‘Captain, there’s a passenger who wants to speak to you.’   ‘Yes?’   ‘This is a highjack!!  Fly me to the Governor’s office and no funny business!  I got a pay plan and the 2020 Governor’s race in this backpack and I ain’t afraid to you use them!’

Two of four heavy armed Lebanese Chi'ite

That’s right state workers, your trip through the legislature for your meager pay increase no longer belongs to you or your unions.  Representative Julie Dooling (you know, the Dooling who could get elected) introduced her pay plan that was swiped word for word from Representative Moffie Funk.  The Republican’s have cleverly taken hold of that negotiated deal and made it their own.  And there isn’t anything your Governor or union bosses can do about it except try figure out how to say ‘well, we got it passed for the first time in a decade. So what’s the problem?’

The problem isn’t today, tomorrow or a few weeks from now when HB 175 has moved at warp speed through both houses and to the Governor’s desk for signing.  The problemhyper5 will be how you look back at this in November of 2020 when you have to decide who you want to be in that office for the next eight years.  This highjacking isn’t about what’s good for state workers and finally giving them the respect they have always been due.  It’s about votes and who signs the next pay plan, or for that matter, doesn’t.

In case you haven’t been paying attention for the last ten years Tuesday was the first time that what was House Bill 13 made it out of the House Appropriations Committee.  It’s also important to remind all of you that in those same ten years the Republicans have controlled both the House and Senate, meaning this could have happened all along.  But it didn’t.  This isn’t a freebie by any means and you should all beware of Greeks baring gifts, in a manner of speaking.

So enjoy this rare turbulence free flight of 66th legislature and count on those benevolent Republicans to bail out in the 67th legislature with the only parachute on the plane. the-pursuit-of-db-cooper-1TGTJ

‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’

When You’re In A Hole

A few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve the Montana Democratic Party announced it had hired its new executive director to head up the ‘people’s party’ and lead us all out of the vintage new yeardarkness of Rosendale, Stapleton, Arntzen and Trump.  New Year’s Eve, as though the message would create a flurry of resolutions to be a better democrat in 2019.  Certainly this wasn’t actually news since there really aren’t any secrets in Helena and the story had already circled its way back to Miller’s Crossing where it likely first slipped out.  Fast forward three dull weeks of the new year and you have arrived at the same Democratic Party you were at a year ago.

Monica Lindeen has settled into the same office where Nancy Keenan perched otzf8herself for a few years, that is when she was in state.  The squirrels outside took no notice.  The two have almost identical resumes.  Long time legislators, back to back terms in tier B offices, each did a stint heading up women’s advocacy groups and both were trounced by Denny Rehberg.  Of course Monica can add her loss to Cory Stapleton for an office she could barely explain,  with Keenan’s help of course.  So what?  It’s comfortable.  It’s what we all know.  Why change?

An opportunity has been lost in this non-transition.  Progressives in Montana and traditional democrats really only share the word ‘democrat’ and then the two part.  Progressives can rally a crowd in less than twenty four hours.  As for those old school democrats, well, in Keenan’s words ‘I can’t get them to get up out of their God damn rockers for anything!’  Lindeen won’t be lighting the fire of inspiration under them either.  And she certainly doesn’t carry the credibility to bring the two together under one roof to move what’s left of the party forward.  Need proof?  Drive by 303 Ewing to see staffers packing cars and heading for better opportunities rather than watch one more loop of Groundhog’s Day.groundhogday-phil

The old Dems have just sent Lindeen down a ladder and tossed in a few new shovels.  When you’re in a hole, why stop digging?


‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’