Monday, May 21, 2007

McNutt: "Enough was Enough"

Continuing with the theme touched on in yesterday's Sunday Roundup and Branding, the Sidney Herald reports the comments of Rep. Walt McNutt, R-Sidney, about the recent special session of the Montana legislature:

...McNutt points out there's no tax relief for businesses, industries and even farms if the home is in the corporation's name.

McNutt put it simply: "We didn't get any business equipment tax relief," and "property tax relief wasn't in the budget from the get-go."

But just as Rep. John Ward was quoted in Chuck Johnson's article that "it was time to be done," McNutt had a similar comment: the final two days of the special session it was obvious that the governor's budget was going to be passed in some form. (McNutt) said he voted for the final budget because he didn't feel any more progress could be achieved.

"There was no use sitting there any longer. Nothing was getting done. It was a situation where enough was enough," McNutt said.

Now over at Left in the West where he can really spread his blackbird wings, former 4&20 blogger Jay Stevens takes note of the Montana Headlines comment on Sunday that there was "a case to be made (whether one agrees with it or not) for just giving the executive what it wanted and being done with the session, since it was clear that real compromise wasn't going to happen."

Stevens however takes an interesting turn:

The unspoken corollary to this comment was that there was another case to be made by GOPers: one for obstructing the Governor at every step, and using a one-vote majority in one body of the legislature to bring down the session even though it wouldn't do any good.

By such logic, U.S. Senate Democrats from 2000 to 2006 had two choices: rubberstamp President Bush's entire agenda, or filibuster the entire government into shutdown. The fact that different strategies were devised indicates that perhaps other alternatives were available.

Even if one were to accept the idea that in any political situation there are only two choices (an idea that is mentioned only to be condemned,) one wonders how such a "corollary" would be arrived at, other than by intentionally creating a caricatured Republican strawman to swat about.

The far more obvious alternative case to be made was for Democrats and Republicans to arrive at a modest but real compromise on spending and taxes in the special session. It is hard to tell whether Montanans should be intrigued by the idea that perhaps progressive thinking isn't capable of arriving unaided at the concept of compromise -- or unsettled because Democratic partisan discipline won't allow it, even in an essentially tied legislature.

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