A Salute to the Five

My moderate heart was beating proudly yesterday while I was following the actions in the Montana Senate about Medicaid expansion.

Why? Five Republicans told the far-righties in the Montana Senate to take a long walk off a short pier.

It’s not that I am fully in favor of Medicaid expansion or fully against expansion – it was exciting to see that some of the GOP senators in this Montana Legislature are individual thinkers – that Reagan Republicans still have a heartbeat. I thought the Montana Reagan Republicans were probably dead and buried along a dirt road in a golden triangle wheat field (and they went the way of Joe Pesci in “Casino”).

But for at least one day and one vote there’s a heartbeat for moderates. There’s hope that the wackos on the far right are losing ground. Maybe a little less tea will be consumed in the coming months and they will act a little less cocky. Hope is a good thing.

So who are these brave men who have boldly gone where few have gone before? They are State Senators Llew Jones, Ed Buttrey, Jim Peterson, Bruce Tutvedt, and Taylor Brown.


Although this is not a big enough deal to chisel their faces on the side of Square Butte, these gentlemen have set themselves up for attacks from the dark-money groups – some which may come from fellow Republicans.

The circus atmosphere even provided me with a chuckle while reading the tweets from some folks in press who were more than a little giddy about the actions. I caught myself reading their tweets and saying, “Calm down, report the facts, take it easy.”

Today we get to read the first-hand accounts. The Associated Press reported that the five “bucked party leaders” while Lee Newspapers reported their actions were “another example of the deep chasm among Senate Republicans” and the Great Falls Tribune reported that it “became a battleground for the heart and soul of the Montana Senate Republican caucus” and MTN reports that “The rift in the Republican Party has impacted the debate on several key bills this session: education funding, campaign finance reform and now Medicaid expansion.”

Although the circus is starting to wind down in Helena, you can still catch shows throughout the day until around April 27 – and the tension is building – so step right up and enjoy the show!

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