Shouldn’t that be the easiest question to answer if you are the Governor of Montana? Governor Steve Bullock officially took the plunge yesterday and entered the 2020 Democrat primary. As Jazz pointed out, the man has some challenges right off the bat.
Steve Bullock wants to be President, as do about 173 other Democrats but a really awkward thing happened as he spoke about his decision to run to reporters. Governor Bullock was stumped for an answer to a really basic question. When asked by a reporter which achievement he is most proud of during his time in office, he looked like he was racking his brain to come up with an answer. The RNC posted footage of it on their RNC Research account on Twitter.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 14, 2019
The first part of the answer is about being a dad to his kids. He hoped they knew that being their dad is his most important job. That’s nice but it had nothing to do with the question. It was a stall. He knew the reporters were curious why he’s running and what exactly he had accomplished in office. How could he make an announcement that he’s running for the Democrat nomination for President and not have an answer ready about his record in office?
I’ve been told by Montana residents that Governor Bullock answers questions slowly. Clearly, in that video clip, he contemplated his answer as he spoke. But, he should have been prepared to rattle off several pieces of legislation he signed into law or initiatives he put into place that highlight his ability to govern.
Bullock finally found his footing and proceeded with an answer. Unfortunately, it was a word salad of standard Democrat talking points.
“But, I know that 100,000 people have health care because of the work we have done. I know that we’ve done more… to try to keep the outside influence of dollars out of our elections so that your voice matters as long as you vote… more than some big treasury or company, I’m pleased with the way that we’ve invested in education, I think that’s one of the great equalizers we’ve had.”
That health care reference he began with is an expansion of Medicaid that was hammered out by … Republicans. The original bill in 2015 was sponsored by a Republican and the additional act passed in 2019 allowed that bill’s expansion of Medicaid to continue.
Rep. Ed Buttrey, a Republican from Great Falls, sponsored the 2015 bill that expanded Medicaid in Montana, and the so-called Medicaid Reform and Integrity Act this session to continue it.
“Anytime someone gets off addictions, or avoids a chronic mental or physical condition, it’s a huge win for the state of Montana,” said Buttrey. “So I’m excited.”
Gov. Bullock says he intends to sign House Bill 658, inking the final step in reauthorizing Medicaid expansion in Montana, which gives health coverage to around 96,000 low income adults.
Democrats didn’t get the version they pushed for in January. Republicans put in a “community engagement” provision. Recipients must perform 80 hours per month of work or public service. State Democrats were opposed to that new requirement. The reality, though, is that Montana is a red state and Governor Bullock is a Democrat. So, he is left with taking credit for signing into law Republican legislation.
Democrats in the Legislature are praising the bill’s passage, although it is not the version of Medicaid expansion the party asked for in January.
“Neither side is probably super happy with that bill as it stands,” says House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner, is a Democrat from Great Falls. “But it was what was best for the people of Montana given that we couldn’t just take the sunset off, unfortunately.”
During an appearance on CBS This Morning Wednesday, Bullock was tossed a softball question and he took the opportunity to do what his candidacy is really all about – he trashed President Trump.
“Do you think President Trump is a good role model?” CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe asked Bullock on Wednesday morning.
“No, I don’t,” the governor responded. “The way that he conducts [himself] in the office and divides people, how he belittles people — that’s not the example that you want out of a president. I mean, we’re expecting more from preschoolers at times than our president. That’s not a role model, I think, most families want for their kids.”
He went on to talk about divisiveness after calling the president no better than a pre-schooler. And, he did a bit of the blame America apology that Democrats do – we are our own greatest global foe. Frankly, I don’t understand what his point was with this quote. I think Iran and Russia are our greatest global foes at the present time, but your mileage may vary.
“I think our greatest global foe potentially is ourselves if we continue to have the level of divisiveness we have,” he said, arguing that the disconnect between the executive and legislative branches has been toxic. “When the rest of the world sees that Congress and the president can’t agree, or the divisiveness that we’ve seen on every single potential military action or other.”
While his obvious hook is that he’s a fairly standard Democrat governing a Trump-loving red state, he has to sound like all the rest of the candidates at this point. No one outside of Montana knows him. At this point, he’s checking off boxes when he does interviews. He recites that he’s a fighter, and he talks about money corrupting politics, everyone deserves a fair shot. Yeah, ok. But what else does he have to offer?
To give everyone a fair shot, we must do more than defeat Donald Trump. We have to defeat the corrupt system that keeps people like him in power, and we need a fighter who's done it before.
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) May 14, 2019
His only hope is to run on his experience as a Democrat governor of a Trump-loving red state. He sure needs to up his game, though, to even break through to the bottom of the heap at this point. Color me unimpressed.