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Tester: A Proud Dem Winning in a Red State

(Guest Post by Big Tent Democrat)

In my obsession continuing look at Democratic political strategy and countering the Republican Paranoid Style, I present evidence of why Mark Halperin and Beltway Dems are wrong. Halperin says:

Mr. Bush and Mr. Rove fired up the base on national security, taxes and social issues and found a way to win a majority of the electorate, even as they lost the allegiance of a majority of the country over all. The national security debate, the visibility of the Clintons and the momentum the Republicans gain from Mr. Bush's rising poll numbers -- all of these echo previous election cycles.

Critics of the Bush administration assert that the politics of the base has run its course, and that the Iraq war, the partisan zealousness and the conservative social policies of the administration have made voters yearn for a more centrist, bipartisan government. But Mr. Bush's opponents may be imprudently lulled by the current storyline and broad national polls, both of which miss the power and consequence of a Republican base that may have one more victory to give.

Jon Tester proves that Halperin is absolutely wrong. I'll explain on the flip.

Tester is Winning in Red State Montana:

Democratic challenger Jon Tester is leading Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns by a 47 percent to 40 percent margin, a new Gazette State Poll shows.

Is Tester losing on national security, taxes, etc? No:

The poll also asked voters to rate which Senate candidate, regardless of the one they plan to vote for, would do the best job on eight particular issues.

Burns led in only one category - bringing money to Montana, which has been the cornerstone of his re-election campaign. Burns, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, topped Tester 53 percent to 31 percent in this category.

By big margins, however, Montana voters selected Tester over Burns as the better choice on these issues:
. . .

* Federal budget, taxes and economic issues, with Tester leading Burns, 47 percent to 38 percent.

It was essentially a toss-up on the issue of the war in Iraq and national security, with 44 percent choosing Tester and 43 percent choosing Burns.

"Things that are normal Republican bread-and-butter issues like taxes and defense, Burns is losing," Coker said. "When Republicans lose on taxes and defense, they're generally thrown out of office."

Has Tester trimmed his sails in fear of Karl Rove, as Halperin suggests Dems should do? Quite the opposite:

Jon Tester believes in freedom first. Under the PATRIOT Act, the FBI could obtain records on every video you ever rented and every book you ever checked out. They can obtain your bank statements and medical records; they can even keep tabs on our guns. What's worse is they can request this information for any reason at all, without your knowledge.

Tester believes we should be fighting terrorists, not invading the lives of innocent Americans. In Washington, Tester will fight for more human intelligence, a greater investment in our Special Forces, and closing backdoors to terrorism like the one left open by the Burns-Abramoff immigration policy in the Marianas Islands.

Mark Halperin and the Beltway Dems may be shaking in their boots on terrorism, but Jon Tester is not. And Jon Tester is winning - in Red State Montana. Jon Tester is a proud Democrat on the issues:

. . . Budget

As a leader in the Montana Senate, Jon Tester brought people from both parties together to balance the budget every session. The current federal budget deficit is spiraling out of control, and Congress is recklessly passing on a crushing debt to our children and grandchildren. Tester will fight to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington.

Choice

We all share the same goal: to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in this country. There are concrete steps we can take to achieve that goal. Jon Tester trusts the women of Montana to make their own medical decisions in consultation with her family, doctor and God. The politicians in Washington shouldn't interfere with this very personal and difficult decision. The decision to have an abortion is a difficult one and it should remain safe, legal, and rare.

Conservation

As a third-generation Montana farmer, Jon Tester understands the value of conservation. Jon supports protecting clean places for hunting, fishing and recreation. In 2005 he voted to make permanent the Block Management program and Habitat Montana program, which benefit Montana hunters and anglers. In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will fight to protect access to public lands and will support responsible development of clean, renewable energy resources. In the Montana Legislature Jon worked hard to protect public access to our lands and our streams. And in the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will fight tirelessly to keep our public lands from being sold-off or locked up by private users.

Education (K-12)

Jon Tester believes education is the key to economic development. As President of the Montana Senate in 2005, Tester's leadership helped pass legislation that defined a quality public education and invested $80 million in K-12 education. In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will fight to ensure that every child in America receives a quality education and that federal education programs work for Montana.

Education (Post-Secondary)

Jon Tester believes higher education is critical to prepare our young people for jobs of the future. As president of the Montana Senate in 2005, Tester's leadership helped pass the Governor's Best and Brightest Program, which will provide scholarships to Montana students pursuing a degree at one of Montana's universities or colleges of technology. In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will support investments in higher education and vocational training to make college affordable for all Montana families.

Health Care

Jon Tester believes that health care in Montana should be affordable, accessible and the best in the world. Jon has a record of strong leadership to deliver affordable health care for Montanans. As President of the Montana Senate in 2005, Tester increased access to health care for children, seniors and small business employees. In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will stand up to big insurance companies and support a health care plan that makes health care affordable for all Montanans.

