Top Leaderboard, Site wide
July 23, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed





War of the Whales


Truthdig Bazaar
In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss From an Unnatural Disaster

In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss From an Unnatural Disaster

By Susan Zakin (Author), Bill McKibben (Author), Chris Jordan (Photographer)

more items

 
Report

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Denver

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 7, 2008

By David Sirota

BUTTE, Mont.—Drinking a pint in Butte’s M&M bar should be an entry in a “Things to Do Before You Die” book. Sitting in this historic watering hole that has been open 24/7 for most of the last century, you get to imbibe rich spirits—local beers and ghosts of ages past.

When I hit the M&M this week, though, the wood-paneled walls told fewer tales of copper kings like Marcus Daly and hometown heroes like Evel Knievel, and more stories of new political power. Plastered amid the ever-present St. Patrick’s Day trappings were Obama for President signs—artifacts from the senator’s recent visit.

While Butte’s Finlen Hotel brandishes faded photographs of John F. Kennedy’s 1959 stay, major presidential candidates don’t normally visit frontier mining towns. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Democratic convention in Denver: The Intermountain West—in its understated style—has become the most important political battleground in America.

Today, 22 Electoral College votes in the region are up for grabs, meaning this vast expanse is more pivotal than Ohio. And that’s only the beginning of the Rocky Mountain region’s burgeoning influence on energy, taxes, trade and health care.

For example, Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.—and thus the complex politics of his home state—will have an enormous impact on petroleum and climate policy. And whatever legislation he crafts will be shaped by four congressional races along a stretch of I-25 that cuts through a tri-state oil and gas boom.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
In Wyoming, Gary Trauner’s campaign promoting a more diversified energy economy could make him the state’s first Democratic congressman since before Dick Cheney was a representative. In Colorado, Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., a conservation movement hero, is competing for a Senate seat against Republican “Big Oil” Bob Schaffer, a former energy executive. And in New Mexico, Senate candidate Tom Udall and House candidate Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, are waging pro-environment campaigns against traditional drill-at-all-cost Republican opponents.

If Democrats lose these elections, the party will probably hesitate to embrace transformative energy initiatives for fear of future defeats. But should these challengers prevail, they will prove that even in fossil fuel country, candidates can win the most contested races on green platforms. That would probably prompt a more aggressive departure from the Bush administration’s energy agenda.

No state, however, will play a more direct role in forging—or derailing—change than Montana. That’s because of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, whose position as chairman of the committee overseeing tax, trade and health care makes him one of the planet’s most powerful people.

Baucus has long been a shill’s shill, quietly pocketing campaign contributions in exchange for backing everything from President Clinton’s job-killing trade policies to President Bush’s billionaire tax breaks. But that corruption may collide with a populist election mandate opposing “free” trade, backing tax reform and demanding universal health care. Baucus’ decision to support or inhibit such a mandate could determine its legislative prospects, meaning pressure from grass-roots progressive groups like Forward Montana will be crucial.

Until now, the political Establishment has ignored the West. At best, the region has been treated as a colony to be exploited by East Coast industrialists and West Coast white-flighters. More often, it is portrayed as American Siberia, with celebrity blowhards occasionally dropping in to pen patronizing stories mimicking zoological travelogues (My favorite was Time’s Joe Klein telling readers that Coloradans are “large people, as Westerners tend to be”).

Such condescension ought to begin receding as the square states become increasingly central in national politics. Indeed, for those trying to determine where America’s destiny will be forged, the motto made famous by Horace Greeley is more poignant than ever: Go west, young man.

David Sirota is a best-selling author whose newest book, “The Uprising,” was released in June. He is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network, both nonpartisan organizations. His blog is at www.credoaction.com/sirota.

© 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 11, 2008 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

BlueEagle, August 11 at 12:47 pm #


Tony - There is no difference.

Most people have blinders on
—————————————————————————-
BlueEagle,

Usually, blinders prevent one from seeing things. So is it “most people” who have blinders on, or is it you who have ideological blinders that prevent you from seeing what a clear-sighted person can plainly see? 

Their positions on the conflict are so far different. They could become the same; there is a real danger that Obama will cave. But at this time,  Obama wants negotiations. McCain wants war. Saying there is no difference is the reverse of helpful to the cause of peace. If you can’t see that the policy emphasis between the two is very different, I can’t take your blinders off for you. 

You could be right though - I could be wearing the blinders. Maybe I’m blinded by hope and see differences where there aren’t any. We shall see very soon.

Report this

By BlueEagle, August 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Tony - There is no difference.

Most people have blinders on. They see blue vs. red, liberal vs. conservative, etc. Their belief systems are framed by those that control the MSM and the education system. People are arguing over nonsense.

