Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Montana GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award Goes to…

Daines Hypocrite Award…Steve Daines, whose speech at the RNC lionized his ancestor as not being “Saved by Government” when that ancestor received a huge government handout in the form of a homestead under a federal program called the Homestead Act.

In his speech to the GOP faithful, Daines told a story about how his great-great-grandmother’s tombstone read “Saved by Grace” and certainly did not read “Saved by Government.” Zing!  Daines became so excited by the story himself he forgot which generation a Montanan he was claiming to be.  5th? 6th? Too exciting to worry about it, I guess.

The faces of the Montana GOPers in the crowd are flush with ecstasy over Daines’ tale of government aid.  As they pump their fists in the air, there is no trace of comprehension of how ridiculous they appear for missing the irony. Instead, one sees only joy and delirium.

It takes a special kind of hypocrite to trumpet government programs in a speech railing against government programs.  And that’s why Steve Daines deserves such a special award.  Get back out there on that yacht and celebrate Mr. Daines.  As you pound down the martinis and coconut shrimp, don’t waste a thought on how today’s GOP would treat your great-great-grandmother, an impoverished, immigrant widow with seven children.

 

Cue the Circus Music

The State Republican Party sent its team of stalwarts to Tampa for the national convention this week. Among the delegates are veritable treasure trove of politicians who have dabbled in — or fully embraced — the wacky views, hypocrisy, and nutty ideas of the 2011 legislature.  If you liked the national scrutiny last session received, you’ll love this crew.

Let’s take a look at who Montana Republicans sent to represent them on the national scene:

Joanne Blyton, birtherFirst, there is Birther Legislator Joanne Blyton of Red Lodge. Rep. Blyton  voted to support Rep. Bob Wagner’s bill in the 2011 session. Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.  

Then, there is state Rep. Ken Peterson of Billings.  Peterson, an attorney, made a name for himself by pointing out a loophole that still allows GOP-ers to prosecute people for being gay–even though the courts have struck down a state law saying that being gay will get you prison time.  The penalty on the books is ten years and a $5o,ooo dollar fine.

Peterson says that gays can still be prosecuted for “recruiting.” Here’s how Peterson describes how “the gay recruitment” process goes down, in his own words:

Here young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts.  You’ll find you’ll like it.

Next there is Tamara “Tammy” Hall of Bozeman.  Hall  is the ultra-angry, ultra right-wing radio commentator in Bozeman who  pens an occasional column for the Bozeman Chronicle and is supposedly a “motivational speaker” for a living.  Hall’s favorite topics include hating on feminists and Governor Schweitzer and loving on Chick-fil-A.

Stephen Zabawa of Billings is the anti-medical marijuana crusader who appeared in the Billings Gazette after his attempts to get in on a share of a medial marijuana business came to light.

Former state legislator Gary Perry of Manhattan will also attend.  This foot soldier in the War on Women sponsored a bill to allow insurance companies to discriminate against women in insurance pricing when he served in the legislature.  He’ll fit right in with this bunch.

 

Cyndi Baker (left) and Rep. Cleve Loney R-Great Falls (right) at a TEA Party Rally in Great FallsRep. Cleve Loney and TEA Party leader Cyndi Baker of Great Falls are there too.   The couple is pictured here.

Baker was a Great Falls City Commission candidate  who campaigned against school district spending, then turned around and sought a district paycheck.

But it’s worse then that, as the Great Falls Tribune reports, Baker tried to threaten the local government for taxpayer funded payola in the form of a position as “ombudsman” to the local TEA Party anti-government activists.   TEA Party Republican state Rep. Cleve Loney is on the left.

 

POLITICO: Pro-Rehberg “Crossroads GPS” Group’s Bankroller also Funds Baucus

The week before last I learned that the Koch brothers are one of Max Baucus’ largest donors.   Today, this item appeared in Politico. It’s a profile on one of the right wing’s biggest backers.

Seems that Las Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn, who has given millions to Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS (the group that is running negative ads against Tester)  is also a major Baucus donor, Politico reports.

Wynn Resorts has also given $350,000 to the Republican Governors Association this election cycle. The RGA is the group that’s running ads against Steve Bullock.   He also gave half a million to the Republican Party’s “Leadership Committee” which focuses on electing Republicans to state legislatures and Tier B races.

 

GOP Conventioneer Looking Forward… to Hurricane

GOP Convention attendee Jim Brown has penned a blog post for the Billings Gazette which notes that he’s looking forward to experiencing the hurricane. Brown makes no mention in his piece of any anticipation for the convention itself.

