Saturday, November 19, 2005

Brian Schweitzer gets even more 'love' in Seattle

Joel Connelly, a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, seemingly can't get enough of Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Here he is again, with Schweitzer taking a deliberate swipe at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC):
November 18, 2005

Big Sky governor has big dreams


CHENEY -- A sky-high dreamer from the Big Sky State, Gov. Brian Schweitzer aims to make Montana government a lobbyist-free zone and to "create the new energy center of the world."

The mint farmer and cattle rancher -- he once exported bull semen -- has already accomplished a near impossible task. He has revived the Democratic Party in an inland-west state snubbed by his party's presidential candidates.

A statewide poll released last week by Montana State UniversityBillings gives Schweitzer an approval rating of 68 percent, compared with 45 percent for President Bush. Schweitzer is getting noticed in nearby states.

The Montana governor whipped off his bolo tie for auction recently at a Spokane fund-raiser for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. It went for $2,500.

"He's not your Seattle-type Democrat," said state Rep. David Gallik, a legislator from Helena who once worked as a U.S. Senate aide in Seattle.

Schweitzer was quick to make the same point during a visit to watch Eastern Washington play his alma mater, Montana State. "Well, look," he said, "the Democratic Party has allowed a few to be defining its message, but the party is a big tent."

But the governor is no fan of the Democratic Leadership Council -- the centrist outfit, once headed by an ambitious Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton, that is populated by Washington, D.C., lobbyists and funded by their corporate overlords.

"Washington, D.C., is a giant cesspool filled with special interests," Schweitzer said. "Unless we change the culture of Washington, D.C., we're not going to change the country."

In Helena, Schweitzer has adopted a policy of not allowing any lobbyist to serve on a state board or commission.
For the rest of the column, go here.


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