When Rep. Denny Rehberg visited the Havre Daily News earlier this year, he predicted that by October, a lot of people would be so sick of political commercials, they would want to shoot their television.
He was wrong. Most Montanans don’t want to wait until October.
But, while people may not like the commercials, they do talk about them, especially the one where Republicans, with the miracle of Photoshop, gave back to Sen. Jon Tester the fingers he lost in a farm accident years ago.
At least television viewers don’t have to sift through the dozens of press releases that newspapers, television stations and political websites get every day from both camps.
The two candidates have interesting ideas and widely divergent views of which way the United States and the Montana should be heading. It would be great to hear more of these ideas and less of the backbiting.
Every morning, I start my day by checking two political websites — the Havre Daily Corrector and Montana Cowgirl. If the Havre Daily News or the news media in general haven’t been attacked by one or the other, I can get about my day’s work.
The Cowgirl is a liberal blog out of Helena, and the Corrector is, to put it mildly, conservative in nature.
Problem is, the Corrector has gone dark. No new posts in more than a month, and almost no local commentary for months before that.
It’s not that I miss the blood-pressure spikes that occurred the mornings when the Corrector took on its favorite target, the Havre Daily News. Anyone within a block and a half of our office has heard me express my opinion when the Corrector, as it frequently did, unfairly mauled the reputation of the hard-working, highly ethical reporters I work with every day.
But I think there is a need for liberal and conservative watchdogs who are willing to keep an eye on the political, journalistic and business communities.
Should the bloggers identify themselves? You bet. The Corrector and Cowgirl would have a lot more credibility in my eyes if everyone knew who they were and what axes they have to grind. And a bit less snarkiness would be nice. A debate over ideas is always more interesting than a name-calling feud. There is no need for the nasty tone. From what I’ve seen of Havre, all people on all sides of the political spectrum are sincere people who are working for the common good.
But if the Corrector folks would take a chill pill, we’d welcome a mellow version of the Corrector.
Montana Democrats have been accused of downplaying the man at the top of their ticket — President Barack Obama. Obama is trailing in the polls, and, the conventional wisdom goes that candidates down-ticket don’t want to be associated with him.
But a couple of Democrats have pointed out that the Democratic contingent at Festival Days parade included a pretty massive cutout of the president, while there was no mention of Romney at the Republican part of the parade, there was no sign of Romney. Nor are there any Romney signs at the GOP headquarters on Highway 2.
But GOP Chair Andrew Brekke said Romney signs are on the way and should be here this week.
The local party is spending most of its time and energy on local candidates, but volunteers at the headquarters are getting lots of requests for Romney signs.
“There is a lot of exuberance, for the Romney campaign,” he said. But the national campaign is not focusing on Montana because it has only three electoral votes, and polls show Romney is far ahead, he said.
(John Kelleher is managing editor of the Havre Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com, (406) 265-6795, ext. 17, or (406) 390-0798.)