Come Home to Montana, Wanderin’ Steve Bullock, There’s Work to Do

Photograph Source: Gage Skidmore – CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s not unusual for politicians in one elected office to seek higher office and that’s just what Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock has been doing for much of the last few months. But reality has a way of chiming in on political ambition and given that Bullock will not make the next Democratic debate due to his lack of widespread — or even marginal — support, it’s time for him to come home to Montana, where there is plenty of challenging work to do.

Bullock certainly deserves credit for his fight against dark money in politics and it’s good that he took the opportunities afforded him on the campaign trail to repeatedly raise the issue. But the Supreme Court decided in the Citizens United case that money equals speech and hence is constitutionally protected and can’t be limited. The only way to overturn that decision in the foreseeable future is via a constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations aren’t people and money does not equal speech. And while that would be a worthwhile fight, it’s not one Bullock, even as president, would have the power to change.

The work Bullock was elected and is paid to do is governing Montana and taking care of its citizens. Given the Trump administration’s full-scale attack on the environment, public lands, national forests, and threatened and endangered species, we need a strong voice at the top of Montana’s elected officialdom to speak up forcibly to protect Montanans from Trump’s outrageous actions. And make no mistake, there will be serious consequences from the health and environmental effects of Trump’s non-congressionally approved rampage.

Just last week Trump announced he was rolling back the Obama-era rules to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is considerably more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Moreover, methane causes serious health problems for humans. Considering Montana has entire communities in “fracking country,” their citizens deserve to protection from the health threats associated with industrial activities.

Then there are the new rules for the U.S. Forest Service emanating from the White House that will allow enormous clearcuts and road-building in the currently roadless lands without environmental analysis or public review. Bullock supported and nominated 5 million acres of Montana’s national forest for “treatment” under Obama, but Trump’s policy is exponentially more damaging to our publicly owned forests. The Amazon rain forest is burning and people all over the planet are worried about the “lungs of the world,” and it makes sense to the protect our forests and their vital function of pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Given that Montana still has virtually all of the native species that existed here when Lewis and Clark came through two centuries ago, it is incumbent upon Bullock to stand up and fight like hell against Trump’s efforts to trash the Endangered Species Act. The choice is clear —  preserve the diversity of species for future generations or sacrifice them for short-term economic activities to boost Trump’s re-election chances. That shouldn’t be a tough call for a Democratic governor.

Finally, if national attention is what Bullock craves, he may actually get far more of that by fighting Trump’s policies here at home than continuing to pursue his obviously doomed bid to become the Democratic Party candidate to face Trump in 2020. The nation desperately needs heroes to take on Trump’s increasingly unpopular and unwise policies — and that’s something Steve Bullock can do more effectively from the Montana governor’s office than at state fairs in Iowa and New Hampshire.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

Weekend Edition
January 17, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry
Kathleen Wallace
Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style
Robert Hunziker
The Rumbling Methane Enigma
Frank Joyce
Will the Constitution Fail Again?
Andrew Levine
Biden Daze
Pete Dolack
Claims that the ‘NAFTA 2’ Agreement is Better are a Macabre Joke
Vijay Prashad
Not an Inch: Indian Students Stand Against the Far Right
Ramzy Baroud
Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank
Norman Solomon
Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores the Need for Grassroots Wisdom
Ted Rall
America’s Long History of Meddling in Russia
David Rosen
The Irregulators vs. FCC: the Trial Begins
Jennifer Matsui
The Krown
Joseph Natoli
Resolutions and Obstacles/2020
Sarah Anderson
War Profiteering is Real
James McFadden
The Business Party Syndicate
Ajamu Baraka
Trump Prosecutors Make Move to Ensure that Embassy Protectors are Convicted
David Swanson
CNN is Trash
Rev. William Alberts
Finally a Christian Call for Trump’s Removal
Dave Lindorff
The ERA Just Got Ratified by Virginia, the Needed 38th State!
W. T. Whitney
Mexico Takes Action on Coup in Bolivia and on CELAC
Steve Early
How General Strike Rhetoric Became a Reality in Seattle 
Jessicah Pierre
Learning From King’s Last Campaign
Mark Dickman
Saint Greta and the Dragon
Jared Bernstein - Dean Baker
Reducing the Health Care Tax
Clark T. Scott
Uniting “Progressives” Instead of Democrats
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Trump & Johnson: What a Contrast, Image-wise!
Ron Jacobs
Abusing America’s Children—Free Market Policy
George Wuerthner
Mills Are Being Closed by National Economic Trends, Not Environmental Regulations
Basav Sen
Nearly All Americans Want Off of Fossil Fuels
Mark Ashwill
Playing Geopolitical Whack-a-Mole: The Viet Nam Flag Issue Revisited
Jesse Jackson
New Hope for One of America’s Poorest Communities
Binoy Kampmark
Harry and Meghan Exit: The Royal Family Propaganda Machine
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again!
Rob Okun
A Call to Men to join Women’s March
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
We All Need to Be Tree Huggers Now
Tom Stephens
The New York Times’ Delusions of Empire
Jill Richardson
Why Do We Have School Lunch Debt at All?
Julian Rose
Fake-Green Zero Carbon Fraud
Louis Proyect
The Best Films of 2019
Graham Peebles
Education: Expanding Purpose
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: Into Kosovo
Colin Todhunter
Gone Fishing? No Fish but Plenty of Pesticides and a Public Health Crisis
Julian Vigo
Can New Tech Replace In-Class Learning?
Wim Laven
Message to Trump Supporters: Sorry
Gaither Stewart
The Bench: the Life of Things