How cool is this? For the first time in Montana, voters can access voter information and track their ballots online.
Montana ballots were mailed out yesterday. If you vote by mail, you can now check to make sure your ballot arrives and is counted. Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s new website, launched this week, also tells you your precinct location and polling place in case you’re someone who wants the fun of voting in person on Election Day. The service can be found at https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo. All you have to do is type in your name, birth date and house number to access the information.
I’m guessing this will come in really handy for those making GOTV (get out the vote) calls to help voters find out where they need to go and what they need to do – there is even a map to the polling place right there at your fingertips.
The site also tells you your state Senate district, House district, precinct and precinct location.
Speaking of Secretary McCulloch’s neat tech advancements, now would be a good time to sign up for her twitter updates, so that you’ll be the one with the latest scoop on election night, while everyone else is crowded around a laptop that won’t load or waiting for the TV news to come on, you’ll have the scoop. (Your friends will be jealous.) Go to http://twitter.com/sosmcculloch to follow Linda.
A “whiff’’ is one of golf’s most embarrassing things: When a player takes her swing and fails to even make contact with the ball.
It’s the perfect way to describe Rehberg’s claim in this Sunday’s Great Falls Tribune that he is working to reign in spending and reduce the deficit. Republicans have been saying they would do this for 30 years, but have they ever done it? No.
A former adviser to President Ronald Reagan, David Stockman would know. As he told NPR just last week:
When I was in the White House in the Budget Office in the early ’80s, we had the deficit breakout, 100 billion or 200 billion. Admittedly, the economy was smaller then, but it was still 4 or 5 percent of GDP.
Here we are today with a deficit that’s 10 percent of GDP, and it doesn’t look like there’s any prospect that it’s going to decline at anytime soon – or any willingness to even acknowledge the problem and address it.
Stockman said Republicans “can’t get the job done” and that their so-called pledge to America is “a big lie”
“[If] you’re exempting two-thirds of the budget and you’re focusing only on non-defense discretionary, which actually is only about 500 billion or 15 percent of the budget, it’s pretty obvious you can’t get the job done.”
UPDATE: The Beaverhead County Dems have the latest feature article on Rehberg’s opponent from the Montana Standard up on their site. It outlines Mr. McDonald’s positions on a variety of issues and shows him to be a good deal more progressive than some have tried to claim.
…Dennis Rehberg, GOP incumbent to the U.S. House, who is pictured here cutting the ribbon this week for a Montana road project near Alzada that is being paid for using with the Recovery Act that Rehberg voted against, calling it “failed spending” and a “boondoggle,” among other things. (Is he…no…grabbing the ribbon cutting scissors from Conrad Burns?)
Yet Rehberg raced to eastern Montana to take credit for a major project there funded by the Recovery Act, something he has done several times before. The project will invest around $8.6 million into the highway and local economy, no thanks to Rehberg. As a spokesman for the Montana Democratic Party said:
Rehberg showing up at this event is the very definition of a poseur and is akin to lying to the people of Montana.
Hmmm… saying one thing and then doing another? I’m pretty sure there’s a word for that. Oh, yeah. There’s an award for it too. Congrats, Denny Rehberg, you’re the Montana Cowgirl Blog’s GOP Hypocrite of the Week.
Though this is the first time we have given Rehberg an award, it is just one small example of Congressman Rehberg stomping on the fingers of rural Montana and our small business economy as he continually climbs the ladder to wealth and power, screaming about his own importance all the way.
UPDATE: It gets worse.
To see a list of past award winners, click here.
It looks like Montana’s sole Representative in the U.S. Congress, Dennis Rehberg’s proposals to reduce the deficit by permanently cutting taxes for all income, regardless of whether the person is a billionaire or makes $35,000 a year, will actually increase the national deficit by an additional $700 billion through the year 2020, according to fiscal analysts.
In an extensive story in this Sunday’s September 19, 2010 Great Falls Tribune, entitled ”Roots of U.S. debt run deep and parties are miles apart on what should be done,” mysteriously not available online, reporters Maureen Groppe and Ledyard King of the Tribune Washington Bureau report that Rehberg claims that:
[I]t’s dishonest to say that cutting taxes has the same impact on the debt as increasing spending.
But according to a study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Rehberg is wrong.
Looking at just the effects of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, the CBO at the time concluded that they would initially help the economy but would have a negative effect in the long term because of the impact on the deficit.
It gets worse. The article goes on to explain that the largest 10-year increase in the deficit came from tax cuts passed under Rehberg’s watch,
…which added about $1.7 trillion to the deficit, according to the Congressional Research Service. Legislation passed in fiscal year 2009, including the financial bailout passed in late 2008 and the stimulus package passed in 2009 increased the deficit by$509 billion compared with a $903 billion increase caused by tax cuts and spending programs enacted from 2001-2008.
Also under Rehberg’s tenure.
Tea baggers are again in the news. The oddball, misspelled, and sometimes bigoted actions of these types probably make for higher ratings for the news outlets–and I do believe that people should know about these extremists.
But the best kept secret of 2010 is that this is an election year.
The looming election is still largely being ignored by the Helena IR. Not only are the pages of the newspaper of Montana’s capitol city lacking in election coverage, but the fact that we’re in an election cycle is largely absent from the IR’s reporting as the context in which other events occur. With the election less than 45 days away, what are Montana newspapers reporting on? Stolen garden gnomes. Congratulations. You guys only missed this reporting fad by about 8 years.
