Montana’s Republican-led 2011 legislature has taken its assault on liberty to the legislative finish line after approving legislation giving corporations unprecedented power via eminent domain as well as passing bills responsible for decreased patient access and the inevitable destruction of the medical cannabis industry.
Common sense Republicans, like those of us at montanafesto, have been critical of the legislature since the session began. A Republican friend working in Helena during the session said “it is frightening that the only ones making any sense in Helena are Democrats”. Numerous posts via social media outlets summarize the session accurately but the only ones supportive of the Republicans are typically from the Montana GOP itself or one of its pathetic party loyalists, and even those posts are all but disappearing. A recent tweet by a Democrat operative said “you know when Rep Ellie Hill and Montanafesto are agreeing on issues, this session has gone off the rails.” Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to have an admin of Left in the West promoting anything (here and here) written by any of our bloggers let alone myself.
The outrage is not limited to Montana bloggers, Tweeters and Facebookers, however. Even the Republican Liberty Caucus is disgusted with Montana’s legislature. In a post entitled “Montana Republicans Sell out for Big Government“, the author writes about the Montana GOP:
they are not committed to common sense government at all, but are instead beholden to special interests, corporate socialism, and the nanny state.
Most of the GOP legislators who supported the nanny state-style measures were TEA party-supported. The TEA party, whose power and size appears to be diminished, likely in part due to this sort of hypocrisy, should be up in arms about Montana’s Republican legislators, but I haven’t heard a peep from them. In all fairness, that could be in part due to the fact that local leaders blocked me on Facebook after I began questioning their motives and practices. I believe that inconsistencies between the TEA party’s stated positions and actions of its leaders are contributing to the decline and ultimate demise of the TEA party. The defense of liberty will continue, with or without the TEA party.
“Sounding like something straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, a renewable energy corporation out of Canada is pushing legislation to allow for seizure of private property rights in Eastern Montana. The Bill pits small landowners such as ranchers in Eastern Montana, against government-backed corporate interests and many environmental groups in support of renewable energy.”
One exception, Rep. Mike Miller, who was noted with Rep Jerry O’Neill as opposing the big government measures, said via Facebook:
I am surprised by some of the “liberty loving” reps. that voted to repeal and that let their personal anti-drug feelings override their principles for less government and a persons right to control his own body.
A blogger at 4 and 20 Blackbirds, early in the session summarized Montana’s GOP hypocrisy accurately:
The Montana GOP loves them some freedom, but only when its smothered in their own special GOP brand of Freedom Sauce. While they push issues such as setting up local militias, givingsheriffs ultimate local law enforcement authority, giving healthcare providers freedom to deny services to patients because of differing morals, and expanding individual gun rights including no longer needing a permit to carry a concealed weapon; on many other issues currently up for debate in Helena the GOP is proving that they want to curtail local decision-making and even the role that individual citizens play in politics and policy making.
Perhaps the biggest GOP attack on individual freedoms in Montana is the GOP’s push to override voter initiates and weaken the voter initiative process in the future. If Montana voters had passed initiatives banning abortion or abolishing the state’s DEQ I’m sure conservatives would be praising the Montana citizenry’s grounded and well thought out votes.
If nothing else, I’ve grown through this session- not only into a very disgruntled Republican, but also as a blogger and a person. If LITW and even Montana Cowgirl can be in agreement, even if only occasionally, with those of us at montanafesto, there is hope for our state. I look forward to a day where Rep Ken Peterson-style statements are condemned not only by Democrats or even Peterson’s own Republican Party, but by everyone- as Montanans and as human beings.