The expert at anything was once a beginner. ― Helen Hayes
I’m back – I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Today’s independent commentary deals with these issues:
- Tester’s Next Term
- Dome Lights
- Bob Brown is Wise
- 9th Circuit Court of Appeals & Trump
- One More Thing
Tester’s Next Term:
Lee Newspapers recently published a story about what we can expect from U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D) during his next six-year term.
Two major issues were not addressed in the article – but have no fear I have it covered:
First, Tester is the leader of the Montana Democrats and he needs to lead the way in finding a strong candidate to run for Governor. The only thing that stops the wackos on the right from having free reign in the state legislature is a Democrat in the Governor’s office.
Secondly, since Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines is up for re-election in 2020, I’m sure Tester will want to pay back Daines for all the campaigning he did against him in 2018 by finding a strong candidate to take him on.
You can read the whole Lee Newspaper story HERE.
Phil Drake of the Great Falls Tribune writes a weekly column called “Dome Lights” about the happenings in Helena. This past week Drake wrote a little bit about the proposed pay increase of 69% for legislators:
I know talk about pay increases is like throwing acid into people’s faces. I am not going to say one thing or another about the proposal, but would urge people to look at the issue from the perspective of the position and not the person sitting in the seat.
I’ve only covered one full session, but it is grueling and a lot of time away from home. It seems like a big sacrifice. Is there a knucklehead or two in the crowd? Well, if it’s like most newsrooms there is.
One lawmaker who is not returning in January told me a few months ago that the job is a fiscal strain on those who serve and some cannot afford to do it. I can imagine.
I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I am just hoping for more than a knee-jerk reaction to the proposal.
That kind of seems like a weak endorsement.
I think every Montanan has a dog in the fight – and I think they should say “Hell No” to a pay raise. If it’s such a sacrifice for someone to serve, then they should not run for office. There are brighter people who can run for the legislature.
Last week when I first heard of the crazy idea, I wrote that elected officials get to Helena and think they work harder and are more important than the average Montanan. I’ve said before that somewhere in the state capitol there must be a silly fountain that many legislators drink from and then they do crazy shit and act like clowns. Often they embarrass our state.
I also think the only way that we, the taxpayers, should give Montana legislators a pay raise would be to let Montanans vote on it.
Bob Brown is Wise:
Former Montana Secretary of State and Montana Senate President Bob Brown writes occasionally about issues in Montana. By the way, we are not related.
Recently he wrote about the Tester/Rosendale race and how Montana “appears well down the road to becoming a one-party Republican, deeply conservative state.”
Brown also adds this piece of wisdom:
My take is that at the beginning of the recent campaign, Tester was widely accepted as the genuine article, with Montana deep both in his heart and under his fingernails. While that reputation was diminished by the attacks of the campaign, it was still intact enough that a sizable 15% of the Republican-leaning Montanans who voted for Trump in 2016 voted for Tester this year, when only the most loyal Republicans stuck with Rosendale whose singular appeal was his attachment to Trump, even as he continued to pronounce the name of his adopted state, “Mun-tah’-nah.”
Brown closes with, “It is good that Montana’s legislative delegation, as in the 1970s, is not entirely made up of the same party.”
Amen to that. You can read the full article HERE.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit & Trump:
It’s almost of a daily talking point for conservatives in the western states of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Arizona, to complain about the “liberal” 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. There has been talk from conservatives of splitting up that court for years.
President Donald Trump thinks the same thing and he tweeted about the 9th Circuit being overturned more frequently, but the Associated Press (AP) shot that down by doing a fact check:
When the Supreme Court hears a case, it is more likely to overturn it than not. It does so about two-thirds of the time.
In the last term, the Supreme Court overturned 100 percent of the decisions of the 1st Circuit in Boston, the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia and the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. For the 9th Circuit, 86 percent were overturned.
Over the past five years, the Supreme Court overturned a greater percentage of rulings from the 3rd Circuit (92.3 percent), the 6th Circuit (85.1 percent) and the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit (81.8 percent) than from the 9th (77.4 percent), according to The Associated Press’ analysis of statistics from the legal website Scotusblog.
It’s too bad many of the Trump loyalists don’t do a little reading and understand that just because Trump tweets something does not make it true.
You can read the full AP Fact Check HERE.
One More Thing:
Congratulations to Great Falls native and former University of Montana quarterback Dave Dickenson for leading the Canadian Football League (CFL) Calgary Stampeders to the 2018 Grey Cup. Dickenson is the head coach of the Stampeders. (CBC Sports)