Thursday, March 23, 2006


Thoughts on "Burns Burden"

The Missoula Independent is featuring its cover story on the Burns-Abramoff scandal. There's little new in the article, but it's a nice summary of the maze of allegations and in-state hubbub generated by Conrad's close association with "Casino" Jack. If you feel like re-immersing yourself in the dreck that is Conrad Burns, check it out. Here are some gems:
Last spring, when stories about Burns’ Abramoff connections began gaining traction, state Republican Party Executive Director Chuck Denowh predicted, “this whole thing is going to roll over relatively quickly.” “It’s a pretty short-lived story,” Denowh said then. Since then, Burns’ Abramoff dealings have been continually and widely reported in the national and state media, and according to Roll Call, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating his involvement with Abramoff.
Heh heh. Nice call, Denowh! That's one interesting thing about the Abramoff affair: the GOP spin has been relentless...and completely ineffective. In fact, the rhetoric from Burns mouthpiece, Jason Klindt, has been so grotesque and divorced from reality, it might actually classify as comedy. Blog-pal David Sirota gets in a good theory for the story (and a pic!) that might explain why Republican messages falter:
“The most dangerous scandals are the ones that confirm the suspicions the public already had,” says Helena author David Sirota...“People already suspected that Conrad Burns is a little bit of a shady character…now what we’re seeing is a full-blown scandal that simply confirms those suspicions.”
An interesting point the story makes is that the reason Democrats can be so aggressive in attacking Burns and keeping the story focused on Abramoff, and were able to start doing so nearly 14 months before the election, is that Montana, as a small state, is inexpensive for TV ads. And Montana's size allows almost everybody who participates in the election this year to have a substantial role, whether they blog, do grassroots work for a candidate, or contribute financially to a race. And, of course, this is an important race, not just for Montana, but for the United State, democracy, war, and peace:
“The stakes are high for Montana and for the country in this U.S. Senate race,” says the Dems’ [Jim] Farrell. “There are many scenarios this year under which the outcome of the race in Montana will determine [which party] controls the U.S. Senate next year. That’s big stuff for the country and certainly for Montana.”
There's already a lot of national attention on the Montana race, and as the summer winds down, the scrutiny will intensify. Wheee!
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