The Billings Outpost

Cherry-picker misleads

The extremist wing of the Republican Party is using Roger Koopman’s Taxpayers’ Advisory Bulletin report in meetings fallaciously labeled the “truth tour.” These fanatics have twisted the truth to say that “Responsible Republicans,” like me, voted with the Democrats against the Republican majority some ludicrous percentage of the time.

In 2005, when I served with Roger Koopman, he had a little tree on his chamber desk he named the “liberty tree.” He would use his extremist views to “cherry-pick” bills on the House floor, address them with very inflammatory rhetoric, and ceremoniously clip a leaf off “liberty.” At the end of the session, in a righteous rage, he bellowed one final rant about lost liberty, clipped off one the tree’s last branches, and tossed it in the trash to die. 

About a year later, Koopman and a couple of his extreme cronies started the Taxpayers’ Advisory Bulletin (TAB). Applying the same methodology, he again cherry-picked a very small subset of bills to serve as the foundation of a “voter poll” that portrayed most Republican legislators as liberal. Over the years Koopman’s fraudulent TAB Report has been spit-shined to better mislead voters into supporting ever more extreme candidates.

The verifiable truth is that when voting data is not cherry-picked and the basis for analysis becomes the 494 bills that reached the floor of both Houses in the 2013 Legislative Session. Responsible Republicans voted with the Republican Caucus majority approximately 90 percent of the time. Conversely, the leadership of the extreme movement only voted with the Republican Caucus majority about 75 percent of the time.

Further, responsible Republicans scored very well on statewide business polls produced by reputable organizations like the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the real Taxpayers Association, the Montana Contractors and others. Koopman and other extremists obnoxiously justify their attacks against those they label “Undocumented Democrats” by arrogantly self-proclaiming that they alone are the gold standard of conservatism.

As president of the Senate in 2011, I facilitated a Republican caucus retreat where we defined a plan that had caucus support. We then followed this plan to achieve the first real reduction in the state budget in over 20 years. In 2013 there was no plan from leadership and chaos ensued. The TAB report is simply another example of the finger pointing designed to distract voters away from the extremists’ unprecedented failure to define solutions and lead.

Extremists will rely on tactics like the hijacking of the Teton County Shrimp Peel and the TAB Report to shift the spotlight away from their legal troubles and their failed leadership. Do not accept their excuses and beware the TAB report. It is cherry-picked garbage. Question the validity of other cherry-picked polls and anonymous negative messaging.

Sen. Jim Peterson

Buffalo

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