By Dustin Hurst ǀ Watchdog.org
HELENA — So much for civility in Montana politics.
Over the weekend, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee unleashed a small cadre of people in chicken suits to openly taunt GOP U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg for skipping a debate, originally scheduled Sunday.
The DSCC is a national organization charged with electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate.
Rehberg skipped the debate, his campaign said, to raise money out-of-state. The GOP congressman is trying to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in November.
In 10 tweets, the DSCC cast Rehberg as “too chicken” to defend his legislative record.
“’Cluck cluck cluck’ the sound @DennyRehberg will make tomorrow as he ducks the #MTSen debate #chicken,” the group tweeted Saturday.
Some tweets were more policy-oriented, with references to Rehberg’s April 2011 comment dubbing Pell grants as “welfare of the 21st Century.”
The attack is in contrast to the civility DSCC head man U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., called for in the aftermath of the 2010 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz.
“Even so, we should be more civil anyway. Being more mindful of the weight of our words always helps. We have much more to gain than to lose from civility and discretion,” Reid said on Jan. 25, 2011.
The Montana Democratic Party joined in the charade Monday, releasing a video clip of the chickens used to mock the congressman.
Tester’s spokesman, Aaron Murphy, didn’t openly call Rehberg cowardly for skipping the debate, but he did retweet a DSCC post, which inferred as much.
Rehberg’s campaign did not respond to the attacks.
The debate was scheduled Sunday morning at the annual Montana Broadcasters Association convention, but Rehberg’s camp said the group never invited the congressman and that he had other plans. MBA says it reached out to Rehberg several times, but never produced evidence supporting that claim.
The chicken incident is the latest in a string of ugly political Treasure State shenanigans.
Last week, a Republican attending the state GOP convention in Missoula brought along a wooden outhouse dubbed “(President Barack) Obama’s presidential library.” Fake bullet holes adorned the outside and sexual references to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and First Lady Michelle Obama were scrawled on the inside.
On the same day the outhouse made headlines, a Democrat attending the first U.S. Senate debate in Big Sky reportedly shoved Jan Rehberg, the congressman’s wife. No charges were filed in the incident, and the congressman’s campaign said she was not hurt.