Conrad Burns, GOP Senator up for re—election in Montana, is self—destructing. The AP reports:
Sen. Conrad Burns recent verbal attack on a firefighting team for its work on a Montana blaze angered some firefighters, drew harsh criticism in state newspapers and has left the three—term Republican scrambling to repair the political damage.
Burns, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the fall elections, confronted members of a firefighting team at the Billings airport on July 23 and told them they had done a "piss—poor job," according to an official state report and the U.S. Forest Service.
The Hotshot crew had traveled 2,000 miles from Staunton, Va., to help dig fire lines for about a week around a 143—square—mile wildfire east of Billings.
The crew was awaiting flights home when Burns made his comments. The senator, who has a house in Billings, said he was expressing the frustration of ranchers who were critical of the way the fire was handled. He later apologized for his harsh remarks.
The report by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said Burns pointed to one firefighter and said, "See that guy over there? He hasn't done a g—— damned thing." The Forest Service dispatch log said, "Conrad Burns at BIL airport verbally attacking Augusta IHC crewmember."
He is toast. Rick Santorum has abetter shot than Burns. The other Montana senator, Max Baucus, a Democrat, just lost his nephew in Iraq. That's the biggest story in the state. He is a supporter for estate tax repeal, but will miss vote for the funeral, by the way.
Baucus is getting tons of sympathy. Burns has no such reservoir. Mark Racicot, former governor, and RNC charman coud have won this seat by 30%. He is hugely popular, but hates DC, and loves Montana.
You can't really argue that, but what a shame for the fate of the Senate.
Richard Baehr 8 03 06