Tag Archives: Steve Daines

Montana Democrats, Your Presence Is Requested…

by Cowgirl

A rare, intimate variety of democracy will take its course Saturday morning at the county fairgrounds in Helena, Montana, when the Democratic Party chooses a nominee to replace John Walsh.

Nobody in Montana politics can recall anything quite like this event, so it should make for good theater. Oddly, the proceedings will be both less and more democratic than a normal primary. A small group of party officers from around the state–no more than 175 delegates and possibly as few as 50– will choose the nominee in a caucus. That’s a lot of power in a small group. However, the two most powerful figures in the party–the sitting Democratic senator and governor–don’t appear at this point to have expressed a preference. Which means that Saturday might be, for lack of a better term, a free-for-all. And that’s a good thing, and for bloggers especially.

A candidate that breaks through and excite voters is urgently required. The Governor vetoed 71 bills last session, each bill more idiotic than the next, but if we lose seats he might be unable to sustain his vetoes. Thus the Senate race is perhaps less important than the state legislature in my opinion. Please consult this list of what they’ve proposed in recent years. Greatest hits include House Bill 549, “A Bill To declare that Global Warming is Good for Montana.” This season they are proposing a law that will let sheriffs arrest anyone who tries to implement the Affordable Care Act. There is also a Tea Party-generated ballot measure this year to make voter registration more difficult. Democrats need a showing at the polls to kill it.

Three types of candidates could in theory present themselves on Saturday–big, medium and small. The “big” category, unfortunately, is an empty set. It consists only of two people who could immediately put Daines on the run–Bullock and Schweitzer–both very popular, but both of whom have said they won’t be running.

“Medium” includes politicians whose names many Montana voters are familiar with. But since every current statewide office-holder already sent their regrets (as has Nancy Keenan, former NARAL Pro-Choice America chief and former state superintendent of Montana schools), there’s only one medium sized candidate: John Bohlinger, the former Lt. Governor under Schweitzer. Bohlinger ran and lost to Walsh in the primary but he blames the loss on Harry Reid for having anointed Walsh and sent resources his way (Reid called Bohlinger earlier this year and tried to push him out of the race). There are many party activists who enjoy Bohlinger, but a few who must be persuaded that he no longer harbors any affiliation to Republican causes.

The remainder of the candidates have small followings even if they have big potential. They largely unknown to most Montana voters and include three state legislators–Dave Wanzenried (trucking company employee from Missoula) and Amanda Curtis (teacher from Butte)–as well as Dirk Adams (Wilsall), a former mortgage banker and now rancher who ran against Bohlinger and Walsh in the democratic Party but got only 15% to Bohlinger’s 25% and Walsh’s 60%.

Others have made oblique statements that fall short of committing to a candidacy, or have tried to get surrogates to tweet things like “I’m hearing that so and so is getting into the race.” But this does not count. If you want it, stand up and say so.

Bit of a Stretch

The Montana political world was upended yesterday with the revelation that that John Walsh, our U.S. Senator and candidate, wrote a college paper in which he used language verbatim that he failed to properly attribute.  He cited the sources in footnotes, but he was using the exact language belonging to another author and did not so indicate with quotation marks.

Today, Walsh is saying that he realizes he made a mistake but has shrugged it off by saying that he is not an academic, and that we should look at his entire military record rather than a term paper. That’s a fair point.  He’s not the first person to make such a mistake. Authors of all stripes have done it.  Walsh also says that he was suffering from PTSD at the time, having just returned from Iraq, but made it very clear that he won’t blame his mistake on PTSD.

There is no question that this story will affect Walsh’s candidacy, but it should not disqualify him at all.  He’s a military leader, not Samuel Johnson. It’s not good, but it’s not anything near the outrage that the GOP is making it out to be. If Walsh was a decorated General, Awarded Bronze Star For “Exceptionally Meritorious Service,” the Commander of the National Guard, the Lt. Governor and now U.S. Senator, how can someone say that he is unqualified, in retrospect, to have been all of these things and to have won all of those medals and commendations because of a college term paper?  It’s a bit of a stretch.

