Monthly Archives: May 2012

GUEST POST: How Democrats Will Win the US House Race in November

[Note: The following is a guest post by Rob Stutz who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Montana's congressional seat.  If you're interested in writing a guest post, email me on the tipline. --Cowgirl]

Steve Daines has reason to be concerned.

Brian Schweitzer won his Governor’s elections without taking PAC money. Jon Tester won his US Senate election by standing up for Montana values, including the values in our Constitution. My campaign for Montana’s lone US House seat is based on the strategies of the successful Schweitzer and Tester campaigns.

I don’t take PAC money. I don’t sign pledges for special interest groups. I stand up for Montana values and our Constitution. This is what Montanans want. This is what works. Schweitzer won, Tester won, and the Montana Constitution was reaffirmed in 2010.

My campaign has less money, but let’s be honest: Daines will have more money no matter who Democrats nominate for the US House race. Daines wants to buy this election. He is running a politics-as-usual campaign, squeezing every last dime from PACs and his rich friends. Montanans are tired of it and, given the choice with an open US House seat, will choose a different approach.

The predictable approach has not worked for Democrats in the US House race. Pat Williams last won 18 years ago. The kids born that year are voting for the first time this year. If Democrats run a predictable race against a predictable candidate the results are likely to be predictable.

I offer voters the choice to take a different approach. Historically, Montanans like having that choice. Rankin and Mansfield come to mind, neither having held elected office before we sent them to Congress. Too long ago? Schweitzer, Bullock, and Juneau come to mind as current statewide elected officials who never previously held elected office. Voters know when politics-as-usual isn’t working. Offer them a clear choice – no to the PACs, no to the pledges, yes to the people – and they will try the different approach.

Montanans want a candidate who puts people first. I show them. If it doesn’t breathe, I don’t take its money. I don’t pledge away the independence needed to cut through the gridlock in Congress. I champion the values in the Montana Constitution – privacy, public education, clean and healthful environment, equality of opportunity, open government, hunting and fishing heritage, American Indian heritage, and more. I listen when Montanans speak by voting on the Constitution and on citizens initiatives. Across the political spectrum, this is the message that the people of Montana want to hear and are ready to support.

It is better going into the November campaign to know that message, not money, is our strength. Turn the message up loud, fire up the grassroots, expose Daines for the wannabe career politician that he is – my “Trouble with the Truth” series is a good place to start – and give voters a clear choice.

That is how Democrats will win the US House Race in November. And, that is why Steve Daines has reason to be concerned that Stutz for Congress keeps chugging along, picking up momentum heading into the June 5 primary.

 

The Montana GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award Goes To…

Janna Taylor…TEA Party Republican Rep. Janna Taylor has passed the official GOP legislator’s fit for duty exam. (No, a drug test was not involved.) Taylor says that what’s wrong for everybody else is very very right for her.

I’m talking of course about government money.  Rep. Taylor is the number one recipient of government farm subsidy cash in the Montana Legislature.  In fact, 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 recently released figures.

But her campaign has a good defense.  It goes something like this: “Well somebody had to take the money–the government keeps advertising it.” Principles to live by.

In a letter to the editor in the Missoulian recently, Taylor writes:

“Interestingly, as we try to remove land from the CRP, the federal government is advertising for more to be put in. The other programs are set up to decrease food costs for the public.”

Taylor’s been on the dole to the tune of a 100 grand annually for the last decade.  Do we expect her to let that kind of cash fall off the money tree, hit the ground, and rot?

In the past, Taylor had written to voters that government spending concerned her because she was “worried about the debt we leave our children.”  But in her most recent missive, she’s just worried about getting the government cash for her own son:

“Now our son, a fourth-generation farmer, is working to keep us in agriculture. That’s not easy when our property taxes over there are over $28,000 yearly, workers’ comp, payroll, seed, fertilizer, fuel and the list of costs goes on and on. We pray he succeeds. Agriculture is the backbone of America.”

And hypocrisy is the backbone of the Montana Republican Party.  Pat yourself on the back Rep. Taylor. You’ve wowed us once again.

High School Students Easily Best School Administrators in Smarts Department

Kudos to Montana educators are in order after a group of Kalispell high school students easily demonstrated they had a superior understanding of the U.S. Constitution than school administrators.

At issue is the attempt by Flathead High School school administrators  to force a student to change her t-shirt saying, “Legalize Gay,” or go home.  Her fellow students organized a protest.   They got other students to wear t-shirts with the same “Legalize Gay” message.  Other students scarily made their own message t-shirts.

