Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brian Schweitzer explains how to win

This time it's Governor Schweitzer appearing in Utah. Curiously, it is the tail end of article that is the most interesting:
...To replicate his success, Schweitzer says western Democrats, including those in Utah, must recognize they are a different breed than the species that exists in Washington and elsewhere - and campaign accordingly.
"We're different in the West than on either coast," he said. "In Montana we have 920,000 people and 7 million guns. We like to fish and hunt. We want to be safe. We want good schools. Those aren't Republican or Democratic values." The problem with the national Democratic party, Schweitzer added, is that it always chooses the smartest kid in class.
"In fifth grade, we didn't choose the smartest kid or the most handsome kid. We chose the most likeable. The Republicans have figured that out. We need good ideas and present them in a way that people will believe. We haven't done that."
To read the complete article, go here.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Montanans like the turnaround in their state

The following are some excerpts from a recent post by the Billings Gazette. The majority of Montanas, still self-identified as Republicans, like the state of the state:
Voters think Montana is on right track, poll finds

By The Gazette State Bureau
March 18, 2006

HELENA -- By a 3-1 margin, voters believe Montana is heading in the right direction when it comes to state government, a poll done for the Montana Chamber of Commerce and released Friday shows.

...In the last chamber poll in 2003, when Republican Judy Martz was governor and her party controlled both legislative chambers, 29 percent said Montana state government was heading down the right track, while 47 percent said the state was going in the wrong direction...

...That's a dramatic turnaround from the 2003 poll when 58 percent said Montana was on the wrong economic track, while 28 percent said it was on the right path.

Voters still identify themselves as Republicans more than Democrats, by a 49 to 39 percent margin, with the rest saying they are independent.
To read the rest, go here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Timing isn't everything but it sure helps

The editorial board of The Missoulian takes the time in the following to laud Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer but also points out a Montana version of 'harmonic convergance' was also at work:
GOP helped deliver ‘Great Democratic Hope'
Tuesday, March 14, 2006

SUMMARY: There are two secrets to Gov. Schweitzer's election success that nobody ever mentions.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer is riding high. Our last poll found 64 percent of Montanans approving of the job he's doing. His first year in the first office he's ever held was filled with successes as he demonstrated leadership and political skill that belie his political inexperience. He's an interesting and upbeat guy, brimming with ideas, full of passion, colorful and talkative. It's fun to talk with him. Even his political opponents have had trouble finding things not to like about him, resorting at times to grumbling about his blue jeans and cow dog.

Viewed from afar, from beyond Montana's borders, Schweitzer has taken on near-mythical proportions as a “Red-State Democrat,” the Democrat who managed to crack the code, unlocking Republican's lock on government.

“Brian Schweitzer, the blue governor of the red state of Montana, may just have the answer to the Democrats' woes,” declares the online magazine Salon.

“He's an inspiration to all progressives,” John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton gushes to a reporter.

American Spectator magazine brands him “The Treasure State's Great Democratic Hope.”

There's even a Schweitzer-for-president Web site dedicated to drafting him in Democrats' fight to reclaim the White House.

Schweitzer's every quality, his every quirk is being studied by Democrats nationwide as they seek to emulate his success - from his blue jeans and bolo ties to his support for gun ownership and alternative energy - as if simply being Schweitzer might be the key to electoral success anywhere and everywhere.

We think highly of Schweitzer. He shows a lot of promise. He's spread an infectious optimism around the state. But even as admirers, we feel compelled to point out to those who would emulate him that Schweitzer gets credit for what he does as governor, but he can't take all the credit for getting himself elected governor. For all we know, he'll go down in history as one of the greatest politicians the state has ever produced, but we're also pretty sure he might never have seen the inside of the governor's residence without a couple strokes of luck.

Call them “Bob Brown” and “Judy Martz."
To read the rest, go here.

Schweitzer calling all 'former' Montanans

Actually, some people probably always will consider themselves Montanans regardless of their current residence but Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer recently issued an appeal to 'come home' to those who haven't forsaken their roots:
Montana Ambassadors
Gov. Schweitzer, Fisher of Men
By Richard Martin, 3-07-06

Sounding like George McGovern in his "Come Home, America" mode, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer made an impassioned – well, an exuberant, anyway – plea last night to a small group of expat Montanans now in exile in way-too-civilized Denver to return to Big Sky Country, and to bring their checkbooks with them.

"I'm here to help you rediscover Montana, and to bring you home," Schweitzer told a meeting at the Denver Botanic Gardens. "We need you and we want you. And if we can't convince you to come home we hope you'll consider investing in Montana."
To read the rest, go here.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A nice Brian Schweitzer feature in the Denver Post

Probably none of the following is 'new' material but the Denver Post ran a column today about Governor Schweitzer and his recent foray into Washington D.C.:
Winning tips for Democrats
By John Aloysius Farrell
Denver Post Washington Bureau Chief

Washington - Here's what it takes for a Democrat to get elected governor in Montana, a state that gave President Bush 58 and 59 percent of the vote in the last two national elections:

You wear blue jeans, boots and bolo ties.

You run TV ads that portray you on horseback, or out hunting with your family. You oppose gay marriage, and flaunt the "A" you received on the NRA's report card.

You stand by abortion rights for women. You listen to the voters about jobs, medical care and schools. You talk about the price for crops and the high cost of fuel, and vow to protect your state's great natural riches.

And you do it with plain-spoken Western purpose and cheer.