Nevertheless, let the circus now begin.

Steve Daines, predictably, is nowhere to be seen or heard on this issue because he knows there’s no percentage, and indeed no need, for him to say anything about it.  But a week or so from now, expect to see a TV ad, probably from the Republican Party, telling us all about John Walsh’s plagiarism with scary music in the background.  Expect also to hear from veterans who will talk about how outraged they are that Walsh would try to excuse plagiarism on PTSD, which he has not done. We might even get a pure swiftboating–hear from some soldier claiming that Walsh never had PTSD.  It’s also interesting that this suddenly becomes a news story just as polls are starting to show Walsh gaining on Daines.

This is politics, and this is what happens when a story like this breaks, and their ain’t much Walsh can do beside put his best face on it and remind voters that Steve Daines plays childrens’ games in Congress and does things like throw tantrums and threaten to default on bills and shut the National Parks down–costing us $45 million in lost tourism and other dollars.  And why is no one talking about how Daines opened all kinds of factories in China while his company laid off people in the U.S.? Meanwhile Walsh served in combat has a 33-year career fighting for Montana and wants to get something done in Washington rather than play games.

As for rumblings from the internet fringe today about whether Walsh should jump off the ticket before the August deadline, enabling the party to put in someone else, I think this would make no sense.  First, there is nobody to replace him with, unless you think John Bohlinger would have a better chance against Daines right now which is debatable.  Brian Schweitzer, Linda McCulloch, Denise Juneau and Monica Lindeen have all taken a pass already. Names like Carol Williams, Dirk Adams and so on, they would be starting at zero against a sitting Congressman, and would have an impossible fundraising hill to climb.

 So this is what it is: Walsh is the best candidate for U.S. Senate, and this too shall pass.

 

Steve Daines Runs Sketchy TV Ad

In case you haven’t seen it, a woman who worked for the Montana National Guard is claiming that she was discriminated against because she was refused a promotion.  She blames John Walsh, because Walsh was the head of the guard in before he was Lt. Gov.

This woman is featured in a TV ad being run by the Steve Daines campaign.  Her name is Cindy Neely and in the ad she says she personally experienced sexual discrimination while at the Guard, because she was repeatedly passed over for a promotion.  Those who were her supervisors (not Walsh, who was not) say she was simply unqualified for the position. Continue reading

New Spoof Video: Detox the Box

Primary angst got you down?

Watch  Women’s Voices for the Earth‘s latest spoof video based on Justin Timberlake’s “Dick in a Box” Saturday Night Live Skit.

It’s called Detox the Box and it calls on Proctor & Gable to “drop the toxics” from tampons and pads. (Funfact: Proctor & Gamble is Steve Daines’ former employer.)

Women’s Voices is a national nonprofit that is based in Missoula, Montana.

 

Watch it here: www.bit.ly/detoxthebox

Daines Caught Pretending to Support Meals on Wheels While Voting to End the Program

This is what I call an online two timing double talking phony.

Steve Daines is a hypocrite and phony.

Steve Daines is a hypocrite.

Congressman Daines’ hypocrisy reached his Facebook page yesterday when posted a staged Meals on Wheels photo op on Facebook to imply he supports the program.  In reality, Daines voted to cut anti-hunger programs that would have left mostly children, seniors and veterans without food.

If you are looking for someone who epitomizes hypocrisy, look no further than TEA Party poster boy Steve Daines.  Montana’s lone Congressman voted against the bill to restore funding for the Meals on Wheels program. It would have provided an added $41 million for elderly nutrition programs, including the Meals on Wheels. He also voted for the Paul Ryan budget that cut (non-defense) spending by $900 billion which hurt “the ability of federally assisted programs such as Meals on Wheels to continue serving populations.”

But its not just cuts Daines’ has tried to pass.  He supported an earlier TEA Party budget that would essentially eliminate the Meals on Wheels program by cutting grants that fund programs like Meals on Wheels. He voted to cut nearly $40 billion from anti-hunger programs that would have left low-income families – mostly children, seniors and veterans – without food.  What a gem.