Iraq

Jon Tester supports our troops in Iraq who have fought bravely and made us proud, but unfortunately their leaders in Washington have let them down. This administration is conducting the war in Iraq with no plan and no end in sight and has failed to give our troops the armor and equipment they need to be safe and successful. Montanans deserve a senator who'll demand the President present a clear plan to give the Iraqi military control of their own country and bring our troops home. As your senator, Tester will never waver in keeping America safe and strong. Jon will keep the commitment we have made to our soldiers and veterans and will ask the tough questions to ensure that our troops have a clear mission and all the resources they need.

Jobs

As a leader in the Montana Senate, Jon Tester has a record of creating jobs for Montana. In the last session Tester worked with Governor Brian Schweitzer to revitalize job creation in Montana. Tester helped pass funding workforce training grants, eliminated taxes on 13,000 small businesses, established a Main Street Montana program to revitalize downtown areas across the state and passed his bill to promote Made in Montana products. Jon also successfully fought to lower the cost of health insurance for small businesses and to expand renewable energy production.

Minimum Wage

Jon Tester supports paying workers a fair, livable wage. As President of the Montana Senate in 2005, Jon Tester voted for a bill that would raise the Montana minimum wage to $6 an hour by July 2006. Sen. Burns, on the other hand, has voted against raising the federal minimum wage at least 11 times.

Patriot Act

Jon Tester believes in freedom first. Under the PATRIOT Act, the FBI could obtain records on every video you ever rented and every book you ever checked out. They can obtain your bank statements and medical records; they can even keep tabs on our guns. What's worse is they can request this information for any reason at all, without your knowledge. Jon Tester believes we should be fighting terrorists, not invading the lives of innocent Americans. In Washington, Tester will fight for more human intelligence, a greater investment in our Special Forces, and closing backdoors to terrorism like the one left open by the Burns-Abramoff immigration policy in the Marianas Islands.

Prescription Drugs

As President of the Montana Senate in 2005, Jon Tester brought people together to pass the Big Sky Rx Program, a comprehensive state prescription drug assistance and discount program that allows thousands of low-income Montana seniors to lower their payments for medicine. In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will stand up to big drug companies and support legislation allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D and would support re-importing safe prescription drugs from Canada.

Social Security

Jon Tester supports ensuring the long-term solvency of Social Security and does not support privatization. In 2005 he voted to urge Congress to provide sound, long-term funding for Social Security and to avoid privatization. Sen. Burns, on the other hand, supports privatization of Social Security schemes and has repeatedly voted to put tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of the long-term solvency of Social
Security.

Stem Cell Research

Montana values mean doing everything you can to help a sick neighbor. By voting against stem cell research, Sen. Burns has clearly lost his way. Jon Tester believes we need to devote every possible idea and every possible resource to curing degenerative diseases.

On all these core issues, Jon Tester is a proud progressive. In Red State Montana. And he is winning.

Any lessons for you in that Halperin? Beltway Dems? Screw your courage to the sticking post. Dems can and will win - if you are not afraid.

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  • Re: Tester: A Proud Dem Winning in a Red State (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kitt on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 08:55:31 PM EST
    Being as we're neighbors to Montana, we hear a bit, plus some of my father's siblings live up there and they keep us informed. Burns is getting toasted. They've actually been impressed with their governor, who is a democrat. George Will mentioned this on the morning show with George Stephanouplos(sp!) who said it's the West who holds the key more than the South because that's where the Republican is STILL. There are four governors of western states who are democrats OR, WA, MT, WY, and there's another governor race up for bid somewhere (Colorado?) and the democrat has a chance of winning.

    Re: Tester: A Proud Dem Winning in a Red State (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 09:28:04 PM EST
    Yes, the Patriot Act allows the government to find out what you've checked out of the library, but its fatal flaw has always been that it has no way of knowing what you took off the shelf, read at a nearby table or made photocopies of. A good part of my adult life has been conducting research in libraries here and abroad where I didn't have borrower's privileges. Evildoers who are aware of the Patriot Act are presumably not as stupid as the people who wrote the thing and know not to check out "how to build a dirty bomb" or "how to send anthrax through the mail to democratic senators.

    Re: Tester: A Proud Dem Winning in a Red State (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 08:29:25 AM EST
    ............Mr. Bush's rising poll numbers..........
    what rising poll numbers? going from oblivion, to just above oblivion, only represents a rise in the minds of the desperate. if democrats intend to win back congress, they too need to energize their base, but also, and perhaps more importantly, conduct a determined "get out the vote" drive. this must be done at the neighborhood level, going door-to-door, driving voters to the polls. further, in states like georgia, which passed voter id legislation, they must have witnesses at the polling places, to insure the stayed law is not used to deny people the vote. don't be foolish enough to believe that all poll workers will comply, without it being forced down their throats. be prepared to force it down their throats. politics is a cutthroat business. democrats must be cutthroat, or get out of the game.