It Won’t Work

Out-of-state big money and nasty politics won't bring down Sen. Tester

By Mike Jopek

The super PACs are coming. Out-of-state big money is funding massive advertising buys to try and distort the significant work that our senior senator from Montana produced in this Congress.

They’re mad. They figured it out. Sen. Jon Tester works for Montanans.

It’s May. It’s way early for that kind of nonsense to be blanketing our televisions during primetime Jeopardy.

Spring was late this year, the waters are flowing and sweet onions and lettuce finally found the ground. It seems like yesterday, but the piles of snow melted.

Most Montanans are busy working. That’s what we do. We earn a living.

Montanans don’t have the luxury like some super PAC funders, to toss around a million bucks, like candy, to their favorite political attack dog.

On the farm, we’re making row and planting vegetables like mad. Anger is the emotion that routinely percolates when talk drifts to the current state of affairs plaguing the White House.

I’ve known Tester for years. He’s never yet made it to our farmstead. I need to get him here this year to visit, say hi, and to listen to community members sharing weekly stories of local happenings.

More important, we’ve adopted a planting unit of measurement that reaches from the outstretched tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky. We call it a tester.

Years back my nephew was vending vegetables at the local farmers’ market when Tester approached the stand. They verified that actual distance of a tester, which has become the farm standard for how far apart to plant sweet onions or herbs like parsley. There’s some disagreement.

When Tester comes to the farm, we’ll reaffirm those measurements, and give a “high two” instead of a high five.

Seriously, what’s politically occurring on the national scene is disgraceful.

The White House is firing its own people like mad. Our president recently nominated his personal physician to lead the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The nominee withdrew his name from consideration mere days after Republican Johnny Isakson, who runs the vetting committee, wrote a letter to the president requesting more background information. Tester signed the bipartisan letter, which ultimately plunged our president into his most recent rant.

Isakson later on CNN called the president’s statement “false.”

Our president insinuated he’d come out and campaign against Tester, a senator who’s a workhorse on passing laws this Congress that help Montanans with services like veterans homes and community health centers.

Welcome our president to Montana; he’s good for progressive youth voter turnout.

It’s no longer 2016. Most people figured the nation seems to spiral toward chaos. We need to calm it down.

A presidential visit will unintentionally mobilize local support toward Tester. It will solidify the many reasons that people choose to vote for the farmer from Big Sandy.

The out-of-state millionaires will continue to dispense money, like candy, to their favorite super PACs. To them, it’s a sport. It’s pocket change. Loose quarters transformed into hurting not helping Montanans.

I get it. It’s politics. It’s power. Money talks and trash walks.

Not many thought reelecting Tester would occur during a kind time in our nation.

A decade ago, I sought reelection to the Montana House of Representatives. Republicans spent gobs of money to discredit the work we had done through the years. It was ugly stuff.

Their money failed. I returned to Helena and continued our work to lower property taxes for people living in their homes, to conserve public lands surrounding town, and assure that public schools are ever greater for the next generation.

Nasty politics turns off many people. That’s the idea. The design intended to dampen the voting enthusiasm of many voters. It won’t work, not this time. Not on Tester time.

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