Almost two weeks ago I wrote a column I called, “Wouldn’t it be nice?” which was about Iran being well on their way to developing a nuclear weapon and about the Obama Administration having plans to cut the number of nuclear weapons possibly down to 300-400.
I said, “Let’s hope the people representing us in Washington, D.C., take notice.”
They did. Yesterday.
My faithful readers are probably sitting on the edge of their seats wondering what the Montana Congressional delegation did about this issue that is so closely tied to our national security (not to mention that Malmstrom employs about 5000 personnel and has $335 million in yearly total economic impact for Montana).
They wrote letters…to the President.
Apparently Congressman Denny Rehberg ‘got the party started’ with his letter to President Obama saying he has “serious concerns regarding the recent news that you ordered the National Security Council (NSC) to develop a plan for drastic reductions of our nuclear arsenal.”
Rehberg issued a press release about his letter to Obama. In the world of political gamesmanship when one politician (especially from the other political party) issues a press release the other politicians see it and they have to react.
So not to be outdone, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester also sent a letter to President Obama. To save valuable resources, it appears they did one letter (together). Some folks believe that the staffers for Jon Tester have done nothing in the past five years but provide administrative support services for Max Baucus and his staff.
Baucus and Tester then sent a press release to the local Great Falls (Montana) media.
Baucus and Tester did not post their letter or press release on their websites (as of this morning), so I can only comment on what the local media reported (because I did not actually receive the press release).
According to reports, Baucus and Tester have asked “senior” Obama Administration officials to give them a briefing “to learn more about the various options and what their financial and security impacts would be.”
After this briefing, Baucus and Tester will be able to send out another press release to gain the upper hand on Rehberg, because that’s the bigger issue here. It’s not that they actually care that much about national security – they care about winning these little political battles – and Malmstrom AFB and the Montana National Guard are just tools they can use in these battles.
That’s not to say that Rehberg acts any differently. It’s all part of the political game. You don’t last long in the political world, like Rehberg and Baucus have, without being able to play the game well.
Obama will not win Montana in 2012. He surely won’t win Wyoming, either. North Dakota? I doubt it. Those three states contain the 450 land-based nukes. If any of these three states were important to his re-election (like California, New York, and Florida are), Obama would deeply care.
Without the power of having a seat on a defense or military committee in Congress, just about all the Montana Congressional delegation will be able to do is send letters, ask for briefings, and then send press releases back to the highly gullible local media in hopes they will publish it and garner them a little publicity. Once in a while, a local military supporter may write something good about their work, too – and that’s an icing on the cake moment.
If Malmstrom AFB is going to play a continued role in our National Security, it looks like someone else will have to do the heavy lifting.
Follow Jack on Twitter @TheWesternWord.