Senator-Elect from Montana
Montanans Are Mad
Montanans were apparently mad that Burns still has trouble pronouncing the the name of the river that flows out of Three Forks through most of the state. It's the Muh-zer-eee, dummy. But Burns has trouble with that since he talks in an accent similar to dulcet tones of George W Bush. But whereas the GPE has to cover up a New England accent with Texan, Burns has to try to cover his Mizooruh accent with Montanease.
They also seem to have some kind of problem with Burns's long-time companion, Jack Abramoff. (Not that they think there's anything wrong with that.)
All of that gave Montana-native Tester and his liberal buddies some kind of opening.
Who Is Jon Tester?
Tester lives somewhere south of Havre where he was born. He has a farm that he maintains with his wife, a large woman unkindly called "Big Sandy" by Jon's fellow Montanans.
Some of Tester's radio ads took on a yukky porno quality when he started out, "I'm here in Big Sandy...". Please. We don't want to know.
He campaigned by driving like a bat out of hell all over the vast roadless wilderness of the state in his pickup truck. He invited himself to dinner at the ranch-houses that he'd run into every couple of days. At least he did until his truck broke down somewhere outside of Butte.
Since then he's become pretty much a permanent fixture at a bar stool or poker table at the M&M Cafe in Butte. He just eats, drinks, eats, plays a few hands of Montana Poker, eats and chats up the people that drop by. And then he has another hamburger topped with a fried egg (a speciality of the house). Apparently, though, that's enough to come close to winning an election in Montana.
One of Tester's most shocking campaign planks concerns the PATRIOT Act. "I don't wanna amend the PATRIOT Act," Tester said at a debate.
Tester should have been arrested on the spot when he continued, "I wanna get rid of it."
He made that incredibly unpatriotic statement, even though he even someone like him must know that Our President has assured us that the Act is a vital tool for fighting terrorists (and, in
election season late October, gay marriage).
Burns shot back with a 30-second short-form documentary that showed how important the Patriot Act is to the GWOT -- Global War On Terror. That should have been enough to win the election right there.
But, like we said, those Montanans were cranky in 2006. One of them actually told the Montana Standard (which is printed by socialists in Alberta), "I don't so much care about the terrorists around these parts. Y'know, I figure if a couple of 'em come down here across the border, that they'll probably think our snow drifts are sand dunes. I'm bettin' that they'd go wandering out onto the snow in them terrorist dresses they wear and freeze to death."
Tester played on misconceptions like that with a response campaign ad that claimed the PATRIOT Act would let jack-booted soldiers head to Montana and take away all the guns in the state. That's a big deal in Montana where everyone has an average of about 32.6 guns per ranch house.
Analysts gave that round to Tester.
In the same ad, Tester claimed that the Act would allow soldiers to look at library book records. That part of the argument didn't go over so well since the only libraries in the state are located in the two college towns. Regular Montanans are afraid to visit those towns.
Tester also started calling Burns a "borrow-and-spend conservative." That is apparently an attempt to confuse Montana's voters who actually kind of like getting more money back from the feds than they spend in taxes.
Sample Stump Speech
When Tester gives a campaign speech, he occasionally has to use a real tree stump to hold his notes. This is an example of the kind of thing he says out there on the hustings:
Hi, I'm Jon Tester. I just drove over here in my Chivy [Substitute "Ford" if this is a Ford county.] pickup and I wanted to talk to you guys for a minute about a couple o' things.
See, I figure it's about time that the US Senate started lookin' a little more like Montana. We have to get another senator over there like Mike Mansfield. [Reverent bow. Applause. Crowds in Butte will probably genuflect.] My family has been farmin' and ranchin' here in Montana for three generations. I'm from Montana. [Pause to let crowd fill in the blank: "And not from Missouri".] I knew Mike Mansfield. He was a friend o' my dad's.
And Con-ray-ad Boo-runs [Make it sound kinda Southern.]? He ain't no Mike Mansfield.
Me 'n' Big Sandy were harvestin' wheat up on the ranch the other day when I started thinkin', "Why can't those guys over there in Washington balance a checkbook?"
See, I hafta balance the checkbook for my farm all the time. I know how to do it. I know I can't borrow too much or the bank is gonna come 'n' take over my ranch. They'll just say, "Git off o' here." See, after three generations here in Montana [and not in Missouri], I know that we could lose it all if I'm not careful with the books.
But Con-ray-ad Boo-runs and that crowd over there in Washington like to pretend it doesn't matter. They don't balance their check book.
It looks like Con-ray-ad has forgotten how to balance a check book. Maybe he never learned how, bein' a TV personality and all. Maybe Conrad just spends too much time in those fancy Washington restaraunts with Jack Abramoff and all his lobbyist friends.
But when I was changin' the oil in my tractor, I figured there must be another way to do it all...
- Tester: A new kind of Democrat? (The Stranger, Seattle)