Caught My Eye…

Welcome to Friday.  You’ve almost made it to another weekend and this one is special – it’s Saint Patrick’s Day on Saturday – so be careful out there and have fun!

If this is your first time visiting The Western Word and reading “Caught My Eye,” welcome!  Caught My Eye is posted every Friday morning right here!  In this column I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to comment about during the week – often with a touch of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.  Be advised – everyone and everything is fair game…

Today I write about C-130s, Vacation ideas, Self-Funded Candidates, No Enthusiasm, Seeing If It Sticks, Being Ineligible to Vote, a real Democrat, the Montana Supremes, and Vasectomies (ouch!).  I also open my political inbox and share some of the best e-mails…

C-130:

The word is out that the U.S. Air Force may not send eight C-130 airplanes to the Montana Air National Guard in Great Falls.

Have no fear – Montana’s three-member Congressional delegation (Senator Max Baucus, Senator Jon Tester, Congressman Denny Rehberg) have it handled – they are writing more letters!

Vacation Idea:

The Associated Press reports “U.S. Sen. Max Baucus is telling the postmaster general that he should visit rural Montana post offices before making any decisions to close some of them.”

I suggest the postmaster general schedule visits to Montana in July/August and bring the family – spend some time (and money) here.  Max Baucus does this all the time on the government’s dime – he actually lives in Washington, D.C. and vacations in Montana…

Self-Funded Candidates: 

Wednesday I commented about candidates putting their own money into their campaign and said, “I imagine there’s a study documented somewhere that tells us that most of the candidates, who put their own money into a race, end up losing.”

My friends at the National Institute on Money in State Politics frequently read my columns and sent me THIS LINK.

The chart contained in the link showed that out of the “Top Ten Self-Funded Candidates,” eight of the ten lost.

Not Enthused:

A new Gallup Poll revealed something that is probably troubling to Republicans:  “A little more than one-third of Republicans say they would vote “enthusiastically” for either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum if either candidate were to win their party’s nomination for president.  Slightly fewer say they would vote enthusiastically for Newt Gingrich.

The GOP has had almost four years and this is the best they’ve got?  I know that none of the remaining Republican candidates excite me.  Readers? 

See If It Sticks:

I laughed out loud (LOL) when I happened to see a March 15 press release from U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s senate office saying, “U.S. Senator Jon Tester, chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s caucus, is reminding Montanans that today is the new deadline for hunters seeking mule deer buck and bull elk permits this year.”

I’m all for keeping hunters alerted to deadlines, but it’s not really a United States Senator’s job to alert hunters about a state agency’s deadline.  It is, though, a chance for Tester to get his name in the news about something dealing with hunting/gun owners – a group he needs to have in his corner come election time.

If he keeps throwing press releases out there, some are bound to stick and get reported by some of the inexperienced and starry-eyed Montana media person.

Senator Ted Stevens:

Although U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has long since passed on, I was happy to read that a court-appointed investigator found that the case against Stevens was “permeated by the systematic concealment” of evidence favorable to his defense.

Right after becoming Attorney General, Eric Holder did the right thing and asked that the senator’s conviction be overturned due to all the problems.

You can read a news report HERE.  Another news report can be found HERE.  The full report is HERE.

Those responsible in the U.S. Department of Justice should lose their jobs and license to practice law. 

Ineligible to Vote in Home Precinct:

USA Today reported yesterday that Republican Senator Richard Lugar “has been declared ineligible to vote in his home precinct in Indiana.”

For you non-political folks, Lugar is one of two U.S. Senators representing Indiana.  USA Today also reported “Last month, the state Election Commission unanimously ruled that Lugar is eligible to run for office in Indiana even though he gave up his residence there.”

Readers may remember that it was discovered by an exceptional researcher that Montana’s Senior Senator, Max Baucus, “didn’t own a home in Montana for 11 years of his 29-year Senate career.” (Link)

Nobody ever did anything about that – I imagine Lugar will survive this, too.   

