I read with interest Jim Hunt's strange work of fiction regarding Congressman Denny Rehberg, which appeared in the Missoulian April 21. It seems that Jim Hunt the political hatchet man is as reckless as Jim Hunt the political candidate. Recall that it was Hunt who tried to launch his political campaign against Rehberg in 2008 on the grounds of Fort Harrison in Helena - a reckless and unethical act that resulted in military personnel making Hunt relocate his press conference off the National Guard base. After a series of other blunders, Hunt went on to lose the Democrat primary despite having the backing of party leaders.
While Montanans have come to expect this type of behavior from Hunt, it's disappointing the Missoulian didn't do any fact checking on Hunt's poorly written hit piece. Although I suppose it's not too surprising given the close employment and family ties between Hunt and two top reporters from the Missoulian State Bureau in Helena. (Editor's note: As is standard policy, neither Missoulian State Bureau reporter with family ties to Jim Hunt covered his campaign.)
Nonetheless, readers have a right to expect the Missoulian to be accurate, even on the editorial page.
In this political climate you have to be pretty out of touch to think that you can attack a politician for voting against spending. Yet, that's exactly what failed candidate and trial lawyer Hunt did in his recent editorial column criticizing Rehberg for voting against President Barack Obama's failed agenda of "No." That's "No" jobs, "No" reduced health care costs, "No" American energy production and "No" free market.
While the editorial has barely a paragraph that doesn't contain a distortion, fabrication or outright lie, here are some of the most egregious. Hunt claims that Rehberg voted "Yes" to give himself a raise. This is not only false, but Rehberg actually sponsored legislation to prevent this pay raise and voted to stop the automatic congressional pay raise just a few weeks ago.
Hunt also suggests that before last year, Rehberg never voted against a spending bill. This is another lie. Rehberg has not only voted against many overspending bills in the past (for example, he also voted against 11 of the 12 major Appropriations bills contained in the 2008 Omnibus, the Bush and Obama bailouts, and the failed so-called stimulus package), but he has fought for a constitutional amendment to require Congress to balance the budget since he took office.
Taking a page from the Obama administration who blames its failures on everyone else, Hunt next addresses the deficit spending that occurred when President George W. Bush was in office. The twisted political logic of this argument could only be conjured up by a trial lawyer.
First, Hunt ignores that the worst deficits as a share of the economy were during the final two years of Bush administration - after Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress. Democrats always want you to forget that they took over the reins long before Bush left office. But more important, if Hunt thinks the deficits were bad when Bush was in charge, how can he justify the fact that they are now four times worse after only one year of the combined leadership of Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? Moreover, how can he actually attack Rehberg for voting against this budget-busting agenda?
Montanans can be proud of Rehberg. Unlike Sen. Jon Tester, who cast the deciding vote for health care after refusing to hold even a single public meeting or Sen. Max Baucus who doesn't even own a house in Montana anymore, Rehberg has never lost touch with his good old-fashioned Montana common sense.
He's leading the charge to reform how Congress spends our tax dollars, and he's a fighting the job-killing agenda of Pelosi. People like Hunt want to replace our hard working congressman with another yes-man. If you ask me, Pelosi already has enough yes-men.
We need someone who will stand up for Montana, even if it means saying no to the president and his ongoing campaign to put America on the same European path that has resulted in the Greek meltdown. We need someone who will make the tough choices today to ensure that our children have choices to make at all.
We need Denny Rehberg.
Jake Eaton runs a Helena consulting firm and is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008, Eaton was the Executive Director of the Montana Republican Party.