McDonald Faces Rehberg in Home Field Debate Tonight

Tonight, Dennis McDonald, Democratic challenger for Montana’s congressional seat, will take on GOP incumbent Dennis Rehberg, at a debate at the Montana Farmers Union Annual Meeting, held at 4:00p.m. at the Heritage Inn, 1700 Fox Farm Road, Great Falls. Dennis McDonald has invited supporters from across the state to a pre-debate rally 2:30 p.m. at the same location.

A hot topic of the debate is expected to be the issue of opening up new markets for Montana producers.  New markets like Cuba would mean new jobs for Montana’s agricultural producers and farmers who make up Montana’s largest industry.

Lifting the travel ban and readjusting the payment terms for exports to Cuba would increase U.S. agricultural exports by more than $360 million annually, generating 6,000 domestic jobs and a $1 billion boost to the U.S. economy. This would be a tremendous help to Montana’s agricultural producers that will grow our state’s economy and create jobs in our rural communities.

Dennis has long been a leader in addressing agriculture and trade issues critical to Montana’s farmers and ranchers. He pushed for laws such as the Country of Origin Labeling Act and the Montana Certified Natural Beef Program. He also founded the Beef-On-Every-Plate charity program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to needy Montanans. His hard work led to his appointment in 1998 to the President’s International Trade Advisory Committee for Livestock, for which he traveled extensively through the western hemisphere. In this role he fought against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which he felt placed Montana farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage.

He also lead efforts to raise Montana’s minimum wage in 2006. Under his leadership, he made sure the Dems were key players in helping this pass, directing organizing staff and volunteers to collect signatures.

His vocal role as an advocate for the Ag community-he is founder of R-CALF, a national progressive ag organization-led to greater involvement in state politics when, in 2005, he was chosen chairman of Montana’s Democratic party. His efforts to revitalize the party, particularly in rural areas all over the state, helped to elect Democrat Jon Tester to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

McDonald also knows what it’s like to face true hard times. Early in his life his family lost their home in Kansas and moved to northern California to start over. To pay for college, he worked summer jobs in a cannery as a member of the Teamsters Union and as a Forest Service firefighter.

Posted: October 15, 2010 at 7:04 am

This post was written by Cowgirl

34 thoughts on “McDonald Faces Rehberg in Home Field Debate Tonight

  1. Ed Kemmick

    I enjoy you in your satiric attack mode. When you stoop to writing press releases for candidates, it’s just plain boring.

    1. gumbo

      Kemmick gimme a break. You always criticize cowgirl for EVERYTHING, including her satiric prose. C’mon.

  2. Rimrock

    I must be tired, as this momentarily confused me. But then it hit me; I didn’t realize Dennis the Menace was twins!

  3. ModerateD

    A real rancher vs. a “Ranch Estates LLC trust funder career politician.”. Prepare to get creamed.

  4. Turner

    Well, the prose might not be scintillating. But it’s full of information for people who don’t know McDonald very well.

    He’s by far the superior candidate. A mainstream Democrat vs. a member of the Tea Party Caucus. The contrast couldn’t be clearer.

  5. Farmboy

    Being this is a small state population wise, (granted not geographic wise) Ive met and heard both of these candidates. Rehberg is a piss poor debater and a piss poor public speaker, he basically is a yes man to the National Republican leadership, and never thinks for himself. McDonald is a good speaker, I won’t say great but he’s ok. But McDonald’s strong point is he is a thinker, and he has some great ideas, that is where McDonald beats Rehberg hands down.

  6. Moorcat

    I will wait till the debate to comment on that (McDonald is hit and miss when he challenged – note the infamous mop video), but there are a few things that need to be addressed in the press release penned by Cowgirl.

    First, McDonald had little to nothing to do with Tester getting narrowly elected over Burns. In fact, truth to be told, Conrad Burns had more to do with Electing Tester than anything else. Burns’s connections to Abramoff, his complete and utter inability to keep his damn mouth shut and his less than honest record gave the win to Tester. It helped that Tester was a completely likable Montana Farmer. It helped that Tester came off as honest and hard working. In the end, though, it was Burns himself, who gave the election to Tester.

    Having witnessed a number of Debates involving Rehberg, I will say that as much as I despise the man, he always comes prepared. He is cagey, well financed and quite capable of holding his own. His answers are vague enough to allow the man wiggle room but educated enough to sound plausable. It isn’t until his answers are compared against reality that the deception becomes clear, and by that time, most casual listeners have taken him on face value. McDonald, not so much. He is flustered easily when he is not prepared and unless this is a canned debate (the two participants already know what questions are going to be asked), Rehberg may very well come out ahead. Say what you want about Richy Rehberg (I probably already have at one time or another), but the man is quite capable of holding his own in a debate.

  7. Turner

    Again, Moorcat disparages McDonald based on next to nothing. He doesn’t like McDonald. OK, I get it.

    But what positions has McDonald taken that he disagrees with? If McDonald is elected, what votes would he make in congress that Moorcat might disagree with? Protection of a woman’s right to choose, maybe? An intelligent national energy policy, maybe? Protecting New-Deal programs like unemployment insurance and social security, maybe? Reversal of DADT?

    I’ve seen McDonald debate many more times than Moorcat has. (In fact, I’ve only seen Moorcat at one Dillon event where McDonald was, and that was back in 2006 when McDonald wasn’t even running for office). I’ve never seen Dennis ill-prepared. When he speaks, he comes across as well-informed and is able to back up what he says with specifics.

    Rehberg “comes out ahead” only in debates where the audience is comprised mainly of tea-baggers. When the audience is happy with vague appeals to patriotism and cheap attacks on Nancy Pelosi, he wins.

  8. Moorcat

    Think what you want – you will anyway – but my “disparaging” remarks about McDonald are the result of what I have of his ads, his recorded public apearences and the disasterous political stunt he pulled early on in his campaign. It isn’t that I don’t like McDonald – it is that in my admittedly breif and sporatic contacts with him, he came across as a used car salesman – willing to tell me anything he thought I wanted to hear. He certainly did not come across as charismatic or honest as Monica Lindeen and he didn’t have that honest working man charm that Tester had. If you want, I can always post the links to the less than complementary videos of McDonald. Up to this point, I have seen no reason to do so because I really have no real stake in either candidate this go around. You obviously have a LARGE stake in McDonald, and while I respect that, attacking me is not a good choice of targets – especially when you are quite aware of the fact that, given a decent candidate or cause, I am (or was… ) willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with you to get the job done.

    I neither implied or stated that I thought Rehberg would win this debate. All I said was that, in my experience, Rehberg is quite capable of showing well (at least on the surface) in a debate. I still have the Rehberg/Lindeen debates floating around here somewhere, and while the substance of what Richy Rehberg was somewhat lacking, he sounded semi reasonable saying it. My (granted somewhat protracted) experiences with watching McDonald on TV and in recorded appearances is that he is good when he is prepared but can be easily flustered when he is cornered or caught offgaurd. Make of that what you will. It is my opinion and I am sticking to it until I see a reason to see otherwise. Insulting me has little to no effect except making less likely to listen to a word you have to say.

  9. Turner

    So, Moorcat, you don’t care where he stands on the issues? How he would vote if elected? All you care about is Youtube and a brief conversation you had with him in 2006?

    Unbelievable.

    1. Moorcat

      Of course I care how he stands on the issue (though any statements he makes are questionable as he has no voting record to look at). The questions I have about him have little to do with his stances on issue and far more to do with whether I can trust a word that comes out of his mouth. As you well know, my well of trust for elected officials is at an all time low at this point and I am not all that willing to blindly put my faith or trust in anyone – regardless of the rhetoric coming out of his mouth. I have seen nothing in McDonald to convince me that he isn’t another stuffed shirt. Maybe I will see something to change my mind before election day, but given what I have seen so far (and it is more than just a Utube video for the record), I see that as unlikely.

      For the record, you have no real idea how he would vote if elected. Talk is cheap and he has no voting record to look at. You are welcome to convince yourself that you know how he will vote but you can’t convince me of something based on blind faith. Show me something to make me believe or give it up.

      1. Wulfgar

        Once again, shorter Moorcat:

        I care how this guy would vote not having any evidence, but at least I don’t like the other guy with full evidence, and apparently don’t care how that one has voted either.

        ~sigh~

  10. Farmboy

    Moorcat brings up a good point McDonald does not have a voting record to go on. In fact McDonald has never held an elected public office in his life. But he has done some good work in private organizations like R Calf, the Montana Cattlemens Association, and he did a good job of being chairman of the state democratic party. He enacted Howard Deans idea of having a 50 state party, and working it from the ground up, or from the courthouse to the whitehouse. Those things should be taken into consideration on election day. Also ask this question, what has Rehberg done for this state lately? Or what has Rehberg done in the last 10 years he has been in congress?

  11. Moorcat

    As I have made abundantly clear, I will NEVER vote for Rehberg. He stands for almost everything I despise in modern politics. He is the Poster Boy for Corporate Interests and he has made it abundantly clear he could care less what the voters in Montana think.

    That said, it does not automatically mean that I will vote for his opponent. Maybe I am old school, but I honestly beleive that my vote should mean something and I will not vote for a candidate I don’t believe in. At this point, I have every intension of writing in Monica Lindeen for State Representative. Yes, I know she isn’t running and yes, I am aware that it is a “throw away” vote. Unless I see some defining reason to vote for McDonald, I simply cannot and WILL not vote for him, though.

