The Democrats’ big night is coming up tomorrow. It’s a fun-filled evening to be had by the liberal faithful, listening to politicians make speeches (as we know, everyone’s favorite Saturday night pastime in Helena.)
It’s actually a good night for Dems because they control all five statewide elected positions and also both U.S. Senate seats. Denny Rehberg is the last man standing and even he might get knocked off next fall by Jon Tester.
There have been some interesting guests over the last few years, Senators and Governors and, of course, Hillary and Barack in ’08, both of whom brought the house down. This year’s guest speaker is not a politician however. It is Tammy Duckworth, wounded in combat and now in a wheelchair, brought in for the occasion by Jon Tester, no doubt, who works hard on Vets issues.
This is a purposeful and smart move by the Dems, at a time when the GOP-controlled legislature is cutting services for Veterans. The GOP has been relentless in cutting services like these, and even tried to close a Vets’ home in Columbia Falls before being shamed into restoring the funding today (though the other Vet services are still scheduled to be axed).
Of course, if Tammy Duckworth is interested in knowing what at least one Tea Party legislator thinks of people in wheelchairs who are in need of Government support, somebody should show her a copy of the e-mail message (below the fold) from James Knox to a disabled constituent who was asking Knox to please restore funding for disabled. Knox responded to him by calling him a whiner.
The buzz, though, is going to be about whether Steve Bullock will dive into the Governor’s race. He’s raising money into an account that can serve as either a Governor or AG campaign fund. Dave Wanzenried, a progressive state senator from Missoula, has already announced, as has Shannon Augare, state senator from Browning. But the primary is generally considered by pundits to be Bullock’s to win if he runs. Wanzenreid and Bullock are holding fundraisers this weekend.
And then of course there is always excitement when the three heavyweights–Schweitzer Tester and Baucus–are in the room together. There is always a healthy amount of testosterone when the three papa grizzlies are in the same area, and are in heat, looking for love (from the Democratic Base.) Sadly for prognosticators, there hasn’t been much speculation lately about these three, in terms of who is running for what, and against whom, and when. The GOP seems to have grown tired of trying to plant rumors that they are all running against each other.
There is, however, a surprising editorial in the IR that ran last week and which I thought would have gotten more discussion on the blog here. A few weeks ago, Schweitzer cut a deal to get the Nature Conservancy to put up private funding, $10 million or so, for protecting the drainage area of the North Fork of the Flathead river, a huge swath of wilderness on the west slope of Glacier National Park. The Helena IR heaped a pile of praise on Schweitzer for brokering what had seemed like an impossible agreement only a year ago, and the editorial also (somewhat surprisingly), blasted the Congressional delegation for failing to deliver. The IR neglected to distinguish between Tester and Baucus, who have at least been on the right side of this issue, and Rehberg, who has never even showed that he even cares about it at all.
Nevertheless, if you see a big grin on Schweitzer’s face at MM, you will know why.
The Knox letter calling Montanans with disabilities “whiners” is below the fold.
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Rep. James Knox” <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 06:30:30 -0700
To: Travis Hoffman <email removed>
Subject: RE: You’re Invited to Join Us: Our Lives, Our Homes, Our Communities, A Rally to Restore Human Services
Really? I believe many of us want to see more cuts. We have a budget crisis and plenty of citizens who want the State to be fiscally responsible but not at their expense. SO I ask where should we make the cuts. I personally have asked everyone who emailed me expressing not to cut their program or position, where should we cut? No one has responded with anything other than just don’t cut my program. Well regardless of what we cut someone will be effected. The other option is to raise taxes. This to me is not a solution I will vote for or support.
So come but know it will not have any effect on those who pledged to reduce spending. We have more cuts planned as our duty and promise to those who elected us. I find this “whining” attitude part of the problem. [emphasis mine] Did you know there was only one group that came before the legislature and said “we can get by with less”? It was the one group that clearly knows sacrifice, the Veterans! Hats off to them, but everyone else said you cannot cut our budget.
I ran pledging to reduce State government and spending. This promise will be fulfilled or at least voted for by myself. Simply we do not have the money to write checks that will eventually bounce. Everyone has to get by with less. This includes these programs you hold dear.
Rep. James Knox
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES KNOX House District 47
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible” – George Washington
HELENA ADDRESS:Capitol BuildingPO Box 200400Helena, Montana 59620-0400Phone: (406)-444-4800COMMITTEES:State AdministrationFederal Relations, Energy & TelecommunicationsLocal GovernmentHOME ADDRESS:[removed]
James Knox Email