Another case of stupid
MT-Sen: More details on Burns' fireman meltdown
Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 04:30:41 PM PDT
Jesus, the more information comes out about the incident, the worse Burns looks. His behavior was beyond inappropriate, and definitely conduct unbecoming of a U.S. Senator.
Tom Roach, a division group supervisor on the Bundy Railroad fire, wrote he was walking on the airport tarmac past Burns, who "was staring at the NRIMT logo on my shirt." NRIMT stands for Northern Rockies Incident Team.
"He began following me as I passed and began yelling at me, 'Are you from Boise? Are you from Boise?' " Roach wrote. "I replied, 'No, sir.' He responded, 'Good, your life has been saved.' " Roach wrote that he walked away from Burns.
Was that a threat on the guy's life? Had he been from Boise, would've Burns killed him on the spot? What the heck was that about?
The report contained an account by Gabe Templeton, one of the Augusta Hot Shots, describing what happened to him and fellow team members Jeff Cleek and Jude Waerig. It said the three men were sitting in the Billings airport waiting for their flight when Burns approached them with an outstretched hand and asked if they were firefighters.
"I shook his hand and replied yes," Templeton wrote. "He shook my hand introduced himself and then replied, 'What a piss poor job' we were doing. I replied, 'Have a nice day.' The senator mentioned that we were 'wasting a lot of money and creating a cottage industry.' He also told us that we needed to listen more to the ranchers. I replied that 'we are pretty low on the totem pole.' Then he walked off."
Classy. But, of course, he thinks he has bamboozled reporters into "shutting down the story".
Update: Matt Singer over at Left in the West:
Conrad must be nervous about the bad press he is collecting over his hatred of firefighters. Today’s newsletter from the campaign takes a decidedly more worried tone than others before it. Rightly so, considering he threatened one firefighter and cursed others. Most of the e-mails from this dispatch have been dismissive of his sensational opponent, Jon Tester. The latest shows the nervous side of Burns.
He lists nine accomplishments designed to blur the fact that, when faced with real firemen he treats them like garbage. To me, this is a clear indication of the fact that Burns has been completely devoured by Washington, DC and there is no Montana left in him. A real Montanan knows that all of the money that you can throw at important first responder programs isn’t worth a damn if your don’t treat real, live folks with respect.
Update II: Two letters to the editor in the Missoulan:
It appears that Sen. Conrad Burns, because of complaints from some ranchers near Billings about their take on the manner in which the fire was fought, took it upon himself to confront, ridicule and Monday-morning-quarterback, members of the Augusta Hotshots (elite wildland firefighters) from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. These folks, our working guests, came all the way from Virginia, leaving their families and risking their lives to help us fight fire in Montana. Instead of thanking them, the senator chose to beat up on a group of tired and weary firefighters, in order to curry a few votes from ranchers near Billings [...]
Sen. Burns is out of touch in many ways, and has become an embarrassment to Montana, time after time.
We seem to be looking at a long and dangerous fire season and we want our workers to know they are also our guests.
I am sending a note of apology and gratitude to the members of the Augusta Hotshots from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, 5162 Valleypointe Parkway, Roanoke, VA 24019-3050, because I know that Sen. Burns will not.
But this one, by far, is my favorite of the two:
When Conrad Burns comes up to you in an airport and accuses you of not doing “a God-damned thing” you should take him very seriously. He's an expert on the subject.
Short of combat infantry work and coast guard rescue, there is no more dangerous job. There is nothing riskier or requiring more discipline and leadership outside combat.
Burns should eat these words with a bowl full of crow, because what he did is no better than spitting in their faces.
posted by Steve @ 2:43:00 AM