Image Courtesy of Flatheadmemo.com and James Conner
February 17 the MT GOP Twitter account endorsed Matt Rosendale as their candidate for Montana’s US House District 2 seat. The endorsement came almost a month before the deadline to announce candidacy and indicates that the Montana GOP is happy with how Rosendale has represented Montana in Congress. Here are three reasons that I think the status quo that Rosendale represents does not represent Montana’s conservatives.
- Rosendale picks his battles poorly
The easiest example of this is Rosendale’s opposition to any form of aid or support to the Ukraine during the Russian invasion. Instead of addressing the threat of Russian aggression toward a sovereign developing democracy, Rosendale choose instead to try to pivot the discussion to the situation at the American border.
Nobody in their right mind doesn’t think that the issue at the Southern border isn’t dire, but removing or limiting the ability of the United States Government to respond to and deal with a dictator whose intention appears to be to rebuild the power of the old Soviet Union because of it is poor judgement. Governing is a nuanced activity that requires dealing with multiple vitally important situations at the same time and Rosendale has not shown he is fully capable of that.
- Rosendale has been largely unable to work across the aisle
America is divided almost right down the middle. In order to accomplish anything in congress, a congressman must be able to bring bi-partisan support to their efforts. According to govtrack.us, of the 23 bills that Rosendale has introduced it appears only three have had Democratic co-sponsors. Seven of the bills that he has introduced have not attracted any co-sponsors and according to the information available at govtrack.com only one has advanced out of committee and has a chance to be passed into law. That leads us to point number 3.
- Rosendale has produced soundbites, but little substance
It is not easy for a rookie congressman to get much done in Washington, so you can hardly fault Rosendale for instead focusing on buzz issues that will produce quality soundbites for the next election cycle, but is that the best way to represent Montana? Rosendale repeatedly seems to be on the fringe of whatever discussion is happening. He is forcefully vocal in his opposition to the Democrats, but that approach will likely leave him on the outside looking in when bi-partisan groups address issues that are important to Montanans. In Rosendale Montana has no doubt elected a fearless conservative, but fearlessness can leave him as ineffective when compromise is required to earn victories for the people of Montana.
Rosendale is on the record stating that he is biding his time until the Republicans have regained the majority in the House of Representatives. For me, that is admitting that he had no strategy to advance Montana for the last two years and is leaving his future strategy completely up to the results of the mid-term election.
A candidate that can only accomplish goals for their constituents when they are in the majority is a candidate that fails to represent the long standing Montana values of respect, understanding and compromise. The GOP failed to find a candidate that can get things done for Montana no matter what the circumstances they face.