What’s in it for me?

That’s what Democratic Senator Bill Ray of Juneau used to ask when someone asked him for a political favor.  Do Montana Democrats have a dog in the fight between normal Republicans and the Birch whack jobs over HJ 4?  What’s in it for them?

For the Birch Society this is a very big deal.  If you go to their web site and look around you’ll see that the fight against Article V is their reason for being.  It’s the only specific thing they’ve had going for them for the last 25 years, that and their Support Your Local Sheriff program.  I’m not making this up.  In our work around the country we’ve found that Montana is their strongest state, along with Oklahoma.  If they lose in Montana, they can’t win anywhere, and the path to 34 is clear.  A successful Amendment Convention, on any subject, would drive a stake in the heart of the John Birch Society.

This would be good for the Republican Party, and the country, but would it be good for Democrats, in Montana and nationally?  I’ve argued yes, but a straight political calculation is complicated.  What’s not complicated is that both political parties in this country have an interest in an opposition party that is not influenced by nutcases.  There are many cases where bipartisan cooperation is needed to solve problems.  We haven’t seen much of that in Congress recently, but if you want a big fix to a big problem you can’t dance alone, you need a partner from across the aisle.

So it turns out that what’s good for the country is also good for the Democratic Party.  In Montana and elsewhere, the message to Democrats is clear.

Don’t let the Birchers win.

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