Monday Morning Politics

Here we are facing another week – and if you want to make the week go by more quickly, drop by The Western Word (TWW) each day for your daily read!  I’m here for you…we’ll get through this together.

If you are a new visitor to TWW, “Monday Morning Politics” is where I put together several of the political stories from the past weekend all in one place for your reading pleasure.  I also offer some personal, sometimes sarcastic, commentary…

Today I write about student loans, the least hack-ish blog, vacationing again, nukes and politics, the Citizens for Montana’s Military, being polled again, blogs and newspapers, blogs and the President, questions for the governor candidates, hiring veterans, Obama’s “One Chance” video, Montana and immigration, and much more!

Student Loans:

On Friday, the U.S. House voted to keep the interest rates on student loans from doubling.  The Great Falls Tribune reported they will pay for it “by slashing a provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law.”

Congressman Denny Rehberg (R) voted for it along with most Republicans (202) and most Democrats in the House (165) voted against it.

The bill may not do too well in the Senate.  While I applaud the passage of the bill in the House, it would be nice to see some compromise for a change…

The Western Word:  “least “hack-ish”

Bowen Greenwood (@bowengreenwood) tweeted Friday, “Here’s a #FF tip of the hat to @TheWesternWord for running the most reliable, least ‘hack-ish’ political blog in Montana.”

While I appreciate his kind comments, I sure hope Greenwood does not lose his day job when the Rehberg cartel reads his tweet…

Another Vacation:

The members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House worked so hard since their last vacation that they are taking more vacation time and will be on recess until May 7.

At least they will be able to take junkets, attend fundraisers, and go for long walks on the beach…

Nukes and Politics:

The Boston Globe has a story posted this morning titled, “Obama’s nuclear plan tangled in election politics” and they mention the U.S Senate race in Montana:

In Montana, where Malmstrom Air Force Base has 150 nuclear missile silos, Democratic Senator Jon Tester is locked in a tough reelection fight.  His ability to protect his state’s military assets is seen by voters as a plus.

Tester joined a number of Democrats and Republicans last month in urging Senate colleagues to safeguard the missile force from significant cutbacks.

The question many military supporters have is can Senator Jon Tester or Congressman Denny Rehberg best protect the current missions (and bring in new ones) at Malmstrom AFB and the Montana National Guard?

Citizens for Montana’s Military:

According to a press release from Citizens for Montana’s Military, “Mr. Dave Bertelsen, Vice president K&K Trucking, State Senator Ed Buttrey and Mr. Erik Sletten, President Sletten Companies have been selected by the Secretary of the Air Force to attend National Security Forum at Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base Alabama May 7-12, 2012.”

Congratulations to Bertelsen, Buttrey and Sletten for their selection!

Polled Again:

Sunday afternoon my son was polled by a group calling themselves Topical Research from Boulder, Colorado.  The poll seemed to lean to the left with the caller reading different statements made by “opponents of Denny Rehberg” saying that Rehberg voted against:  veterans, farming, Medicare, jobs, healthcare, roads renewable energy, nursing home care, Pell Grants, and Social Security, while he took taxpayer-funded trips and voted himself several pay raises.  They asked how that made my son feel about Rehberg when he heard these things.

They also asked about political parties and the Presidential race besides the normal stuff associated with polls (name, age, likely to vote, favorability, etc.).

Broken Windows:

The Billings Office of Congressman Rehberg had six windows and the glass door broken early Saturday morning the Associated Press reported from a story first reported in the Billings Gazette.  Last month Rehberg’s office in Missoula was vandalized when a rock was thrown through a window.  Both acts made the news.

The person or persons who did this should understand that Rehberg leases his offices (so does Sen. Jon Tester and Sen. Max Baucus) so the only person being harmed by this cowardly act is the owner of the building who may see his/her building insurance premiums increased or even cancelled.

Second, this is not press worthy.  Issuing statements and notifying or talking to the press about the vandalism seems more of a play to get sympathy in an election year, but may ultimately lead to more copycat vandalism, which only hurts the building owner.

Jon’s back:

The subject of the e-mail from Sharla Tester, “Help me get Jon’s back” seemed a little odd.  She writes, “Special interests have already poured $2 million into Montana to distort Jon’s record.  And Karl Rove’s front-group just bought almost $200,000 more in Montana television airtime.”

Once again, those “special interests” are popping up everywhere…

Bayer Aspirin – The Wonder Drug:

I always enjoy poring through the list of donors to candidates to see who is giving money and their backgrounds.  It appears the Montanans for Tester campaign does, too.  They found a funny one on Congressman Rehberg’s donor list.  His name is Foster Friess, who is a very rich businessman.  He donated $2,500 to Rehberg.

Friess is well-known for his comments about contraception when he said, “And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so – it’s such – inexpensive, you know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception.  The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”  See the video of his remarks HERE.

