Is Ryan Zinke’s Sleazy Super PAC Just a Front Group for His House Race?

You have to give Ryan Zinke credit: he’s always working an angle to promote himself. During the 2012 Presidential election, he founded a truly despicable front group called Special Operations for America which used dark money donations to attack President Obama. Now that same organization is is launching an Astroturf campaign to “draft” Zinke to run for the U.S. House from Montana. On October 4,  Zinke stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Super PAC. Today, one week later, SOFA, an organization that doesn’t even have an active web site any longer and one that has not announced a replacement for Mr. Zinke, used its Facebook page to promote Zinke’s candidacy for the U.S. House. Continue Reading →

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Scarier than Citizen’s United?

This past week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. The focal point of this case is aggregate contribution limits. Aggregate limits are caps on how much an individual can contribute every two years. Not just to one candidate, but how much period. (In case you were wondering the current limit is $48,600 to federal candidates, more than the median income in Montana for just a touch of perspective.) Some poor dude in Arkansas (McCutcheon) is butt hurt because he was only able to donate to 16 congressional candidates. Continue Reading →

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Maryland’s Matt Rosendale Hires a Smear Merchant to Help His Congressional Bid

Given his lack of personal charisma, absurd policy positions, and lifetime in another state, Maryland real estate developer Matt Rosendale is going to have to do a lot of work to win a U.S. House seat here in Montana. He’s already started some of the likely quixotic process, donating a quarter of a million dollars to his own campaign and hiring a campaign spokesman who will do and say anything to help his man get elected. The Billings Gazette reports that Rosendale has jumpstarted his campaign with a donation that will be 25 times the total raised by Champ Edmunds in this cycle. More interestingly, the article notes that Rosendale’s spokesman is former Congressional staffer and campaign manager Scott Yeldell. Yeldell is available to work for Rosendale because the last candidate he represented for Congress, a TEA Party incumbent named Francisco Canseco, was defeated despite running one of the sleaziest campaigns of the year, a campaign that featured incredibly inappropriate and dishonest attacks. Continue Reading →

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Idiot Objections to the Common Core Illustrated

I’m working on a longer post about the adoption of the the Common Core State Standards, but thought I’d tease it with an example of the insane objections coming from the Far Right fringe, who apparently believe that more rigorous standards for American students are “communist” and “tyrannical.” While there is certainly reasonable debate to be had about the future of American education, we’re not going to find it by engaging those who look under their beds every night for lurking communists. The Blaze, the semi-literate right wing’s version of  The New Yorker, offered this HORRIFYING EXAMPLE of communist propaganda as a reason to reject the Common Core: a teacher challenged her sixth grade students to “revise, omit two and add two amendments” to the “outdated” Bill of Rights. Ignoring the fact that the assignment had nothing to do with the Common Core, the hysterical reaction shows just how deeply conservatives fear teaching critical thinking. From my point of view, it’s an excellent assignment for middle school kids, asking them to evaluate the necessity of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, changes needed today, or simply reword existing provisions. You know who else thought occasionally revisiting the Constitution was a good idea? Continue Reading →

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When You Thought Steve Daines Couldn’t Be More of a Partisan Hack…

Despite the Missoulian’s odd effort to headline this story in a way that suggests Representative Daines is some kind of a bipartisan leader, you simply must read their take on Steve Daines refusing to support a bill designed to stop government shutdowns, a bill he co-sponsored and introduced, simply because it is being supported by Democrats. Back in March, Daines was one of eleven members of the House to introduce a bill entitled H.R. 1164: Government Shutdown Prevention Act.  The purpose of the bill was to ensure that the government keep functioning in the event of an impasse like the one now created by House Republicans. Today, though, Daines is more beholden to the rigidly ideological wing of the Republican Party, and won’t support Democratic efforts to pass the bill. According to the Missoulian: Daines wants no part of the Democrats’ petition. “The short answer to that is, like many things, it’s a political gimmick,” said Alee Lockman, Daines’ spokeswoman. Continue Reading →

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Just When You Thought Ryan Zinke Couldn’t Be More Despicable

Failed Lt. Governor candidate Ryan Zinke certainly has a knack for demonstrating an almost unparalleled capacity for despicable behavior in the name of self-aggrandizement. For the past year, he has been raising money condemning the Obama Administration for “outing” Navy SEAL Team Six, even though it was Zinke himself who not only named the group publicly but disclosed operational details of the mission. Now Zinke’s back. In a platitudinous and grammatically-challenged hash of inane right wing talking points about American foreign policy in the Daily Interlake, he falsely claims that American ambassador Chris Stevens was raped and tortured during the Benghazi attack. Zinke writes: Yet not a single official was fired despite the brutal rape and torture of our ambassador and the death of three American heroes. Continue Reading →

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Walsh Offers Excellent Contrast with Daines

The news that Lieutenant Governor John Walsh has entered the race for Senate has energized Montana Democrats and made a race that seemed worrisome immediately competitive. While the specific timing of the announcement (late night Wednesday) was certainly odd, in a broader sense his timing couldn’t have been more perfect: announcing his candidacy at the precise moment Steve Daines is demonstrating his preference for radical Republican obstructionism over real governance provides the kind of contrast Walsh will use to his advantage in the campaign. In the last couple of contested Senate elections here in the state, Montanans, despite a conservative bent, have chosen sensible pragmatists over radical ideologues—and are likely to do so again. The experience gap will also work to Walsh’s advantage. While each has experience overseas, the fact that Walsh led Montana troops in a war zone as Daines was helping outsource Montana jobs to China offers another instructive contrast about their priorities and values. Continue Reading →

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