By Dustin Hurst ǀ Watchdog.org
HELENA —Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock just spiked the political football.
Less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the entirety of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Bullock released a statement essentially mocking the Montana Republican Party.
Remember in 2011, the Montana GOP prodded Bullock, now running for governor, to join the 26 other states challenging the PPACA’s constitutionality.
Bullock declined, saying the case lacked merit.
Fast-forward a year, and the Montana GOP used the Democrat’s words against him, implying in a television spot that Bullock supports the agenda of President Barack Obama, including the controversial health reform.
With Thursday’s ruling in his favor, Bullock couldn’t help but take a victory lap.
“As I have said all along, adding Montana’s name to the list of states wouldn’t have done anything but cost Montana taxpayers money,” Bullock wrote in a prepared statement. “The lawsuits filed against the health care reform bill ended up in front of the Supreme Court and Montanans, like all Americans, will be governed by this ruling. We just didn’t have to spend any money litigating it.”
At the Montana GOP Convention in Missoula June 15, party director Bowen Greenwood told Watchdog.org the party will continue attacks tying Bullock to Obama and health reform. In light of Thursday’s judgment, is that still the plan?
It seems likely.
Greenwood, in an email message, didn’t explicitly outline the attack strategy through November, but did say that Montana Democrats at all levels are responsible for the health care law, a fact he will take straight to voters.
“The majority of Montanans oppose Obamacare and want it repealed,” Bowen wrote. “But Steve Bullock refused to accept the will of the people. He refused to defend us from Obamacare.”
Still, Bullock concluded with a less-than-glowing endorsement of the health reform law.
“However, today’s decision doesn’t change the fact that small businesses and families in Montana pay too much and get too little from our health care system,” Bullock said. “To create jobs in Montana, we must find ways to reduce the cost of health care delivery.”
He didn’t offer any cost-lowering initiatives he would pursue as governor.
Of course, that’s if he makes it to the governor’s mansion. Greenwood, author of an anti-reform Twitter tirade shortly after the ruling’s release, vowed to keep Bullock close to Thursday’s ruling.
“We will not let anyone forget it,” Greenwood warned.
Bullock faces former GOP U.S. Rep. Rick Hill in race for the governor’s mansion.