Montana is, in many respects, a microcosm of the political war underway in the United States.
It is a state that was founded on traditional values, yet seems oddly inclined to govern from a progressive point of view.
It is a state that is deep red from border to border, but dominated by several blue islands of Democratic strength in our biggest cities and our bureaucrat-friendly state capital of Helena.
It is a state that has elected Republican controlled Legislatures throughout the two terms of Democrat Governor Steve Bullock, yet has watched Republican lawmakers hand victory after victory to the minority party.
It is this last phenomenon which has driven Republican legislator Theresa Manzella of Hamilton, Montana, to challenge her own party and accuse liberal Republicans of waging an “attempted coup” against the interests of the voters who sent them to Helena.
In an op-ed published in the Ravalli Republic last month, Manzella told of her disappointment while serving in the Montana House of Representatives to see Bullock handed a victory on Medicaid Expansion by the putatively Republican Legislature. She asks:
Why then, did HB 658, Medicaid Expansion, adding $750 million in annual expense and 97K able-bodied, working age adults, mostly without children; and violates our platform in at least six different areas, become a permanent part of our law? The answer is easily analyzed through voting records, and again, irrefutable.
It’s because 20 Republicans, three of which are from Ravalli County (Ballance, Bedey and Greef), broke their oath of office, ignored their agreement to support of the Republican platforms, overrode the will of the citizens in whom all political power is vested (Article II, section 1 of our State Constitution), and teamed up with the democrats to pass the behemoth “hospital bailout bill” that the citizens clearly voted down last November through the defeat of I-185.
Of course, I and many other conservatives have lamented the spinelessness of Republicans in failing to uphold their principles and their platforms. Manzella is asking voters to take a more serious role in playing watchdog of their rogue legislators.
Manzella reflects on her corporate background working in a company headed up by the late Ross Perot and shares the secret of Perot’s success:
Establishing an objective, tangible, measurable, performance metric was a large part of the foundation for EDS’s success. Compile the data, and then analyze our results transparently, with the goal of optimizing our performance.
Manzella urges voters to take seriously their responsibility for oversight of those they elect, and to use a “performance metric” to measure effectiveness of legislators instead of just re-electing them because of the twinkle in their eye and the smile on their lying lips.
We simply expect Republicans to stand on the principles they purport to believe in. I believe the healthiest way to address the problem is to expose it for our citizens to see, because only our citizens can fix it at the ballot box.
Citizens need to establish their very own performance metric which would entail studying the Constitutions and platforms that we, as legislators (and citizens) are obligated to uphold, carefully vetting the candidates and reconciling campaign promises with actual voting records. There are many Watchdog groups that create scorecards to aid you in this endeavor. Two of which are Legislator Loyalty and Montanans For Limited Government.
I’m not sure that Montana’s Republican voters can be roused from their lethargy long enough to elect legislators who actually represent them, but I give credit to Manzella for showing them the way to do it.
Manzella currently represents House District 85 and is making a bid for Senate in District 44 in the 2020 election. I think you can count on her to fulfill her pledge to vote as “a Christian, constitutional, conservative Republican.” Follow her on Facebook at https://facebook.com/manzellaformontana/
SUPPORT OUR WORK:
If you enjoy reading these daily essays, you can help support my work by purchasing one of my books through these links. There are three volumes in the Why We Needed Trump” series. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” My new book is “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions, but if you click my associate links, I will get a referral fee. Thank you! You can also help by subscribing to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here to get the latest News Conservatives Can Use. I need 1,000 subscribers to be able to get YouTube to pay me.