Perhaps school administrators were afraid because the bosses at the Montana Republican party re-adopted an official position at their most recent platform convention in support of making gay people “illegal.”  Why none of them were able to figure out that the Montana Supreme Court struck down laws that made it illegal to be gay in 1997 is unknown.

The school had tried to claim the shirts were the equivalent of “advertising pornography” and therefore that they had the right to ask the student to take off the shirt.  I guess the school administrators didn’t realize that Constitutional rights apply to all American citizens–including students. As the ACLU reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students could wear black armbands to school in protest of the Vietnam War. “Schools,” wrote Justice Abe Fortas, “may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. Students and teachers do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of expression at the schoolhouse gates.”

More recently, a federal judge in Florida ruled in favor of students in a case very similar to the situation in Kalispell. In that case, the principal of Ponce de Leon High School testified that he believed clothing or stickers featuring rainbows would make students automatically picture gay people having sex, and banned the wearing of any clothing with rainbows on it or any other show of support for gay people.

 

Attempted Bigamy

Neil Liviginstone, a.k.a. the Wannabe Most Interesting Man in the World, can often be found among the Helena Republican establishmenti with a woman on his arm whom he alternately introduces to everyone as his fiance and his wife. Her name is Cythia Tsai.

There’s only one problem.  Livingstone’s wife is Susan Livingstone.  Ms. Tsai is in fact his fiance.  The Livingstones are still married but are apparently in the process of estrangement, as this legal document indicates [PDF].

Livingstone has made little effort to disabuse anyone of the notion that he and Tsai are married.  Here is a screenshot of the photo from a Montana Public Radio profile describing her as his wife.  The caption on the current version of the story has since been updated to read “fiance.”

And several pro-Livingstone commenters on this blog have also referred to her as his wife.    Tsai is Livingstone’s Vice President at his Washington DC think tank, so Livingstone is going the Baucus route for sure.

Anyway, fiance it is.  We wish the happy threesome well.

More importantly,  this reminds me of a similar and hilarious item from a few years ago, when Dave Berg, a right-wing radio shock-jock from Billings, was revealed to have been married to two women at once.  Here is the the hilarious transcript from the day he was busted:

Interesting Berg in the Morning Call Today:
Berg: I’ve got Lisa on our Helena line. Lisa has been hangin’ on so patiently there. Lisa are you there?
Caller: I’m here. Thank you.
Berg: Thank you very much for your call.
Caller: Yeah, I have a question about education. I’m wondering. I saw something on the internet about you, Dave Berg, and your involvement with bigamy. And I just want to know what kind of message you think that sends our kids when you’re married to two women at the same time.
Berg: I am married to two women at the same time?
Caller: According to the website (Berg laughs) you had two wives from the period of July 13, 1998 to July 15, 1999.
Berg: That’s news to me. Ha ha ha.
Berg: Who the? Whose?
Caller: Apparently your name, apparently your real name is Dave Fullwiler.
Berg: Whose? Whose website?
Caller: You wrote the book called “The Gripes of Wrath”
Berg: Whose, uh whose, whose website is that you’re taking it from?
Caller: This is on several websites. It’s all over the blogs across Montana.

Berg: My goodness, I want to see a copy of that. Thank you very much.
Caller: I would go to leftinthewest.com if I were you and check it out.  There’s a ton of comments. People are really upset about it.
Caller: I’m going to be going to be calling advertisers of this station and letting them know that this is supposed to be a family values show. I mean, you talk about family values. What are you doing? This is unacceptable.
Berg: I would agree with you. I thank you very much Lisa for your call. I better check into that.
Berg: I better check into that.
Roy Brown: We need an education on that.
Berg: We certainly do.
Dave Rye: You’re listening to the family friendly and alcohol free–at least until he get’s off the air–Berg in the Morning. That’s a 60 second trip
across Montana. I’m Dave Ray.Northern News Network.
Bob Keenan: And one other thing David, if it was on the internet and it was on a blog site it must be true, Right?
Berg: Oh ho ho. Right, Absolutely. It’s in print, so it’s true.

Berg, who was so right-wing that he made Aaron Flint look like Bernie Sanders, later admitted being married to two women at once.  After his past was revealed, it wasn’t long before he disappeared from the air.

GOP Candidate is Convicted Felon

We Democrats can be proud of our candidates.  The Republicans, not so much.  The man pictured here is Ronald Lassle, the sole Republican candidate for the Montana Legislature in Helena’s House District 81.

An article on this race in the Helena IR mentioned that the TEA Party Republican candidate is a recipient of government assistance–but not that the GOPer is a convicted felon.  The TEA Party opposes government assistance but has not taken a position against felons in office. The Montana GOP’s position on the practice is unknown. However, Lassle said of his recruitment in the IR that:

“he was urged to file for the HD 81 seat and said, “I’m very much a Republican.”

