A group of “responsible” Republican Montana legislators, led by Sen. Jim Peterson, Sen. Llew Jones, and Sen. Ed Buttrey, has banded together to “stand up against political extremists.” The group, Montana Business Advocates for Sensible Elections (BASE), is seeking donations from businesses, for whom they promise protection from the forces of evil.
Who are these extremist bad guys? Democrats? Environmental whackos? Overreaching federal bureaucrats? Al Qaeda? Nope, Montana BASE says the bad guys are: conservative Republicans. I guess these would be the “irresponsible” Republicans, the other 93%.
The BASE website warns:
“. . . an extremist group of outsiders has begun operating within the Republican community. These zealots rarely understand or even care about business friendly economic conditions or jobs, yet frequently choose to attack Republican Business Candidates over social issues, state militias, or other non-business issues. We must recruit problem solvers as the antidote to extremism.”
The group’s website bullet-points say education is good, natural resources are good, infrastructure is good. High insurance rates and frivolous lawsuits are bad. Pretty fresh, out-of-the-box thinking, eh? I guess they think this distinguishes them from the “extremist” Republicans. Looking at the list of claimed legislative victories on their website, I have to question – how did those bills get passed without voting help from the “extremists” they want to eliminate?
What they don’t mention is any concern about federal overreach into state affairs, restrictive state administration and regulations, or Montana’s massive unfunded liabilities, largely due to union government pensions. They don’t promote running the business of Montana using Zero Based Budgeting, as every private business does. The tax reductions they claim to have supported were vetoed, yet they claim as successes increased spending on government projects.
Senator Peterson and Montana BASE joined forces with Democrat Governor Bullock against “dark money” after, according to the AP, “some Republicans were attacked in primaries last year as too liberal by anonymous conservative groups.” No mention of unions (mostly government employees), and the corrupt kickback scheme that is the butter to Democrat bread. And there is an unsettling similarity between the enforcement features of Peterson’s dark money bill and the actions of the IRS against conservative groups which are currently under intense national scrutiny.
Another strange bedfellow emerges, as Montana BASE has aligned with and frequently quotes the Center for Public Integrity, which claims to be “one of the country’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations.” Nonprofit, maybe – but nonpartisan? A quick look at their board of directors reveals a Who’s Who of liberal media bigwigs: a half-dozen hotshots from NPR and the NY Times; a class-action tort lawyer extraordinaire; Arianna Huffington (needs no introduction); Steve Kroft (60 Minutes correspondent and Barack Obama’s favorite reporter), Henrick-Jan Laseur (UNICEF/Union for Conservation of Nature/SustainAbility/Agenda 21), Dr. Gilbert Omenn (associate director of OMB for Jimmy Carter). Every business in Montana should want to be advised by Jimmy Carter’s Office of Mgmt. and Budget, wouldn’t you think?
I can’t criticize the “responsible” Republicans for any position they take on bills or issues. They are elected representatives and their votes should reflect the wishes of their constituents and their best individual judgments. But I can see why some constituents are alarmed when their representative campaigns one way and then sides with the opposition after the election. The voters in Sen. Peterson’s own district did not view the redistricting loss of their elected Republican seat to a Democrat from a distant district as “responsible”. As Senate president, Peterson had, or should have had, considerable influence over redistricting.
Senator Peterson and friends have been roundly criticized for voting with the Democrats and against the majority of Republicans in the Montana Senate. How does voting against the majority of one’s party, on its own, make one “responsible”? Would any Democrat break ranks to vote with the Republicans? Who are the extremists?
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Darling, I don’t know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low, there ain’t no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It’s all or nothing at all
Darling, I don’t know why I go to extremes
I Go To Extremes – Billy Joel