Kicking the Can…

Back in February I wrote, “Every time someone mentions closing a Post Office, local officials cry foul and Not In My Backyard (NIMBY).”  I also wrote, “Almost every quarter we read about the United States Postal Service (USPS) losing money.  The fact is they are not just losing money, they are hemorrhaging it.”

On July 26, USPS announced a list of around 3700 Post Offices targeted for closure, including almost 90 in Montana.  I’ve always believed the USPS should close some offices and also they might as well go to five-day per week delivery to save some coin – so close them and cut services.

Yesterday, Montana’s lone Congressman, Denny Rehberg (R), announced “The Mail Drop Montana Initiative” and said in the press release, “That’s why I’ve been leading the charge in Montana to protect rural post offices and preserve six day postal delivery.”

Sound the horn – Rehberg is charging…(you can insert a credit card joke here).

Then Rehberg’s staff does a real nice job of inserting the “Montana versus Washington, D.C.” angle into the fight.  Montanans never like the threat of the feds telling them what to do – remember Montana’s Governor wears bolo ties, has a dog who writes books and attends meetings, and he has a cousin who is a convicted freeman.  Politicians love to say they are a XX generation Montanan.

Rehberg ‘brings it home’ with this quote,

Washington just doesn’t get it – we can’t solve all of our problems on the backs of rural states like Montana.  For me, this is about doing the right thing for Montana and that means I’ll keep fighting bad ideas no matter which political party they come from.

Hallelujah – we’ve climbed to the top of the mountain and we see the light – so F – off Feds – you’re not gonna screw with Montana post offices!

Rehberg is one of 435 members of the U.S. House.  There are also 100 members of the U.S. Senate (two from each state) – each and every one of these 535 elected officials has the chance to cry “NIMBY” about the postal service closure plans – and many will.

That is why nothing much gets done in Washington, D.C., and why their job approval ratings are so low.

Politically, Rehberg is pretty safe to fight for the rural post offices and keeping six-day delivery – he is challenging first-term Senator Jon Tester (D) in November 2012.  Tester couldn’t carry very many rural counties in 2006 (not even his home county), so he is probably in agreement with Rehberg on this issue.  The Rehberg campaign team understands that the few thousand votes he will receive because he’s “been leading the charge” for these rural post offices might just seal the deal in a close election with Tester.

Let’s close this column with the immortal words of Eminem, “back to reality” – Rehberg’s initiative is really just kicking the can down the road – and that’s reality.

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