Thursday, October 12, 2006


Joel Connelly over at the Seattle P-I wrote an excellent piece yesterday chronicling this year’s Senate campaign in Montana, where the race between the Republican incumbent and his Democrat challenger is close enough to make for down and dirty politics:

“Montana tires of senator's shtick”

The two candidates have engaged in several debates in different areas of the state. Connelly sees and describes the race not only in its own context but also as a referendum on the Republican Party and one-party control. Quoting the Democratic candidate, Jon Tester, on Republican Conrad Burns’ positions, Connelly ends with an interesting bit of Montana History:

“"I'll tell you where his (Burns') priorities were, with Jack Abramoff and his lobbyist buddies, and with giving the Bush administration everything it wanted," he argued. "Congress is there to be a check on the executive. It's not just a rubber stamp."

Echoes of Montana history came in Tester's closing remarks.

In the late 1930s, a progressive Montana Democrat, Sen. Burton Wheeler, took on a president of his own party -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -- and led the effort to block FDR's plan to pack the U.S. Supreme Court.

There was fire in Wheeler, as recounted in a very good new book, "Welcome to the Homeland" by National Public Radio's Brian Mann. The senator said of his president:

"It is an easy step from the control of a subservient Congress and the control of a Supreme Court, to a Hitler or a Mussolini."

Words worth remembering.”


And it should be remembered that in the late 1930’s Hitler and Mussolini were still operating – barely - within the framework of international law… And Nazism was a model of “get the job done” efficiency… Nazis didn’t cut & run…

My “moderate credential” has been criticized quite a bit recently by people who insist I can’t be middle of the road if I consistently criticize Republicans. But of course that is a fool’s argument: I criticize those who I think need it. At this time, there is almost nothing to recommend the Republican Party, and as for “the middle,” the Republicans have, I assert, totally abandoned the middle, cynically deciding the very few left there have become politically insignificant.

There is no longer any moderation in my former party.

I haven’t been this disgusted with our Federal government… since 1993, when the Democrats had full control.

Not the party… It’s the power. It’s the one-party power. Neither of our parties is fit to the task of one-party rule. I have become convinced one-party rule will ruin America, disaffecting millions and Balkanizing the Nation. A Nation of laws that respects minority rights and cherishes individual and political freedom cannot operate under the control of any single, exclusionary political philosophy.

No party could ever have a big enough tent for everyone.

If only we could ban one-party rule.

You can’t. It’s practically impossible to eliminate a one-party possibility and still adhere to free elections.

After all, “We the People” have the sovereign right to screw ourselves…

But maybe we can blunt one-party rule – like this. Proposed as an amendment to the US Constitution:

“In any situation where majority control of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate vests in a single party and the President likewise is elected from that party, special veto authority equivalent to Presidential veto authority will be conferred on the House and Senate minority leaders in acting in concert. The veto will only apply to bills already signed into law by the President.”

A new kind of check on the runaway train. Neither minority leader would be able to exercise veto power alone – they would have to act in concert, and could only intervene after the President signed a bill into law.


Hmm, the minority leaders having to basically sign off on the president. It in fact would be a gridlock amendment. Hmmmm….. a few more minutes……. Oh my God, I might actually agree with you.

However it wouldn’t work in the real world, assuming it passed.

“Boy Wally, why dontcha think it would work, I mean it sounds like a really neat idea to get those guys kinda not doing anything”

”Well Beav, here’s what would happen, The press would love it right now, and the Democrats would tie up everything a Republican tried to do, but…. Wouldn’t ya know it, as soon as things switched and the Republicans were in the minority then the press would say it was a bad law and being abused.”

“Gosh Wally, that sounds a little weird. I mean, your kinda makin it out like those guys in the press are just a bunch of creeps”

“Yeah, well Beav remember that independent council law? When the Democrats were going crazy with Nixon and Regan and Bush one, Hey remember when that guy Walsh did that neat indictment trick like a week before an election and the press loved him? Well, remember that independent prosecutor the Republicans had investigating Clinton and he held off until after the election to indict people and the press still hated him?”

“Yeah Wally, I guess you’re kinda right, I mean he sent a governer to the big House and then they guy who took over even got Clinton to leave office under a plea bargin and they still said he didn’t get anything done. Gee, I guess you are kinda right”

“Yep Beav, that’s the way it works in Washington, those guys are all kinda goofy that way”
I would argue the middle doesn't exist anymore thanks to the Dem's leftward lurch the past 3 decades.

And speaking of leftward lurches, there is Montana. We will soon likely have a second Dem senator along with a Dem governor. The latest (Tester) will be the worst. He's a Lamont/Dean/Kerry/Kos Dem.

Montana is a beautiful state, and as such is filling up with CA liberals. It's no longer a part of the individualistic West. It's now a branch of the Berkeley/Portland/Seattle progressive loony bin.
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