Today's Washington Post carries an excellent profile on Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer diagnoses the ills of the national Democratic Party and details what it will take to win back the hearts and minds of this nation:
Putting the Big Sky In a Populist Frame
Montana's Rookie Democratic Governor Shows Party What It Takes in Red State
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 5, 2005
BUTTE, Mont. -- The Democratic governor of this red state was discussing his "God-given" political gifts while seated in his gubernatorial aircraft.
"You know, if John Kerry could do what I do, he'd be president," said Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who was a mint farmer until last November and is now being talked about as the kind of brassy populist the Democrats need to win back the White House.
Schweitzer, broad of shoulder, red of face and sure of self, was barnstorming in Big Sky country -- four towns in 11 hours, sweet-talking local Republicans, praising random Montanans for the excellence of their dogs and slapping backs in barrooms. He was advertising all that he has done for the 917,000 people of his state since they elected him as their first Democratic governor in 16 years. Schweitzer won by four percentage points, while Kerry lost here to President Bush by 20 points.
In the airplane between the mining town of Butte and the ranching town of Dillon, Schweitzer raised the altitude of his pronouncements and diagnosed the Big Picture: how Democrats could change their losing ways, seize the levers of power and be, well, like him.
"Be likable, be self-deprecating, don't be a know-it-all using a lot of big words," said Schweitzer, 50, who mixes plain speaking with ranch dressing: blue jeans, a bolo tie, cowboy boots and, always somewhere nearby, a border collie named Jag.
"In politics, it doesn't matter what the facts are," he said. "It matters what the perceptions are. It is the way you frame it."
For the rest of the article, go here