Can’t We All Just Get Along?

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

The Republican leaders of the Montana Legislature and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock have pledged to cooperate, work together and compromise to conduct the people’s business in the legislative session this year.

The leaders of the legislative branch and executive branch do that before every session.

But this writer predicts that before the session ends, Democrats and Bullock will resort to the same tactics that former Gov.

Brian Schweitzer did when he called the 62nd Legislature “bat-crap crazy.”

Bullock has already said that he will veto any bills reaching his desk that are “out of the mainstream.”

That is codespeak for anything that liberals don’t like, isn’t liberal enough, doesn’t spend enough money, or promotes Christian values. Democrats have used slanders, unfounded accusations, emotional and hysterical wailings to condemn legitimate opposition since Andrew Jackson’s time. They are not going to change their bullying and juvenile tactics now.

So despite the nice-talk at the beginning, the people did not send a substantial majority of Republicans to the Legislature to be Democrats-Lite.

They were sent to reduce government spending, taxation, regulation and corruption. So get ready for the vitriol when Republicans try to accomplish those goals; Democrats will howl.

By Joe Carbonari

There will be an interesting show on the Republican side of the state senate this session.

With the levers of power now solidly in the control of Sens. Essmann and Wittich and their like-minded friends, more moderate Republicans will have to go along to get along or be marginalized.

If they compromise with or otherwise lend support to Democrats, they will not only be ostracized but also face the real threat of exceedingly formidable opposition in their next primary. “Open-mindedness?”

Very unwise.

A similar dynamic is at work on the Democratic side, but without the levers. Their strength is with the governor and the executive branch. Safe Democratic seats do present the same possibility of primary battles for straying too far from the party line, but for now the biggest money and nastiest fights are likely to remain Republican.

The danger to the state as a whole is that through re-districting fewer of our seats will be truly open to both parties.

Often primaries alone will determine who gets elected, and they will be decided disproportionately by party activists who represent views further from the middle than the general public’s. Does that mean that our process is destined to be forever “bat-crap crazy?” Hopefully not, but that’s the trend.

Send feedback to [email protected].