Robbing Montana of its Swan Song

By Beacon Staff

The chances of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton returning to Montana took a hit Tuesday night. After Obama’s crushing victory in North Carolina and Clinton’s narrow win in Indiana, the majority of pundits have declared the race all but over. I hope not. The state press has been blanketed with high-profile attention from each campaign over the last few weeks and it would be a shame to find out that the media was simply used for political gain.

Since Obama and Clinton visited Montana last month, and subsequently opened campaign field offices across the state, the local press has been constantly updated on why each candidate is absolutely great and has the state’s best interests in mind. You see, we’re passed a deluge of daily notes, many with personal touches.

For example, HRC, as she’s often referred to in e-mails, said she would support a Farm Bill being pushed by Congress because it would “provide Montana family farms with priorities like permanent disaster relief.”

The same day, Obama said he opposed a gas tax holiday because “Montana would lose millions of dollars and thousands of jobs” if it was approved.

Montana matters, they both assured us and at once acted like we would be the swan song for the contest. June 3, the last primary day, all eyes on Montana and South Dakota; now, it seems, real attention that may fade before it peaks. The conventional wisdom is that there’s no way this contest lasts much longer than May 20, when Oregon and Kentucky hold elections. I hope that’s not the case.

That would leave the residents of South Dakota, Montana and Puerto Rico the only rule-abiding voters that don’t matter at all in the Democratic nomination. While acknowledging the attention is phony and the campaigns aren’t really hinging on this state, let’s just pretend a little longer. This soap opera deserves a Western-themed ending, complete with exaggerated headlines for the rest of the country to gawk over: “It’s Big Sky Beat Down!” It would be an appropriate final chapter to an absurd nomination process.