Opinion

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Uncommon Ground

A Thursday Vote

I’m going with Quist, the poet and political underdog who knows Montana's places, culture, and people

Most Montanans want our president to succeed, to make America greater.  Yet words like “great” mean different things to many people.

If “great” means something in between what our president pictures and what opposition envisions, our country would be greater.

Presidents produce better when cooperating branches of government offer its traditional checks and balances. More yes-men in politics are unnecessary.

The president enjoys many loyal advisors. Some treat the politics of governing like sport. If their team wins, it doesn’t matter how. Politics celebrates winners, not the process, nor the losers.

Montanans choose our next congressman from among three candidates.

Republican Greg Gianforte is the frontrunner. He spent as much personal wealth, losing in last November’s election, as it cost to rebuild the 1970’s science-fiction astronaut Colonel Steve Austin. The $6 million sting hurts, yet loss produces smarter candidates.

Judging from the constant barrage of negative advertisements on television during Jeopardy, the frontrunner seems willing to spend much to procure a win.

Gianforte likely succeeds. Polls say so, past election results indicate it, political pundits agree, and conservatives vote.

What could go wrong? Voters may turn out big-time for the two less wealthy men.

Musician Rob Quist is a legendary part of Montana and has tasted poverty. Quist knows what it’s like to own the bad luck of being unhealthy. Today he is productive and giving back to others. Our president went bankrupt many times before tasting greatness.

Our president’s healthcare policy just passed the U.S House. It helps interpret greatness. The president’s policy indicates that in order to secure greatness, America needs to cut Medicaid spending in half, and cap it.

That’s hardly great. That’s cruel masquerading as great.

It’s like saying that half of Montana’s 70,000 Medicaid-eligible aren’t worthy, or maternity care and banning preexisting conditions aren’t justifiable, in pursuit of this stubbornly allusive greatness.

Montana deserves a strong president, a representative Congress, and an independent Judiciary.

Libertarian Mark Wicks was the biggest winner of the recent congressional debate. If people tuned-in, the ultra-conservative increased his vote-share.

Wicks said Montana needs to be distinct, tough, and “we work hard.”

Parts of the debate reminded me of the Fiddler on the Roof character Tevye singing “If I Were a Rich Man.”

Wicks didn’t enjoy rhetoric that vilified the wealthy, insisting all Montana landowners are millionaires.

Most Montanans aren’t rich and can’t believe everything is free.   

Montana solutions are about trusting, not dividing, people. Working together, regardless of wealth, creed, or heritage is what secures greatness.

Gianforte may look out for all Montanans, if elected. I’m hopeful. Yet political hope habitually mocks political insanity by repeating actions, expecting different results.

Wicks said we do things “over and over and over” for the same result. Wicks said “break the glass” and send a Libertarian to Congress.

Gianforte and his former business colleague Sen. Steve Daines are likely to mold America’s future policy greatness. When one party rules all of government, many win. Losers remain unmentioned.

Wicks closed the remarkable debates by likening Gianforte to a luxury car that at the end of the day “just wants to be parked with the other luxury cars down at the country club.”

Wicks compared Quist to a half-ton pickup, and equated himself with a work truck complete with towropes, chains, and tools to get you home at night.

If voters want to elect a hardworking rancher like Wicks or a singing cowboy like Quist, casting ballots is key to winning.   

I’m going with Quist, the poet from the land and political underdog. Quist knows the places, culture, and people. To many, that understanding matters.

Vote early by mail and at the courthouse, or Thursday, May 25, at the polls. Vote like your future depends on it. In reality, it does.

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