Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's values and how you back them up that counts

If going after the individual isn't working, attack his clothing and his dog. What will be next? Diet?

When will Montana Republicans learn?

So what if Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer wears jeans to 'work' and enjoys having his dog around? Wouldn't we ALL cherish being in such a situation?

Montana Republicans need to 'get it' that unless they can present ideas that better the common good and follow up with implementation of such, then they are going to remain out of power.

Enjoy the following:
Schweitzer's jeans, dog get thumbs up

Gazette State Bureau
DSecember 28, 2005

HELENA - Montana voters show lopsided support for one of Gov. Brian Schweitzer's more proletariat policies - wearing jeans to work and routinely bringing his border collie to the office, a Gazette State Poll shows.

Sixty-eight percent of registered Montana voters surveyed said they thought it was appropriate for Schweitzer to wear blue jeans to work and bring his dog Jag to the governor's office. Only 22 percent considered the behavior inappropriate, while 10 percent said they were unsure.

The poll, which contacted 625 voters across the state, was conducted Dec. 13-15 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Schweitzer started wearing blue jeans to work from the first days of his administration.

Schweitzer typically wears jeans, a dress shirt, cowboy boots with a low heel, and a bolo tie.

Shortly after his successful 2004 election, but before he was sworn in as governor, Schweitzer showed up with Jag, then just a puppy. The gubernatorial herd dog is now a mainstay at the Capitol, often seen trotting behind the governor or plopped near Schweitzer's feet during meetings.

Schweitzer's jean-clad, dog-friendly approach to government did not escape the eyes of some of his Republican critics, some of whom have complained that such behavior is inappropriate.
For the rest of the article, go here.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Brian Schweitzer atop the polls in Montana

According to the The Missoulian newspaper, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is #1 in the Big Sky state.
Schweitzer scores highly in job approval
Missoulian State Bureau
December 25, 2005

HELENA - Montana voters gave Gov. Brian Schweitzer the highest job approval rating of top elected officials, a new Lee Newspapers poll found.

Sixty-four percent of voters gave Schweitzer a positive job performance score in his first year in office. U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., was next with 59 percent.

A trio of Republicans followed. Rep. Denny Rehberg was at 58 percent, Sen. Conrad Burns at 51 percent and President Bush at 48 percent, falling below 50 percent for the first time in a Lee poll. All three Republicans saw their job performance scores drop since the last Lee poll in May.

Schweitzer's positive score jumped from 57 percent in the Lee Newspapers' poll in May to 64 percent in December.

In comparison, former Gov. Judy Martz, a Republican, had identical 44 percent job approval scores in May and December of her first year of office in 2001. Republican Gov. Marc Racicot was at 47 percent in May of his first year of office in 1993 and rose to 56 percent in May 1994. There was no Lee poll in December of Racicot's first year in office...

...Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., the Washington, D.C., firm that has polled for Lee Newspapers since 1990, conducted the telephone survey Dec. 13-15. Pollsters interviewed 625 Montana registered voters who said they regularly vote in state elections. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Schweitzer's numbers “look pretty good,” said the pollster, Brad Coker. “People that were undecided about him moved to supportive.”

...Schweitzer: 64 percent positive (12 percent “excellent” and 52 percent “pretty good”) and 32 percent negative (26 percent “only fair” and 6 percent “poor”) with 4 percent undecided.

By gender, Schweitzer received a 66 percent positive job approval mark from women and 28 percent negative score, while men gave him a 62 percent positive score and a 36 percent negative. The rest were undecided.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Schweitzer herding Burns into a box canyon

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is playing the 'values' card against Jack Abramoff-infected Conrad Burns, one of the U.S. Senators from Montana. Does Burns represent Montana or the Bush-led vein of the Republican Party?
Governor: Burns needs to 'stand with Montana' against Patriot Act

Associated Press
December 21, 2005

HELENA -- Montana's governor is pushing Republican Sen. Conrad Burns to oppose renewing the Patriot Act, saying the measure intended to help in the war on terror goes against what the vast majority of Montanans believe.

"Montana values are not neighbors spying on neighbors," Schweitzer, a Democrat, said Wednesday.

Burns, however, said he supports the act and indicated he expects to vote for renewing it.

The Patriot Act, passed in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was intended to give law enforcement more tools in tracking down terror suspects. Some of the most contentious parts of the act include allowing police agencies to secretly get access to library and medical records and other personal data during investigations of suspected terrorist activity.

Schweitzer said contempt for the act is widespread in Montana. The 2005 Legislature overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing parts of the act as an invasion of privacy, and a number of cities and counties across the state have passed similar resolutions -- some of which call for prohibiting local officers from helping enforce provisions of the act.

