Posted: February 17, 2011 at 5:27 am

Schweitzer Tires of “Motion Masquerading as Action”

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is known for taking matters into his own hands and prodding the federal government to act when it fails to do so on key issues like prescription drug costs and protecting the North Fork of the Flathead River from mine sludge, is offering another serving from that platter with a letter this week to the Feds that Montana will makes its own wolf management rules after the federal government failed to act.
“There’s been a lot of motion masquerading as action in Washington, D.C., and we simply need to take action in Montana,” he said.
Rob Kailey  makes some good points in the comments over at Left in the West:

Brian just derailed any attempt by Rehberg to claim primacy in ‘solving’ the wolf problem.  That will no doubts help Jon Tester, even if the Republicans are somehow able to change the ESA.  I don’t find that a bad thing Brian’s encouragement for ranchers to shoot wolves harassing stock was for those north of I-90.  Let’s be clear.  That means the Shields Valley, The Nine-Mile, the Sarpy drainage, and …  hmmm, not much else.  He knows that this is a remarkably unobtrusive and yet totally OUTRAGEOUS gesture.  I reiterate.  That was kinda the point.

40 comments

  1. Farmboy

    I thought that Governor Schweitzer and Priemer Gordon had gotten the Nature Conservancy of both Canada and the United States to pay for the conservation of the North Fork of the Flathead. I was under the impression this deal was put to bed.

    • Pizza Ranch Legislature

      Me too. Kudos to the gov for not waiting for the Pizza Ranch Congress to act on this.

  2. Farmboy

    As far as the wolves go Schweitzer was the only one with authority over FWP in this state, and yes even dyed in the wool Republicans that don’t like him, agree with him on the wolf issue. And moderates like Schwietzer on both the wolves and on energy, so yes the Schwietzer brand will be a huge name even after he leaves office. My only question is he will be a tough act to follow, what do Democrats offer in 2012? We need a moderate, preferable not from Missoula, because that wont have any appeal east of Billings or Great Falls or Havre. And somebody with some personallity. Who do we have?

  3. Matthew Koehler

    From the Helena IR (http://helenair.com/news/article_e9109c18-3a67-11e0-bf79-001cc4c03286.html)

    Mike Leahy, Rocky Mountain regional director for Defenders of Wildlife, isn’t so sure about the legality. He believes the governor is making it easier for poachers, who could claim the wolves were killing livestock but in reality were just trying to remove wolves from the landscape.

    “I appreciate the governor’s frustration with the wolf issue, but I think he is doing long-term damage to his legacy as a wildlife manager by telling law enforcement to stand down, and being unnecessarily heavy-handed in eliminating entire wolf populations,” Leahy said. “We’re still reviewing whether he has the legal authority.”

    —————

    The Endangered Species Act has worked pretty well since it was passed in 1973. With wolves in the northern Rockies so close to being officially delisted through the ESA, now is not the time for Schweitzer, Tester, Baucus and/or Rehberg to abandon the provisions of the ESA in order to appease all of the wolf haters and those among us (elected officials included) who just continue to spread hyperbole and outright false information about wolves in order to score political points or “out-anti-wolf” the other candidate.

    Shame on many of you who don’t know a thing about the ESA who are cheering on Gov BS’s letter. I don’t believe politicians simply legislating animals, fish or plants off the endangered species list is a Gennie we want to let out of the bottle. I’m certainly willing to wait another year or so for wolves to be officially delisted so that we don’t undermine the provisions of the ESA. Don’t anyone worry, all the wolf-haters in Montana will be able to legally kill wolves via an official hunting season soon enough. And in the meantime, the USFWS will continue to kill wolves (including whipping out entire packs) as part of their “management” strategy. Shame on the dems and “progressives” who are cheering the governor on. Thanks.

  4. Uncle

    Of course he doesn’t have “legal” authority to do or say this Matt. That is kind of the point though, ain’t it? If the FWP or local or state law enforcement don’t investigate or do anything, how can the Fish and Wildlife Service possibly monitor the whole state. Answer, they Can’t. So what he is telling the Feds is, you like your wolf laws? Fine, then go enforce them. Good luck.

  5. Highliner

    God Bless Brian Schweitzer. This sumbitch cracks me up every time. I bet the feds are fuming. They better get their act together before he reloads.

  6. James Conner

    The so-called wolf crisis in Montana is not in the field: it’s in the minds of ranchers, hunters, and states rights nuts. Our governor — a scientist — should be standing behind the ESA and federal supremacy, not acting like a nullifier.

