Champ Edmunds Exhibits Bold Leadership, Takes Shot at Steve Daines

While there may be no more hapless campaign for federal office in 2014 than that of Champ Edmunds, it’s certainly worth discussing his press release today which simultaneously demonstrated the futility of his campaign and a real problem Steve Daines will face from the right wing of his party if he pursues a Senate race. In a PR decision that defies logic, the Edmunds campaign released a press release today entitled “Rep. Champ Edmunds Considers Staying in the U.S. Senate Race.” In it, Edmunds writes:
“Montanans deserve a conservative candidate. I am a true and proven conservative with a legislative record that clearly reflects where I stand now and where I will  stand in the future.”

“When I announced my candidacy to represent Montana in the United States Senate, I said that should Congressman Daines at some point seek this same seat, then I would step aside and become a candidate for Montana’s lone congressional seat.”

“As I listen to folks from around the state react to what has transpired in Washington D.C., I am forced to rethink my previous offer.”
While this bold profile in courage certainly won’t make a difference for Edmunds, the sentiment expressed in the press release does represent a real challenge for Daines. By voting to end the government shutdown after railing against “Obamacare,” Daines put himself in the unenviable position of being wrong twice—once among rational voters who saw through his effort to hold the country hostage and once among the irrational right of his party, who actually believe that pursuing a quixotic struggle against the Affordable Care Act justified threatening or even crashing the global economy. PSC Commissioner (and certified kook) Roger Koopman has already joined in the criticism of Daines, writing:
Alas, these “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” have no true conviction at all — only preferences that wax and wane with the latest political calculation. Continue Reading →

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Over. For Now….

Phew. The partial government shutdown is over and the US is no longer on the brink of default. Once again we have not fallen over a fiscal cliff. This story is becoming a bit redundant… Every September and October, millions of Americans collectively “facepalm” as Congress creates a mockery of an institution. An institution that (in recent years) just can’t manage to accomplish anything. Continue Reading →

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Perennial Candidate Corey Stapleton Gets Slapped Down in ATP Decision

While I imagine there will be a lot of ink (virtual and real) spent discussing the Commissioner of Political Practice’s decision today outlining the fraudulent and criminal behavior of American Tradition Partnership and its bought and paid for legislative candidates, I was particularly struck by a reference to Congressional candidate Corey Stapleton, who received special attention in the decision: In other words, Motl ruled that campaign treasurer Corey Stapleton was so negligent in his duties that a potential legal remedy could be to bar him from seeking future elective office in Montana. For a career politician, that would be a serious—and warranted—penalty. That Stapleton would either lack oversight or ethics in his campaign fundraising comes as little surprise to those of us who closely followed his bid for the governor’s chair in 2012. Back then, the Stapleton campaign was blatantly abusing loose “pass the hat” campaign regulations to either collect more money than they were allowed to or to pass off donations they couldn’t otherwise explain as legitimate. The Republican field for the U.S House is beginning to sound like the beginning of a bad joke: a self-promoting Californian, Sarah Palin in a flattop, and a crook meet in a bar… Sounds like the Republicans are getting the field of candidates they (and not we) deserve. Continue Reading →

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Ryan Zinke “Exploring” a House Run

The groundswell of support from his totally independent Super PAC seems to have persuaded Ryan Zinke that he should seriously consider running for the US House, as he announced the formation of an exploratory committee to consider his run. Should be interesting to see Zinke win in what promises to be a rabidly right-wing fight, given his love for compromise and middle ground politics. After all, he told the Portland Tribune in May that he considers himself a moderate:
He is writing a book titled, “The Rise of the Middle.” “I take the middle of the political spectrum,” Zinke says. “Middle America is us. Continue Reading →

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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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