POLITICAL POTPOURRI: Diogenes Has Pawned His Lantern

by Brad Molnar

Kathleen Williams was the last of the Boy Scouts. William’s original ads demonstrated she was a great friend during times of personal tragedy and as a legislator she used her position to help her constituents. In contrast Tester, Rosendale, and Gianforte were busy draining the swamp by engaging in wholesale, unfounded, character assassination.

Alas, we are now out of heroes. Kathleen William’s attack ad claiming Greg Gianforte is a threat to Social Security and Medicare fails at all levels. Using Greg’s discussion, at a bible school, of the Bible story of Noah being 600 years old when he started working on the Ark is improper political fodder. Attacking Greg for this discussion on the advantages not retiring to the rocking chair but advising to stay active and focused to the best of one’s ability was ill advised. Attacking anyone’s religious views is base and beneath the gentle lady from Bozeman.

At the bottom of the ad Williams references House Joint Resolution 2 as proof Gianforte is a threat to senior citizens. The vote referenced was a procedural vote to suspend the rules and adopt a constitutional amendment mandating a federal balanced budget. The ill fated HJR2 created a constitutional mandate for the President to put forward a balanced budget every year, raised to a 3/5 majority vote the minimum requirement to raise the debt limit while yet requiring a simple majority to raise taxes. The exception to this mandate was funding a declared or undeclared war.

How addressing our national debt is a threat to Social Security/Medicare recipients remains a mystery. A $22,000,000,000,000 deficit racing towards a $30,000,000,000,000 deficit (which does not include a soon bankrupt Social Security and Medicare system) is not a slogan. It is a fact. Is not runaway debt the real threat?

Kathleen William’s other “proof” posted at the bottom of the ad that Gianforte is a hazard to senior citizens is House Concurrent Resolution 71. The congressional description of HCR 17 is “provides a framework for congressional consideration of legislation addressing revenues, spending, and other budget-related issues. The budget resolution is a nonbinding framework used by Congress and cannot be signed into law or vetoed by the President”. HCR 71 sets priorities for budget considerations until 2027. That is funny since Congress now goes through the exercise of raising the debt limit every six months because they spend the annual budget in six months. This would have been a legitimate issue because Gianforte threatens no pay for those that won’t balance the budget while bragging about his spending on popular issues. Instead Kathleen used a non-binding resolution to scare seniors into voting for her and in the same breath insult other Americans religious beliefs.

Her arguments defending her attack ad rely heavily on the synopsis of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare. They say in part, “Social Security and Medicare were spared a terrible fate when House leadership was unable to pressure 2/3 of their colleagues to vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”. The rest of the relied on NCPSSM article was a litany of “if-then” theories of calamity if the US adds a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare is a lobbying and Political Action Committee with a declared income of $255,592 and paid expenses of $17,764,344 aka a dark money group. They claim to be supported my membership sales. Their IRS filings show zero memberships. The NCPSSM donates mainly to Democrat candidates. The only Republican (?) exception is Susan Collins of Maine. Jon Tester is tied for being the second highest recipient of donations from NCPSSM. No mention of donations to Williams in Open Secrets.com.

In a 2014 article on “scammers” press accounts claim the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare used “scare tactics” to get seniors to send money to help them protect seniors in Congress. Before that Social Security Commissioner Dorcas R. Hardy also accused them of using scare tactics to get money from the elderly. How is that different from using scare tactics to garner votes?

The NCPSSM also advanced the rational that the Balanced Budget Amendment was a congressional rouse to make off with Social Security surpluses. That is debunked by Scopes.com, and common sense.

That makes us four for four. Why do campaign managers rely on jaundiced analysis when truth would be more advantageous and less dangerous? Danged if I know.