Montana Dems Need Dinner with Hillary, Bernie

The 2008 Mansfield Metcalf Dinner in Butte featured presidential candidates Clinton and Obama.


That was Hillary Clinton’s lead in October in Montana, at least according to an MSUB poll of Montana democratic primary voters. By now the race must be tightened considerably. Hopefully an organization will poll soon to see what the race looks like.

Which leads me to the topic of the guest speaker for our upcoming Mansfield-Metcalf dinner.

I received word recently that the guest speaker for Mansfield Metcalf dinner, the annual Democratic banquet, is going to be Tammy Baldwin, a US Senator from Wisconsin and the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.

I love Baldwin. And you can see why Wisconsinites love her. (Think what it would mean in Montana if we had sent a leader like Christine Kaufmann to the U.S. senate instead of Steve Daines in 2012.) She’s a star, a progressive, and it’s a nice provocative choice to highlight the contrasts in the undercurrent of the 2016 race in Montana. That’s true for both the Governor’s race, in which a hard-right conservative is running partially on an anti LGBT platform (and calling it “religion”), and for the Congressional race in which Denise Juneau will be running as the first openly gay statewide candidate.

Gianforte has had to duck and run on the issue of discrimination. It shows how far we’ve come that he is fearful of the label that he is hateful. That would never happened even ten years ago, when no Montana statewide Democratic office holders (nor the President, for that matter), liked to admit they supported marriage equality, or at least didn’t relish doing so. In those days, a GOP candidate would have worn her or his anti-gay bigotry on her or his sleeve, and would have tried to get votes from it.

But back to the Mansfield-Metcalf dinner: In 2008, the invited guests were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, joint guest speakers, and they both attended. It was a great occasion. The dinner was in April, even though the primary would not be held for another two months. I’m wondering if perhaps the Democratic party this year should consider the possibility that such a competition could still be in the offing. Whether the invitation could be delayed, so that we can extend one to the two candidates if and when it appears that Montana’s late primary in June might still matter, just as it mattered in 2008?

Right now, I have trouble believing that this race will be sown up any time soon. Sanders has honed his message to a sharp knife, and he is showing himself to be a very skilled politician. Clinton is no slouch, but she faces a constant barrage of right-wing attacks, and seems to be struggling to provide as clear a purpose to her candidacy. That will change perhaps, but from the smell and look of the race, I see a long battle. That’s a good thing, just as it was in 2008.  And if the race is still hot in the early spring, Mansfield guests will demand, and deserve to hear from the candidates directly.


10 Comments on "Montana Dems Need Dinner with Hillary, Bernie"

  1. “Clinton is no slouch, but she faces a constant barrage of right-wing attacks.”

    Bernie will also face a “constant barrage of right-wing attacks” as soon as the right starts thinking he’s a serious candidate. The question is how well will Bernie respond.

    I like your idea to invite them both to dinner.

  2. 2008 was great for Montana. Both Clinton and Obama visited the state numerous times — a rare occurrence for Presidential candidates. As the primary race tightens, it could happen again.

  3. May I please be allowed to weigh in for Bernie. I’m tired of hearing from Democrats that Hillary is a better candidate than Bernie because of her foreign relations experience. Here’s a letter the editor I wrote this week:

    Many of my Democratic friends claim that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Bernie Sanders because of her foreign relations experience.
    They’re probably referring to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. If they looked more closely at what she actually did as SOS, though, I doubt they’d be so enthusiastic about her.
    As secretary of state, Clinton spent a lot of her time making deals with foreign countries (like Saudi Arabia) to buy weapons systems from American companies (like Boeing). This wouldn’t be a problem except that she routinely extracted sizable donations to the Clinton Foundation from all parties involved in these deals (e.g., $900,000 from Boeing).
    According to liberal columnist David Sirota, “Governments and corporations involved in arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records.”
    In other words, she used her office to enrich both her foundation and her family. It’s unclear precisely what the financial arrangement between the Clinton Foundation and the family is, but the foundation is currently on Charity Navigator’s “watch list” because of its accounting irregularities.
    While profiting from arms sales as SOS, Hillary Clinton was one of the most hawkish members of the Obama administration. She eagerly supported the failed “surge” in Afghanistan and the intervention in Libya’s civil war that created chaos and opened the door to ISIS. Of course, being a militarist and benefiting from arms sales go hand in glove.
    Everyone knows about Hillary Clinton’s appetite for Wall Street bribes (masquerading as “speaking fees”), but greed and hawkishness in a future president are especially troubling.

  4. The first line of your last paragraph contains the phrase “sown up.” I’m sure you meant “sewn” up. To sow is to plant seeds. To sew is to stitch something together. I often find grammatical mistakes in this blog and since I’m interested in the content and the point of view, I just wish it were a bit more accurate and precise in grammar. Grammatical mistakes may make somebody wonder whether the facts you offer are more accurate than the grammar is. I think you need a proof reader. After all, you don’t want to appear to have as low an opinion of our intelligence as Gianforte seems to have.

    • or keep a weather-eye on the spell check-I often find it has “corrected” my spelling like this w/out my noticing. Of course this time I noticed it trying to give me a whether-eye and fixed it…

  5. What a wonderful idea!

  6. Oh, and I love the dinner idea. To my fellow Bernie Boosters-remember how vital SCOTUS makes it to vote Blue, no matter who! Let’s leave the circular firing squad to the GOP. We can tell folks why his ideas are the ones we need w/out denigrating other candidates-let’s concentrate on what we WILL DO with Bernie leading the way and focus positive energy on our side, regardless of who wins the primary. In another time I would love Hillary in the White House but right now we need a total overhaul of our economy and electoral process and Bernie is the man to lead it.

    • And if you’re not happy about a President Clinton or a President Sanders, say President Cruz a few times to put things in perspective.

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