Unfortunately, a few reporters fell for his publicity stunt.  Perhaps next time they’ll check his voting record before giving him thousands of dollars worth of free air time to pretend to support something he tried to eliminate.  CBS got it right anyway (KECI, KPAX) http://youtu.be/RRK36E46-9M

ABCFox not so much.  KAJ Kalispell perhaps did the worst job, implying that Daines was helping because of cuts to the budget without mentioning that it was Daines himself who made the cuts.

Victoria’s Secret, and Race Eugenics: Right Wing Puts More Loons on the Ballot

At 5p.m. today the deadline passed for anybody seeking office in 2014.  And there was some action.

First, as the Flathead Memo reports, we have a new Republican candidate in the US Senate race, a woman named Susan Cundiff. As far as I can tell, she is the first Republican woman to run for U.S. Senate in MT. She also may be the first female Republican ever to run in a US Senate primary in Montana. I believe the first woman to run as Democrat for U.S. senate is Melinda Gohper. Cundiff works at the University and is currently a sales Associate for Victoria’s Secret.  In case you’re not a frequenter of malls, this is a lingerie store.

You’ve come a long way, GOP.

Roger Root racistMeanwhile, a man named Roger Root, a convicted felon and proud racist who authored a website entitled  “The Respectable Racist: 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Black People,” also entered the Senate race today. With his resume, RogerRootRacist2including overt, ugly racism, bordering on eugenics and a few felony convictions including some on gun charges, I expect him to be very successful in attracting many Tea Party votes, stealing them from Steve Daines.

Embattled TEA Party Sen. Jason Priest, who faces four criminal charges, did not file, so the senate seat he would have run in will have a GOP primary between two current house TEA Partiers. Local Republicans will have the pleasure of deciding between David Howard and Joanne Blyton.  Howard is a man who has, somewhat obsessively, devoted his Facebook page to criticizing gay sex. So of course, the GOP picked to lead the Children and Families legislative committee last session. Howard will face off against Red Lodge Republican Joanne Blyton. Blyton is a birther who actually voted for Birther Bob’s birther bill. (You can see a pdf of HB 205, the birther bill, vote here.) Yes, that’s the same bill that later made the Montana Legislature famous on CNN.  

Speaking of birthers, in Ravalli County there is a GOP primary in House District 85, between Theresa Manzella, a woman who likes birther videos on Youtube [screenshot], and Mike Jeffords of Victor.

Former judge Nels Swandal is actually running for the state legislature in Livingston’s SD 30 against Democratic candidate Mary Murphy–in spite of reports of alleged Judicial Code of Ethics violations which were reported in Montana papers across the stateduring the last election cycle. The allegations involve a fundraising letter sent out on ultra-conservative judicial candidate Laurie McKinnon’s behalf,  paid for by Laurie McKinnon’s campaign, from Nels Swandal while he was a sitting judge, which the judicial code of ethics says is not permitted.

On Swandal’s political views, the Billings Gazette reported that Swandal said that questions posed by the Montana AFL-CIO to candidates “are among the most un-American ideas I’ve ever seen,” and that he wouldn’t seek endorsement of the Montana Conservation Voters “because of their assault on private property.”

Cleve Loney

Cleve Loney

Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)

Rep. Cleve Loney (with megaphone)

And from Great Falls HD 21 there is Cleve Loney, the TEA Partier who most loves to dress in tricorn garb.   Loney is running again after the voters of Great Falls booted him in the 2012 elections.

Many Republicans this election cycle are facing primary opponents– by the pro-business and jobs wing of the state party who are fed up with the economic harm and incompetence perpetrated on the state by crackpots who don’t understand how the economy works.   The Lee Newspapers did an early write up of a few of these primaries a while back. There are several additional of this type who have filed since then. We’ll let the GOP figure out who they are.

A final note: I’m hearing that the Democrats have successfully fielded a candidate in every single state legislative district, both house and senate. That’s good news in what might otherwise be a tough year. Good work by the Montana Legislative Campaign Committee and kudos to all of the democratic candidates who stepped up to run. You can see the list here.

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