Jack’s Political Inbox:

Almost every week I select a few e-mails from political parties, candidates, and groups and share them with my readers.  I also add my commentary!  Here are five that caught my attention this week.  Enjoy!

-The Jon Tester for Senate campaign folks sent an e-mail with the subject, “Upset Special” where he ties his reelection bid with the Montana Grizzlies men’s basketball team playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Tester writes, “The analysts on TV are saying it would be an upset if the Grizzlies won.  Then again, a whole different group of pundits are saying the same thing about me.  But instead of the Wisconsin Badgers, I’m up against a huge wave of special interest attack ads.”  He then asks for a donation before the game starts.

The Grizzlies received a butt-kicking in the tournament losing to Wisconsin 73-49.  Is that a sign?

-The Rick Hill for Governor Campaign sent me an e-mail with the subject “Thank You” in which Brock Lowrance, Hill’s Campaign Manager writes, “Since Rick entered this race over 2,200 people have made a financial investment in this campaign, grassroots supporters just like you who agree that Rick is the best candidate that can and will beat Democrat Steve Bullock this November.”

This seemed to be an e-mail with a lot of words about nothing…

-Senator Patty Murray writing for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sent me an e-mail with the subject, “Danger zone” where she quotes Mitt Romney saying, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”  She then asks me to sign a petition to protect Planned Parenthood against Mitt Romney’s “Anti-Women Agenda.”

For all the touting of his business savvy, Romney sure sticks his foot in his mouth a lot.

-The Friends of Max Baucus Campaign decided it was time to send out a campaign e-mail to gather names for his upcoming reelection bid in 2014.  Baucus’ team sent an e-mail with the subject, “An important victory” where they write, “Will you add your name to our petition telling extremists in Washington to stop their relentless war on women today?”

I am sure the other Democratic candidates running in 2012 like that Baucus’ campaign is taking up their contributors’ valuable time when he is not running until 2014.  Max’s team also needs to work on their salutation merging issues for their campaign e-mails.  My e-mail was received with this salutation “%%Firstname(Friend)%% –”

-Dustin Frost, the Scott [Aspenlieder] for Montana Senior Campaign Adviser, sent me an e-mail with the subject, “A clear front-runner for Secretary of State” where he writes, “With the support of hundreds of grassroots Montana voters and conservative community leaders like you, the Scott for Montana Campaign raised more money in the last two months than every other candidate combined!”

Mr. Aspenlieder will need lots of money to help with name recognition – because nobody knows him…

A Real Democrat:

I happened to catch a press release from the Dave Strohmaier for Congress campaign where he writes, “Public records indicate some who are asking Democrats to nominate them as the Democratic candidate for Montana’s lone congressional seat are actually supporters of Republican politicians, giving their own money to support Republican victories over Democrats.”  He also calls himself a “real Democrat.”

It’s odd to read something like this from a Democrat; but Republicans accuse each other of being a RINO (Republican In Name Only) almost every other day. 

While I won’t speculate on who Strohmaier is writing about, I will say it might be refreshing to have someone in Washington who actually works for Montana first and their political party second – someone that might really be independent.

Montana Supreme Court:

On Tuesday I wrote about the different political races in Montana.  In regard to the Montana Supreme Court races I said, “I have not been impressed with the Montana Supreme Court in years…” and then I said, “Candidates – please make me care…”

The Great Falls (Montana) Tribune recently asked their readers, “Do you feel like you’re being represented in the Montana Supreme Court?”  They were asking this in regards to having the Justices elected by district so everyone in Montana is represented better.

260 people voted in the unscientific poll.  31% said YES and 69% said NO.  I voted no.

When I think of the current crop of Montana Supreme Court justices, the word “ignoramus” comes to mind…

Vasectomy Season:

According to this story, the Cleveland Clinic says, “men are scheduling vasectomies so they can recover — it’s usually just a day or so of resting and ice packs — in front of the television, watching March Madness.”

No thank you…

Three More Things:

1. If you drink, don’t drive or have a designated driver!  2. Don’t forget to stretch.  3. Go to the link at the top of the page and Buy My Book!

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