Last week Sen. John Cobb (R-Augusta) lived out a fantasy most Democrats and more than a few Republicans have had for a long time. On the senate floor, with Montana’s ear, he tore into Gov. Martz. As Cobb berated the governor, you could almost see a trickle of blood run from the mouths of Democrats who vigorously, painfully bit their lips to keep from hootin’ and hollerin’ in encouragement.
“I’m glad we only have a one-term governor down there,” said Cobb. “I just think that she destroyed the human service budget. She deliberately hurt people. She’s irresponsible.”
Cobb went on to ask the Republican Party and the governor why they even bothered funding government if they weren’t going to help the people who need help the most. Then he added that he was “ashamed” of his party.
In a hastily called press conference, Martz attributed Cobb’s diatribe to exhaustion and Senate President Bob Keenan (R-Bigfork) said he was concerned about Cobb’s health. Keenan was even quoted in the Missoulian as saying: “That’s not the way a rational person reacts to these things. I’m just worried about John Cobb.”
It seemed that Keenan was implying that the Republican Party’s staunchest advocate for helping the mentally ill was having problems with his own mental state. The insinuation has so far gone unchallenged in the media and Keenan didn’t return numerous messages from the Indy. But Cobb himself has responded.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and if that’s [Keenan’s] view then that’s OK,” says Cobb diplomatically. When asked about his physical and mental health he chuckles and says: “I’m fine.”
Beyond that Cobb won’t comment on the senate president’s bizarre and unsupported statements. Cobb did however add that his unscripted tirade has elicited a lot of silence from his peers. Unflapped, the senator says he believes in what he said and doesn’t care what his party thinks. He didn’t go to Helena to be nice or get along with everyone; his mission at the statehouse is securing funding for the populations ignored by most. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats praised Cobb as a brave and wonderful man. Apparently even sanity is now a partisan issue.
Who is Kyle? Well, according to his campaign literature he’s smarter than Judy, more tactful than Conrad, more fun than Max and he wants to be one of your next ASUM senators. But ol’ Kyle isn’t the only prospective student senator who’s invoking the image of Montana’s unpopular, inept or just lackluster politicians. The University Center is littered with candidates’ propaganda—a good deal of it devoted to kicking around Montana’s best and brightest. Evidently, the Indy isn’t alone in pointing out the shortcomings of Martz’ intelligence, Burns’ grace and raucous Baucus’s fiery personality. And budding politicians seem to intuitively know that it’s better to attack up the food chain than to criticize rivals who can bite back.
OK, maybe that “step the f—k off!” challenge we threw at Lee Newspapers last week showed a little too much hubris on our part. Sure some of the state’s alternative weeklies are kicking ass, and sure Lee better watch its back, just not so much in Livingston. Several weeks ago, the Park County Weekly, based in the small Montana town east of Bozeman, shut down operations.
The weekly printed its final edition on March 26. Then on the morning of March 28 publisher Bill Heaney told the paper’s three employees that it was their last day on the job. Heaney attributed the closure to—not surprisingly—a lack of revenue.