by Dr. Ed Berry
Here are my recommendations for Montana Republican Senate and House candidates for the primary election on June 7, 2016. I do not include candidates who have no competition or for whom I have no relevant voting or testimonial record.
In my conclusion, I ask four questions about Greg Gianforte’s candidacy for governor.
I support Steve Daines for US Senate and Ryan Zinke for Congress.
In the following list, I recommend candidates who supported or voted YES on the CSKT Water Compact in 2015, or who are running against candidates who voted NO or testified against the Compact. I will explain my reasons for using this criteria after this list.
I recommend you vote for the following candidates. I strongly recommend Attorney Hertha Lund for Senate District 15. Hertha was very active and influential in her support of the CSKT Water Compact.
Montana Legislative Candidates
|Senate/House District||Candidate Name|
I focus on nonpartisan bills that strongly impact Montana’s economy. We must have a good economy to achieve everything else we desire.
I understand there will always be differences between conservatives and liberals. That difference does not make us enemies. We can and should work together on nonpartisan issues.
When we vote on partisan bills, the side with the most votes wins. We accept that and move on.
But when we vote on nonpartisan bills, we must be rational. We must cast aside our partisanship and use our intelligence to make the best decisions for Montana.
In the 2015 legislative session, we had two key, economy-related, nonpartisan bills: the CSKT Water Compact and the Infrastructure.
I described why I supported both bills on my website. I will not replay my reasons here.
I spent considerable time evaluating the CSKT Water Compact. I evaluated the reasons presented by proponents and opponents. I evaluated the rebuttals by the proponents and the lack of rebuttals by opponents.
I did not choose my side based upon who was on each side. I was neutral. But my evaluation made it very clear: the proponents were correct and the opponents were incorrect.
Opposition to the Compact was not a Republican thing. It was a tea party thing. Tea Party Republicans are about 20 percent of all Republicans. Ten percent of all Montana voters.
In 2015, Montana voters did not know which Republicans were tea party and which were not. As consequence, Montana voters unknowingly elected tea party Republicans to almost 80 percent of the 2015 House Republicans.
A minority face of the Republican Party controlled the lives of the other 80 percent of the Republican Party.
The tea party’s dominance in the Republican legislature and Central Committees has led them to believe they represent the majority of Republicans. They don’t. They are the tail that wagged the dog on Montana’s 2015 legislature.
If Montana Republicans want to control their own lives, they better make sure the dog wags the tail.
That is the purpose of my recommendations. My goal is to help Montana voters elect a legislature that best represents Montana voter demographics.
Why do I base my recommendations primarily on how a legislator voted on the CSKT Water Compact and secondarily on the Infrastructure bill?
Because those who opposed the bills used irrational arguments to defend their position. If a legislator uses irrational arguments on one very important bill then that legislator will likely use irrational arguments on all bills.
The CSKT Water Compact was more than a nonpartisan bill. It was an IQ test. Opponents did not pass the IQ test.
That does not mean all Democrats who voted for the Compact passed the test. Some Democrats may have voted YES to stay with their party.
But the Democrats and Republicans who stood strong to support the Compact saved Montana’s economy. In doing so, they demonstrated they have a higher IQ than those who opposed the Compact.
To really understand why I make such a positive statement, read these top 20 reasons opponents gave to oppose the Compact:
- The Compact is globalist-funded, Agenda 21, United Nations plot and government conspiracy to control of Montana’s water and land, and then to move Montanans into crowded apartments in California or into a FEMA camp, so the fat cats can have Montana all to themselves.
- The Compact gives control of western Montana water to the feds, takes state-based water rights from the Flathead Irrigation project irrigators, and will allow the CSKT to call water and shut down irrigation wells in 11 counties.
- I don’t trust attorneys.
- The CSKT “threatens” me with lawsuits if I don’t approve the Compact. No one threatens “ME.” Therefore, I oppose the Compact.
- I’d rather reject the Compact and “let the chips fall where they may.”
- They won’t let me edit it.
- They did not give me enough time to read it.
- The Compact is permanent. I can’t stand anything permanent.
- The Compact is different than the other six tribal compacts.
- The $55 million settlement fee is outrageous.
- I don’t want the fed’s to give $1.2 billion to the tribes.
- The Tribes are too greedy.
- The Compact violates the Montana or US Constitutions.
- The Hellgate Treaty does not convey off-reservation water rights to the CSKT.
- The Compact steals people’s water rights.
- Co-ownership of in-stream water rights creates confusion.
- Compact leaves too many questions unanswered.
- CSKT money is promoting it.
- The Democrats are for it, therefore Republicans must oppose it.
- The Compact is against my “principles.”
As I have explained on my website, all of these reasons are irrational.
The infrastructure bill is easier to evaluate. Opponents considered infrastructure funding an expense. It’s not. It’s a capital investment that will earn money for Montana. Opponents simply did not have the business and accounting expertise to understand the difference between an expense and a capital investment.
Some legislators complained about the details in the infrastructure bill. I do not defend all the items in the bill. I argue that the bill would have done more good for Montana than no bill.
Some infrastructure opponents complained about the liberal bias in Governor Bullock’s infrastructure bill. They are hypocritical. They are, in general, the same people who voted Libertarian to “teach Republicans a lesson” and thereby helped elect Governor Bullock.
They had their opportunity to elect a Republican governor and they blew it. They refuse to live with the results of their own actions.
My wake-up call
For my own partisan reasons, I generally support Republican candidates over Democratic candidates. However, the near loss of the CSKT Water Compact made me realize that sometimes a Democrat can be better than a Republican. This is especially true if the Republican is an irrational tea party Republican.
For example, if either Jerry O’Neil and Gary Marbut had won their elections, they would have given Compact opponents the one vote they needed to kill the Compact.
That’s right. Only one vote determined whether the critical CSKT Water Compact survived or failed.
That is why I publish my recommendations for the Republican primary election. This gives voters the chance to decide whether they want to be ruled by tea party Republicans or by real Republicans.
If you support the CSKT Water Compact then you will wish to vote as I have recommended. If you oppose the CSKT Water Compact then you will wish to vote opposite to my recommendations.
The key is the majority of Montana voters support the CSKT Water Compact.
How about the Governor’s race?
In my opinion, governor candidate Greg Gianforte has not addressed the major issues he must address to win.
The major issues are not his various political proposals for Montana. The major issue is how does Gianforte think and make decisions?
When I evaluate a candidate for governor or president, I look for CEO ability. I don’t expect any candidate to have a detailed answer to every question.
I want to know how a candidate will approach problems and solve problems. I want to know how a candidate thinks. What are his biases? Does he recognize and reject bad data? Does he understand how to negate a hypothesis to get closer to truth?
For example, if I were on the board of Apple, how would I choose among candidates for CEO? Do I care about a candidate’s detailed positions on how he would change every deck chair in the company? No.
Before I can endorse Greg Gianforte for governor, I need his answers to four very critical questions that determine how he would act if he were governor.
- If he had been governor in 2015, would he have supported or opposed the CSKT Water Compact?
My perception is he would have opposed the Compact. I base my perception on the fact that a significant majority of candidates he funded voted against the Compact. Of 33 candidates Gianforte funded, only Fitzpatrick and Meyers voted YES on the Compact. (followthemoney.org)
If he opposed the Compact then I conclude his bad judgment would have done more economic damage to Montana than all the possible benefits of the economic measures he now proposes for Montana.
- Does he support the MTGOP effort to close Republican primary elections?
If he does, then I conclude he does not have the political judgment necessary to be a governor. While the lawsuit led by Monforton may be technically legal, it is a tea party marketing disaster.
A political party succeeds by having a bigger tent than its opposition. If a political party shrinks its tent, as this lawsuit would do, the party will not elect many candidates.
My perception is Gianforte supports the lawsuit. I base my perception on the known views of the company he keeps.
- Does Greg Gianforte, a business leader, endorse Donald Trump, also a business leader?
If he does not support Trump then he sends the message that his own business experience is not relevant to his own candidacy.
If he does not support Trump then he must support either Cruz or Kasich. If he supports Cruz or Kasich then I have no confidence in his political judgment.
My perception is Gianforte does not support Trump. I base my perception on the known views of the company he keeps.
- Does Greg Gianforte support true science on Montana’s schools, or does he support the pseudoscience he believes in?
It’s OK that Gianfote supports charter schools. But would he require all charter schools to teach true science about geology, astrophysics, and biology? Or would he allow Montana schools to teach students his incorrect view of science?
Based upon the museum he has supported, my perception is Gianforte would allow Montana charter schools to teach what is in his museum as facts.
The answers to the above four question would tell more about how a governor Gianforte would help or harm Montana. I believe he must answer these questions forcefully if he expects the majority of Montanans to vote for him in November.