For an example of how elections shape the context of other events, let’s look at the story linked to above about the Tea Party rally on the capitol steps.
Were there any candidates present? If not, why did they stay away?
Why not mention that the first Tea Partier quoted was herself an unsuccessful candidate for school board? It is important context, especially since her quote is about “having an agenda.” Might she not have an agenda of her own? Might her statements be seen in different light given that she wasn’t chosen by Helena voters to make these decisions? Might readers want to know that this loss was a reason she has to be critical of the current school board? Why did the Tea Party schedule a separate rally for the very next day?
This certainly isn’t the only problem with the Helena IR’s “journalism” as Pogie points out here.
As the Great Falls Tribune opinion page writes today, the increase in early vote-by-mail voters means people need more election coverage earlier in the election cycle. Let’s hope other news agencies get the message.
Remember back a long, long time ago, before the TEA party to the year 2007, when Rehberg had full control of the Montana Republican Party and exercised that control as needed to keep the fringe ideological elements in check?
He needed only have a staffer make a phone call and a legislator would pull a bill from the legislative process, halting its introduction altogether, as you can read in Dave Lewis’s statement here, at Pogie’s place: Rehberg’s staff has Lewis halt a bill that would be an embarassment for all Republican candidates in Montana and a harm to their electoral chances. Says Lewis:
At that point, one of Congressman Rehberg’s staff asked that I not introduce it because he felt it be awkward for the Congressman if we passed it.
Flash forward to today’s TEA Party dominated Montana GOP where Congressman Rehberg says of himself:
“Some people say you are the leader of the Republican Party, no we don’t have that in the Republican party…If I was to try to project myself as their leader, they would react to that very poorly as well.”
Remind anyone of the “I’m not the leader of the Tea Party, and there is not one” refrain that is passed around whenever they TEA Party does something odd or untoward?
Rehberg makes this statement in a Youtube video posted here of his statements explaining why he had no control to stop fringe ideological resolutions at the last GOP Platform Convention in 2010, such as the one calling for the jailing of LGBT Montanans and the birther resolution calling for a law that all Montana candidates produce a birth certificate so we don’t get any more Kkkenyan Socialists elected to office. These were passed after the TEA Partiers exerted their influence over the GOP platform at its Convention and passed several resolutions out side the mainstream viewpoints of Montana voters. Too bad Rehberg didn’t have a staffer (or himself) at the Republican Platform convention to tell them it might be embarrassing to the Congressman and Republicans and harmful to their electoral chances this plank passed…Oh wait he was and so were his staffers. Too bad for them that they no longer have the power to do anything about it.
Solid catch today from reporter Sepp Jannotta of the Ravalli Republic, who reports on Rehberg’s joke about…wait for it…shooting the President of the United States:
“If Obama is president, maybe you need to spend more time developing a gun lock, a trigger lock,” Rehberg said with a chuckle, sitting across a lunchroom table from the Joneses in a suede jacket emblazoned with the U.S. government seal.
Rehberg’s Congressional opponent Dennis McDonald immediately called on Rehberg to apologize. In a press release dated September 9, 2010, McDonald wrote:
“On the eve of the anniversary of one of the most horrific acts of terrorism America has ever witnessed, Congressman Rehberg has hit a new level of irresponsibility by making light of threats to the life of the President of the United States.”
Read about Rehberg’s furious backpedalling on Talking Points Memo.
The day after Big Sky Tea Party tried to distance itself in the press from the remarks of its former leader Tim Ravndal by removing him as leader, Tea Party members convinced the board to reconsider the decisions, the Helena IR reports:
At a frequently contentious meeting, many of the approximately 30 members in attendence blasted acting board chairman Roger Nummerdor and chairman Jim Walker — absent because he’s hunting in the Crazy Moutains — for stripping Ravndal of his position and membership without giving him a chance to defend himself, and for announcing the move to the press over the Labor Day weekend.
In the end, Nummerdor said the available board members would meet soon to consider reinstating Ravndal’s association membership, although he did not specify a date for that meeting.
There can no longer be any doubt about who these people are, and what they stand for.
And yet the Montana GOP and its legislative candidates continue to be strong supporters of the tea party in Montana. Are we to take their continued solidarity as tacit support for violent bigotry? The silence is deafening.
Even Rehberg, who is facing his first real opponent in a decade and who expressed support for the ousting of Ravndal, remained supportive of the Tea Party overall saying the movement was “bigger than one person”, in spite, apparently, of the membership’s call and the board’s decision to reconsider the Ravndal dismissal.
Here’s the thing Denny. The movement is more than one person, and so is the support for violence against gays.
UPDATE: The Beaverhead County Dems have a great summary of the history of Rehberg’s homophobic behavior.
Speaking of debates and those who don’t want to have them, meet Denny “I refuse to have a real debate of the issues after I lost so badly last time” Rehberg. What does a five-term member of Congress have to be afraid of? Is the thought of defending your record in front of an audience that isn’t packed with your robo-called supporters that scary?
I guess that like Jan Brewer, Dennis Rehberg doesn’t want to face a sharp, committed opponent, who will aggressively challenge him. Much safer to stick to approved talking points about nonsense political matters such as tweets and that “America Speaking Out” thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with his job. This way he can communicate his talking points on his terms without having to face any questions about his conflicting actions.
Oh wait, perhaps that’s not so safe either, given that his words and actions don’t match up. But since we can’t call him on it, what does he care.