Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Run, Conrad, run! (February 6, 2006)

Guess who I saw this weekend? My favorite Senator, Mr. Conrad Burns! That’s right. If it’s one thing that I like about Montana is that everything is smaller in scale. As a result, it’s easier to become involved in the community. I know my neighbors. And not only do I know my local town council member, she baby-sits for us occasionally. And every once in a while I stumble into my state’s junior senator. You see, his Missoula office is in the Florence building in downtown Missoula, which also houses the Children’s Museum where I generally take the kids on cold, rainy Saturday mornings. This Saturday was no exception. And there he was in the lobby of the building surrounded by a group of – sycophants? staff members? (Actually, I could have sworn my very liberal city mayor was there...) So what did I do? Did I charge over and demand an explanation about his association with Jack Abramoff? Did I demand his resignation? Did I at least shout “Fire Burns”? H*ll, no. I hustled the kids out of the building and thought about writing this post. Here’s what I thought: why is the fool running for re-election? Recently Burns put out a new commercial (it’s on the sidebar), attacking his attackers over the Abramoff scandal. (Remember this is the man who took the most directed money in Congress from Abramoff and his clients, and who allegedly changed his votes on the Senate floor in exchange.) It’s quite audacious:
... I’m not going to stand here and let the Democratic Party of Montana play politics with my reputation. Those partisan Democratic ads are just that. Politics. The worst kind of politics. Montanans deserve better. I’ve worked in and around stock yards all my life. Those attack ads, they’re just a big bunch of you know what. Plus they’re paid for by the same Democrats that took money from Jack Abramoff clients. He’s the guy that ripped off his Indian clients for millions and lied to anybody and everybody. I don’t know who Abramoff influenced, but he never influenced me.
It's amazing how he can stare into the camera and lie like that. It makes my hair stand on end, it's so creepy. (For details on the extent of Burns’ corruption, check out Left in the West’s Burns’ links, The Billings Gazette, or my own humble Burns post...) Why would any sane person want to attract attention to himself when there’s so much evidence piled against him? Surely the Republican Party wants us all to forget about Abramoff, not let itself embroiled in a he-said-she-said shouting match the party can’t win. I think the GOP wants to abandon Burns. Let’s face it, they need a fall guy for Abramoff, someone to indict and convict so they can say, “well he was the guy who took money from Jack,” and let the animus fall squarely and solely on that sucker’s head, diverting attention away from the fact that Abramoff’s illicit dealing was one of the foundations of the party’s current power grab. And who better than some hick Senator with low poll ratings who nobody’s ever heard of and who sits on a bunch of low-level and relatively unimportant committees – come on! Chairman of the “Interior & Related Agencies”? That’s Bureau of Indian Affairs! What group do Republicans care about less than African Americans? That’s right: injins! If Burns resigns the only people rejoicing more than Montanans would be the RNC. Burns’ resignation would allow a new conservative candidate free from the whiff of scandal run in a very conservative state. They could also crucify the Senator, let him dangle once he’s out of government and powerless to retaliate. Only he won’t back down. He knows his only chance to stay out of jail is to win another term in the Senate. Republican Party be d*mned. I, for one, celebrate Burns’ brash decision to fight. It’s only going to cause him grief. He can’t win an election under such close national scrutiny. He’s creating an excellent opportunity for a Democrat to win the state’s second Senatorial seat. Run, Conrad, run.
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