    There is, incidentally, no way to silence or appease the political right on this issue. They don’t want a solution. They want an issue they can run on in 2012.

  7. Matt (notS)

    James et al.

    This is a brilliant political move by Schweitzer. Today he is not a scientist, but a politician and his game goes long with this kind of stuff. It’s like stealing candy from a baby. Likely, he needed something to counterbalance some of the veto action he’s going to have to break out after some of the crazy shit passes both the house and senate. Right wing voters not on the fringe will remember this stuff….

    Schweitzer’s playing chess, the legislature is playing checkers.

  8. James Conner

    I agree with neither your premises nor your conclusions.

    “Right wing voters not on the fringe will remember this stuff….” Of course they will. It’s colorful. And I’ll assume for the moment that you’re not describing a null class. But will Schweitzer’s defying the federal government on wolves cause the sane right wing to vote for Democrats, for liberals? To support Schweitzer on the budget? I think hell would freeze over first.

  9. Matthew Koehler

    For those of you supposedly “progressive” people, I have to wonder how you’d be reacting to Gov BS’s statements if, instead of wolves and the Endangered Species Act, he was talking about poor people, gay people, disabled people, homeless people, etc? You folks would be up in arms and you know it. However, if Gov BS throws wolves, the ESA or environmentalists under the bus it’s “Good for you gov! What a brilliant political move!” Makes me sick….

    • Matt (notS)

      Straw man. He wasn’t talking about poor people, gay people, disabled people or homeless people.
      The Governor is dealing with reality. And the reality is that Montana is not as liberal as you wish it were. I suspect he’ll protect all the for-mentioned folks for a political trade. I suspect a trade that takes the wind out the sales of someone like Rehberg.

      Yet, for you, he must throw himself and party upon the political skewer to satisfy your idealism?
      You can’t always get what you want in politics – and frankly, it makes ME sick that my fellow progressives get all bent out of shape when the tide doesn’t suddenly turn their way. Things change incrementally. Look at the average voter in this state… But, you can go ahead and pout in the corner and look at it all as a raw deal. But, by doing that, I would suggest you don’t have a very good grasp on how politics work.

      Again, this is chess. You’re playing checkers.

      • James Conner

        “I suspect a trade that takes the wind out [of] the [sails] of someone like Rehberg.” This is delusional. And really quite arrogant. Your basic premise is that those who disagree with you don’t have a very good grasp on politics. My reaction to that is: you “suspect” but don’t know, you have principles that are more flexible than is good for progress, you belittle your adversaries instead of engaging their arguments, and your defense of Schweitzer is an embarrassment to him. Tell us: were you among those urging him to pick a fight with the feds on the wolf?

        James Conner
        Flatheadmemo-dot-com

        • Matt (notS)

          Actually, no, I wasn’t urging him to pick a fight with the feds on the wolf issue. In fact, I would really rather wolves be in MT. I’m not a fan of the wolf hunt, or the craze to rid them from MT.

          I view this as a political tool that Schweitzer is using for the greater progressive cause.
          Can you view it through this angle? I don’t honestly believe he’s a nullification poster boy. Could you conceive there is an end game to a political move like this?

          If my disagreement with you or Mr. Koehler seems belittling and arrogant, then you have a modicum of an idea of how your views are presented. You make your arguments as absolute. I disagree. There is more than one way to look at this situation…

          As a progressive, I tire of black and white arguments made. There is room for nuance, the gray areas and angles that exceed that of their face value. I feel that sometimes, progressives would cut off their noses, to spite their faces.

          Do I want to see the wolf exterminated in MT? Absolutely not. My view is that even with Schweitzer’s recent decision to thumb his nose at Federal policy that the wolf will still endure here in MT.
          I think this is part of a bigger political end game. And, I will concede it doesn’t exactly pass the smell test… but then again, not much in politics does pass that test anyhow.

          James, I very much respect your blog and your opinions. Sorry to offend. I hope, that within our party there is room enough to disagree.

  10. Rob Kailey

    A few things should be pointed out here:

    1) What Schweitzer wrote as proposed action in his letter to Ken Salazar is of questionable legality if that action is taken. It seems the assumption of many is “that means it’s illegal”. No, it means nothing of the sort. It definitely stands against the intent of the Endangered Species Act, but that doesn’t make it illegal. Intent isn’t law.

