U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns places great value on my advice and opinions. Or so he says in a letter that showed up at my house last week.
He values my opinions so much that he asked me to fill out a three-page survey detailing my views to help him verify that he shares the majority view in Montana on key issues. Among the questions, none of which I'm making up:
"Did you support the President's decision to oust the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq?"
"Are you angry with how the United Nations and so-called 'allies' like France and Germany have undermined our efforts in Iraq and the war on terror?"
"Does it anger you that the courts are more and more ruling against our religious liberties and traditional values and institutions?"
"Has the time come to ease unneeded and counter-productive government regulations and restrictions on agriculture?"
OK, so the senator really isn't interested in my opinion. He's interested in my wallet. As the four-page accompanying letter notes, he hopes to use the survey to "contrast the Democrats' liberal 'values' with our own commonsense Montana values."
Whatever Democrat opposes him, he said, will espouse "the same leftist values of Harry Reid, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ted Kennedy." Indeed, the letter uses the phrase "liberal Democrat" at least 10 times. And it tells stretchers: John Morrison, Burns says, "is a trial attorney whose industry, and the medical malpractice suits it champions, have had more to do with the rising cost of health care than any other one factor!" Jon Tester, Burns says, "has consistently aligned himself with the far left during his tenure in the State Senate." The far left? Who could that possibly be? Possibly the "Hollywood and New York elite who have always resented the western values and traditions" that Burns upholds.
He sums up, "And the cold, hard fact of the matter is, unless I have your maximum political AND financial support right-here-and-now in the fall of 2005 ... I may not be ready for the firestorm we fully expect the liberal Democrats to soon unleash against me across all of Big Sky Country."
A scary thought indeed.