MT Senate: Democratic candidate compares Republicans to the Taliban

John Bohlinger

Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger (D-MT) certainly made some headlines last week when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Montana. But he did it in a very pathetic, divisive way.

During his announcement, Bohlinger disgustingly compared Tea Party Republicans to the Taliban, religious extremists that once ran the Afghanistan government, and blamed them for the last month’s government shutdown.

“We need to challenge the Tea Party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down,” Bohlinger said on Wednesday, according to the Billings Gazette, which covered the announcement. The paper also noted that the Montana Democrat also compared the shutdown to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Bohlinger served as Lt. Governor of Montana from 2005 to 2013, serving as a Republican on a joint ticket with Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT). He backed Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in his re-election bid last year. He left the Republican Party earlier this year.

“In the ’70s and ’80s, the Republican Party was fiscally responsible. They had a social conscience. It’s a different party today,” Bohlinger said in July, according to the Independent Record. “I have a hard time identifying with the hard right. The Republican Party left me in the ’90s.”

Bohlinger opposed the Citizens United decision and subsequent decision that overturned a Montana law that limited political speech. In a joint video last year, Bohlinger and Schweitzer urged voters to back an amendment to the state constitution that would attempt to skirt the ruling. That amendment was overwhelmingly approved in the fall.

Despite the unnecessary rhetoric, which surely appeals to some in the Democratic Party, Bohlinger faces a tough road to the nomination. John Walsh, the state’s current Lt. Governor, is considered to be the frontrunner and has been endorsed by Tester and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Facing an unfavorable climate, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) opted to retire rather than run for re-election. Schweitzer, who was believed to be the Democrats’ best chance at keeping the seat, passed on the race.

Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) announced his bid for the Republican nomination last week. Political analysts — Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, and Larry Sabato — give Republicans a slight advantage in the race.

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