Monday Morning Politics

Welcome to the dreadful day we call Monday.  After watching a couple of great football games yesterday and knowing the big game is about two weeks away, today seems even more of a downer than most Mondays (probably not as much as in San Francisco and Baltimore, though).

But there’s good news – we are still above the grass!

Almost every Monday I compile some of the political stories from the past weekend and put them in one place for all to see – and also offer some personal commentary!

Today I take a look at the Gabby Giffords announcement, I comment about who is fighting for F-15s, I let veterans know about a problem, I reveal the contents of a special letter, I look at a really good-paying job, I let you know that Tuesday is Juneau day at the Capitol, I share my thoughts on South Carolina, and let you know that the State of the Union address is Tuesday!  There’s even more!!!

Gabby Giffords:

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced on Sunday that she “will step down from Congress this week to continue her recovery…”  You can read the press release HERE.  You can watch the two minute video announcement HERE.

I wish Rep. Giffords well with her continued recovery – she is a fighter! 

Fight for F-15s:

State Senator Ed Buttrey and his group are not letting the Montana National Guard lose their planes without a fight.  KRTV has the story HERE.  In the interview, Buttrey said “it’s going to cost between 1/4 and a 1/2 billion dollars of new infrastructure and wasted infrastructure to move the mission from Montana to California.”

Maybe Buttrey should run for U.S. House or U.S. Senate…

F-15s – Another Letter:

The Great Falls Tribune reported on Friday that “Rep. Dennis Rehberg has written to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and National Guard Chief General Craig McKinley reiterating his support for maintaining the Montana Air National Guard F-15 mission in Great Falls.”

That’s fine and Rehberg received some all-important press out of it – but the local supporters of the Montana Air National Guard want to see more than letter writing.  Until one of the members of the delegation has a seat on a military or defense committee, letter writing may be all we see (unless some senator wants to quietly put a hold on nominations or general officer promotions to make a point…).

Department of Veterans Affairs Error:

According to a press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs, they are “offering free credit monitoring to more than 2,200 Veterans whose personal information, including social security numbers, was posted on following the mistaken release of data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).”

It appears the VA discovered the error on December 13, 2011.  The press release announcing the problem was dated January 20, 2012.

One of these days the VA may be run by someone who can actually do the job…

A Letter from Boehner:

The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sent me an official-looking letter the other day.  Just for a moment I thought maybe he was commenting about my website or maybe even offering me a job.  But no, it was one of those silly National Public Opinion Surveys put out by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The envelope contained a four page letter and four-page survey.

The campaign tip of the day:  For all the candidates (and staff) who read this – don’t waste money sending eight pages of propaganda – send just two pages (that’s counting the front and back) and a small envelope to mail the donation back.  You lose your audience with more than two pages – plus it’s harder on shredders.

Montana Board of Regents:

The salary for being the Commissioner of Higher Education in Montana is $283,300.   Holy cow!  The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has the story about the selection of the new commissioner HERE.

There are concerns and there should be…I could do that job (as could others) for at least $200k less…and save the state some money…

Juneau Kick-Off:

Friday afternoon Denise Juneau sent me an e-mail that said, “On Tuesday, January 24, at the State Capitol in Helena, I will officially announce my campaign for re-election as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.”  The event is from 12:00 – 1:00.

Montana Legislature:

Lee Newspaper reporter Mike Dennison takes a look at the state house and state senate races in his “Reporter’s Notebook: Dems winning a majority in the Legislature the longest of long shots” story.

The key line in the story is “It’s possible, I suppose, for Democrats to make significant gains against the GOP this election. But I don’t think I’m risking much to say that continued Republican control of the Legislature after the 2012 election is darn good bet.”

If that is true, then winning the governor’s race might be the only way for the Democrats to stop the total control of the state by the GOP.  That means the Governor’s race will be very important. 

South Carolina:

Several people asked me my thoughts about Newt Gingrich winning South Carolina on Saturday.  Gingrich beat Romney by about 13 points.  Now we have three different winners in the first three states.

I am not a big fan of Gingrich or Romney.  There are three things that hurt Romney in South Carolina and two were self-inflicted:  1. The Bain Capital issue. 2. Releasing tax returns.  3. Being a Mormon.

People are concerned about Bain Capital and some of the stories coming out.  He needed to assure people he cared about workers (the little people).  People believe Romney is filthy rich and they also think since he has not released his tax returns, he may be hiding something.  Finally, South Carolina is full of Evangelical Christians and many do not agree with Mormonism.

The final push for Gingrich is how he went on the offensive against the so-called “liberal media” – it seems the voters in South Carolina liked it…


This Tuesday the President will be delivering his State of the Union (SOTU) address.  It happens at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).   The theme of the speech is “An America Built to Last” and you can check out the White House website for more information about it.

Everyone should watch the State of the Union. 

I will be following the speech and Tweeting about it, so follow me @TheWesternWord to get my timely insight (and jokes)!

2 thoughts on “Monday Morning Politics

  1. It baffles me that the Commissioner of Higher Ed – and the bosses of UM and MSU! – make more $$$ than the Governor.

    • The Governor is elected mostly by popularity; on the other hand the commish of higher ed and the bosses of UM and MSU are hired based on education and experience in their field. I think they make too much and that more money should be spent in education on actual classroom teachers and teaching assistants.

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