Campaign 2014: Political Potpourri

Happy Monday folks – how about those Kansas City Royals? They swept the Los Angeles Angels to advance to the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Today’s column is not about baseball – it deals with Legislative Referendum 126 here in Montana.  I also write about the Lewis/Zinke U.S. House debate on Saturday night, and I close out today’s piece by writing about the “team” of three wise men who penned a column in the Great Falls Tribune about “no teams.”


In case you are not familiar with LR-126 here in Montana, this is the referendum that would end late voter registration on the Friday before Election Day and eliminate Election Day registration. Voting “Yes” on LR-126 basically makes the deadline to register to vote the Friday before Election Day and voting “No” keeps it the way it is (registering to vote until the polls close on Election Day).

Although I have my doubts that LR-126 will pass, I have do have a few comments about it.

The people who want us to vote NO on LR-126 tout Montana as “one of the top states for fair, honest, efficient elections.”

When I hear that claim, I remember back when our former Governor, Brian Schweitzer, gave a speech and boasted about how he had manipulated the outcome of an election in Montana. He later said he was joking, but I will always wonder what really went on behind the scenes that night.

I have always liked the idea of having a deadline for people to register to vote in elections. I feel that if voting is important to a person, then he or she will take the time to register before the deadline – maybe without an incentive. Election Day registration gives a whole new meaning to the “get out the vote” effort – and it’s not as patriotic as some may think.

Registration was once 30 days before an election, so the Friday before is fine with me.

The Debate:

I did happen to catch the hour-long debate between Democrat John Lewis and Republican Ryan Zinke on Saturday evening. Zinke and Lewis are running for Montana’s only U.S. House seat.

The debate was broadcast live on MTN stations across the state.

First, the audio was terrible. If the folks at MTN can’t do a better job than this, then please don’t attempt it.

Second, fellow blogger James Conner over at the Flathead Memo says it best, “The moderator behaved like a television game show host.”

I think just because someone has been in the “news business” in Montana for a decade or more does not automatically make him/her the best choice as moderator.

Third, if Montana allows Libertarian candidates on the ballot, then the Libertarian candidates should be invited to all debates.

Fourth, Zinke won the debate.

Finally, the U.S. House member from Montana is only one of 435 members. When Denny Rehberg decided to take on Jon Tester, Montana lost a ton of seniority. When Steve Daines decided he wanted to run for senate, he will move Montana to the bottom of the seniority ladder in the House once again starting in 2015. Hopefully whoever is elected, they will try to stay in the seat for a few terms so Montana builds some clout.

Unfortunately, I can see a Zinke victory in the House race propelling him to run against Jon Tester in the senate. On the other hand, I can see a Lewis victory propelling him to run against Daines (if Daines, as expected, wins his senate race).

Three Wise Men:

I was looking forward to reading the column in the Great Falls Tribune from the “team” of David Weissman, Dave Bertelsen, and Gregg Smith.

I was disappointed.

Basically, the three met at a party and decided there was way too much partisanship in the government and that they would write a column in the Tribune about it. They did not say if wine was involved when they made this decision.

They contend, “…increasing partisanship seems more and more to interfere with our government actually getting anything done.”

That statement is not breaking news, although they are correct.

They want to promote the “No Teams” concept which they explain as:

You could consider it a focus on the way we say what we say, rather than just what we say. You could consider it battle preparation for the war of ideas.

OK, let me know how that works out for you…


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1 thought on “Campaign 2014: Political Potpourri

  1. Pingback: Campaign 2014: LR-126 & Supreme Court Mailers « The Western Word

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