The Tester campaign claims with the $2,500 donation, “Dennis Rehberg could buy 343,000 aspirins—enough for 91 percent of all women in Montana.”

Now that’s funny I don’t care who you are…

Havre Daily Corrector Blog:

The Great Falls Tribune Edge column on their opinion page devoted some space about the Havre Daily Corrector blog saying at the end of that section, “Often it’s too much trouble for bloggers to actually check out the facts behind what they are whining about.  What’s the fun in that?”

In the last few weeks it appears the Great Falls Tribune has their own quality control problems with photos of Governor candidate Ken Miller being incorrect (twice) and Sunday they published the television listings for Saturday on their back page.

Some of us have been blogging for a long time – and as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  The Tribune has allowed some blogs on their website and also allowed some of their reporters to have blogs (which is treading on our territory).

It’s too bad the Tribune leadership does not feel as friendly toward blogs as President Obama does.  Read on….

White House Correspondences’ Dinner:

If you get a chance to watch the remarks from the President and then from Jimmy Kimmel at the White House Correspondences’ Dinner, please do.

The President closed his speech with these kind words:

So whether you are a blogger or a broadcaster, whether you take on powerful interests here at home or put yourself in harm’s way overseas, I have the greatest respect and admiration for what you do.  I know sometimes you like to give me a hard time — and I certainly like to return the favor — (laughter) — but I never forget that our country depends on you.  You help protect our freedom, our democracy, and our way of life.

Bloggers rule!

Big Campaign Ad:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stapleton spent some money in the Great Falls Tribune on Sunday, running a three-quarter page color campaign advertisement on page 6M.

Part of the ad says “We’ve never elected a Governor from Great Falls, Corey and Terry graduated together (GFHS ’86) and have deep family roots in Cascade county and the Hi-Line.  As the only gubernatorial candidate who served active duty military, Corey brings the unique understanding of North Central Montana’s agricultural, business, labor and military economy.”

With most of Great Falls’ economy relying on the military, that last paragraph was a pretty smart move and, with the money he spent at the Tribune, two more people were selected to take early retirement…(just kiddin’ on the early retirement part)

Lee Newspapers:

On April 13, a reporter for Lee Newspapers sent the candidates for Montana Governor a list of issue questions and asked the candidates to return their answers by April 23.  The interesting part was that the candidates were told to answer the question with no more than two sentences per question.  A politician and an answer in two sentences?  Wow!

There were about 20 questions dealing with Budget and Taxes, Education, Social Issues, Economic Development and Natural Resources, Health care, and a Miscellaneous category.

How do I know all this?  Staffers for a couple of the candidates forwarded me a copy of the questions.  If you have a tip, information, a donation, or just want to call me a name, please send an e-mail to western_word@yahoo.com.

Lee Newspapers published some of the answers on Sunday.  Click HERE to read.

Montana & Immigration:

It appears from this story that if the Republicans maintain control of the Montana House and Senate we will be seeing some more silly bills introduced, like an immigration bill.

I guess there’s a lot of illegal traffic rolling across the northern border!  During the Montana legislature, it’s normally a three-ring circus in Helena – with a lot of clowns running around.  It appears the circus may come back for another 90 day event next January.

Hire a Veteran:

According to a recent story I read in the Los Angeles Times, “The unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq is 10.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For veterans age 24 and under, the rate is 29.1%, or 12 points higher than for civilians the same age.  That compares with 8.2% unemployment nationally, and 7.5% for all veterans.”

“…and 7.5% for all veterans.”  That’s the rest of us…

Bin Laden and Politics:

There’s a debate going on about the “One Chance” video from the Obama campaign.  Watch it HERE.  Robert Gibbs (former Press Secretary for Obama and now senior advisor now to the president’s reelection campaign) said the following on Meet the Press about the video and Mitt Romney:

Well, certainly it’s not over the line.  Look, just a few years ago President Obama, then a candidate, said in a speech that if we had actionable intelligence of a high value target in Pakistan we’d go in and get that high value target.  Mitt Romney said that was foolish.  He wouldn’t do such a thing.  That he wouldn’t move heaven and Earth to get Osama bin Laden.

Gibbs then added:

Osama bin Laden no longer walks on this planet today because of that brave decision and the brave actions by the men and women in our military.  And, quite frankly, Mitt Romney said it was a foolish thing to do a few years ago.  And, look, there’s a difference in the roles they would play in commander-in-chief.  And I certainly think that’s fair game.

Personally, Mitt Romney ticked me off in 2008 when he said his sons traveling in a RV campaigning across Iowa for him were serving their country.  I think using the Bin Laden killing in the campaign is relevant – a Democratic President called the shots and got him; not a Republican.  That’s a fact.

Finally, Robert Gibbs sounds a lot like Cal Naughton Jr., who is the character played by John C. Reilly in the movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”  Compare HERE to HERE.

Follow the life and times of Jack (the Blogger) Brown on Twitter @TheWesternWord