I am well aware that no politician is likely to ever please me on every issue at every opportunity, but I take no pleasure in this post. I never dreamed that Senator Chas Vincent, R- Libby, would deviate from intentions expressed in public statements, he simply doesn’t strike me as the type. Maybe i simply set the bar too high after hearing he leans libertarian, expecting someone with the integrity and consistency of Dr Ron Paul, which isn’t quite fair. To put it bluntly, I’m very disappointed, not only in Senator Vincent, but in most of our legislature and especially the Republican Party. In a few short months, we’ve abandoned all campaign promises of smaller government and more freedom in exchange for an agenda of power and control.
Since the session began, I’ve watched the GOP work hard so gay people are considered just a little less than human by utilizing hateful bigoted people who under the God- umbrella can get away with statements about putting them to death simply to ensure we can still retain the unconstitutional laws declaring their behavior felonious. Instead of working with patients, growers and physicians, the GOP went in their own direction, choosing arbitrary numbers as limits, regulating not only all access, but also supply and demand of a medicine in our new marijuana socialism game. Instead of fixing a law to benefit patients and business, we wasted time on ridiculous legislation to force the US to leave the United Nations and to return to the gold standard, but now it is clear that the GOP is entirely heartless. Drunk on our own power, seeking more control and regulation, we are a party I don’t even recognize. I commend Sen Murphy for his courageous stand in opposition to the Republicans in the legislature and I must admit I was impressed by the testimony of Sen. Wanzenried and Sen Gillan, who of course are democrats.
Don’t get me started on dishonesty. Montana’s legislators are well aware that hearings are live streamed and later available in the archives- so one would think they’d pay greater detail to honesty while testifying in legislative hearings. They know very well that someone could easily use their words against them. According to the Billings Gazette:
Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby, who previously opposed the repeal bill and helped write the repeal-and-overhaul bill, said he felt compelled to vote for the repeal after what happened Wednesday.
He talked about drug abuse in schools and contended that organized crime is involved in medical marijuana here.
“I have no choice,” he said. “I did all that I could. I’d encourage everyone in my caucus and the few of you that are not satisfied with the status quo to give (HB161) the green light.”
Poor Senator Vincent appeared somewhat reluctant, frustrated and at times almost desperate as he lamented the wasted time spent on Essmann’s reform legislation as well as the Senate game-playing. He also said:
“Talk about political suicide, for crying out loud,” he said. “My county didn’t even vote for medical marijuana. It went down in my county. I’m in the minority in my caucus, and I’m going against my base for what I believe to be a principled decision.” VIDEO here
When he informed us that his district, SD1 had rejected I-148 – voting against it in 2004, I sincerely sympathized with his position in the lonely minority and almost felt guilty about it. His vote did disappoint me but I found it difficult to remain angry at him because this was, after all; his job, doing the best by his constituents, who apparently weren’t supportive of our cause. I couldn’t expect much more from him.
My brain doesn’t take many breaks. I truly wasn’t aware of SD1’s opposition of Initiative 148 until Vincent’s testimony, so I decided to determine just how many others I wasn’t aware of. The following is a screenshot from 2004’s elections with final tallies on I-148 for Vincent’s district, Lincoln County.
This sounds like a completely different Senator Vincent than the one portrayed here, in an article titled “Republican State Senator Stands Out in the Pack, Opposes Repeal of Medical Marijuana“. Also in the article:
“I am not going to support the repeal,” said Republican Sen. Chas Vincent, a 33-year-old former logger who holds a key vote in the judiciary committee. “I believe that cannabis has real, beneficial impacts to those who need to use it for medicine.”
I’m going to give Vincent the benefit of the doubt about his knowledge of his senate district’s position of I- 148 in 2004, but just this once. Perhaps he was nervous or is clueless about his district. Surely the guilt involved with
abandoning principles to appease party leadership making the best decision for his constituents wouldn’t inspire lies in effort to convince us of his sincerity, right? Because Vincent’s most compelling argument for me was the one that we now know isn’t true, I am no longer willing to forgive his vote. I have a difficult time believing that any member of this particular session’s leadership is capable of convincing a principled senator that the courageous vote is the one with the rest of the party. Where is that libertarian streak we keep hearing about? I know that Ron Paul without a doubt wouldn’t have voted to repeal Montana’s medical marijuana law.