More Bohlinger convention goofiness: This time, our faux-Republican Lt. Gov's antics surround the Montana Democratic convention, where he will be appearing with his running-mate, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Bohlinger, reached as he was preparing to return to Montana from the National Lieutenant Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Va., said, "I didn't know that I'd been invited. I haven't had any plans of attending. You know, I am a Republican. I really appreciate the invitation."
Bohlinger, reached as he was preparing to return to Montana from the National Lieutenant Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Va., said, "I didn't know that I'd been invited. I haven't had any plans of attending. You know, I am a Republican. I really appreciate the invitation."
Yeah, right. Quite a surprise.
Denny Rehberg votes against permanent bases in Iraq: The U.S. House bill also states that the U.S. is not to exert control over the oil industry in Iraq. Rehberg and most Republicans voted for this broadly bipartisan bill, as was appropriate.
Truth in editorializing at the Gazette: Pat Bellinghausen tells more about the process of writing editorials at the Billings Gazette. Given that unsigned "Gazette Opinion" editorials have a particular impact, coming across as the magisterial voice of an institution rather than the opinion of a particular writer, it is good to tell readers that she is primarily responsible for writing those editorials.
She also invites readers to contact her if there are columnists that they would or would not like to continue to see in the Gazette. Best nationally syndicated columnist printed in the Gazette right now: R.J. Samuelson. Worst: Ellen Goodman.
On the purely conservative side, we could probably do better than Cal Thomas -- it would be nice to see an opponent of the Iraq war from the right, with the two most prominent being Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak. Both are engaging writers and are good at stirring up controversy with both the right and the left (Novak is even still a registered Democrat.)
"Hillary the underestimated": Or so Rich Lowry of the National Review (one of the more mature of the former NR youngsters) calls her. Money quotation:
"Clinton has run a nearly flawless campaign and has done more than any other Democrat to show she’s ready to be president..."
Not a few thoughtful conservatives have come to the conclusion that if we have to have one of the top three Dems, Clinton would probably be preferable.
She knows how to triangulate -- which means that she will come up with policies more conservative than would either Edwards or Obama.
And her performance shows that maybe she wasn't just baking chocolate chip cookies and doing needlepoint during her years as first lady.
Her most recent coup has been to demonstrate that she knows how to handle the liberal netroots. She doesn't let them intimidate her and doesn't particularly care if they like her. But she has skilfully avoided having them turn on her and make a cause out of defeating her -- and that is really all she needs to do.
She knows in a general election campaign, she can count on their support for her being an automatic and unconditional "night of the long knives" against any Republican, and she also knows that cozying up to the netroots will cost her with the general electorate.
The governor's "blue-collar getaway": He purchased the $2 million Georgetown Lake lot because it was a "blue-collar place," but according to a shocking story in the Great Falls Tribune:
"the Schweitzers' 4,000-square-foot cedar-and-sandstone mansion on a point jutting into the lake is anything but blue collar."
And there are some things that we just didn't need to know:
Four bedrooms plus an office. Six baths (a couple of them, Schweitzer took pains to show off, with urinals. "There's not going to be any discussion about toilet seats").
This is, of course, just the sort of things that sends Republicans. But, while Montana voters may take note and dock Schweitzer a few points for the sheer silliness of his "blue-collar neighborhood" claim, the GOP would do well not to try to make a direct campaign issue out of Schweitzer's new mansion. After all, we believe that people should have the right to make what they can and spend what they are able.
And what should the governor have done? Should he have failed to take advantage of the property exchange "tax loophole" that keeps him from having to pay capital gains on the ranch he sold?
The governor is in many ways his own worst enemy when it comes to this sort of thing -- and then the GOP comes riding to his rescue every time by attacking him loudly, making it look petty, and cancelling out any benefit that there might have been from his gaucherie.
Whoever runs against the governor needs to do it on policy and performance alone. And there's more than enough of that to debate.
Thanks to the anonymous commenter below, our attention was drawn to this letter (scroll down) in the Helena IR, which contains what may be the only "news report" about our Sen. Jon Tester voting against the so-called "John Doe" amendment -- a measure that would protect citizens from being sued for reporting activity that is suspicious for being possibly terrorist-related.
What was this highly dangerous amendment (SA 2340 -- submitted by that arch-conservative racist Republican Senator, Susan Collins of Maine) that Sen. Tester couldn't bring himself to vote for? Here's the meat of it:
(1) IN GENERAL.--Any person who, in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, makes, or causes to be made, a voluntary report of covered activity to an authorized official shall be immune from civil liability under Federal, State, and local law for such report.
And, with all due respect to those who are worried that this could be used as a pretext to hassle people without fear of consequence, we would suggest actually reading the next part of the amendment (we assume that the House language was pretty much identical):
(2) FALSE REPORTS.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any report that the person knew to be false at the time that person made that report.
The roll-call vote can be found here -- note that the measure failed by 3 votes to hit the 60 vote mark. Every Republican voted for the measure.
Democrats who are facing elections where they need more than the MoveOn.org crowd to get elected (Sen. Clinton in the Presidential race, Sens. Baucus and Landrieu in their re-election bids in "red states," -- also North Dakota's two Democratic Senators, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, etc.) tended to vote for the measure, while those independent "mavericks" like Jon Tester and James Webb who don't face re-election until 2012 voted against it along with the main body of the liberal Dems.
It is interesting that given how much play this amendment got nationally, that the Montana press seems to have been silent on how our Senators voted.