The image and reality of Jon Tester

Tester Newer Jacket 2

  • I ran across the picture on the left last night. Tester’s handlers settled on an old and abused work jacket as a symbol of the man – but there it is still relatively new and undamaged. They worked it over, as seen on the right, probably using battery acid or some such thing to give it a really used look. It might have been done in that day’s photo shoot (inside the barn behind him?), as he is wearing the same shirt underneath the jacket in both photos.

    Jon Tester old jacketThe jacket is as genuine as the man inside.


Pogie says infuriating things, but that’s part of his passive-aggressive schtick. He knows what he is doing. He’s twisting the knife. I know so many people in the environmental movement who are smart, and have personal courage. It takes both those elements to be effective. Here’s Pogie’s take on such impressive people:

“Tester is never going to satisfy the extreme environmentalist movement. He’s never pretended to be in their camp”

Pogie is so light in the attic, so unaware of the details and issues surrounding the history of Montana’s roadless lands. And he puts that ignorance on display with this comment. It creates a barrier that protects him, and he knows it. He’s a guerrilla, hiding in the bushes, unreachable and yet able to mock and insult people of grit and salt who have fought for their beliefs with courage and dignity.

Pogie is using all of his wit and energy to fight for the Conrad Burns agenda for Montana’s wildlands. He doesn’t know this, of course. He thinks that the agenda changed once a guy with a “D” by his name replaced a guy with an “R.” I am not making light of the man. I am stating what I believe to be reality. He is that shallow, and typical of so many in the Democratic Party, light on issues, long on loyalty.

Pogie opened a flood gate
when he set out to defend Senator Jon Tester and his aggressive lying on Montana Public Radio. He heard from George Wuerthner, John Carter, Paul Edwards, Larry Campbell, Steve Kelly, John Adams, Duane Short, and of course Matt Koehler. Each of these men made coherent and cogent points, and Pogie, unable to counter (he does not understand the issues), could only respond with his “extreme environmentalist remark” above. In other words, “This is all I got, fellas. This is it. Take this and stick it.”

Here’s the coup de grâce from a person I do not know named “Jackie B, at 1:14 PM on March 4, 2015:”

Don Pogreba: “Tester is never going to satisfy the extreme environmentalist movement. He’s never pretended to be in their camp.”

Why then did then dem candidate Jon Tester in 2006 negotiate with Paul Richards that in exchange for Paul’s dropping out of the primary race and swinging his supporters to him, that he would agree to certain specifics on issues important to Paul and his supporters? And yes, in that moment with his agreement with Paul, we all discussed the agreement, and its ramifications, and we let Paul know that we were “satisfied” with Jon’s promises.

Paul Richards’ core supporters comprised largely of people like the commenters here and on other MT blogs referred to as “extremists” and “radical left wing enviros”, etc. Paul’s supporters appreciated his principled stances to protect wilderness, roadless lands, endangered and imperiled species. We helped Paul to assemble the list of agreements he was to make with Tester, and we advised him that it was ok to make the agreement, we felt so strongly that it was time for Conrad Burns to go.

Here is what Tester agreed to, with Paul Richards:
“State Sen. Tester agreed to six terms stipulated by former state Rep. Richards, concerning the Iraq War, protection of Montana’s remaining roadless wildlands, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, settling outstanding Native American claims, and establishing public financing for all federal elections.

In exchange for these mutually-agreed-upon-with-witnesses terms, Paul Richards agreed to withdraw from the race for U.S. Senate [and] publicly ask his supporters to vote for Jon Tester.

News of Richards’ endorsement appeared on front pages of most Montana daily newspapers and was prominent in other media the final week before the election. The endorsement helped carry Tester to a surprisingly large victory over Morrison. Tester and Richards celebrated the win jointly at a June 6, 2006, election night party in Missoula, MT.”

If that doesn’t show that Tester “pretended to be in their camp” then what is it? Just hollow political rhetoric?

It shows that Jon Tester has no integrity when it comes to issues important to a significant swath of Montanans. And we expect him to lie about it now, as he has shown hisself to be as corrupt of a politician as the man he replaced, and probably the person who replaces him will only survive by becoming corruptible, too.

I can add to this a bit from a different perspective. My first entrance in to politics was in the summer of 1988 when I went door-to-door for the next governor of the state, Stan Stephens. I didn’t know issues, only what I thought I knew as a Republican, which was very little. (The highlight of my activity was to be greeted at a door by an old high school girl friend, married to an old grade school friend. Made my day.)

It was a long, long journey from 1988 to 2015, and I’ve miles to go, but one thing I came to understand was the true nature of politics. Those who run for office, with few exceptions, are never the power source, and are never honest about their objectives. We must follow the money to find the agenda.

It is clear now in retrospect what happened in 2006. Then-Senator Conrad Burns had been perhaps fatally damaged by the Jack Abramoff affair, and his hold on office was in jeopardy. Meetings transpired among money men — I call them the “Timber Lobby,” others the “Montana Wood Products Association” — and a search for a replacement went on. After reviewing the available talent set, they settled on Jon Tester as a suitable replacement. He was likeable, corruptible and as a “Democrat,” none would suspect that he was merely tapped to carry forward the work of the Montana Wood Products Association, the Burns agenda.

The problem was that leaders of the Montana Democrat Party had already anointed their candidate, John Morrison, an insipid Democrat of the John Walsh variety, born to lose. The people who were backing Tester, skilled manipulators, set about to undermine the Morrison candidacy, and tapped into the environmental movement, and also went after young voters tired of corrupt politics. They used idealistic young men like Matt Singer and Jay Stephens and others to create an aura around Tester. Matt and Jay were no more apprised of Tester’s true character than I was of Stan Stephens in 1988.

