I was already astonished that Greg Gianforte chose Kristen Juras as his running mate for the 2020 election, given her almost cartoonish opposition to public access and equal rights. Still, I would have guessed that someone at the Gianforte campaign would have had the good sense to ask her to stop commenting on social media during the campaign.
They, it appears, did not, and this evening Juras declared that Governor Bullock had transformed the economy of Montana into a socialistic one because he ordered landlords not to remove people from their homes for eleven days during a global pandemic.
In a post about this news story which outlines Bullock’s executive order, Juras responded with the kind of reasoned thinking she’d bring to the office of the Lieutenant Governor:
Let us be clear about this. While cases in Montana are snowballing and experts are predicting that as many as 240,000 Americans could die, Greg Gianforte’s running mate believes that Governor Bullock’s 11-day order that protects people from eviction, foreclosure, and utility disconnection amounts to lawless socialism that must be resisted.
Those eleven days (until April 10th) are likely enough time for people who have lost their jobs to receive their unemployment benefits. A few days after that and these most economically vulnerable people might even have their small $1,200 checks from the federal government to help cover their debts and pay their landlords and their mortgage holders.
Not sensible policy, according to the person Gianforte has chosen as his running mate, but virulent Marxist-Leninist subversion.
I mention those $1,200 checks for a reason, because Congressman Gianforte just voted for a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, noting that many Montanans are facing an economic crisis:
Montanans are concerned.
They’re concerned about the health of their families and communities.
They’re concerned about the fallout from this outbreak. They’re concerned they may have to shudder their businesses and lay off their workers. They’re concerned they may not have a job tomorrow or see their next paycheck.
Among the two trillion dollars in that package were $58 billion to prop up American airlines, $17 billion in loan relief for Small Business Administration loans, and roughly $500 billion in assistance to large corporations.
And although I have searched high and low, I can’t find one moment where Juras has referred to that massive taking and giving as “socialism” or one moment where she’s criticized Congressman Gianforte for taking $2 trillion from the American people to help our fellow Montanans who “may not have a job tomorrow or see their next paycheck.”
I certainly hope someone in the Montana press will ask her to explain.
Juras is not alone in her stunning callousness during this crisis. Representative Brad Tschida, who sat through the Legislative Leadership meeting today to discuss how Montana can spend the $1.25 billion it will receive in direct aid from the coronavirus relief bill, threatened to sue:
Governor Bullock issued a legal executive order rooted in the Montana Code, an order designed to keep people safe in their homes during an economic and health crisis that threatens the lives and jobs of thousands of Montanans. The response from the person Greg Gianforte chose to be his running and other Republican leaders lays bare their actual belief system: that human life is less important than making a few bucks.
It is hard not to recall the words of an actual socialist, Eugene Debs, who, during his 1918 Canton speech, called out the hyperbolic, performative patriotism of people like Juras and Tschida.
In passing I suggest that we stop a moment to think about the term “landlord.” “LANDLORD!” Lord of the Land! The lord of the land is indeed a superpatriot.
I’m confident that Juras, Tschida, and the rest feel entirely filled with patriotic fervor while they wave their pocket constitutions in the air and bray about “socialism,” but I’m even more confident that most Montanans understand that protecting people from homelessness during a pandemic trumps hypocritical posturing.
We know how Governor Bullock is handling this crisis: with decisive leadership that puts health and safety first. Given that his running mate believes it is “socialism” to ensure that a few Montanans have a couple of weeks to secure the money for rent and mortgage payments, don’t we deserve to know where Greg Gianforte stands? Don’t we deserve to know how he would lead and what values would guide him?
I certainly hope some enterprising reporter in the Montana press takes the time to ask.