Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday – need I say more? Buckle up!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I provide valuable independent commentary about Dark Money & Religious Freedom in the Montana Legislature, Bowe Bergdahl, Ted Cruz, Harry Reid, a special obituary, plus I share a couple emails from my political inbox!

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Campaign 2014: Fundraising Frenzy

Fundraising is very, very time-consuming. – Arlen Specter

With just about 44 days until Election Day 2014, the political parties are desperately trying to raise money to help their candidates.

The Republicans have a good chance to take control of the senate, but it will be very close and come down to just a few races – so both sides are trying to raise funds to get their message out. Some people predict the senate will fall into Republican hands after this election and then go back to Democrat control after the 2016 election.

Since I subscribe to receive updates via e-mail from different groups within the Democratic and Republican parties, I thought I would share some of the subject lines from their fundraising e-mails. Enjoy.

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Campaign 2014: Potpourri

Happy Tuesday! It’s a potpourri of political news!

Today I write about John Lewis and the Montana GOP, my prediction that Amanda Curtis won’t run out of money for gas, Harry Reid’s glass being half-full about Montana, and a new Gallup poll finds we dislike their representative.

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MT Senate 2014: Department of Defense

Yesterday the Associated Press (AP) reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) would be “overseeing a plagiarism investigation being conducted by the U.S. Army War College against Sen. John Walsh because the Montana Democrat is a member of Congress.”

The AP said the move was “unusual” which means the conspiracy theory people will be out in force. Of course, the Walsh haters and Rep. Steve Daines’ (Walsh’s opponent) supporters were also out in force. It was pure silliness and good for a laugh or two.

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Campaign 2014: Better Get a Dog

True friends stab you in the front. -Oscar Wilde

I think it was President Harry Truman who once said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” The same thing could be said for 2014 party politics here in Montana.

Great Falls Tribune Capital Bureau reporter John S. Adams wrote a story for Tuesday’s paper with the headline, “Democratic Party breaks from tradition by backing a candidate in the U.S. Senate primary race.”

It was really not a surprise to me that the Montana Democrats backed John Walsh – he was about the only big name Democrat who did not turn down the chance to run. Besides, most people believe that after everyone else declined, the wheels were set in motion by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama, to get rid of Max Baucus and give John Walsh at least a fighting chance against probable Republican nominee Steve Daines. This was done by having Baucus step down to be an Ambassador to whatever country needed one at the time, and for Governor Steve Bullock to select Walsh to fill the remainder of Baucus’ term. Democrats are under great pressure to keep control of the U.S. Senate.

But former Republican now Democrat John Bohlinger would not go down without a fight. He went ahead and filed as a Democrat for U.S. Senate. He recently took the gloves off in an opinion piece writing that, after he refused to step aside, “it has been a long, cold winter in politics, in which I learned the dark side of power and money in politics.”

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Big Sky Buy-Off

Today John Walsh will take the oath to become Montana’s newest United States Senator. Congratulations to Senator Walsh.

According the VoteVets.org, “Walsh will now be the first Iraq veteran to ever serve in the Senate” and that can only be described as a great thing. If you’ve read my columns very much, you know that I believe that the more veterans we have serving in Congress, the better our country will be.

Republicans, both statewide and national, have cried foul over the process and created a cute website and videos to show their displeasure. Even some in the media thought that Governor Steve Bullock had “deflected reporters’ questions about what sort of process he intended to use to fill the Senate seat.”

It’s kind of sour grapes.

In reality the process of picking a new United States senator is pretty vague in the Montana Code:

13-25-202. Vacancy in office of United States senator. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator, an election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next general election. If the election is invalid or not held at that time, the election to fill the vacancy shall be held at the next succeeding general election.
(2) The governor may make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy until the election.

Basically, there’s more information and guidance on how to appoint a State poet laureate than a U.S. senator in Montana.

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MT Senate 2014: 40-yard Head Start

Former Republican Lt. Governor John Bohlinger is making this campaign season interesting. For those not acquainted with Bohlinger he was a Republican and Democrat Brian Schweitzer picked him as his running mate. Together they served two terms as Governor and Lt. Governor of Montana.

Schweitzer was enemy number one of the Montana Republicans for several years. Bohlinger was pretty much exiled from the Republican Party for siding with the enemy. The Montana GOP even refused to sell him tickets to attend the Montana GOP’s annual convention back in 2007.

In Republican terms, Bohlinger was a classic RINO – Republican In Name Only. The moderate-leaning Bohlinger, like many, probably grew tired of the Tea Party leaning Republican Party.

I like John Bohlinger.

U.S. Senator Max Baucus decided to retire. So Bohlinger decided to run for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat.

Republicans really don’t care too much about that, because they have their man, Congressman Steve Daines, who announced he was running for U.S. Senate. They believe he can beat anyone. This is the same cockiness they showed when “the man” before Daines, Congressman Denny Rehberg, challenged Senator Jon Tester. Rehberg lost.

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