Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer repeated his very simple but apparently very-difficult-to follow-advice for Democrats to win national elections the other day while on the East Coast. Connect, connect, connect is his mantra---forget approaching people as if they are grad students in some high-falutin' seminar.
Schweitzer goes East to boost state, politics
By NOELLE STRAUB
Gazette Washington Bureau
May 11. 2006
WASHINGTON -- Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer made a four-day swing to the East Coast this week, pushing for renewable energy technology and investment for the state, testifying on railroad fuel surcharges and speaking at a book discussion for a liberal author...
...On Tuesday Schweitzer spoke on a panel discussion of David Sirota's new book "Hostile Takeover." The event was sponsored by the left-leaning magazine American Prospect, liberal activist group Moveon.org and the AFL-CIO.
Schweitzer told the crowd that polls show support for Democrats in Montana has grown because "we put together the most progressive package in America" in the state Legislature, including more funding for education, support for alternative energy, Indian education for all and a tobacco tax.
"It means (voters) like what we Democrats do when we're elected, we just have to be more likeable while we're doing the things that they like," he said. "Republicans do the things they don't like, and talk about something else."
But he criticized Democrats for relying on focus groups and polling to figure out what the top issues are instead of reaching out to the swing voters who decide elections.
"They're not exactly sure about the issue, but they get sure about the person. ... And that's what our presidential candidates haven't done, they haven't touched your heart, they don't reach out to you and say, 'I know who you are.' "
The last Democrat to do that was Bill Clinton, he said, adding, "Our last two presidential candidates, they just recited polls. Until we find candidates that touch your heart, we'll lose elections one after another."
In an interview, he also criticized Democrats for trying to tell their whole idea instead of boiling it down. "You've got to describe this stuff in about 28 words, 2,800 is not going to get the job done. ... People don't have time to get the whole hide of the cow, we've just got to get a pair of gloves and go to work."