Tony - please look outside the frame that has been created for you. Ask yourself these questions:

Should we have a central authority regulating the education system, namely the Dept. of Education?

Should the government have an Energy Policy, that controls and manipulates markets? 

Should only gold and silver be considered legal tender as is stated in the Constitution?

Should we be a humble nation and not interfere in the affairs of other nations?

Does the candidate believe in the Keynesian or Austrian view of economics?

Should we eliminate the CIA which controls the drug trade in America and are simply hired propagandists and assassins that prop up the US Empire?

Should we abolish the Federal Reserve, eliminate our fiat currency and return to sound money?

Should we uphold our Constitutional Republic or allow the Oligarchy to take over completely?

Finally, should we trade liberty, supposedly an unalienable right, for security? Thereby, expanding the size of government and Homeland Security Dept., an organization with the name Hitler referred to repeatedly.

I disagree with both Obama and McCain on all these issues, which are the most pressing issues in America today.

Expand your frame.

Report this

By samosamo, August 11, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Let’s put this in context of history, first was florida 2000, a state easily chosen for insuring a republican win since one of the presidential wannabes’ brother was governor in that state who, along with his administration, did a relatively good job of subverting the electorial process to give his brother the presidency and it almost worked like that but the supreme court was paid to step in to stop any chances of the real voter’s choice, Gore, from taking Florida by stopping the re-count vote.
2004, Ohio’s secretary of state, who is in charge of setting up elections in that state, has been documented as using any and most all means to disrupt the democratic precients and polls by totally confusing many voters as to when when and how they would vote. Read ‘What Happened in Ohio’. This time no supreme court as the plan worked and victory goes to w, again, to keep a republican in charge, done and done.
Now we are being warned that Colorado is the vortex of confusion for 2008 in advance, just as Ohio in 2004. Having read already the need to have as many people watching the polls as possible everywhere, I would think that the state of Colorado needs immediate attention as to how the voting process in November is being handled to prevent another debacle that the Ohio secretary of state put into play. Hopefully all states are being up front and transparent about how the elections will be conducted in November. And as no one should need to be reminded of the past 2 presidential elections and those outcomes and the pure crap they have produced we all should be very aware of what is happening in the all voting stations and be able to report improper situtations where people are being deprived of their right to vote.
I would think, no, let me just say, it is hard to think that with the way that mccain is running his compaign that he would be elected president, but as from the past 2 elections we are not so much taking elected by than of stolen elections. Personlly, I am adverse to voting for either of them but if it is close here in my state, I would seriously consider obama.

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, August 10, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

I have always advocated term limits for federally elected officials and many here at truthdig have pointed out to me that the constitution makes no provision on term limits.  As long as the senority system works as it does without term limits the potential of abuse of power by elected for life representives and senators is great.

In the same discourse, requiring smaller independent states to accept the majority opinion of adjoining states is not the intent of the constitution either as people of a like mind, history and community wish to determine their own state government, laws and voting system.  I can see the potential for abuse when populous states choose a candidate whose platform would negatively affect less populated states.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 9, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Big B, August 9 at 11:50 am #

Yes, but I am one of more than 5 times as many Californians, so I am less than 1 fifth as influential in determining where my state’s 50 electoral votes will go than a Montana voter in determining where his state’s 10 electoral votes will go.

The main reason Democrats have not campaigned in states like Montana is that they were not regarded as swing states, and Dem political strategists did not want to waste resources on them. Since Howard Dean came in, we have seen a 50-state strategy on the part of the Democratic party in general, and Obama in particular, and Obama has plenty of money to implement it this year. He might give the Republcians the Ozarks, but that’s about it.

Report this
Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, August 9, 2008 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Regardless of which party they claim affiliation, it is becoming very apparent there is a third party which has been calling the shots and running the country for decades.
It’s easy to pick them out in the Republican party- they are far more brazen because of their ‘religious’ vindications. but they also are lurking within the Democratic party. Some are camoflagued as Union Leaders- claiming to their rank & file if they don’t give up some pay or bennies- the won’t have jobs, they must sacrific for the ‘common good’ (while top brass walk away with huge salaries, retirement packages, or golden parachutes). Or they use the Womens movement to push forward any female, regardless of real quality and are ready with the ‘sexism’ get off the hook card when ever faced with a level playing field.They infiltrated and conned the Environmentalists with Corn as a main biofuel- intentionally failing to point out the effect it would have on the Food supply.Thus making it far easier to discredit any other alternative fuel option in the future.Ever wonder why the Oil industry was so easy to begin Corn processing, and have dragged their feet on electic/ fuel cell?? Because Corn had a natural downside, and they saw how it could be used to prove Oil was not so bad.
As a michigander, I have seen decades of Dems claim to be working for the Working class, but then watch as jobs are lost, factories close, cities become area of Urban blight….Thanks to those Democratic leaders who convinced US they had our best intentions at heart- Liars and con artists.By gutting mI , they were able to send this region into a waste land. Thanks to not only Reagans Union Busting and Oil resurgence, but Clintons NAFTA, we have been dead and buried for sometime now.
but there are those who still exist within thees parties who actually are what they used to be- Real Fiscally Responsible Republicans, Real champions of the Working class & Poor. but we need to rid ourselves of those who block US from electing them.The minions and covert operative who work for the Corps- Doing Red or Blue.I miss the Old School Republicans as much as I miss the Old School Dems. Let’s identify our Real champions - regardless of party color and put them back in as our Public servants.
Reagan seized the Republican party and the Clintons Seized the Dem party. time to get rid of those last century political doctrines.there are only a few real Patriots left in each party,but we must do it together!


