consultants are sandburs

Saturday, May 06, 2017

With days passing, the May 25 Montana special election gets an added dimension. After Trump Jr., Mike Pence will visit the state on behalf of the big-spending Republican effort against Rob Quist. And . . .

Reporting of Pence traveling within days to Montana is widespread on the Internet.

Mike Pence seems the face of Domimionism. With the Montana Republican special election candidate a similarly disposed individual, the Montana contest raises the question of religion and government in a nation where the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights allows freedom of religion, which necessarily means freedom from religion. The text stating:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Opening language in this key constitutional provision is anti-establishment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" and such unequivocal language has no meaning other than the obvious.

The cross and money is a strange combination for the federal Republican establishment to be wedging into Montana, with it being gospel that money changers were driven from the Temple.

Yet, with Pence and money transported into Montana by Republicans; Pence being singular, money being elastic as to amount and use; (the appearance being lots of money, vast spending), with the money being used to sling mud. This is unfortunate, the appearance being almost as if the Republican candidate could be viewed as having no positive virtues to spend the money advertising so that attack of the opponent is the sole option. Clearly that is not so, hence the question of what the Republicans expect going negative will gain them is ripe for press inquiry and op-ed analysis.

What can Mike Pence say on behalf of the Republican, other than kindredness of outlook; and is that in any fashion in the best interest of the State of Montana? Quist should write a song about it. The outsider, descending in a government paid flight trip, presumably so and without Republican Party reimbursement of expenses, to try to bias an election seems a step at war with the spirit of the anti-establishment clause, as well as an insult to avoidance of government waste.

Two big questions - Will Pence be a serious factor one way or the other? He's never packed venues with any show of brilliance. Second big question, still to shake out, will the backlash against the Republican "health" effort of the last few days in the House of Representatives be a last days factor affecting turnout or voter decisionmaking?

The AP has reported on Pence traveling to Montana, immediate to the House having passed something to move to the Senate on "healthcare," but no connections are drawn in such reporting. Brief factual reporting is the case but with the AP feed appearing to have been picked up by diverse regional outlets; e.g., here and here. The indication is the Montana election has national attention, as spending suggests, but that in-depth coverage outside of the State is brief, superficially so, and not editorial.

Key players? Smirking in anticipation of quelling a backlash?

An exploratory websearch today indicates no immediate House vote / Montana backlash observation; but such a thing, if it develops, likely would take days to be recognized and reported.

Widespread dissatisfaction and protest across the nation has been reported, aside from any impact within Montana. See, e.g.; Politico here (source of the image), and WaPo here.

One Rob Quist might be asked to respond to: Young Turks, here. It appears Quist has insights.

One Gianforte should weigh in mind if asked an opinion on what's been done by those he'd want as his colleagues and friends in the Republican controlled House, here.

It is hard to imagine the Republican candidate not being pressed to comment on the House bill, (and the way it was stealthily passed) while it appears clear Quist, as a single payer advocate, would respond that the Republican controlled House is moving in a dead wrong direction, retrenchment being the opposite of enhanced coverage for all as a right.

The Republican's response SHOULD be sought, by the Montana media, in that he seeks having an additional voice on the Republican side of the House after having made vague utterances about "safety net" imporatance without being pressed on specifics. With the Republican House effort seemingly cutting gigantic holes in any safety net aspects of present federal healthcare policy, it would be most interesting if the Republican Montana candidate were at this point pressed firmly for what such a posture actually means in terms of an actual recent House action, and what in the world he means, if anything substantial, in bandying about the term "safety net."

Saying "safety net" alone is empty talk: has reported 72 days before the May 25 election day (work that out as early in April when the first Ryancare thing was pulled from facing a floor vote defeat):

This week the focus of the campaign is squarely on health care, as the new GOP Healthcare bill goes under the microscope on Capitol Hill.

With the Congressional Budget Office forecasting that 14 million Americans would lose their insurance under the new bill, the political heat is rising.

"I think we can do better than the program that's on the table today," said Gianforte.

"It's clear to me that there are aspects of Obama Care that are good. We need to protect people with pre-existing conditions, and we need to make sure that we have a safety net for people that can't take care of themselves," Gianforte said.

The day after the CBO report made headlines, Quist called on Gianforte to distance himself from the republican proposal.

"This report confirms that D.C. Republican's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will take away health insurance from hard-working Montanans, to give tax breaks to millionaires like Greg Gianforte," Quist said. "Montanans deserve better,"

[italics emphasis added]

Now the Republicans have gone and done a floor vote, so what's the Republican man's position? Yea or nay? Press him, and when/if he says boo about it; press more for detail. Devils always dwell in details, and politicians want to fuzz and issue generic sound-good soundbite things, such as that things are fine but perhaps for a detail here or there, if of the Party currently in the driver's seat.

Let us anticipate journalism in Montana, with nationwide interest in what result May 25 delivers, will meet responsibilities in the direction of pinning down an actual and meaningful Gianforte response to a clearly compelling question.

What does the man mean by "safety net" now in terms of a House bill sent on to the Senate having a days-old history?

"Safety net" is an entirely empty but feel-good term if allowed to stand free of detail. The media in Montana owe their State's voters the detail of what makes this particular Republican feel good about any so-called "safety net" in the Republican House's bill. Where he might see any irresponsibly crafted "safety net" holes he believes should not be in that bill? Put his feet to the fire on specifics. Voters of Montana deserve nothing less than that.

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