Jim Brown, the attorney for the Montana Republican Party, said:

 

this will be first time to experience a hurricane. I’m actually looking forward to the experience.

 

I doubt the locals whose families, homes and businesses are at risk are looking forward to the hurricane much at all.  However, I can’t blame him for a lack of excitement over hearing Republican dullards recite speeches day and night.

You can read the rest of Brown’s piece on the Gazette website–complete with spelling and grammatical errors. Brown also chronicles some of the edifying experiences he has already been a part of, such as seeing Karl Rove in baggage claim and learning that some convention events have been cancelled.

Rehberg was Early Supporter of Akin

Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s attempts to distance himself from Missouri Congressman Todd Akin become more difficult today after it was revealed that Rehberg’s own political action committee, BOOT PAC, gave $5,000 to Akin’s Senate campaign in June of last year.  Rehberg had previously benefited from a big media splash when he gave away Akin’s donation to his campaign, but he declined to mention his own donation to Akin.

Here’s a screenshot from Congressman Rehberg’s July 2011 FEC report (Page 10).

Rehberg’s donation to Akin’s campaign came long before Missouri’s recent Senate primary election.  Rehberg choose to donate to Akin but not to the leading GOP candidate in that race, John Brunner, or to Sarah Steelman who had previously been the frontrunner in the primary.

Here’s a transcript from Congressman Rehberg’s appearance on the Laura Ingraham’s conservative talk radio show yesterday, in which Rehberg said what a nice guy he thinks Akin is:

 

DENNIS REHBERG: … I wanted to take the money I received from Todd and give it to the Florence Crittenton Home in Helena for teen pregnancy and babies and such just to show a line of support to that.  And I distanced myself from Todd…

LAURA INGRAHAM: Do you know Akin personally?

REHBERG: Oh yeah. We were freshmen together back in 2001. We were sworn in at the same time.

INGRAHAM: Is he a nice guy?

REHBERG: He’s a very nice guy. He wears his religion on his shoulder. You know—it’s what in his heart. He thinks pro-life.  He is very adamant about his position so, that’s just Todd Akin.

 

Rehberg and Akin also both cosponsored draconian bills in the U.S. House of Representatives restricting women’s health care.

H.R. 358 is the Let Women Die Bill, which I wrote about Rehberg’s support for here.  According to a National Women’s Law Center analysis, the bill “would allow any  hospital to refuse to perform an emergency abortion—even if a woman would die— without running afoul of the federal law designed to prevent individuals from being denied emergency medical treatment,”

H.R. 3, (post here) would prevent the following situations from “counting” as rape: women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, minors impregnated by adults, and women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator for fear of being murdered.

Daines Goes Off Message

TEA Party Republican congressional candidate Steve Daines today was forced to defend his extreme position in favor of forcing women to bear children from rapists.  He did so by telling us that his stance supporting forced births for rape victims is “the same as the National Republican Party platform.”

Some Montana Republican candidates have been falling all over themselves to denounce the comments of Missouri Repub Todd Akin–but not Steve Daines.   Instead, the Billings Gazette reports “Daines spoke only through his campaign manager, saying he ‘strongly disagreed’ with Akin.”

And so, Daines was forced to issue a new statement today. But as Kim Gillan points out, Daines’ position is exactly the same as Akin’s, and thus he presented the compelling defense you see above.

Akin meanwhile has not yet dropped out of the Missouri Senate race, but today he left open the possibility of pulling out. 

“I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen. I don’t know the future,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

TEA Candidate Calls Domestic Violence Laws Unconstitutional ‘because they Discriminate Against Heterosexuals’

Tim BaldwinA Whitefish TEA Party Republican is arguing that laws against domestic violence are unconstitutional.  This is because they discriminate against heterosexuals, Tim Baldwin says.  Baldwin, who hopes to replace Derek Skees in the race for Whitefish’s House District 4, made this argument in court today as the attorney for a man charged with domestic violence.

As the Whitefish Pilot report, Baldwin said,

“The state can no more discriminate against the heterosexual class of persons than it can discriminate against the homosexual class of persons similarly situated,” Baldwin wrote. “Were the [Partner and Family Member Assault laws] to enhance penalties only against homosexual partners, it would be facilely unconstitutional…”

Based on this argument, the Lincoln County justice court judge dismissed the domestic violence charge.  The state of Montana has appealed.

Baldwin and his father Chuck Baldwin are featured in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent Intelligence Report, which focuses on the recent uptick in extremist activity in Kalispell and the Flathead. In the article “A Gathering of Eagles: Extremists Look to Montana” the SPLC details the activities of the various far-right movements and their leaders, including Chuck and Tim Baldwin.

Tim Baldwin took issue with the report on the TEA Party blog PolyMontana, saying that he is not a racist:

“Some of my closest friends are of African descent. The same can be said of Chuck Baldwin.”


A local Republican penned an opinion piece about some of the problems with Baldwin in today’s Bigfork Eagle. The author writes that he doesn’t find Tim Baldwin to have “a moral compass or common sense. This makes his Republican status irrelevant, and I hope it makes him unelectable.”

Baldwin is running against Vietnam War veteran and forestry consultant Ed Lieser.

Standing by their Man

Rick Hill's record is no laughing matter.While the rest of the Republican party was busy putting as much distance as possible between themselves Todd Akin, the Missouri GOP candidate that said if women were  not making up the rape their bodies would “shut down” the pregnancy, Montana Republicans lined up to express their support for his views.

Former Congressman Rick Hill was the first to stand with Todd Akin.  Hill, who clearly has a woman problem, came out  yesterday in support of Akin’s position on forcing rape victims to carry their rapists’ pregnancies to term.  Hill supports it.

As Julianna Crowley, the political leader of the pro-choice movement in Montana, pointed out,  Congressman Rick Hill has a frightening record.

“Former Congressman Rick Hill’s extreme anti-choice record shows just how serious a threat it would be for the women of Montana if he was elected Governor,” Crowley said.

“He has cast 57 votes on reproductive rights while in Congress receiving a zero percent voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America in1998, 1999 and 2000 and a 3% in 1997. Hill co-sponsored the “Right to Life Act” of 1997 and 1999, both of which gave personhood status to a fetus, defining life at the moment of fertilization and, if passed and enacted into law, would have ended legal abortion and ban several of the most common forms of birth control.

Montanans have rejected to qualify a similar personhood measure for our ballot three years in a row. The Hill ticket is too dangerous for Montana women’s health and too extreme to represent this state.”

In a press release, the NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Director points out that Hill’s anti-choice record also includes these gems:

  • Repeatedly voting to deny women in the military – who defend our freedom overseas – and dependents the right to use their own, private funds for abortion care at military hospitals.
  • Repeatedly voting against international family-planning programs.
  • Publicly stating that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Hill’s anti-woman views don’t end with his shocking NARAL voting record.  Hill has publicly stated that he supports repealing Montana’s law prohibiting insurance company discrimination against women.  In Montana, insurance plans must cover  women’s health care needs like birth control, mammograms, and maternity care–just like they cover men’s.  If Hill had his way, insurance rates for women will dramatically increase.  (Hill has made no objection to the fact that insurance companies routinely cover Viagra and male pattern baldness drugs.)

Even Congressman Dennis Rehberg who totally  missed the point of why Rep. Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape,” were repulsive, at least made a futile attempt to address the controversy.

Republican Attorney General Candidate Tim Fox on the other hand has spent his political career dodging the issue altogether.

In a Yellowstone Public Radio interview from 2008, Fox was asked by a caller whether he opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. In one of the most remarkable acts of dodging a question ever, Fox said that it was important for candidate to be clear on their stances on issues such as this, right before avoiding the question.

 

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

Host: Carl’s on the line and I understand he wants to talk about abortion. Hello, Carl?

CALLER: Hello, Mr. Fox, I heard you say that you are 100% pro-life. Does that mean that you are opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest?

Tim Fox: You know I have made it clear on the campaign trail that I am…ah…pro-life and I believe that life begins at conception and I think it’s important for candidates to be clear on their stances on those kind of issues of the day. But I also think it’s important to know and understand that the Attorney General doesn’t make law, the Attorney General enforces law. And certainly whenever the legislature for instance enacts a new law whether it leans one way or the other on, say, the abortion issue the Attorney General is charged with the responsibility of enforcing that law and defending that law and I would do that as Attorney General, irrespective of my values or political philosophies.

So, I, think this is an important issue to Montanans, and that’s why I’ve made sure that people know where I stand ad certainly we need to make sure that the dialogue continues in Montana on this issue and I would certainly be a part of that.

The GOP’s cowardly lion, Steve Daines, is taking the extreme position but seems to be hoping to hide it.  His spokesman told Montanans that Daines  “disagreed” with the remarks.  At the same time Daines reinforced his agreement with the policy, saying he “opposed to abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is at risk.” In other words, he is in support of making rape victims keep the rape-induced pregnancy.  Daines is still accepting cash from groups that are standing with Akin.

Also of note, today the Republican National Committee’s platform committee firmly stated their support of Rep. Akin when they tentatively put in their platform language against abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.