Monday, May 2, 2011

Is Tester the Dems' last, best hope — or a sellout?

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 3:00 PM

That's the question raised by Newsweek in a new profile that, among other things, quotes Indy columnist George Ochenski.

The story, by Andrew Romano, starts like every profile of Sen. Jon Tester — on the farm, in the mud, with a mention of the senator's belly and flattop. But it quickly gets to Tester's challenge of sticking to his rural roots, navigating the national political scene and satisfying his grassroots liberal base — while taking on Republican Denny Rehberg in November 2012.

The nut of the story:

Tester, who was elected with strong support from the netroots, is in a special bind. By doing what he says he was sent to Washington to do—represent his rural constituents—Montana’s junior senator is beginning to irk the activists and fundraisers who propelled him to victory in the first place.

If you've been following the recent blogosphere battles between Tester critics and supporters (summarized nicely at The Lowdown), Newsweek covers similar ground. But Romano quotes Tester directing some unflattering words to unnamed parties.

Even now, after four years in Washington, D.C., Tester can still seem rather unsenatorial. Within minutes of meeting me, over a 6 a.m. breakfast of danishes, muffins, and pointlessly fat-free milk, he openly referred to one local environmentalist as a “wahoo.” The next day, I heard him characterizing another liberal activist as “numbnuts.”

Any guess as to who "wahoo" and "numbnuts" are?

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