Brian Schweitzer does it again
Not to take anything at all away from Jon Tester and his close victory over incumbent Conrad Burns but it simply wouldn't have happened without the emergence of Brian Schweitzer two years ago as Montana Governor.
Tester is going to be a tremendous United States Senator and such a refreshing change--a public official who will represent the middle class residents of the Big Sky state rather than the interests of the K Street pimps in D.C. Simply note this charming item from a Washington Post article dated November 9: "...Tester, who was running farm chores Thursday morning, picking up a barrel of oil in Great Falls on the way to his grain farm in Big Sandy..."
Schweitzer campaigned heavily for Tester, stamping Tester as one of his political kin and Schweitzer's sky-high approval rating in Montana obviously helped. Beating an incumbent is always difficult--it usually takes some extraordinary circumstances or events to do so--even a sap laden with Jack Abramoff dealings and offering at least one ludicrous verbal gaffe a week. In addition to Tester's 'one-of-us' appeal, the credibility Schweitzer offered to Tester is what closed the deal.
Although some will say New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is THE political heavyweight for Democrats in the Mountain West/Southwest, I beg to differ. Schweitzer has been one of the primary components in Montana's emergence as a blue state on the political map--a tremendous statewide accomplishment--while Richardson has been leading a state that has contained elements of 'blueness' all along. As for the future, Schweitzer offers a freshness and an ability to connect with common folk that Richardson, despite his arsenal of skills and abilities, cannot match electorally.
Yes, to my chagrin, it is too early in his political career to get Schweitzer on any sort of national bandwagon for 2008 but definitely follow THE Man in Montana. He's been one of the foremost components in demonstrating to the D.C. Dems that the Mountain West/Southwest is no longer a GOP stronghold. Schweitzer, and others, have broadened the ranks of the Democratic Party and that's a lot more than many of the more media-prominent D.C. Democrats can ever claim.