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How hypocritical is it that now that the election is over, the majority faction of the MT GOP – which finds most of its supporters pronated at the feet of TEA Partier Wendy Warburton (R-Havre)– doesn’t seem to have a problem with the government interference it railed against during the election?
Warburton wants the government to mandate, in the constitution: you get pregnant, you keep your baby – even if it kills you. Even if you were raped. Even if you were a victim of incest. Even if you were too young to sign a binding legal document – a contract – when you got pregnant, you’re old enough to agree to keep the baby.
In the Montana legislature, the situation is even more absurd. According to legislation that is speeding past the Governor’s veto pen because it a constitutional referenda referred by the legislature directly to voters, you could soon risk going to jail for having a miscarriage.
Warburton’s proposal is so poorly worded (hopefully not intentional) that it would force the state to investigate women who miscarry a pregnancy (which happens 20% of the time). Yes, the government can now decide that you fell down those stairs intentionally – in order to trigger a miscarriage.
Similar proposals have failed to pass year after year, session after session, under both Republican or Democratic control. The idea is so unpopular that its bedraggled supporters failed four years in a row to even get the signatures necessary to qualify this amendment to the constitution on the ballot as an initiative.
If their strategy is based on the fact that the current legislature is profoundly more stupid hypocritical then the voters at large, I’d have to concede that point.
The big political story of the legislative session could turn out to be the anticipated consequences in the next elections of the Montana GOP’s foray into extremism and nuttiness.
True, the negative sentiment nationally over the health care bill and the national economy helped elect a slate of not-ready-for-prime-time candidates. But local pundits are already discussing the potential impacts of the acute philosophical split within the party—basically, the inability of bedrock conservatives to reign in the utter lunatics—that will hand victories to Democrats in 2012 across the state.
At issue with the mangle-the-14th-amendment bill by James Knox (R-Billings), is birthright citizenship—the amendment’s guarantee that children born here are U.S. citizens. Remember that a couple of years ago big national GOP types like Lindsey Graham and John McCain were calling for comprehensive immigration reform. Knox’s bill is problematic in that it is so poorly written it could harm dual citizens American Indians, and of course, their kids.
In some cases, the bedrock conservatives are actually joining the nuts. After a secret plot came to light in Colorado this year for a UN take over of Denver plan to create bicycle paths, Montana’s own Ron Paul Wannabe, Sen. Dave Lewis (R-Helena) is proposing a bill to stop the TYRANNY and call for the US to withdraw from the UN. Down with facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the continual work for increased peace.
Congressional attempts to withdraw from the U.N. have gone down in flames in the past. H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act, a bill to end U.S. membership in the UN, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Texas Representative Ron Paul six times since 1997. The measures have all failed, and the list of co-sponsors dwindles each year, probably because of the problems that a lack of international cooperation could cause the economy.
Perhaps you’ve wondered what the more mainstream, Main Street Republicans in the Montana Legislature have been doing as the TEA Party wing takes the legislature off course with nutty bills. (Like the birther bill up today in House Admin–and the other black helicopter, Area 51-level conspiracy, racist, sexist and fundi bills that will simply humiliate the legislators who’ve endorsed the measures by making them (and our state) the laughingstocks of the nation.)
The legislature is no exception. The same day that the state TEA Party Republicans pushed a radical Arizona-style immigration law, they embraced the “birther” conspiracy about President Barack Obama. The Flathead Beacon reported today that state HouseTEA Party Republican Bob Wagner (R-Harrison) has introduced a birther bill would require Obama and any future federal candidate to show her birth certificate to order to be included on the ballot in the presidential election.
But the birther bill could potentially backfire against the Montana GOP if the public comes to believe that such nutty extremism drives their whole agenda. While the TEA Party wing of the MT GOP has yet to explicitly link its birther bill with the anti-immigration,black helicopter, anti-UN,anti-victims of domestic violence,anti-Indian,anti-vaccine and other conspiracy theory based legislation, it seems clear that all of these initiatives spring from the same desire to play to the right-wing base. The same GOP lawmakers are behind most of the proposals, after all.
By the way, isn’t the fact that Obama’s “illegal” human (as the Helena IR would write) status old news by now? How is Rep. Wagner just now getting around to pandering to the crazies about this? He just likes the Constitution you say? Sure, he loves it. He loves it so much he chopped it up into pieces, put it in the blender, and freebased it with a little baking soda.
But these bills won’t improve the lives the state’s crackpot conspiracy theorists and TEA party ralliers-nor will they create higher paying jobs or attract innovative businesses to Montana. They will simply humiliate the legislators who’ve endorsed the measures by making them (and our state) the laughingstocks of the nation-a task they set out upon achieving even before they were elected. The birther bill–and the other black helicopter, Area 51-level conspiracy, racist, sexist and fundi bills–are all forms of reactionary hysteria, but much of this legislation could actually cause profound substantive harm to Montana residents.
I mean it seems that the legislative session itself is, for some, a daily exercise in hypocrisy. Where else can a member vote against benefits for victims of violent crimes in the morning, go have a free lunch on home health care workers making seven bucks an hour, then vote to line one’s own pockets in the afternoon, then head out to get sloshed at whatever corporate lobby group is peddling free booze and fried food that day.
I mean THIS is what I call a two-timing double-talking phony.
Republican Representative Keith Regier’s hypocrisy surfaced in the Montana Capitol this week when he submitted his bill to designate a week honoring Montanans with disabilities “to expand the public’s knowledge, awareness, and understanding of developmental disabilities.” In reality, Republicans in the legislature are already plotting to deprive Montana’s disabled citizens of the funding that covers their health care and other necessities. If you are looking for someone who epitomizes hypocrisy, look no further than the GOP legislature. The Billings Gazette reported recently that:
Montana Republicans running the Legislature are analyzing the federal health care law and may consider getting out of Medicaid altogether as one of the options.
Medicaid is the program that cares for the elderly and disabled in Montana.
So far, the right-wing has not disappointed us in the 2011 legislature. As part of a new feature called Nutwatch (please submit your own suggestions), here are three amusing and/or frightening bills that have been introduced by Tea Party members in the last few weeks.
First we have Verdell Jackson, who as the Billings Gazette reported today has introduced a bill to allow members of the legislature to carry firearms around the Capitol. Based on the amount of booze consumed in the legislature, (according to the state Department of Revenue, sales of liquor in Helena during the session increased by 14 percent over the same months in 2008. The rest of the state declined by two percent for these two months) perhaps his bill is not such a good idea. After all, you can’t bring arms into a bar. Why should the legislature be any different?
Next we have have Derek Skees, who is introducing legislation that, according to Mr. Skees, will make it easier to build a modest-sized nuclear reactor in the Flathead Valley. Just what the Flathead Valley needs, of course.
Finally, Representative Greg Hinkle has introduced a bill which (quoting from the bill) “would provide that hand-thrown spear is a lawful means of hunting.” Given what neanderthals some of these guys are, this last bill is probably a fair thing for them to request.