other countries. Steve Daines was not in the dark nor ignorant about Coronavirus/COVID-19 up until March 10th.

So what happened in March that all of a sudden brought Steve Daines around to reality? The minute the novel virus began to affect the stock market, Steve, and his wealthy friends — he swiftly changed his tune. On March 9th, the DOW had its largest drop in its history up to that point. And it suffered further in the following days.

On March 11th, the Trump administration moved to inject over a billion dollars into the market. And Steve Daines, always eager to cheer on the Trump administration (in defiance of reality or competence), was very supportive of propping up the financial industry and protecting his own pocketbook.

Steve Daines began listing off a stimulus package immediately on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, his ideas weren’t worker/people focused. I’m going to address the flawed ideas (not all of his ideas were trash and a few of them ended up becoming the seeds of a successful bill signed at the end of this past week; but his flawed ideas betray his values).

  • First, a payroll tax cut. It’s pretty difficult to utilize extra dollars provided by a payroll tax cut… when you aren’t bringing home a paycheck.
  • Secondly, suggesting that insurance companies categorize testing as a preventative only helps those Americans who are insured. What about the 44 million Americans who are uninsured, Steve?
  • Suspend tariffs. Is this Daines admitting that the tariffs are garbage policy that is hurting American farmers? Of course, that idea never went anywhere (we can’t speak out against Dear Leader’s flawed trade policy, can we?).

As the days ticked by, Governor Steve Bullock enacted strong measures to protect students, vulnerable populations, extending coverage for workers (regardless of “insured” status), streamlining the unemployment process to protect Montanan’s income as various industries shut down, and forming an aggressive task force that made factual information front and center. (A complete contrast to the federal administration’s waffling and misinformation that has and will result in the deaths of Americans.)

Daines calls for prayers on Twitter and in emails, but won’t call for federal stimulus that serves the workers; gotta protect those CEOs and golden parachutes. In every one of his stimulus ideas — the power is not placed in the hands of the most vulnerable and suffering Americans. Again and again, corporations are bailed out. Daines, like many of his GOP brethren, is still a purveyor of the magical thinking that corporations will somehow take care of employees, profits will trickle down to wages/benefits, and this money given to CEOs and boards will somehow end up in the pockets of the hard-working individuals at the end of the corporate food chain (the folks who are hardest hit by this downturn and crisis).

Governor Bullock has not had the opportunity to campaign yet — the crisis hit shortly after his announcement to run for the U.S. Senate. For what he lacks in traditional campaign time, he’s instead lead by example as Governor; showing Montanans what leadership during a crisis looks like. His actions as Governor have been duplicated by other states — he leads, and demands that others follow or exceed his example. Steve Daines talks a lot and praises Trump a whole bunch, but doesn’t accomplish much. Bullock’s worn cowboy boots hit the capitol hallways running; and with minimal fanfare, the work gets done and Montanans immediately see results. There’s no time for campaigning or trivial matters when Montanan’s lives are at stake.

Meanwhile, Daines has downplayed this crisis that’s been building since the end of 2019. In 3 months of official email newsletters, this last one was the FIRST TIME he mentioned Coronavirus/COVID-19 and what Montanans could do to help protect themselves. Don’t worry, Senator Jon Tester has been on the case since way before Daines got on board (only once the financial markets crashed — because Jon cares about Montanans, and Steve Daines cares about tax cuts and his financial portfolio).

I sure wish our junior Senator didn’t put profits and corporations above Montanans (he just can’t help leaning toward the insurance lobby!). I wish he cared more about the health of Montanan’s most vulnerable vs how this pandemic “looked” for the President and his administration. I wish he valued facts, scientific literacy, and publicly corrected the misinformation and lies that are being communicated by the Trump administration during their daily briefings. For a Pro-Life candidate, he sure seems to be lackadaisical about the 3-6% mortality rate of COVID-19.

Governor Steve Bullock isn’t playing around here; and Steve Daines needs to either be a leader, or eradicated from office come November. 

**

The Guardian published a pretty damning timeline of the Trump administration’s fumbling and flip flopping (racism and lies) regarding their response to Coronavirus/COVID-19. It’s worth your time, especially when witnessing Steve Daines’ subservience to this administration’s whims.

For Montana specific news, facts, and resources during this crisis, please visit the Governor’s COVID-19 task force.

This isn’t a drill. This isn’t a hoax. Wash your hands, practice social distancing, take care of those in your community, quit hoarding, shop local, listen to the authorities and track down facts, and don’t let the GOP’s failed financial policies destroy this economy. We deserve economic stimulus that honors our hard-earned tax dollars. Daines has not delivered — let’s replace him with someone who will.

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

Plains Feminist

Montana and national politics from a Southeastern Montana perspective, focusing on regional activism, womxn’s issues, LGBTQ equality, education, and growth of the Democratic Party. Plains Feminist tries (sometimes fruitfully, sometimes not so much) to connect with the hard-working folks who *eek* out a living on the “not mountains” side of the state. Plains Feminist enjoys intellectual banter over coffee or beer preferably after dark. You can reach her at plainsfeminist@themontanapost.com or on Twitter @PlainsFeminist.

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  • It may also be magical thinking to believe that Daines and his ilk do believe that corporations will take care of employees and profits will trickle down to workers. I don’t believe that is a matter of any concern as long as the wealth of the wealthy is attended to. We have decades of evidence showing that trickle down doesn’t happen while the wealth gap explodes.

  • You are giving Gov. Bullock qualities that he really doesn’t have.

    He has never had any success working with the legislature because he has had bad advice for the past 8 years, and no backbone of his own.

    I will enjoy watching him crash and burn in this election.

    • You mean like passing Medicaid Expansion?
      Or blocking asinine bills from crackpot Republicans?
      Or freezing tuition at college?

      Sounds like he’s been pretty damn successful to me.

      • The legislature passed Medicaid Expansion, because it was a no-brained. Money the legislature doesn’t have to pay back.

        Bullock was just along for the ride. Common knowledge.

        Freezing tuition that he and Gov BS helped drive up? Boy, that’s something.

        If we could go back in time, and prevent Gov BS from increasing State spending 25% in his term, or adding 1000 unnecessary state employees our State would have done much better during the Obama economy.

    • Hey, ‘E’ – – Why don’t you go hang out at the ER entrance? Let’s see if you have the guts to test that disease resistance that comes along with your rugged individualism and moral superiority.

      There does seem to be one favorable consequence of this pandemic – the scum that floats on top of the trump swamp appear to be stupid enough to self-select for inclusion in those contracting the virus. It’s downright Darwinian!

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