Political Gossip, Satire, and Analysis from MT's Capital City "...an uncanny knack for sharp insider information..."--AP "...amazingly accurate inside info..."--Politico.com "...a viral sensation..."--Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos "Among the best state-based political blogs in the nation."--Washington Post
The good news is that the man behind them, Jeff Essmann the candidate for State Senator from Billings, is probably going to try to become the next senate leader. Democrats couldn’t ask for anything more. He appears to have very little political savvy. When his RLCC mailers crossed the line and prompted a fellow Republican senator to resign from the committee, Essmann made a bizarre decision to replace him with a guy who fled the state two years ago in the wake of a GOP scandal that could, had the Democrats pursued it, have resulted in state and federal charges. It is sickening. ~sniffle~ Then, when questioned about this dubious choice, Essmann refused to comment on it and instead got into a verbal rally with a reporter, making the story worse.
But beyond his questionable skills, he’s a far-right and angry-at-Schweitzer kind of guy. Every time a hot-headed, rabid right-winger like Essmann makes into leadership, the Governor and the Dems end up making a deal with a moderate faction of Rs at the end of the session, and the right wingers head home bruised, failed and looking stupid, and of course twice as angry as they were when they came to town. Sales, Brown, Lange, Keenan. The list goes on.
Word is that Dennis McDonald’s recent television ad, Millionaire, has started to gain some notoriety among the Republican elite. Here’s the ad:
According to a McDonald press release, a source within the Republican Party says that Karl Rove has acknowledged that he’s seen Dennis McDonald’s ad and made the comment, “Yes, I’ve already seen this ad, our guy in Montana seems to have a problem with his drinking…” McDonald’s press release did not name the source, but this does not surprise me in the least.
Rove was reportedly referring to Republican Congressman Dennis Rehberg’s inappropriate behavior and drinking problem.
Rehberg has had numerous problems with drinking in public during his 6 terms as Montana’s lone Congressman, as the release reports.
Back in 2004, Rehberg was rumored to have been drunk and fell off his horse during a state visit to Kazakhstan. Not only did he fall off his horse and injure himself, but he called the native people “cone heads” while making alien noises, as in the famous Saturday Night Live sketches. A member of the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan reported the incident.
In 2008, according to the Washington Post, Rehberg passed out drunk at the Tune Inn, a dive bar in Washington, D.C. and reportedly slept on a cot in the basement of the bar.
In 2006, according to Roll Call magazine, Rehberg was drunk and took part in a bar room brawl that involved the Missoula police. Rehberg’s staff was also part of the drunken brawl.
Finally, in 2009, the McDonald release states, “Rehberg boarded a boat after he had been drinking (the police report disclosed that he had a blood-alcohol level of .05, four hours after the accident) and instructed his staff members join him on the boat. While State Senator Barcus was driving the boat drunk, the boat crashed and launched up on the rocky shore. Rehberg’s drunkenness and poor personal conduct resulted in injuries to himself and several of his staff members, who were seriously hurt.”
The move was so outrageous that it even spurred Lt. Governor John Bohlinger to pen a guest editorial chastising his own party for its acts. If the selection of Eaton is any indication of where the Republican party wants to take its electoral “strategy” in the final days, we can only expect these tactics to get worse.
This week, the Montana Conservation Voters came out with a last minute endorsement of Mike Murray for the Lewis and Clark County Commissioner’s seat. The decision was a smart move on the part of the Conservation Voters, who have been effective players in the 2010 elections across the state this year proving that though they are a growing organization, they are still nimble enough to make quick strategic decision where it is needed.
Mike is running against Bob Hollow – the so-called “Independent” running for Lewis and Clark County Commissioner. But Hollow has been endorsed by Derek Brown, the only sitting Republican on the Lewis and Clark Commission. This is a race with two conservatives on the ballot and one Democrat.
“… when it comes to the experience that will count most as the county faces several significant issues these next six years, one man’s overrides all others. And it’s this extensive experience that makes Murray the right choice for another term as Lewis and Clark County commissioner and has earned him the endorsement by the Independent Record editorial board.”
As MCV reports, Mike has served on the Commission for 18 years, and brings a wealth of experience on protection of open lands, planning and zoning, water protection, transportation and county government. Mike supports protection of roadless areas, and has been a voice for our natural heritage and protecting the Front as part of the Montana Association of County Commissioners and the National Association of County Commissioners. Mike also has been an advocate for trails, walkable communities and is an open space bond supporter, all things that are an important part of why we live in Helena.
He also explained his position on the “War of Secession,” which he said was “an unconstitutional war declared by Congress and President Lincoln” and involved “Yankee Trader greed and Southern honor.”
Revisionist historians with an agenda have convinced the public otherwise, Skees explained, but “the war was not fought over slavery but rather states rights.” He also pointed out that he “abhors all types of slavery” and is glad it has been abolished, but the loss of states rights was also a big blow to the country.
The problem is that the Confederate government, which failed after like four years, “rest[ed] upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery–subordination to the superior race–is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth,” according to Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America. Attempting to honor the Confederacy saying you abhor slavery is like trying to honor Santa Claus while abhorring Christmas.
Every Republican candidate in Montana is walking around saying that the problem is the Democrats’ spending and taxes in Helena. Of course, anybody who actually informs themselves in a smart way knows that this is the complete opposite of reality. Montanans waited for thirty years for tax cuts and spending reduction from Republicans who talked a big game, before Dems finally took over and did it, and returned a nice rebate check to every homeowner and have reduced spending so efficiently that the Wall Street Journal, the right-wing rag, has credited them for it.
To review, here is John Kerry’s Goose-gate coverage in 2004 in the Gazette. Not an unfair article at all. It calls him out for what he was, a wealthy urban ivy-leaguer trying to burnish his “regular guy” credentials, not to mention a terrible campaigner.
Flash forward to Roy Brown’s identical blunder, a 2006 goose hunting photo, all decked out in camoflauge. At the time he took the photos he had not ever hunted in Montana, at least not as far back as license records go, which is 1989, and probably further.
Knowing that the press would not cover this, a Democratic group called Values, Energy and Growth PAC brought Roy’s fraudulent photo to the attention of voters by running TV ads and mail. And here is how it was all covered in today’s Gazette: with the headline, “Dems paid for attack ads, fliers.”
And of course, it doesn’t even mention the TV commercial, nor the incriminating goose photos, nor the fact that Roy never hunted or fished until he needed some “gun crowd” photos produced on the eve of his run for Governor.
Rather, the story in the Gazette is all about how a Democratic Party-funded group went after poor Roy. In a previous about negative mail in the Van Dyk/Brown race, the Gazette quoted Roy as saying that negative mail was making his wife cry.
Worse, there is little discussion in today’s article of the fact that the GOP is doing exactly the same thing to Kendall Van Dyk, under the direction of several GOP veteran operatives and their shady groups called “Montana Business Leadership PAC” and “Jobs for Montana PAC” and “Better Government PAC”.
What is especially troubling about this lack of fair coverage is that Roy is walking around Billings saying that Montana democrats are “spending and taxing too much”, which is the complete opposite of reality. Just ask Denny Rehberg and Newt Gingrich, who are on record crediting the current administration for miraculous fiscal restraint, enabled by legislation that Democrats in the legislature presented to the Governor, not to mention the help of a full slate of Democratic state-wide officials who cut their own budgets too.
Not a single article in the Gazette has addressed this basic “taxing and spending” lie that underlies Roy’s entire campaign, and that underlies also the third-party campaigns against Kendall Van Dyk by the GOP and its associated conservative groups, and that also underlies the entire GOP legislative campaign around the state this season.
We are all getting goosed by the Billings Gazette.
Word on the street in Whitefish is that Pam Holmquist, current Republican candidate for Flathead County Commissioner, ran for County Commissioner two years ago to represent the southwest quadrant of the valley. She and her husband, Wesley, live in that district, and have for many years. When Pam lost in the primary she thought through her next step. She put up a new mailbox beside her business on Hwy 2 East (in the southeast quadrangle that is up for election now) and changed her voting registration address.
If you have ever driven by Rocky Mountain Marine you would know she is not living there. Old phone books give the correct address and phone number, which is now unlisted. If Republicans hadn’t gone after Bill Goodman for trying to vote from his business address and not where he actually lived, this issue might not be as critical. An enterprising reporter could easily verify this information. The voters of Flathead County need to be made aware.
Sorry to revisit what I know is a very sensitive subject lately, and I hope I don’t give further offense by doing so. But Roy Brown looks like he could be in big trouble with the hunting community.
In a new TV ad that is playing in Billings, the Values Energy and Growth PAC has unloaded on Roy Brown, very fairly it appears, unlike the dishonest crap that Roy and his conservative buddies have put up on TV lately.
For some reason this photo of Roy in hunting garb was not made into an issue by Schweitzer or the Democratic party in 2008, probably because the race was never competitive.
Too bad, because it’s definitely a juicy plum. At first glance it’s simply a campaign photo of Roy in hunting garb, holding some dead geese. The impression we are supposed to get is that Roy is a sportsman, a big bird-hunter, who will defend the rights of other sportsmen, by wearing his camouflage, his boots and his dorky looking outfit. The photo is now on his state campaign website, where he uses it to imply his “conservative” hunting and gun and outdoor credentials so that wing-nuts like Gary Marbut don’t abandon him. As we all know, Kendall also has some hunting photos of himself, with various trophies such as deer, elk, turkeys, etc, on his own page.
So one might think it’s a case of dueling camouflage and carcasses.
But alas for poor Roy, there is an unfortunate fact that has been revealed: Roy never hunted in Montana in recorded history (as far back as hunting license information is obtainable, which is to 1989) until 2006 when, coincidentally, he began preparing for his Governor’s run and also faced a rare Senate challenge, from Margie McDonald who had big Dem support.
So, Roy went out and bought a few hunting tags for to protect his political viability, and either shot some geese or had someone else shoot them for him.
The TV ad raises this unfortunate set of facts, but more importantly, it highlights Kendall’s tremendous track record defending hunting land and stream access in Montana. Kendall authored the most important public access law in the state’s history in 2007, and the ad shows Van Dyk, Schweitzer and Bullock at a signing ceremony along a river.
It also shows Kendall with his 4H cow as a ranch kid, an image many voters will probably enjoy.
In the main, this ad sheds a little light on the fact that Roy is a manipulative politician and campaigner. Maybe people will be more apt to accept the other criticisms of him now, the bad things he’s done as senator, like his votes against choice, against women (like this classic, when he took a “punish the slut” attitude on rape incidents involving teenage girls), against clean energy, against education, and against small businesses rather than big oil companies. And not to mention Roy’s outrageous claims that Kendall is a “radical environmentalist” simply because he works for an organization that tries to protect ancestral family ranch lands from being destroyed by industry.
Roy is not an outdoors guy, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But don’t pose for pictures that imply you are. It’s fraudulent, and so Roy should put the gun away.
Nice job by Chris Cady, who is listed as the treasurer of the Values PAC, for getting at the truth. Exactly who Cady is is a bit of a mystery, but he clearly likes the jugular.