Tags: Steve Daines

Montana Democrats: We Demand to See the Birth Certificate!


Remember when this sort of thing was ipso facto evidence that someone was a lunatic, a conspiracy theorist, a hate-monger, and unfit for public discourse?

The Montana Democratic Party today called on Congressman Steve Daines, who claims in his latest TV ad to be a “fifth-generation Montanan,” to clear up confusion about his roots by releasing his birth certificate.

Daines’ latest ad asserts he “grew up in Bozeman, a fifth-generation Montanan,” which directly contradicts earlier versions of his biography when he claimed: “I’m a third-generation Montanan, kind of that classic Montana kid.”

So the dispute is really whether Daines’s great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were Montanans, huh? Really? Does Daines need to dig up their birth certificates, too? Do we need to dig deep into his profile to get to the bottom of this?

Democrats insist Daines isn’t really a Montanan, because he was born in California and lived there . . . until he was two.

Everything in Montana’s going so hunky-dory that you guys have nothing else to worry about, huh? Anything else going on in that state?

Yeah, something like that.

Tags: Montana , Democrats , Steve Daines

Why the Debt Won’t — and Shouldn’t! — Go Away as a Campaign Issue


A few posts below, you’ll see that Republican representative Steve Daines of Montana, running for Senate, pledges he’s “fighting for more jobs and less government,” and he touts his bill that says if members of Congress can’t balance the budget, they won’t get paid.

On the trail in the coming year, incumbent Democrats will probably brag, “we’ve cut the deficit in half!” hoping that enough people mix up the terms “deficit” and “debt” in their heads. Deficit measures how much more we spend than we take in each year; debt represents everything the U.S. government owes, and that sum goes up, year in, year out. We had a surplus during the late-1990s dot-com boom, eliminating the deficit, but the debt still increased a bit each year, because the excess funds were “invested in interest-bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States” as required by law. (More on this here.)

The new numbers:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the 2014 ”baseline” federal budget deficit will be $514 billion, $166 billion lower than in 2013 ($680 billion). If the 2014 deficit projection is achieved, it would mark the fifth straight year of deficit declines since the deficit reached $1.4 trillion in 2009.

Democrats will hope that reducing the federal government’s annual deficit from the worst-ever to sixth-worst-ever counts as a major achievement in the electorate’s mind.

If Republicans want to remind the electorate of the consequences of ever-increasing debt on the here and now, perhaps they can emphasize the amount of money the federal government pays in interest on that debt:

In fiscal 2013, which ended Sept. 30, net interest payments on the debt totaled $222.75 billion, or 6.23% of all federal outlays. (The government paid out an estimated $420.6 billion in interest, but that included interest credited to Social Security and other government trust funds, as well as a relatively small amount of offsetting investment income.)

That’s $223 billion that could have been spent on anything else the federal government does: schools, fighter jets, veterans’ benefits, border security, Interstate highway repair, medical research. Or it could have been returned to taxpayers! For perspective, $223 billion represented the total sum of all individual contributions to charity in the United States in 2012. You could build 17 new aircraft carriers with that sum. Every penny the U.S. pays in interest on the debt is a penny not spent on actual, tangible stuff that even the lowest of low-information voters appreciates.

The amount the federal government will spend on interest on the debt will look much worse if interest rates go up. Here’s what the CBO projected on that front:

We pay for our borrowing, which is why we have to spend less.

Tags: Debt , Deficit , Steve Daines , Congressional Republicans , Congressional Democrats

Daines: ‘Washington Needs Some Montana Common Sense’


Representative Steve Daines, the Republican candidate for Senate in Montana, unveiled his first ad today. The 2014 Senate race is considered one of the GOP’s best opportunities to pick up a currently Democrat-held seat.

Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, is expected to be confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China today. There is a great deal of speculation that Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, will pick the leading Democratic Senate candidate, Steve Walsh, to replace Baucus once the seat is vacant, making Walsh a quasi-incumbent and giving him a bit of an advantage on Election Day 2014.

Even with that twist, Daines has some serious advantages. The Republican led the one poll conducted so far by 15 points and has raised about three times as much money as Walsh. Daines won a statewide race for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat in 2012, 53 percent to 42 percent.

“Running for office is one big job interview,” Daines begins. After running through his biography, he concludes, “Washington needs some Montana common sense.”

Tags: Steve Daines , Max Baucus

Who Will Represent Montana in ‘The Place Where Things Die’?


The first Morning Jolt of the week looks at some obscure court-case verdict down in Florida, the Democrats’ cries to investigate the investigator in the IRS scandal, some largely unnoticed big developments in Syria, and then this big news for 2014:

The Stakes Just Got a Little Higher in Every Competitive 2014 Senate Race

The weekend also brought a lucky break for Republican hopes of capturing a majority in the Senate in 2014:

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer shocked the Montana and national political establishments Saturday with his announcement that he wouldn’t run for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2014 as many had expected.

“I never got in this race,” Schweitzer told the Gazette State Bureau in a telephone interview Saturday morning.

He acknowledged that he considered running for the Senate seat being vacated by longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, but in the end he decided a legislative body isn’t the place for him.

“I’m a doer,” Schweitzer said.

He said he likes to plow half a field in the morning and see the progress by noon before he finishes the job in the afternoon.

“I’m used to being in charge of things, getting things done,” Schweitzer said. “Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate is a place where things die.”

Keep that comment in mind for when Schweitzer inevitably endorses the Democratic tomato can that wins the primary. “I tell you, my fellow Montanans, State Senator John Smith is exactly the right man to serve in the place where things die!” Maybe they should nominate a mortician.

Rick Moran:

Schweitzer would have been a clear favorite going into the race, given his proven vote-getting and fundraising skills. His assumed candidacy explained the reluctance of GOP Congressman Steve Daines to challenge for the seat — a better possibility now that Schweitzer has declined to run.

A Daines bid could create a domino effect:

Two other Republicans, former state Sen. Corey Stapleton, of Billings, and current state Rep. Champ Edmunds, of Missoula, already are in the U.S. Senate race. Edmunds has said he would drop to the House race if Daines goes for the Senate.

Here’s how Politico sees the state of play at this point:

Republicans are favored to win two seats left vacant by Democratic retirements — in West Virginia and South Dakota — and the Schweitzer move will make it much easier for the GOP to win in Montana. That means the battle for the majority will likely be fought in a handful of red states with Democratic incumbents, including North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska.

Of course, a bunch of avoidable Senate losses in the past two cycles have pretty much beaten the excessive optimism out of us, hasn’t it?

Tags: Brian Schweitzer , Steve Daines , Corey Stapleton , Champ Edmunds

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