Bad policy has emptied the coffers of the Treasure State. Montana, shake hands with Oregon. We know how you feel. Yes, Montana resembles Oregon in the respect that natural-resource industries have been driven into the ground, and the economy has followed suit. Green-tinted policy direction has sent both states into a downward spiral.
Consider what Bill Croke, a writer based in Cody, Wyo., observed about Montana:
"In Montana, an overeducated environmental elite and its media lackeys can't get over the fact that in order to become governor, Judy Martz beat Democratic millionaire businessman Mark O'Keefe, who held a master's degree in environmental science from the University of Montana. O'Keefe - using $2 million of his own assets and out-of-state contributions from national environmental groups - outspent Martz 3 to 1 and still lost. Granted, it was a close race, with Martz winning 51 percent of the vote to O'Keefe's 47 percent. More interesting, of the state's 56 counties, she carried 45, home to real folks as opposed to the urban academic intellectualoids that you find in Bozeman, Missoula and Helena." (Can you say Portland, Eugene and Salem?)
"Which probably goes a long way," Croke continues, "to make the case that the enviro-driven Montana urban elite can shoulder most of the blame for driving a stake into the heart of the state's economy over the last three decades. Those Greens file a lot of lawsuits and pump a lot of money into Democratic political campaigns. ... They admire the utopian fantasies and motives of landgrabbing plutocrats like Ted Turner. In their eyes, the crude conservative populism of a Judy Martz is definitely gauche. ...
"The (media) are truly embarrassed by the presence of Judy Martz in the governor's office. She's there because a slim majority of Montanans are tired of living in an economically depressed state that increasingly demands that in order to make a living, they work low-wage jobs or leave. Montanans who are tired of stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or flipping hamburgers for tourists, carpetbagging dotcommers and pretentious Green-sensitive movie stars. So in the end, Montana's condescending and fearlessly liberal media toadies deserve Judy Martz. She'll give them something to write about for a couple of more years, if not longer."
Interesting depiction. Change a few names, and Oregon fits this profile (although I wouldn't call our journalists "toadies"). Maybe Oregonians can learn from Montanans. Maybe we can demand reasonable laws from the Oregon Legislature (such as the death-tax phaseout which outgoing Gov. John Kitzhaber vetoed). Are we alone in this conflict? No. Oregon, shake hands with Montana.
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