At a hearing earlier this year in the state Capitol residents from across the political spectrum lined up at a hearing on the Legislature's resolution to speak against the Patriot Act.

The country is "pretty close to what any reasonable person would say is almost a fascist state, and I don't believe I am being extreme in saying that," Dillon resident Mike Mosolf, one of those who spoke at that hearing, said Wednesday.

Burns, who said the measure also includes help to fight methamphetamine abuse, believes the measure has its place in the fight against terrorism.

"It is a Montana value to support our law enforcement, and a vote for the reauthorization of the Patriot act not only provides the tools for law enforcement to better intercept those who would do us harm but it provides the critical judicial review that is necessary to protect innocent civilians," Burns said.

President Bush is trying to break a filibuster over the Patriot Act's renewal. Recent reports that he authorized spying on Americans have fanned the flames of the debate, and Democrats are seeking more protections for civil liberties.

But Burns needs to break ranks with Bush, and side with popular sentiment in Montana, Schweitzer said. The governor sent Burns a letter on the issue Wednesday.

"This is going to be tough for him, because I understand the president wants him to vote another way," said Schweitzer, the first Democrat to be elected governor in the state in 20 years. "But he is not the senator from Texas, he is the senator from Montana."
For the rest of the article, go here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brian Schweitzer gets noticed in California

There are politicians in the Mountain West (and yes, the Southwest) who are providing a blue print for the resurgence of the entire Democratic Party. It isn't going to come from Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or the Democratic Leadership Council. The pathway has been and continues to be engineered in the Mountain West.

Just how do they do it? Image has been helpful but achievements and straight talk are the motherlode. These politcos have struck gold by matching word and deed.

In both 2006 and 2008, the rallying cry is going to be reform and providing government systems that work to benefit the vast majority of Americans, not just corporate contributors. Grab your pick, don your miner's hard hat and let's get to harvesting the nuggets available to us in the form of governors.

This comes from a small town newpaper, the Hollister Free Lance, based in a rural part of Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, in California.

Democrats Need More Will Rogers, Less Michael Moore,

By John Yewell/City Editor
Hollister Free Lance
December 01, 2005

Republicans have been embarrassed by scandal after scandal, there's no end in sight in Iraq, and the president's poll numbers are so bad that even the unpopular Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be seen with him a few weeks ago.

Does the GOP have the Democrats right where they want them?

Maybe. With the mid-term elections 11 months away, Democrats have done little to dampen hopes of significant electoral gains, despite a gerrymandered electoral map that, at a glance, holds little prospect for success. They are in danger of losing the battle of expectations before the first campaign shots are even fired...

...The begged question might be: Is there an existing blueprint for that success? Or put another way: Where are those values actually working?

...But the darling of Western Democrats is clearly Schweitzer, a pro-choice, pro-hunting Democrat who currently sports a 68 percent approval rating. That's nine points higher than President Bush got in the state in 2004, and 25 points higher than Bush has there today.

It's also, by the by, the highest approval rate in the country among Democrats governors in states that went for Bush in 2004 - higher even than Virginia's Mark Warner (another likely presidential candidate), where Bush's margin of victory in 2004 was 12 points narrower (eight points v. 20 points) than in Montana.

Schweitzer's popularity is evidence that programs that put people first work politically.

His administration is pursing ambitious energy plans to promote wind power, biodiesel and clean coal, as well as a health insurance program that pays 50 percent of the costs for small businesses.

Schweitzer also created a quintessentially Western program to protect the vulnerable during Montana's brutal winters. "Warm Hearts for Warm Homes" has spurred weatherizing of homes and set up a neighborhood monitoring system. "We have neighbors calling on neighbors," he told Democrats in neighboring Idaho Tuesday night. "We will not leave anyone behind."

Convinced that Democrats can unite around, and win with, the principles that underpin such policy choices, Schweitzer told the Idaho Dems that the Republican lock on values can be broken. "I have a philosophy about elections," he said. "I believe issues divide and values unite."

What do these plain speakin', cowboy boot-wearin', gun totin', G-droppin' populists know that Democrats elsewhere can learn? It starts with mutual respect. In the West, where stridency doesn't pay, no one expects you to abandon your beliefs. But when issues such as gay marriage and abortion come up, you state your piece and move on.

The West is proof that the values Democrats hold most dear - fairness, equity in education and health care, respect for the environment - have allies in unlikely places. When they lose the effete bi-coastal image and learn the robust lessons of Western life - when they speak more like Will Rogers and less like Michael Moore - they win.
For the complete article, go here: