Fox News: MT Top Seat for Dems to Defend

Aaron Flint posted on February 14, 2011 23:23 :: 2041 Views

Montana is the number one trouble spot for Democrats in 2012, according to Fox News’ digital politics editor. 

Here, from hardest to hold to easiest to defend, are the eight biggest Democratic Senate trouble spots for 2012.

1) Montana – In 2006, Republican Sen. Conrad Burns ran a weak reelection campaign in a difficult year, which allowed Jon Tester, then a state Senator, to edge him out in a narrow race. Now, Tester is saddled with votes in favor of President Obama’s national health-care law and support for global-warming fees. The state’s at-large Republican congressman, Danny (Denny) Rehberg, has already declared his candidacy. Tester has sought to distance himself from unpopular provisions of the health law, but the odds are stacked against him.

Of course the big news at the end of last week- Neil Livingstone announced his bid for Montana Governor live on our statewide radio talk show, “Voices of Montana,” Friday morning. 

The AP offers this:

Washington D.C.-based terrorism expert Neil Livingstone has made clear he intends to seek the Republican nomination for Montana governor in 2012, although an official announcement will come later.

Livingstone, who has made his living primarily as a consultant to foreign nations, corporations and others on matters of security, filed paperwork Friday with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices allowing him to raise money.

“I’ve made my living all over the world for many years,” Livingstone said in a telephone interview. “I want to bring that experience and expertise back to the state.”

Newly Elected Madison Co Commissioner Dan Happel offers his thoughts on on MSTI and wilderness in The Madisonian, calling Tester’s wilderness bill “ill-conceived.” 

Happel is focused on a piece of legislation currently winding its way through the Montana Legislature that would make Montana a coordinating state, paving the way for Madison County to become a coordinating county, Happel said.

Coordination means that if the federal or state government wanted to do something in Madison County that would impact its citizens, then the county commissioners could demand a seat at the table, he said

Too often ill-conceived legislation, such as Sen. Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, has gone forward without adequate input from local officials, he said. Coordination would make state and federal agencies more accountable to local citizens. It would also put the responsibility on county commissioners to be responsive to their constituents.

The Baucus Revolving Door: by The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney

A press release from K Street lobbying giant K&L Gates, about their newest hire, Mary Burke Baker. Baker was an IRS employee and through the IRS, a “detailee” to the Finance Committee, where she “authored many floor statements, opening statements and press releases on behalf of Chairman Max Baucus concerning corporate, small business and individual tax policy and tax administration matters,” according to her K&L Gates bio.

Again, I’ll point out: if Baker’s work had resulted in less regulation, fewer bailouts, simpler taxes, and lower taxes, she would be a lot less valuable as a lobbyist/consultant. As I have written before, there’s a pattern: subsidize them, regulate them, work for them.

Plus- fact-checking the Tester speech to the Montana State Legislature

The AP had this:

Tester noted his opposition to the Wall Street and auto industry bailouts, but defended the federal stimulus spending last year as necessary to fend off a full-on economic depression. He did not mention the federal health care overhaul law that has become a contentious issue.

Brian Barrett with the Rehberg Senate campaign offered this fact-check:

Senator Tester, Still Defending the Failed Stimulus Saying “it created thousands of jobs for Montana.”

The Truth:

Since the passing of the stimulus unemployment in Montana has gone up roughly from 5.6% to 7.4%.  Showing the Stimulus’ inability to create jobs for Montana!(Bureau Of Labor Statistics Website,, Accessed 1/3/11)

2.     Senator Tester said he Would Never Vote for Bailouts but Yet He Voted to Bailout AIG, Fannie and Freddie and Even Allowed Fat Cat Bonuses to go to AIG Executives!

Tester Voted For The Mortgage Relief Bill That Bailed Out Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. (H.R. 3221, CQ Vote #186: Motion Agreed To 72-13; R 27-13; D 43-0; I 2-0, 7/26/08, Tester Voted Yea)

a.        “Senator Jon Tester Today Blasted Insurance Giant A.I.G. For Its Recent Plan To Award $165 Million In Bonuses To Employees, Even After The Struggling Company Accepted A $173 Billion Taxpayer-Funded Bailout. A.I.G. Has Claimed That The Bonuses Are Written Into The Company’s Employment Contracts, But Tester Shot Down The Excuse As ‘Incredibly Unacceptable.’” (Senator Jon Tester, “Tester Blasts A.I.G. For Using Bailout Money For Bonuses,” Press Release, 3/17/09)

A Provision Of The “Stimulus” Allowed For AIG’s Bonuses. “While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill.  The provision, now called ‘the Dodd Amendment’ by the Obama Administration provides an ‘exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009’ — which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and other are now seeking to tax.” (Rich Edson, “Amid AIG Furor, Dodd Tries To Undo Bonus Protections In The ‘Dodd Amendment’ Rules,” FOXBusiness, 3/17/09)

·         AIG, Which Received Nearly $200 Billion In Federal Bailout Funds, Paid Bonuses To 418 Employees, Including At Least $1 Million Each To 73 People. “The bonuses that the American International Group awarded last week were paid to 418 employees and included $33.6 million for 52 people who have left the failed insurance conglomerate, according to the office of the New York attorney general. The company paid the bonuses, including more than $1 million each to 73 people, to almost all of the employees in the financial products unit responsible for creating the exotic derivatives that caused A.I.G.’s near collapse and started the government rescue to avoid a global financial crisis. A.I.G. has received nearly $200 billion in federal bailout funds.” (Jackie Calmes and Louise Story, “418 Got A.I.G. Bonuses,” The New York Times, 3/18/09)

And, the nullification debate takes center stage in the state legislature.

Mike Dennison has this:

Montana may be part of this United States, but in the halls of the state Legislature, some Republicans are saying Montana can and should ignore federal laws it doesn’t like – by declaring them “null and void.”

From health care reform to food safety laws to the Endangered Species Act, GOP lawmakers this session are targeting laws for “nullification,” proposing bills that put Montana on record as declaring these laws unconstitutional and not enforceable here.

Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, has even proposed setting up a permanent legislative commission that could review any federal law for possible nullification by the Legislature.

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