    2) Schweitzer hasn’t done anything yet F&W have received no orders to shoot on sight. There is no master plan to protect Elk herds from wolves. In fact, there’s no plan to do that at all, save Schweitzer’s bluster. At this point, it is appropriately called a “bluff”. He’s shaking the hornet’s nest, and that’s for true. But let’s not go off half cocked until we know he’s willing to call the bet.

    3) Montana control officers are already killing entire wolf packs that are problems for livestock and property. They have been for a while. Review the fate of the original Centennial pack, and the one that moved in after. F&W are trying their best not to have to kill wolves. They sure as hell aren’t getting any help from the Department of the Interior.

    4) Schweitzer didn’t “pick this fight”. Wyoming did. The DOI did. Judge Malloy did. Jon Tester did. Dennis Rehberg did, hiding behind the skirts of Idaho’s Rep. Mike Simpson, that is. I’m not blaming any of those above (except Wyoming, for true.) It’s good in discussing these issues to know the completely f’ed up history of how we got to where we’re at.

    5) This is not a pronouncement of “nullification” of federal law. It is exactly what Schweitzer has done in the past, to use his powers as Governor to their limit of federal law, and yes, possibly beyond. I think a whole bunch of folks are running gun shy right now because of the crazy secessionist/nullification BS coming out of the legislature. I’m simply encouraging people to keep some perspective about this.

  11. ladybug

    Perspective is a piss poor substitute for principle. Ass-backwards is still a form of retreat. Never try to bluff crazy people. Will the 3 little pigs (Schweitzer, Baucus, and Tester) find safety in the house built with brick and bullshit? How will it all end? Stay tuned, it looks the foundation is breaking up.

    • Rob Kailey

      So apparently you agree with Brian Schweitzer:

      “Screw the law if it doesn’t satisfy *my* ‘principles’”.

      That’s nice to know about you, ladybug. And for the record, you just called the Department of the Interior, legal executors of the Endangered Species Act, “crazy people”. Half the time I wonder if you have the first clue what it is you’re spouting.

    • Rob Kailey

      Poor try, loser. Do you agree with Brian Schweitzer that the law can be ignored or not? It’s a simple question. I’m certain you’re a simple person who should have little difficulty answering it. And while you’re at it, perhaps you can explain why you think Ken Salazar is crazy. I wrote that Schweitzer was bluffing in a letter to the Secretary of the Interior. You wrote that one should “never try to bluff crazy people”. So clearly you have some standing to call Salazar “crazy”, don’t you? No?

    • Rob Kailey

      And still no answers to simple questions. You are a troll, ladybug. Nothing more.

      Let’s see if you have a response to this. I put it to you that you and your ilk are indeed part of the problem, mostly because you don’t seem to understand the first thing about what the problem is. The problem is interaction between humans and high functioning social predators. Your ‘solution’ to this problem is to blame humans for thinking it’s a problem at all. The consequence of your ‘solution’ is to leave wolves alone, entirely. Rather dimwitted and self-righteously, you pat yourself on the back and go your merry, convinced of your superiority.

      Meanwhile, those of us back in Montana, on planet Earth, understand more clearly that you and your kind have set up an all or nothing juxtaposition. In your completely ignorant world, wolves have supremacy, and isn’t it lucky that the ESA protects them? No, not really. Not really at all. See, the more you push for an “us against them” world, smug in your lack of thought concerning the issue, the more you ensure the victory of “us”. All or nothing, as you would have it, will eventually ensure that all wolves will be killed in Montana, if they stray one foot out a National Park. That would be every four footed one of them, and it will be the fault of assholes like you. That’s what “all or nothing” gets you, ladybug. Failure. You have apparently been completely ignorant of bison control in the state, or else you’d see what’s waiting for wolves. But no, you’re too busy patting yourself on the back and insulting those who actually have concern for animals to be bothered in your oh so pretty lack of mind. You are a dimwit, ladybug. And I and others will end up reaping the consequence of your lack of ‘principle’ (save the principle of how totally cool you are.)

      When you make it us against them, they lose. That’s what Schweitzer was attempting to get across to the crazy man, Ken Salazar (your accusation, kitten.) You do support Schweitzer in that, except that you’re too bone stupid to realize the result. If it’s us against them, they lose. I don’t want that to happen. You apparently do. Suck on that.

      • Mark Tokarski

        Godwin’s Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.

        Occam’s Razor: select the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions.