Obama/Hagel ‘08

Report this

By Big B, August 9, 2008 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

If you live in California, you know that your vote will ultimatly lead to almost 50 electoral votes for a candidate. If you live in Montana, it will lead to less than 10. That’s the difference between the value of votes. That’s why candidates don’t spend time or money on Montana, Alaska, Idaho, the Dakotas, et al.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 9, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Check out this clip. How can a lot of people around here talk like they can’t see any difference between Obama and McCain? They must be politically blinder than Mr. Magoo.

http://my.barackobama.com/actionwiremedia

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 9, 2008 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Big B, August 9 at 8:18 am

I’m for getting rid of the electoral college too. The election ought to be decided by popular vote, and the electoral college only confuses the issue and occasionally prevents this from happening, with disastrous results as in 2000. But I don’t understand your reasoning. The people of Montana get at least as many electors in proportion to their population as people in New York and California. Their votes, if anything, count more, not less. Obama is trying to win Montana this year. He would not be trying if your statement were true.

Report this

By Big B, August 9, 2008 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

I hate to downplay the authors opinion that the small (in population) western states will somehow play an important role in this, or any, upcoming election. The bottom line is that under the current electoral college the votes of the people of Montana won’t matter two shits compared to those of Calif, NY, Texas and Florida.
Susans’s comments are correct.Only By eliminating the electoral college can we ever hope to achieve true democracy in America. Until then, the people of unpopulated states (like Montana) should not waste their time voting.

Report this

By radiodujour, August 9, 2008 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

May 12, 2008

Peter B Collins (joined by Brad Friedman of Bradblog.com) talks with Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D about “Ohio, scene of the crime, 2004”.

(Richard Hayes Phillips is one of Robert F Kennedy Jr’s sources in his recent Rolling Stone article, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”)

Report this

By jobart, August 8, 2008 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

chuckwagoncharlie, August 8 at 7:55 am #

“How green is green? There is a balance between allowing the use of natural resources and destroying the environment. The Democrats have had their share of destroying our planet so they are not guiltless”.

FYI - CWC….
The “Democrats” in the South aren’t “true” Demos, for the most part.  The “boll weevils” have been, over the last 4+ decades, Demos in Repub clothing.  If you want to place blame on the Democrats, please “only” do so with “real” Demos.  Your argument, that blames Demos, would hold more water if they were directed at “real/actual” Democrats.  The “southern flavor” doesn’t truly represent the party or its constituants.
Just my “humble” 2 cents.

Report this

By susan, August 8, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To make every vote in every state politically relevant and equal in presidential elections, support the National Popular Vote bill.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 21 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland,  Illinois, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

see http://www.NationalPopularVote.com
susan

Report this

By susan, August 8, 2008 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To make every vote in every state politically relevant and equal in presidential elections, support the National Popular Vote bill.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 21 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland,  Illinois, Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

see http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, August 8, 2008 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Why do I hear so much of this? Democrats are not guitless. True. In fact, nobody is guiltless except Jesus Christ, and he’s just a fiction. All the decent environmental regulation that we do have was passed during Democratic administrations.

Report this

By chuckwagoncharlie, August 8, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

How green is green? There is a balance between allowing the use of natural resources and destroying the environment. The Democrats have had their share of destroying our planet so they are not guiltless.
Democrats controlled Alabama politics for years and one needs only to look at the ravages of the strip mining,Black Lung disease,polluted waters,contaminated fish,unsafe playgrounds where cancer producing chemicals were used as land fill and the legal intanglements of Monsanto for contamination in Calhounn County. Monsanto was not all to blame for what happened.The City,County and State was there protecting them every inch of the way. Who was in control? Democrats.
All the pompus posturing now over our dependency on OIL should have been dealt with 20 years ago. You can bet the bank GLOBAL WARMING is a prelude to taxing the air you breathe as the solution. Don’t count on the DEMOCRATS to solve any problem.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook