John Adams, a reporter who covers the Montana Legislature, has an interesting entry today at his Lowdown blog.

It may not sound like an interesting topic – open caucus meetings? zzzzz… – but it really is a fascinating look at Montana politics.

The dirty little secret at the Capitol is that lawmakers from both parties, in both houses, have more-or-less ignored the court’s ruling…or at the spirit of the ruling. For the most part, the open caucus meetings that are announced on the House and Senate floors and held in meeting rooms during a recess in floor action are more show than substance.

The real party caucusing happens behind closed doors or at off-site locations.

Sometimes caucus leaders hold meetings at the Capitol with fewer than half the caucus members present. Without a quorum present, they can can legally turn away the news media. This has happened to me in past sessions.


The number of campaign ads on TV and radio in the 2012 election in Montana is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

It’s just…massive. Inescapable. Most are just infuriating, abd many of them are laced with half-truths or deception, and I don’t know a single person who isn’t sick of the ads. Have they convinced anyone to vote for or against any particular candidate?

On the other hand, there are at least two light-hearted commercials.

One of them was filmed at the barber shop at Smelter and Division; seeing Tester’s smiling face pop up over the newspaper as he says the “…and I approve this message” line is kind of humorous. Regardless of ideology or politics, at least that one has the virtue of seeming genuine and actually includes a smile.

And last week, there was a commercial with Steve Daines and his family sitting around a campfire as Daines told a scary story about big government – that one is pretty cute, too, and uses family members as real people, not just bland silent props as the candidate walks with them through a meadow.

So…which ad sticks out in your mind as the absolute worst? The most offensive?

Oh – and the 2012 campaign is also somewhat notable in that one of our races – Rehberg versus Tester for the U.S. Senate – has gotten quite a bit of national attention.

Announcing The Announcement

Jack over at The Western Word has a quick summary of the current state of the 2012 gubernatorial race, including the news that Steve Bullock has joined the race – arguably the worst-kept secret in Montana politics this year.

Politics aside – not a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian or Tea Party or Green thing – Bullock’s “teasing” of his candidacy for the last several months just ticks me off, because it happens so often at all levels of politics. As I commented over at Jack’s place: “I absolutely HATE that politicians (of all stripes) release announcements that they plan to schedule an announcement that they will at some point make an announcement that they plan to schedule a conference to announce that they will soon make an official announcement about a formal announcement for a candidacy.”

If you’re going to run for office, then for crying out loud, JUST DO IT.

Election 2008

And so it ends. Election 2008 draws to a close today – barring any Florida ’02 scenarios. It has not been a normal election year in Montana, as our state has seen more attention lavished on it by candidates in search of our three electoral votes than in (?) any previous election. Conspicuous by his absence, of course, is John McCain, but I don’t think that people inclined to vote for McCain would withhold their vote for that reason.
So here’s a simple poll to pass the time until the results roll in later this evening: who did you vote for – or did you? – and who do you think will win the election?

Esposito ’08

You know that it’s rare for me to address topics not directly related to Great Falls here…but amid all of the hoopla surrounding the McCain/Palin versus Obama/Biden presidential race, don’t forget that there are indeed other candidates. Here’s one to watch: Senator Brad Esposito. Obviously, he’s a long-shot candidate, but as Americans we owe it to ourselves to hear his stance on the issues before finally settling on a candidate. Here are some of Senator Esposito’s strong stands on the tough problems facing our nation:

Brad would also finally grant extra votes to transgendered individuals to more accurately reflect both sides of their sexual identities.
Brad promises to repeal the Republican Tax Cuts and institute his signature creation – the Democratic Tax Enhancement Program – with special tax-credits for middle-class families, members of the liberal media, and closeted homosexuals.

Now don’t take this blog entry as an endorsement; it’s not my place to formally endorse any candidate here. But it IS my place to try to keep readers informed, particularly about important civics issues. So take a few minutes to learn more about Senator Brad Esposito. Do it for America.

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