Lassle was sentenced to ten years for forgery, theft, and bad checks, according to the Department of Corrections Correctional Offender Network Search.  He is currently on parole. While some states have made it illegal for a person to run for office as a felon, the practice appears to be legal in Montana.  Lassle had been running in the GOP primary for Governor but later switched to running for the legislative seat.  Perhaps he noticed that there were already several candidates in that race to appeal to the GOP’s seamier side.

Lassle will face Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh-D, who currently holds the seat.  Lassle’s former gubernatorial running mate Mark Diaz is now running against Democratic Rep. Chuck Hunter for Helena’s House District 79.  Oddly, Diaz lists Godisforus.ning.com as his candidate website.

 

Candidate Blasts Out-of-State Money in Attorney General Primary

It isn’t just Democrats that are following where the out-of-state money is flowing the in the AG primaries.  Sen. Jim Shockley, who is campaigning to be the GOP nominee for AG, is speaking out against the out-of-state corporate funders at the Republican State Leadership Committee. The RSLC is spending $108,217 to support Shockley’s opponent Tim Fox in the GOP primary for the state’s attorney general.  Shockley has and Op-ed and a radio ad out.  In the opinion piece, he writes:

I believe that the attorney general’s race should be decided by Montana voters with contributions from individuals. Let us tell out-of-state corporations that their money cannot buy a Montana election.

Click here to hear the radio ad: Jim Shockley – out of state money ad.

 

This Week’s Worst Political Ad

This week’s worst political ad is brought to us by none other than the Neil Livingstone for Governor campaign.

It starts with Neil Livingstone posing near a horse corral with “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” whistling to the TEA Party in the background. Livingstone doesn’t introduce himself, even though no one has even heard of him in Montana.  Instead,  Neil gives us his most important policy proposal: “introducing grey wolves into New York’s Central Park.”

After beginning with such a serious and credible opener, the ad then shifts.  Livingstone pops up into the opium-den like gloominess of a Ben Quayle ad from 2010. Quayle’s was widely mocked as one of the year’s worst. Strangely, Livingstone has also chosen to portray himself in the second half of the ad with only one arm.

Livingstone says he wants to push back against the federal government–with a creepy over emphasis on a pushback that is “HARD.”

While Quayle’s ad says he wants to go to Washington to “kick the Hell out of the place,” Livingstone simply says he wants to “tell the Feds to go to hell.”   Here’s the ad:

 

Women’s Group Issues “Douchebag Decree” to UM Vice President

The nonprofit pop culture watchdog organization Bitch Media today issued an official “Ye Old Douchebag Decree” to Jim Foley, calling him “Vice President of Victim Blaming, the University of Montana.”

Jim Foley more than earns a Douchebag Decree for his actions surrounding the sexual allegations in Missoula. Instead of taking these terribly sad circumstances as an opportunity to stand with survivors and hold those responsible accountable, he furthered the injustice.

The author argues that when it comes to rape, “we should all be willing to call out anyone who is complicit in the tolerance of sexual assault—both perpetrators and those who revictimize and blame survivors. This means you, Jim Foley. Douchebag.”

Bitch Media works to point out the insidious, everyday sexism of popular culture, propose alternatives, and celebrate pro-woman, pro-feminism pop culture products instead.

Guinness Records Declares Dennis Rehberg “Greatest Living Hypocrite”

The Guinness Book of World Records today has declared a Montana Congressman the “Greatest Living Hypocrite.”  The achievement is a testament to the old adage that persistence pays off.

To forever cement his world class hypocrisy status, Rehberg showed up this morning at an event honoring senior volunteers–after an attempt to eliminate the senior volunteer program’s funding just last year.

Rehberg boldly appeared at the Rocky Mountain Development Center in Helena to say he got “a great deal of pleasure” out of seeing the programs he tried to eliminate in action.

The Retired and Volunteer Service Program, the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program make up what is known as the Senior Corps. The Montana Senior Corp matches the experience, skills, and talents of seniors with community needs.

After he failed to eliminate the program’s funding entirely, Rehberg later proposed more cuts to the Senior Volunteer Corps, citing the need to cut “wasteful” programs and move funds “for programs that actually help people and families.”

The Guinness adjudicator who carefully followed Rehberg’s attempt reviewed hundreds of hours of footage, clippings, and political pablum before announcing the designation as official.  “Dennis Rehberg has earned this award hands down. We’ve never seen anything like it.”