Helena legislative candidate Jenny Eck has a campaign ad on air. Eck is the Democratic candidate for House District 82, which includes much of Helena’s west side. The seat is currently held by Rep. Mike Menahan (D), who is not running for re-election. It’s worth noting with all the web-only video we’ve seen this cycle that the ad is actually on broadcast and cable stations. Here it is:
Mike Milburn, Speaker of the House, is taking aim at Brian Schweitzer’s idea for health clinics for state employees in locations across Montana.
As described recently in the news, employee clinics would save taxpayers millions per year by reducing the cost of the health care plan for the state workforce. Doctors at the clinic would be on salary and would make decisions in the interest of their patients, rather than being motivated by profit and running up the tab by performing unnecessary tests and and procedures, which currently all get billed to taxpayers.
As reported in Fortune Magazine (an article that Milburn might consider reading), such clinics are increasingly becoming a feature of large, successful corporations, such as Boeing, Google and Intel.
Nearly a quarter of the 588 large companies surveyed by Towers Watson this year already have on-site medical clinics for both factory and office workers, and [in 2012] another 12% of those corporations will open new clinics for employees.
Thus has Schweitzer attempted to bring a private sector strategy into government. And so Milburn, in trying to block this effort, has inexplicably and suddenly abandoned the GOP mantra that government ought to be run like a business.
Then again, it is understandable that Milburn is looking for a fight to pick. These are his last months as Speaker; he decided not seek a new term in the legislature, and so he has only seven and a half months left to try to rescue his legacy. As it now stands, he will be forever remembered as the author of the infamous 2011 legislative session, which resembled a four-month-long prison riot, a total humiliation for Milburn and the GOP.
And Milburn appears to be working the phones now, calling members of the Tea Party faction to whip up support for a special session, laughably for the stated purpose of trying to impeach Schweitzer over bison management as well as healthcare.
A GOP wing-nut special session during an election year, a la 2011? That would prove, definitively, that God is a Democrat.
I received the following chart today, which gives the results of a recently completed survey of voters in ten states. It was commissioned by a consortium of groups, including the Montana Policy Institute, a conservative group based in Bozeman. The poll says that 83% of Montanans believe that state government is being run efficiently, and 55% believe Montana’s economy is on the right track. Montana leads the other states in both categories.
Might I remind everyone that these attitudes about the efficacy of state government are coming at a time when the entire executive branch of Montana is controlled by Democrats?
Two questions were asked: 1) Do you believe that the economy in your state is headed in the right direction or wrong direction? 2) Do you believe your state government is being run efficiently or inefficiently? Here are the ten state results. Montana is highest in both categories, by a mile.
|STATE ECONOMY HEADED
IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?
|FL||27% YES||63% NO||47% YES||51% NO|
|IL||23% YES||74% NO||23% YES||76% NO|
|IN||28% YES||53% NO||77% YES||16% NO|
|MI||23% YES||56% NO||41% YES||53% NO|
|NY||26% YES||58% NO||62% YES||37% NO|
|MT||55% YES||37% NO||83% YES||17% NO|
|NC||18% YES||70% NO||55% YES||39% NO|
|OH||20% YES||71% NO||49% YES||42% NO|
|PA||29% YES||62% NO||45% YES||53% NO|
|WI||39% YES||51% NO||57% YES||37% NO|
Almost nothing in politics ever polls at 83%. If a politician jumped into an icy river to save a grandma from drowning, and voters were asked if they approve or disapprove of her actions, it would probably poll only 80-20. So the 83% percent number is really astounding. Alas, all of this is terrible news for the Montana Tea Party and the GOP. Montana Teabaggers and Republicans spend their days frothing and foaming and ranting and raving, blurting out lies to crowds filled with angry imbeciles, about how state Government is spending too much money, taxing too much, and regulating too much. None of this information appears to be working. These lies are not affecting voters. Voters like what they are seeing. So Montana Democrats must now take these poll results, and stuff them down the throats, and up the asses, of their right-wing critics, to victory in 2012.
Slate magazine yesterday posted their own version of the list of problems that will handicap Democrats in today’s elections, among the top:
Max Baucus. Health care might not have happened without Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Then again, it might have happened a lot faster. Over the course of four months in 2009, Baucus made one compromise after another—scrapping the public option, killing the employer mandate—in order to attract Republican votes that never materialized. That gave Republicans time to demagogue the bill and ate up valuable time on the congressional calendar—time that could have been used to pass legislation like immigration reform or an energy bill (which, of course, would probably have hurt Democrats, too).
It is no secret that the phenomena is having an effect in Montana too. Montana Republicans’ number one attack on local Dems is to compare them to Democrats in Washington. Obama and the Washington Dems have offered very little in the way of persuasive rhetoric in defense of the big ticket items like health-care, stimulus and bailout, as I’ve already written about here.
What better way to gage an individual’s commitment to public service than by looking to those who have given us their time away from their lives and families and honored our country through military service. Here are two Democratic candidates for the state legislature who have proven their willingness to serve.
Terry Moran worked as a nurse in the U.S. military at the U.S. led multi-national clinic at the NATO headquarters in Belgium. Her husband was a Major in the US Army Medical Corps. He worked as a family doctor while she worked as a nurse at the U.S. led multi-national clinic at the NATO headquarters. Terry is the Democratic candidate from Hamilton and is running for Ravalli County’s House District 88. Her opponents are Republican Ron Ehli of Hamilton and Libertarian James Morris Pearson of Darby. Currently, the citizens of Ravalli County have no women representing them in the Montana Legislature.
John Fleming teaches middle school social studies and driver education. He is also a rancher and a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Army. When asked by the Missoulian what the first piece of legislation he would seek to pass this session, Fleming demonstrated he understands the concerns of the people in the district:
From talking to my constituents, it is clear the greatest concern is jobs. It is my priority to support and pass legislation at every opportunity which will create good-paying jobs for Montanans. Let’s keep our kids here. Only then will Montana return to a stable economy.
His opponent said he “had no plans for specific bills” at the time of the survey. Fleming is the Democratic candidate running for House District 12 in Lake County, the seat he currently holds. His opponent is Republican Daniel Salomon of Ronan.
Is up, and it looks pretty great. Check it out. What I like about it is that it allows folks to see how he’s followed through on the key themes he talked about during the election like hard work, ethics, and standing up for rural values.
Good piece today in the paper by Schweitzer about how Montana is the only state in America with a balanced budget. This stuff must drive the mouth-breathers crazy.
It’s a nice thumb, to return the words of Republican Candidate Jason Priest back to the vernacular of the civilized, in the eye of Republicans, who ran the state into the ground for twenty years–at one point even having to shut down the government during the Martz years because they ran out of money. And it is especially enjoyable since the Rs in the legislature tried to prevent Schweitzer from stashing a few hundred million in the bank during the economic boom when the state was swimming in cash, a nest-egg which is now the envy of other states.
In the second to last paragraph, Schweitzer warns:
If someone knocks on your door this fall looking for your vote and taking credit for our solid financial shape, make sure you do your research. In the last several legislative sessions I’ve vetoed about $40 million in spending bills. And back when we set aside the surplus to prepare for an uncertain future (that safety cushion which has kept us afloat while almost all other states are drowning in red ink), Republican legislators loudly criticized me for it. Now, even their own party leaders in Washington, including Newt Gingrich and Denny Rehberg, are praising us for what we did.
That’s an important point for Dem legislative candidates this season as they campaign in one of the worst national tides for Democrats in a decade. They need to remind voters that Montana dems are different than Dems elsewhere. In Montana, Dems are the fiscally disciplined party.
An excellent debut by Martin Kidston, the new Democratic Party communications person, thanking Denny Rehberg for his recent declaration that Brian Schweitzer has done a good job as Governor. This is the type of work that the party should be producing on a regular basis, and we can look forward to Martin’s future creations. And good job by Jim Elliott and Dave Benson for bringing the soldier/writer aboard.
Thought: I wonder what the various right-wing nut-job voters such as tea-baggers, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, black helicopter-ers, or other skinhead-types, birthers, truthers, followers of the baby caucus et. al would think about a campaign mailing from Mike Fellows, the Libertarian party congressional candidate running right of Rehberg, imploring right-wingers not to sell out to a Schweitzer-worshipping Republican like the RINO Rehberg?