"People vote for people that are for something," Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who won in Montana in 2004, told victory-starved Democrats here last week.

"People vote for people they like, and they like people who say they have a plan," said Schweitzer. "They don't like people who just say rotten things about other people."

It was an apt critique of the Democratic Party, which despite Republican disarray and the president's sagging standing in the polls, is still more defined by what it's against than what it's for.

Schweitzer's got plenty of things he's for. One is early education in Montana public schools.

"I am going to hog tie, break arms, twist noses until Montana has full-day kindergarten for every single child," he promised.

But the big enchilada - which earned him a recent profile on "60 Minutes" - is energy. Schweitzer wants to strip mine the plains of eastern Montana, turn its low-sulfur coal into liquid fuel and break America's dependence on foreign oil.

On his second day as governor, Schweitzer attended the funeral of Cpl. Raleigh Smith in tiny Troy, Mont. Smith was killed on patrol in Fallujah, defending his fellow Marines in a firefight. He died two weeks after his 21st birthday, and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for valor. He had enlisted to earn money for college, the obits said, in the hope of becoming a history teacher.

Schweitzer was moved that day. He promised himself, and at each subsequent soldier's funeral, that "the next generation will not be sent to some foreign land to subjugate an oil field. If we don't produce our own domestic energy, if we don't create new systems of conservation," he warned, "we will be beholden to those dictators and crooks for generations to come."

Schweitzer is no lonely zealot. His enthusiasm for coal gasification is shared by the governors of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which have their own huge coal reserves.

There are formidable economic, environmental and technical issues to be resolved. Where's the needed water going to come from? What will be done with the surplus carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming?

But Schweitzer brushes aside such questions with typical self-assurance. Environmental groups may look at him warily, but he has gained a reputation
For the rest, go here.

MIke Dennison examines the "60 Minutes" episode featuring Brian Schweitzer

Credit Mike Dennison for going beyond what was featured on Governor Schweitzer's "60 Minutes" appearance:
What you didn't hear on ‘60 Minutes
By MIKE DENNISON of the Missoulian State Bureau
March 5, 2006

HELENA - If you watched 󈬬 Minutes” on CBS last Sunday, you saw Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer making his pitch for development of coal-based synfuels in the state.

But you heard few real details on impacts of the coal-to-fuels process or the context of actual development plans.

Working off a transcript of the show, the Missoulian's State Bureau examined the reality behind the rhetoric:
For the rest, go here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Jag for president?

Actually Jag is way ahead in the polls of another popularity contest. Let's, well, let, um Daniel Vock explain it in his article on the recent National Governors Associationz;
Governors Keep It Light, Except in Cooking
By Daniel C. Vock
Kansas City infoZine
March 3, 2006

Doggone good - It's too early to tell whether Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) got a political boost from a Sunday evening profile on the CBS television news magazine "60 Minutes" that discussed his promotion of new coal technologies. But Schweitzer's border collie, Jag, appears to have gained a large following. "I got a thousand e-mails today from people wanting to mate their dog with my dog. My dog's more popular than I am," Schweitzer announced before a meeting of the NGA's Natural Resources Committee on Monday.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Brian Schweitzer takes D.C. by storm

Maybe that isn't such a good headline considering the weather of late but we'll stick with it.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer set foot in D.C. as part of the National Governors Convention. While he was there he did a C SPAN appearance, a White House dinner and also made a speech at the Center for American Politics.

Here are some excerpts:
Schweitzer speaks in D.C.
By NOELLE STRAUB - Lee Washington Bureau - 02/28/2006

WASHINGTON - Bringing his Western flair to the nation's capital on Monday, Gov. Brian Schweitzer told a liberal group here during a lunchtime speech that Montana's last legislative session tackled the "most progressive agenda in America."

Wearing cowboy boots, jeans and a bolo tie in a roomful of suits, the Democrat gave a speech at the Center for American Politics, a liberal think tank headed by John Podesta, chief of staff for former President Clinton...

...Giving an informal and colorful speech Monday, Schweitzer said Montana recently had a "progressive legislative session, the most progressive in America."

Schweitzer cited the Best and Brightest college scholarship program, the Indian Education for All program, a statewide smoking ban, elimination of the business equipment tax for small businesses, a country-of-original labeling law for meat and increased investment in alternative power sources.

He also noted that tribal flags now hang in the state Capitol. He talked about his visits to Indian country and said he has more native people on his staff than all 22 previous Montana governors combined.

Schweitzer also vowed to fight for full-day kindergarten for every child in Montana...

...Schweitzer said that after attending a funeral for a Montana soldier killed in Iraq, he committed to fighting to ensure "that the next generation will not be sent to some foreign land to subjugate some oil field."

"The most important mission in Iraq was to make sure oil continued to flow," Schweitzer said...

...Democrats must present a positive agenda and have a distinct plan, and not just dwell on the shortcomings of the other party, he said.

"You don't have to say, therefore, they've made the following mistakes," he said. "No. Say to them, look we have a plan for producing energy here that will create tens of thousands of jobs. We have a plan to invest in education so that we will create the engineers of tomorrow. That is hope and opportunity."

But he said Democrats should also argue, "You can't trust Republicans with your money."

Schweitzer said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi invited him to a recent Democratic congressional retreat in Williamsburg, Va., where he also presented his vision for the party that he outlined Monday.
To read Noelle Straub's entire article, go here.

*** There was no reference regarding how Governor Schweitzer was going to rid himself of the skunk smell after his time in D.C..