Here’s another edition of the Political Trough (random stories of interest to Rocky Mountain news and politics consumers)…including a few “in case you missed its.”
First off, unless I missed it during the Montana GOP US House candidate debate Monday night in Bozeman (I was in the midst of juggling notes and questions as the debate moderator)- I believe there may have been one word missing from Monday night’s debate: Pelosi. Why does that matter?
As Politico Playbook noted earlier:
HOW TO GET 266,000 CLICKS — “NRCC Reveals The One Word That Motivates GOP Voters … And It’s Not What You Think,” by Mike Miller of IJReview (Upworthy for the right): “Following Republican David Jolly’s win over Democrat Alex Sink, … the … NRCC … has revealed the number one word that fires up GOP voters. … It’s not ‘Obama’ or ‘ObamaCare.'” SPOILER ALERT: It’s “Pelosi.” http://goo.gl/RrrtWc
Like I say, I may have missed it in the midst of shuffling notes- so first activist, candidate, campaign, or interested party to point out otherwise gets an on-air mention.
Well, it’s a good thing the MT Supreme Court isn’t in charge of something like Twitter. Apparently they count characters as words…
As reported in a Billings newspaper following a ruling against a top-two primary system in Montana:
Senate President Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, criticized the decision.
“It seems like the court has taken an extremely technical approach toward interpretation of these statutes by counting every listed number as a word, therefore once again frustrating the popularly elected Legislature from placing a measure before voters for their consideration,” he said.
“The purpose of the referendum was to give Montana voters the decision on whether they wished to elect the elected officials in Montana by a majority of the vote,” not a minority, he said.
Lots of conflicting numbers out there when it comes to Obamacare…
Montana Media Trackers: Report Disputes Bullock’s Montana Medicaid Expansion Budget Estimate
Analysis from the Montana Legislative Fiscal Division (LFD) is disputing major cost savings claims in Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s Fiscal Note on the Healthy Montana Initiative — a ballot initiative proposal that would expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare.
The governor released the fiscal note in February, which lays out how Medicaid expansion would be payed for and notes the amounts of state and federal dollars that would be spent. The note paints a rosy picture, claiming that the state would actually save about $7.7 million over the fiscal years 2016-2019 if the Healthy Montana Initiative passed. Assumption 10 of the note shows that the state is receiving a temporary increase in federal money for the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) and counts that as money being received for Medicaid expansion.
Rather than saving the state $7.7 million over the first four years of expansion as is claimed by the Governor’s fiscal note, when the CHIP money is subtracted from the equation, the Healthy Montana Initiative will actually cost the state $99.7 million.
I spoke with Sen. Thomas about this very issue last week on Voices of Montana. Click here for audio.
Meanwhile, in North Dakota- Just 53% Of North Dakotans “Enrolled” In Obamacare Have Paid First Month’s Premium.
From Rob Port’s SayAnythingBlog.com:
The Obama administration is claiming millions of enrollments in Obamacare, but they aren’t reporting enrollments so much as plans selected. It’s anyone’s guess how many of those selected plans have been effectuated by paying the first month’s premium. Nationally estimates suggest that 15-20 percent have not paid.
In North Dakota, that percentage is much higher and it’s not an estimate. According to numbers presented by Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm to the Legislature’s Interim Health Care Reform Review Committee, just less than 47% of those who have selected a plan have effectuated coverage.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): Statement on 4 Year Anniversary of Obamacare
“Four years ago, Democrats in Washington were confident that the law that they forced through Congress would be extremely popular today. Instead, the law has broken almost every significant promise that President Obama made about it and Americans have been left to deal with the very serious consequences. Millions of Americans have personally discovered that they can’t keep their coverage, can’t afford their premiums, can’t see their doctor and can’t work as many hours.
“Today, the actual law doesn’t even look the same because President Obama has lawlessly re-written almost all of it in a desperate attempt to save his legacy. The so-called ‘fixes’ aren’t working and Americans understand that the changes are based on saving politicians’ careers instead of improving health care. Instead of continuing to implement a poorly written law that continues to fail Americans, we need to suspend it and start over. Washington needs to finally focus on improving access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”
— Steve Daines (@DainesforMT) March 21, 2014
What they seem to prefer instead is a no-muss, no-fuss nomination season with the party coalescing behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The strategy has certain advantages. Democrats could build a formidable war chest and sit back while Republican candidates wrestle for the GOP nomination.
Brian Schweitzer, a former Democratic governor of Montana, is considering a presidential bid. He dismissed the notion that Democrats should keep the pathway clear for Mrs. Clinton.
“I think there’s a yearning for more voices – not less – in our political system,” Mr. Schweitzer said in an interview.
Fox News: DAINES MEANS BUSINESS IN NEW AD
Montana Senate hopeful Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is touting his business experience in bringing tech firms to the state in a new ad. Daines appears in the ad saying: “When people told us we were crazy to start a high-tech firm in Montana instead of somewhere like California we didn’t listen…I’m Steve Daines and I approve this message because Washington needs some Montana common sense.”
And finally, many of you may remember Carl Graham and his work with The Montana Policy Institute. He is now the Director of the Sutherland Center for Self-Government in the West based in Salt Lake City, UT.
He penned this letter to the editor in The Wall Street Journal discussing sage grouse:
Considering that 91% of all federal lands lie west of the Colorado/Nebraska line, losing ground to sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act is only part of our problem out here in the West. As you note, the federal government owns on average 47% of each Western state. (That compares to an average of less than 5% federal ownership for our Midwestern and Eastern neighbors. Where’s Eric Holder with his disparate-impact team when you need him?) These are lands that we can’t tax to support education, transportation and other vital programs. Nor can we responsibly manage these lands—as we have with private and state lands for generations—to balance human needs with long-term stewardship and conservation goals.