        Pascal’s Wager: Live your life as if God exists, because you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

        The Kailey Principle: The more one sneers, the less one knows.

        The Kailey Canon: Longer paragraphs naturally devolve into less substance.

        • Rob Kailey

          Oh and by the way, I kinda like this one:

          The Kailey Principle: The more one sneers, the less one knows.

          I’d clarify it a bit Mark. The more I sneer, the less the one I’m sneering at knows. Ladybug hasn’t shown a damned thing that proves it knows anything, except that it wants to sneer at me without bringing an ounce of substance to the table. Fine, I’ve invited it to bring the argument on, and it has consistently failed, kinda like you.

          • Mark Tokarski

            “Ladybug” is a person who reminds me of what George Carlin said of Joe Pesci:

            You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Joe Pesci. Two reasons; first of all, I think he’s a good actor. Okay. To me, that counts. Second; he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t f*** around. Doesn’t f*** around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with. For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog. Joe Pesci straightened that c***-s***** out with one visit.

            You obviously don’t know Ladybug. Tell me, what have you ever gotten done?

    • Rob Kailey

      Do you have anything to bring to the topic, pbear? Or are you just pissing in the face of the wind, again?

      These are serious issues, about serious animals. Put up or shut up.

      • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

        Careful, Wulfgar, Pee Horriblis will kick you off his site!!! He’s like that you know. All pee and not much bear!

  12. problembear

    wolf numbers need to be culled sooner than later. ask any biologist worth his salt.

    if we don’t act reasonably and protect other wildlife and domestic animals soon from the predation that increases yearly, we will be hastening the day when those who hate wolves will have enough political clout to once again exterminate them in the lower 48.

    i think brian knows what he is doing. and i applaud his swift action.

    as for the nuanced politics of the whole thing, i have little or no interest. what is important is to let the biologists handle this problem. they are the ones trained enough to deal with it. not courts and certainly not politicians. like brian said- let’s allow landowners and biologists to find a solution.

    i am highly in favor of the endangered species act, but if we don’t use some common sense here, we are endangering the endangered species act altogether.

  13. James Conner

    On 19 February, the house approved Krayton Kerns’ bill, HB-321, to nullify the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The 60 Republicans and one Democrat (Frank Smith) voting for it were party inspired to do so by Governor Schweitzer’s anti-fed remarks on wolf management earlier this week, reported Matt Gouras in today’s Missoulian:

    “Essentially the governor nullified the Endangered Species Act two days ago,” said Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel. “That is a very aggressive move. When I look at the articles in the paper I have to think he is on board with what we are trying to do.”

    Schweitzer’s not on board, reports Gouras.

    That’s good to hear, but being quoted by Kerns in that way was inevitable after Schweitzer chose to grandstand on the issue.

  14. James Conner

    Republicans voting against HB-321:

    2nd H HB-321 Party Last First Town
    N R Bangerter Liz Helena
    N R Bennett Gerald Libby
    N R Cook Rob Conrad
    N R Fitzpatrick Steve Great Falls
    N R Gibson Steve East Helena
    N R Hoven Brian Great Falls
    N R Klock Harry Harlowton
    N R Mcnutt Walter Sidney

  15. Matthew Koehler

    Snip: “Essentially the governor nullified the Endangered Species Act two days ago,” said Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel. “That is a very aggressive move. When I look at the articles in the paper I have to think he is on board with what we are trying to do.”

    Yep, that sure was “a brilliant political move by Schweitzer.”

    • Rob Kailey

      Do you seriously think he was attempting to get the attention of Krayton Kerns, Matthew? Do you seriously think he’s on board with the nullification of the ESA?

  16. DOH!

    These guys aren’t political strategists, and they aren’t thinking big picture. I am referring to Koehler and Ladybug. It’s too bad, but some people just aren’t political. They think they are, then they reveal that they aren’t.

  17. Matthew Koehler

    DOH! For the record, I’ve never considered myself as “political.” I’m for good, Progressive public policy regardless of party or affiliation. Thanks.

    And Rob, I was responding to “Matt (notS)’s” comment at 8:44 pm on Feb 18 which stated that Gov BS’s letter to the Dept of Interior was “a brilliant political move by Schweitzer.” That’s all. I never said that Gov BS supports the nullification of the ESA. Again, thanks.

    • Matt (notS)

      Please replace “brilliant” with “calculated” in my post. Maybe that’s less offensive, I don’t know. I take Rob’s position – he’s said it more articulately than I have.