TEA party legislator Alan Hale yesterday made an impassioned speech on the floor of the Montana statehouse for the elimination of all DUI laws. Intelligent Discontent has the story and the must watch video.
Alan Hale, a frosh legislator from Basin, MT, says that “taverns and bars connect people together” and are “the centers of our communities”. To get to them, says Hale, “you must drive,” and thus DUI laws “are destroying a way of life” and should be eliminated.
Of course, Hale should know: he’s a bar owner, so I guess he’s doing a little self-dealing in his new job as legislator.
Generally, Republicans have had a long and difficult romance with alcohol in Montana— what with the heavy-drinking Congressman and his many drinking escapades, the Secretary of State who ran for office from rehab in 2010, the last governor’s chief-of-staff who drove drunk and killed the speaker of the House, and numerous GOP legislators who have recently been busted for drinking and driving and drinking and boating.
A few months back, Governor Schweitzer was harshly attacked by the GOP for having suggested publicly that the new GOP legislature legislature would have its share of “big boozers.” Schweitzer discovered data that showed a huge spike in liquor sales when the legislature convenes in Helena.
The GOP senate president saw an opportunity (and took the bait): he quickly penned an OpEd (entitled “Schweitzer Insults Sober, Hardworking Lawmakers“), decrying Schweitzer for having dared to suggest that alcohol has any meaningful presence during the legislative session.
A few days later, the GOP senate judiciary committee chairman was pulled over when a cop spied him drinking a homemade “red beer” (a special, yummy mixture of beer and tomato juice) while driving home from the statehouse.