A baffling 100-0 vote for a budget in the Montana house yesterday.
I can’t quite tell what to make of it. Surely the Democrats didn’t get some things that we want, and surely the Republicans got some things they didn’t want (spending items). That is usually the case with any budget that passes any house of the legislature. And this is only a preliminary vote, of course, for the Senate gets a crack at it, and any changes made by the Senate will again require a final approval of the whole legislature. So the items the budget lacks but should contain, such as “family planning funds” to test for cervical cancer and prevent pregnancy and abortion, may yet be inserted. It needs to happen in the Senate, where it can actually pass, and I expect it will.
What I don’t understand is the thought process used by certain GOP house members, those who are vulnerable to a right-wing primary challenge. They have touched kryptonite, hung it around their necks, in fact. They have now voted for a budget that is larger, by every dimension, than the budget proposed by Gvoernor Bullock.
How does a Republican in a conservative district win a primary if he is challenged on those facts by a challenger funded by a right-wing disrupter organixation such as the ones that unseated moderates in the past several legislative elections. Like ATP, or Roger Koopman’s outfit?
So, the question is: what will the Tea Party say? How will Tim Ravndal, Jennifer Olsen, Bobette Madonna, Cindy Baker, and the many other right-wing slobbering yahoos respond to this offensive slight? Is it possible that the Tea party has been so broken down by the events of the last few years that it is in full retreat, and is no longer even bothering to act as a convervative police force?
This is quite perplexing, even astounding. If it’s so, then the GOP has been fully broken, like a horse that can longer pull a cart no matter how hard the whipping–like the national GOP, which is now sending out some of its most conservaive members to make noise about how immigrants need a path to citizenship, or about how maybe all people should be allowed to marry after all.
Two years ago a vote of this kind would have been unthinkable, an act of political primary suicide. And yet now it comes and goes, in the blink of an eye.
Partly this does not surprise me, for I was among the first commentators to observe a distinct lack of enthusiasm this session among the TEAtards, and a commensrate amount of dejection on the faces of GOP moderates, who have come to understand how few options there are for the GOP to regroup and re-emerge a force in state-wide elections with credible candidates and a unified party.
Let’s see where this vote leads. Something tells me the game has just changed.
One thing is crystal clear. Republicans will no longer be able to vote to block health care for 70,000 working poor people because of their opposition to “spending” after making this vote. That excuse is gone.