    Turner, your curt and dismissive responce is not convincing me that I should vote for your candidate. Give me a concrete and reasonable cause to vote for your candidate or give it up. Cowgirl has done more in a single post to show why I should support McDonald than all the snippy replies you have given me put together.

    1. Wulfgar

      Repeat:

      Once again, shorter Moorcat:

      ‘I care how this guy would vote not having any evidence, but at least I don’t like the other guy with full evidence, and apparently don’t care how that one has voted either.’

      ~sigh~

      Curt and dismissive? That’s what you just advocated for, bud. Give you a reason to vote? Aren’t *YOU* impressive.

      ~sigh~

      Tell you what. Ask some random person how they would score in soccer given nothing but your interest in the answer. Then vote given their answer, completely to the side of any response from random ignorant person X. Then pontificate how a professional soccer player would respond and tell that person how low you think they are because they didn’t respond in kind.

      Dude, pull your head out. You know how Rehberg responds, and you ‘claim’ that you hate that, not that I believe a word of it. You’re demanding the unreal. You just don’t like McDonald based on fabricated ‘principle’. Your moral bullshit is bullshit. McDonald is better. Your whine is that McDonald doesn’t lie to you as well as Rehberg does.

      Seriously, let’s re-elect Denny. After all, we know he’ll lie to us.

      Yuck yuck.

  12. Farmboy

    Ok Moorcat I see your point and we should be more in favor of a candidate instead of just voting against a candidate, I agree 100%. But let me ask you this question and this is just for my curiousity, if you will not vote for Rehberg and you will not vote for McDonald then that only leaves you three options, option a Mike Fellows the Libertairian who doesnt have a snow balls chance in Hell of winning, and he’s lost so many elections Ive lost count. Option b, write in a name and your candidate will lose no dought about it, or Option c, dont vote, then you get the government you deserve. Now for as much as I hate voting lesser of two evils because sometimes the lesser of two evils is still evil, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go for it. The way I see it you have five options and only two of those options are viable.

    1. Moorcat

      The arguement can be made that McDonald’s chances of winning are also approaching that aforementioned snowball in Hell but that is NOT a reason for me to give my vote to anyone. Going by that argument, the only logical choice is to give my vote to the person who is obviously ahead in the polls and that would be Rehberg.

      Second, I did NOT say I would not vote for McDonald. I said that I see no reason to give my vote (and therefore my support) to McDonald. I remain unimpressed with him (though I will admit that the information provided by Cowgirl in this blog entry is somewhat intriguing).

      For me, I have to believe that my vote (and therefore my support) is mine and mine alone. I have to feel that the candidate I vote for will actively be a candidate I can back – win or lose. Monica Lindeen, and to a lesser extent, Jon Tester were two such candidates. I believed that those two individuals would work for the collective interests of all Montanans even though I disagree with many of their stances. It was more important to me that they were honest, hard working and truly interested in doing the best job they could for all Montana. Tester won and Lindeen lost but that was secondary to my belief in them as the right candidate for the job. As I have said before, I would gladly follow Lindeen into Hell because I feel that if she was headed there, she had a damn good reason to be there.

      So back to your question.. I can’t and won’t vote for Rehberg for the reasons I have posted ad nausium even though he is quite probably going to win the election. I don’t see a compelling reason to support McDonald (other than the fact that he is running against Rehberg). I have to admit that I really don’t know enough about Mike Fellows but given that he is a Libertarian and I really don’t believe the Free Market is the answer to everything, I probably wouldn’t support him. That leaves me with the option to vote for someone I do believe in or not to vote at all. It is not in my nature to not vote, so, barring some compelling reason to vote for Fellows or McDonald, I will pen in Lindeen, knowing that it is a “throw away” vote.

      I refuse to continue to vote for people I don’t believe in (the lesser of two evils). All too often in the past decade I have found myself in the voter’s booth holding my nose and pulling a level, knowing that I don’t agree or trust the person I am voting for. NO MORE. I am done doing that.

      This may seem a defeatist policy to you, but to me, it is a return to honesty. I will be honest to myself first and that means I will be honest about my support for Political Candidates.

  13. Alan Rabinowitz

    Before McDonald starts trading with Cuba and eases the travel ban, shouldn’t he be addressing the injustices committed by the Castro regime and the thousands and thousands of Cubans dispossed of their homes and livlihoods? New markets for Mt beef are great, but there is a moral cost. McDonald should address this before taking their money.

    1. Mark T

      Sorry. Wrong planet. Any time an American takes note of “moral cost” without analyzing American behavior, then I know I am dealing with a space alien. From what planet do you hail?

