Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We're kooky, yes, but it's Schweitzer-kooky...and that's a good thing

Well, it's not like we get a lotta love in the following article, but we understand. What else can an early first-term governor say when pressed about his political future and not come off like an egomaniac or seriously out of touch.

Actually, it is Roll Call that conjures up being D.C. Beltway out of touch with the label-like description of Brian Schweitzer as a "blunt-speaking, gun-toting, scotch-swilling governor." It makes for a good read but such a trivializing description comes off like Schweitzer is never without a rifle and bottle. Note to Roll Call: stress the tangible legislative achievements by Schweitzer so early in his term.

A GOP Montana pol also gets in a personal shot at Schweitzer late in the article. Not so uncuriously, he fails to address any Schweitzer policies the Republicans oppose. I wonder why. Hmmm.

Thank you Bob Anez as we feel any press on Brian Schweitzer at this point in time can only help.
Montana Gov. Talked Up As 2008 Contender
Bob Anez
The Associated Press
July 20, 2005

HELENA, Mont. -- Gov. Brian Schweitzer sits in his Capitol office, scanning a recent Roll Call article in which pundits float his name as a possible presidential contender. They say the "rancher-politician from Big Sky Country" might be the Democrats' "best shot to take back the White House." Schweitzer tosses the article aside. "These people are kooky," he says.

Schweitzer, in office barely 200 days, has drawn unusual attention for the new chief executive of a state usually on the sidelines when it comes to national politics.

His victory as a Democrat in a historically Republican stronghold helped bring him to the attention of Democratic Party leaders. Smarting from their losses in 2004, the Democrats have been looking to successful candidates in typically "red" states, hoping to find a winning strategy.

"He is no-nonsense. He understands fiscal concerns," said Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman. "He has a winning formula for Democrats. He is an example of how you win elections in the West."

Schweitzer had certain built-in advantages in 2004: He ran as a centrist against a weaker Republican candidate, and he followed a very unpopular outgoing GOP governor. But political observers also see a lot of charisma.

The 49-year-old governor speaks bluntly, ridicules special-interest influence, and likes blue jeans and bolo ties. His border collie Jag is often at his heels in the governor's office.

He recently compared President Bush's pitch for changing Social Security to a livestock auction selling bum beef, and he said this of the way the nation's capital works: "If I stay in Washington for more than 72 hours, I have to bathe myself in the same stuff I use when my dog gets into a fight with a skunk."

Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, recently referred to Schweitzer as a "blunt-speaking, gun-toting, scotch-swilling governor" -- the last a reference to news photos of him downing a shot at the reopening of a landmark bar in Butte.
For the rest of the article, go here.


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