Gut-check time

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Will the real Rep. Steve Daines please stand up?

So which is it, Mr. Daines? Are you the fellow that Montanans thought they were sending to Congress—the guy who listens to all sides of an issue and champions ideas from Montana? Or is Daines swept up in the nonsense that is too prevalent in Washington, D.C.? Is he just listening to political operatives more bent on gouging the eyes of their opponents than in actually solving this nation's problems?

Sadly, Rep. Daines appears to be falling into the camp with the partisan radicals.

Case in point: Daines has recently signed on with a radical national forest management bill being forwarded by Tea Party favorite Doc Hastings. The bill is a fantasy of those with a simplistic, narrow-minded view of national forests.

Now, Montanans want their forests managed. That's no secret. But the Hastings bill won't actually accomplish that because it's overly broad, unrealistic and driven more by ideology that pragmatic solutions. It's classic, winner-takes-all politics.

Does that sound familiar? Doc Hastings would manage Montana's national forests the way his Tea Party friends managed the federal budget.

Across Montana, folks from sawmills, conservation groups and sportsmen's organizations have hammered out real, practical visions for bringing people together and getting things done on the land. These balance both the conservation of and the wise utilization of natural resources.

It's gut-check time for Rep. Daines. Whose side are you on, Montana's or Washington, D.C.'s?

Gabriel King



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