      I’m kind of a wonk on Cuban affairs, and it is my opinion that the Americans, with the Bay of Pigs and the assassinations attempts and the terrorism against Cuban citizens, created the Castro regime. Get this, see if it resonates: Castro uses fear of the US as a governing tool.

      Get outta here! Fear as a governing tool?

      1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

        Thanks, Mark. I was gonna hammer the moron until I read your post. You pretty much deftly covered it. This dink is what, maybe eighteen years old? Hey, Rabinatwitz, how old are you, dude? Do you even KNOW who Batitsta was? Castro is a true world hero. As Mark says, where you been?

  14. Alan Rabinowitz

    How many Cubans dead at the hands of the Castro regime? How many fled to Florida? How many lost at sea trying to escape? How many in camps right now? And its all the fault of the US?

    I doubt the political prisoners in the Cuban gulags feel the same way you do. Castro is a real world hero right up there with Mao and Pol Pot and Stalin. How many political prisoners do you have to kill to get to be a “true world hero?” You’re a wonk on Cuban affairs but are you a wonk on the truth or what the Politburo is putting out? My guess is you rely solely on what the free press in Cuba releases.

    But McDonald couldn’t care less. Its just another meat market for him.

    1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

      Oh Al, you’re just too easy, dude. What IS your problem witn Cuba? Buy much Chinese made crap, do ya? Why SHORE you do, Al! But why aren’t you upset with trade with China? Cubans overwhelmingly support Castro. And hey, it’s THEIR country last time I checked. Who are you or Dopey Rehburp to say otherwise? Wanna invade do ya? Castro ran off all the Batista, mafia, fascist supporters. Are those folks REALLY your pals? Sorry, big Al, but Cubans just didn’t want to be another state! And I can’t say that I blame’em!

  15. Alan Rabinowitz

    Cuba wonk what’s the difference between Luis Felipe Rojas Rosabal and Dania Garcia, and our intrepid MT Cowgirl?

    1. Mark T

      Let’s see now here – I am dealing with attitude. But my first impulse is to point out all of the things that you apparently don’t know, or have blocked out of your mind. How to approach this subject with some nuance? Can you grasp anything beyond we-good-they-bad??

      One, I don’t say that things cannot be very much better in Cuba that they are.

      But I also have some awareness of Cuban history. Things were very bad there in the 1950′s as well. Castro overthrew an entrenched oligarchy that had secret prisons, disappeared people, and kept 90% of the population in poverty to allow 10% to prosper. Add torture, which surely existed as well, and you have the American colonial model.

      When Castro took power, the immediate impulse on this side of the divide was to overthrow him and reinstall the oligarchy. We invaded, and when that failed, instituted a terrorist attack and economic embargo. Because of the failed invasion, Castro turned to the Russians to help him forestall another. And yet, even despite JFK’s promises, a second invasion was set to go in early December, 1963.

      Because of US terrorism and prior support of the oligarchy, Cubans turned to Castro as the answer. Because they lived in fear of the U.S., Castro was able to use that fear to indoctrinate them into his own power structure. As it turns out, the Cubans had two choices – us, or Castro, and both were bad, but of the two, Castro was better for them.

      What could have been? Had the U.S. simply left them alone, they would have developed. They would have shed the colonial legacy and, like Taiwan or Australia or Israel, developed, and democratic institutions would have grown. I’m speculating, of course, as I do know know these things would have happened. But I suspect that Castro would have seen his power wither and his regime fall apart had not the U.S. played its hand so badly.

      1. Mark T

        I should say here that I impose a great deal of order on events that were not so orderly. That’s a flaw in view the past from the present. But I maintain the general thrust is as I describe in spite of general chase and disorder that is always about us. American power forces behave in a very predictable manner, and reactions to that power can be predicted as well.

  16. Turner

    I’m old enough to remember the Cuban Revolution and the excitement here in America that it caused. The very oppressive Batista government, which was in bed with the Mafia and exploitative American corporations (if that’s not a redundancy), deserved to be overthrown.

    When it was, we all cheered. As a young student, I eagerly joined Hands Off Cuba.

    That it took committed Marxists to overthrow Batista may not make some people happy, but it’s a historical fact. Castro’s regime turned out to be oppressive, too, but it was the moneyed class, not most ordinary Cubans, who were the target of this new oppression.

    That doesn’t mean that there weren’t grave injustices committed. Homosexuals, for example, were jailed by Castro. That they were treated just as badly under Batista is sometimes forgotten.

    It’s long past time to re-establish relations with Cuba. Rehberg and other Tea Partiers still want to view Cuba through a colonialist Cold War lens. Younger and better-educated people know better. Or they should.

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