Monthly Archives: January 2012

Congressional Candidates Reveal Their Finances

The federal candidates released their fundraising numbers today.

The House Race:

Kim Gillan (Billings) retains the lead over Diane Smith (Whitefish) and Franke Wilmer (Bozeman), with more cash in the bank. (cash balances: Gillan $100K, Smith $75K, Wilmer $54K).   Smith, however, had a big quarter and nearly doubled what Wilmer and Smith each brought in, Smith raising $100K to Wilmer’s $55K and Gillan’s $52K.

The bad news is that on the GOP side, Steve Daines raised $173K and has $631K clams in the bank.

The Senate Race:

Tester continues to kick the shit out of Rehberg in fundraising, probably because Tester is capable of speaking in full, grammatical sentences while speaking to prospective donors on the telephone.

As the Missoulian reports:

Rehberg raised $656,000 during the last quarter of the year, compared to Tester’s $1.2 million. Rehberg also had a little more than half of the Democrat’s $3.8 million cash on hand.

To recap, in the State races reported last month the snapshot were: Bullock handily beating Rick Hill (governor); Bucy edging out Laslovich (attorney general) by a hair for the quarter, Laslovich raising slightly more overall but Bucy having more cash on hand; and Lindeen, Juneau and McCulloch beating their likely GOP opponents.

Muppets Respond to FoxNews “Brain-Washing Kids” Accusation

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy hit back at Fox News this week during a press conference following the London Premiere of the latest muppet movie. Recall that Fox News had publicly criticized the film for supposedly pushing a ‘dangerous liberal agenda’ at kids.

The topic of muppet brainwashing was debated on FOX’s “Follow the Money,” with a network host and two commentators saying big oil isn’t being treated fairly. Here’s the clip:


Polling Quick Hits

Damage Control

Public Policy Polling came out with a poll a while back that had Tester and Rehberg in a statistical dead heat.  Then, the Republican political front group known as the Montana Chamber of Commerce came out with a poll, which they were forced to release, much to their chagrin, because the poll had Tester leading by five.

The Rehberg campaign needed damage control, so they had the Republican Party get a polling firm to release a poll that showed…guess what?  Rehberg up by 11 points.

The poll, conducted by the firm Public Opinion Strategies for Karl Rove’s secretive organization American Crossroads, shows questionable and uncharacteristic results for the race between Jon Tester and Congressman Dennis Rehberg.

Perhaps the campaign wasn’t aware that a second poll was released today, also conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, has much different results.  It shows the race much closer—well within the margin of error.


Common Ground 

In addition to testing voter opinions of Jon Tester and Dennis Rehberg, the Public Opinion Strategies survey also tested current voter attitudes of Governor Brian Schweitzer, who is one of the most popular Governors in the U.S. (65 percent approve to 24 percent disapprove).

That’s something even Rehberg’s campaign manager Erik Iverson can agree on.  In a television appearance, Rehberg’s campaign manager told Tom Brokaw his opinion of the Governor.  Here’s the clip:



The poll also found that Montana voters across the political spectrum – from Tea Party supporters to those who identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement – think of themselves as conservationists and support preserving Montana’s air, land, water and wildlife to protect the economy, and their way of life. The Montana results are particularly interesting.  In fact:

63% say increasing the use of renewable  energy will create jobs in Montana, and three-quarters (75%) of state voters indicate support for Montana increasing the use of renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal from ten  percent to 25 percent by 2025.

Links to all of the Colorado College, State of the Rockies polls for Montana (and other western states) can be found here.



Further Thoughts about the Jesus Hearing

Many commenters weighed in on my discussion yesterday about Denny Rehberg’s play to get maximum publicity on his idiotic obsession with a Jesus statue. A robust discussion, as always.

A few commenters hit on what I believe are the most salient points: First, the statue isn’t going to be moved anywhere, nor has there ever been any real possibility that it would.   The forest service obviously doesn’t set much store by a silly group from Wisconsin, claiming that the inquisition is upon us because a statue is still standing in the same spot it’s been standing in for the last 60 years. They will take comments from the public, and the most likely adopt status quo.

Second, and more to the point: isn’t there something more important than this statue that Montana’s lone Representative could be working on right now, given that a national recession is at hand?  And even though Denny Rehberg is not the sharpest tool in the shed, doesn’t he see some risk of backlash in spending so much time on an issue like this, given that his reputation is already cemented as a Congressman that has never done anything for Montana except author a bill that re-named a Post Office?

Tea Party Congressman to Hold Hearing on the Fate of Jesus

Rehberg loves Big Mountain JesusWho says Congress doesn’t work on issues that matter to Americans during tough economic times?

Montana congressman Denny Rehberg, co-founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus and Michelle Bachmann’s earliest endorser, has announced that he will hold a hearing this week on a crucial issue: a statue of Jesus at a ski resort.

For the last several months, Rehberg has been all Jesus all the time, obsessed with a small ceramic statue of Christ that sits on the edge of a ski run at Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish, Montana.

There’s been a slew of press releases and a blitz of national TV appearances on shows like “Fox and Friends.”  He put up a Save the Jesus Statue website (constructed with his congressional office funds) and went on a whirlwind Save Jesus tour around Montana, with e-mail action alerts, a “draft legislative solution,”  and robo-calls to thousands of Montana voters, telling them that he is working hard to save Jesus and urging them to support him in this important work. He spent Veterans Day meeting with veterans to tell them that their support for him (Rehberg) in this important cause is crucial.

And now, the grand finale in Rehberg’s heroic effort to prove that he is pro-Jesus: a hearing about the statue, before a Congressional committee, this friday.

The small statue was erected in the 1950s on a piece of National Forest land that abuts the ski area, and the permit has now come up for renewal after six decades.  The Forest Service was notified by an “anti-establishment” group from Wisconsin that if it renewed the permit, it would be in violation of the establishment clause.  The Forest Service has thus considered options, one of which is to simply ignore the Wisconsin group’s threats.  Another option is (gasp) to move the statue a few feet onto private land.  That’s an outrage, says Rehberg.

Rehberg is five points down in his race against Jon Tester for the US Senate, so obviously he believes that a boost in his pro-Jesus street cred is needed to consolidate the evangelical vote.

Also, Tester’s star is very high among veterans, and has been so ever since he took office in 2007 and immediately made vets a centerpiece of his domestic policy.  Of course, Tester focuses not on statues, but on services–health care for veterans, jobs for veterans, loans for veterans, things that matter. Veterans like Tester, a lot.  But Montana Republicans (who after two decades of dominance have been virtually eradicated as statewide officeholders, thanks to Schweitzer, Tester and a resurgent Democratic party) believe that the veteran vote is a GOP birthright that can never be taken from them.

Tester also believes the statue should remain unmolested.  But after making his opinion known, he moved on to doing real work on things that matter, because he understands (unlike Rehberg who is a man-child) that if you are in Congress, you should be acting like an adult.

And guess who is coming to the Big Mountain area in a few weeks? You guessed it. Tim Tebow will be in nearby Kalispell, Montana, to talk at a fundraiser for a Christian School. Tebow is sure to weigh in on the Big Mountain Jesus issue.

After all, what could be more important?