Janna Taylor, one of Montana’s loudest and proudest Tea Partiers, and also the Montana House whip, has collected $1,000,000 over the last 10 years in federal cash farm subsidies, according to newly released figures.
State senator Bruce Tutvedt, another proud ultra-conservative who runs around Montana railing against excessive spending and the evils of “too much government”, has collected $643,063.
In fact, of the top 33 legislators in Montana who are recipients of federal farm assistance payments (which are cash payments that the government gives farmers for NOT growing crops), 30 are Republicans. They all claim some affiliation or solidarity with the Tea Party. All of them rail constantly against the federal government and excessive spending. Most of them just voted, last week, for the now infamous Montana Nullification Act, which would have allowed the state to selectively ignore federal law.
Taylor was the gal, mind you, who said that Governor Schweitzer had “grown government” so much that “the governor’s residence needs to be fumigated when he leaves office.” And here is a peach of a response from Rep. Taylor, when confronted with the fact that she’s been on the dole to the tune of a 100 grand annually for the last decade: “I don’t control federal dollars. Talk to Senators Baucus or Tester.”
Speaking of Senator Baucus, Taylor’s husband ran for US Senate against Baucus in 2002, but dropped out when the Democratic party ran an attack ad against him, using TV footage which tried to suggest, in a not so subtle way, that Mr. Taylor was once an “effeminate” hairdresser in a previous life. The TV ad also raised a more substantive issue: that Mr. Taylor had taken massive amounts of federal loans to start a beauty salon, which he had never repaid.
Amusingly, Mr. Taylor, in that pathetic 2002 effort to beat Baucus, had been giving speeches dressed up as Teddy Roosevelt, with wire-rimmed spectacles, a TR-style mustache and even donning a turn-of-the-century wardrobe.
I don’t know what TR thought of hairdressers, but he probably didn’t believe in anti-government, free-market-obsessed conservatives taking loans and not repaying them, or taking a hundred thousand dollars a year for not farming.
Tutvedt, too, has an interesting response when confronted with his own pile of checks that Clinton, Bush and Obama have written him for the last 14 years in federal assistance: he is preventing starvation. If there we’re a free market for crops, Tutvedt says, “people would starve or go hungry, and I’m not willing to go there.”
I never knew Tea Partiers were so worried about the neediest.