I feel good about this thing I wrote for the Indy

And I feel great about this picture of Denny Rehberg, courtesy of Steele Williams.

And I feel great about this picture of Denny Rehberg, courtesy of Steele Williams.

I do not feel good about my ability to meet today’s deadlines, and I was awaked at 3:15 by my neighbor’s favorite album, Repetitive Bassline Jams 4. So instead of reading my stupid opinions in this blog, how about you read MSOs in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent? It’s about Dennis Rehberg, our erstwhile congressman who lost his bid for the Senate in November and subsequently complained that Montana voters “bitch and moan” without ever changing anything. He is a rascal. He is also likely to become a lobbyist, so we shouldn’t feel too bad about losing his public persona. Teaser: on a diplomatic visit to Kazakhstan, he called the locals “coneheads” and fell off a horse. Rumors that he drank a dozen shots of vodka first are not substantiated.


Combat! blog is free. Why not share it?
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Reddit


  1. Re: Rehberg

    If I know anything about politicians, and I probably do more than average but am still leagues away from knowing or working with any on even an occasional basis, it’s that the ones in Washington aren’t necessarily full of shit in a malice sort-of-way, but they can pander their asses off in a mendacious sort-of-way. So in spite of the fact that they can seem awfully folksy and do things like insult foreigners and deploy facile comparisons between the national budget and a home budget, they’re usually pretty damn sharp and quite capable as policy experts (one dimension of lobbying).

    This reality can be easy to lose track of when watching campaigns. I remember when Romney and Obama were having a fossil-fuel-off during the second debate. My head flooded with all the clean/green energy statements Obama had made over the years and I questioned if either of them had a fucking clue. Later I realized they were both speaking directly to Ohio and West Virginia, two big coal states, and not to the other 48 states. Phew, faith restored.

    To quote a cool Businessweek article which features a politician I have actually met:

    “’The federal government needs to tighten its belt just like every hardworking American family has had to do during our economic recovery,’ Representative Kurt Schrader, a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat from Oregon, said last year.

    The economy-as-family metaphor is familiar, emotionally intuitive—and incorrect. It’s a fallacy of composition: What’s true for the part is not necessarily true for the whole. While a single family can get its finances back on track by spending less than it earns, it’s impossible for everyone to do that simultaneously. When the plumber skips a haircut, the barber can’t afford to have his drains cleaned.”


    Kurt Schrader, I’m confident, having seen his candor away from cameras, is not a dummy. Like all Congresspeople, in addition to a sharp mind and amazing social skills, he’s a certifiable expert on one or two issues and has two or four others he can make a competent decision on. For everything else, he votes how his staff advises, who are also experts in their policy fields and equal experts on the political ramifications in Washington and at home for various votes . One of the two issues Rep. Schrader is an expert on is the national budget and current debt/spending negotiations in the House. The limp statement quoted by Businessweek is not something he would use in a committee chamber or on the phone from his office. That’s pandering for the hoi polloi.

    Sounds like Rehberg fits this mold. And as tends to happen to politicians who spend a lot of time on image and pandering as opposed to policy and negotiation, he probably became more like his projection than he was when he started. Looks like he lost that pandering flexibility after 12 years, and wasn’t wise to the changing tides in Montana. But the failure to stay on a horse, or get reelected, does not mean he’ll be a shitty lobbyist, at least insofar as it requires expertise. The other dimension of lobbying is connections, (and as a parenthetical afterthought, persuasion).

  2. “Like all scoundrels, he knew that we were less smart than him, but at some point he lost track of how much.”

    Rootin tootin good read. Thanks.

Leave a Comment.