It's no secret that the Republican Party, both nationally and in Montana, has been taken over by Tea Party radicals. Sadly, many of the unhinged right-wingers we saw in action in the last session won re-election. We'll try to stay on top of their efforts to protect large corporations and wealthy people while shafting everybody else.
We'll keep an especially close eye on new Congressman Steve Daines. Will he, like his predecessor, become a member of Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus? Will he surprise us by being more "moderate" than Rehberg was? His early votes indicate that he probably won't.
The Modern Republican Party
Tea-Bagger Daines Worse Even Than Rehberg
Daines: To Hell with Old People
Daines Joins Extremists to Vote Against Hurricane Relief
[The following letter was published in the DillonTribune on January 9]
We all remember Hurricane Sandy slamming into the northeastern United States last October. It killed at least 125 people. In New Jersey alone, it damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses. Full damage statistics are still not available for New York and Pennsylvania, but anyone with a television set knows the damage was extensive.
A bill providing $9.7 billion in flood relief to the afflicted areas was finally passed last week -- more than two months after the disaster. The bill passed despite a no vote from our new representative Steve Daines, who joined 66 other extremists in arguing that no money should be spent on disaster relief unless it was offset by cuts in other government programs.
Shame on Steve Daines. In one of his first votes as our representative, he has shown himself to be callously indifferent to the needs of real people. He professes to be a Christian but has no compassion for others. For him, right-wing ideology trumps helping our neighbors in trouble.
When montana needs disaster relief -- and we need it every fire season -- will Daines vote against our receiving it? Or does he plan to reserve his cruelest votes for states that voted mainly for Democrats?
Again, shame on Steve Daines!
Daines is Unmoved by Scenes like This in New Jersey
Why Do So Many Older Montanans Vote Against Their Own Interests?
[A poster at Montana Cowgirl calling himself rls4568 posted the following comment on January 11. It's a little pessimistic but rings true nonetheless.]
There are so many people who only know what they are told. My in-laws were staunch Republicans for years. Every time a letter came from the RNC they sent back another $20 out of their social security.
When age finally overcame them we had them in assisted living. We took care of their bills, etc. You would not believe (or maybe you would) how offensive the RNC was when they weren't getting their money from these old people. And all the while, whatever they were told in these mailings, that is what they did. Never read a book . . . never read a paper . . . never got in a discussion about politics with anyone other than another Republican.
I came to understand that there are thousands of these people out there and there is no hope for them. It will require that they all die out for change to happen. So thoroughly depressing!
On January 15 Daines fell in line behind Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party Caucus to vote against additional disaster relief for the northeastern states hit by Hurricane Sandy. He and the other extremists failed in their effort to kill the bill, which passed (241-180) with all but one Democratic vote and enough votes from the more rational Republicans.
What a classy guy we elected!
Our lone congressman officially joined the Tea Party on March 22 when he voted for the Ryan budget, which seeks to "overhaul" (i.e. gut) Medicare and Social Security.
Daines' vote should come as little surprise. During the 2012 campaign Daines admitted his admiration for Ryan's austerity measures and his budget, which the Congressional Budget Office said would raise health care costs for seniors over $6,000 per annum.
The new Ryan budget that Daines helped pass is even more radical than the one Ryan released in 2011, a budget which even Denny Rehberg voted against.
Playwright Bertolt Brecht Said It Best Some Time Ago