The campaign worked, and many, me included, thought that the usual Democrat bandwagon of bland and boring men and women had been undone by a new face. Little did we know, as I do now, that the Tester/Morrison choice presented no real alternative, and that later the Tester/Burns choice even less.
Blockquotes are italicized by WordPress, but everything else above in italics is personal speculation based on evidence. There seems to be a rule in journalism that they never use insight when reporting on politicans. The problem with that is that politicians lie, lie and then lie some more, and are surrounded by professional liars to cover their backsides when caught in a lie. Speculation might land closer to the truth than objective and distant citation of self-aggrandizing sources. I think I have good insight into the true nature of both Pogie and Jon Tester. I’ll stand by these words until they show themselves to be something else.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in Advertising, American wilderness, Malleable mealy Jon Tester, Montana Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The image and reality of Jon Tester

  1. Craig Moore says:

    Here’s another picture of the “jacket.” This picture use to be on his website. NPR had the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Good find. Here’s the photo Craig is linking:


      Can’t help but notice the dog is easing away from him. Dog sense.


      • Craig Moore says:

        Teste’s “hunting/firearms” picture was thoroughly discussed at Cowgirl. I believe those and all other discussions critical of Tester have been scrubbed from existence.

        Notice the footwear, lack of hunter orange, standing on a roadway, and a lever action firearm with NO recoil pad on the butt. Who hunts walking down a county road with what probably is a 22 without incurring the wrath of FWP wardens? All deception, which is just another lie.


        • I would guess that he spent a whole day on a photo shoot, and they used the best ones. The photos are meant for immediate impact, and do their job. Hardly anyone takes time to break them down as we have.

          Notice on the one where his jacket is soiled and holey that he is somewhat annoyed and looking off to the side, as if he was interrupted from his work. Those are the subtle effects that the professionals go for.


  2. steve kelly says:

    I remember Democratic Senator John Melcher, before losing to Conrad Burns, had retained a staffer named (as I recall) Howie McDowell, who previously held some upper management position with Louisiana Pacific before working for Melcher. I attended a meeting at Arne Bolle’s home with both men sometime in the mid-1980’s. There was somewhat common knowledge at the time (1982?) that a deal had been struck between wilderness groups (The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, MWA, National Wildlife Federation, et al.) and timber industry that “released” over 99% of the (roughly 20%) “suitable timber base” to industry, and 80% of the total roadless acres, in exchange for roughly 1.3 million acres of mostly “rocks and ice” wilderness designation legislated by Congress. That’s roughly 20%. Burns replaced Melcher, the deal never changed. Fast forward to today. Both Tester’s bill and Rocky Mtn. “Heritage” bill keep that deal/formula intact. The point is: When public forests are at issue in Montana nothing ever changes. The “wedge” between parties is myth.

    The biggest lie ever is the one about the (timber) lions lying down with the (eco) lambs to strike “an historic agreement” that created Tester’s Forest Recreation and Jobs Act (FRJA). The environmental groups that alledgedly came to Jesus on timber sold out long ago, as far back as 1982. Now, that’s some whopper.


  3. steve kelly says:

    Same astroturf sycophants pushed Baucus and Williams to legislate what they called the “Kootenai-Lolo Accord” in 1990, while grassroots were promoting an anti-cleartutting campaign we called “Don’t Hack the Yaak.” Goliath retreated.


  4. JC says:

    Tester’s Logging Bill harkens back to the 1995 Salvage Logging (“Logging Without Laws”) Rider to the Rescissions Act that Clinton signed, after both Baucus and Burns signed it. Basically, it allowed 4 billion board feet — over a billion in the northern rockies — to be exempt from standard legal review.

    I dug up the old report we did on it in ’97 as a reminder of what transpired. The FJRA, if allowed to pass, will assure that more of this sort of logging will escape standard NEPA review, and place-based, exempt, logging becomes the norm.

    And along with place-based logging designations from Congress, we will get the inevitable cadre of special interests corrupting the process along the way.

    Interesting side note: while MWA publicly opposed the 1995 Salvage Logging rider, what happened to get them to change their tune on Tester’s Logging bill? Pew funding, and access to the halls of power via the “collaborative” process.


    • I remember the Salvage Rider well, as it seemed to me we were all on the same page. I am surprised to learn that MWA was seen as a sellout group back in the 1980’s. But like I say, I was so naive about everything, imagining that everything was as it appeared to be.

      The MWA budget when I left in 2000 or thereabouts supported three full time slots and a few part time, and I stand to be corrected. Now there are like legions of titles and positions there that have to be funded. There is an inverse correlation between effectiveness and budget, I think. Friends of the Wild Swan have been hugely effective, and exist on like $46,000 a year.


      • Craig Moore says:

        I doubt Tester knows that 3/14/15 is Pi Day. 3/14/15 won’t happen again for another 100 years. As you may know Pi is 3.1415******************.


        • Steve W says:

          I’m not sure that entertaining a fantasy demonetization of Tester is all that effective. Whether or not the clothes worn are in his daily wardrobe at the farm doesn’t make a bit of difference to me. Tester could be shooting rabbits on his land, shooting random tree stumps, or not, and I wouldn’t give a fig.

          Tester’s separating out a large slice of our statewide community as “extremists” is a flat-out lie which is both irresponsible and dangerous.

          I’d argue we stay focused on what is truly unacceptable about Tester instead of letting our imaginations run away with itself. Though I do understand the attraction. I read Subliminal Seduction many years ago and got in the habit of “reading” PR/advertising material for the underlying message being conveyed.


        • I am not sure that I care about anything you said. If this guy gets taken out of office, some other fat ass loser will take his place. The only people who ever make it big in politics are those who have the advertising behind them who can create these phony images. Disassembling them is fun. What else is there to do?


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