Monday, May 29, 2006

Brian Schweitzer's popularity keeps rising

In a recent Billings Gazette poll, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's popularity keeps going up and up. Close to 70% of Montanans believe he is doing a good job (and pleaee remember that The Big Sky State has more registered Republicans than Democrats).

Also, look at Schweitzer's support from both males and females (when's the last time national Democrats have enjoyed those numbers?)

Here's exceprts from the article:
Poll: ...Schweitzer rising

Gazette State Bureau

HELENA -- ...while Gov. Brian Schweitzer's score is rising, a new Gazette State Poll shows..

...The recent poll of 625 registered voters, who said they regularly vote in state elections, was taken May 22-24. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points,

Schweitzer's job approval was at 69 percent in the latest poll, the highest of top Montana elected officials rated by voters in the survey.

The Democratic governor had a job approval of 64 percent in December 2005 and 57 percent in May 2005, five months after taking office. Schweitzer won the 2004 governor's race by 50 percent to 46 percent over Republican Bob Brown, with minor candidates dividing the rest of the vote...

...Schweitzer -- Twenty-one percent of voters rank the job he is doing as excellent and 48 percent as pretty good. Twenty-three percent rate it as only fair, while 5 percent call it fair (there's obviously some error here), with 3 percent undecided.

Both women and men give Schweitzer positive job-approval marks. Women give him a 70 percent and men rate him at 68 percent...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Quoting Brian Schweitzer in an article on economic populism

The following Yahoo News article on economic populism and Democrats contain some quotes from Governor Brian Schweitzer:
Art Levine: Can Economic Populism Save the Democrats? Maybe...

Art Levine
May 16, 2006

Last week, some of the Democrats' most engaged proponents of pushing the Democrats leftwards -- including Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana and author Thomas Franks -- gathered to promote economic populism at a panel discussion about David Sirota's new book, Hostile Takeover. The book is a useful compendium of the way big-money interests have corrupted our political process, leading to the screwing of the public through such legislation as our energy policy and Medicare Part D.

When I asked Sirota and the other panelists about previous Democratic presidential successes (two in the last 40 years) and the past failure of populist messages to work nationally, he contended, "Any candidate who makes it clear that he will stand against big-money interests will inspire people on [their] authenticity beyond economic issues." Will that be enough? Walter Mondale and George McGovern believed what they said on issues, too, and that didn't seem to inspire enough people to vote for them. (The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson, pointed out, rightly, that Clinton, especially, campaigned to the left of where he actually governed, thus raising his hopes that a full-fledged populist could win the presidency.)

Yet Governor Schweitzer, a straight-talking Democrat who has won in a red state, contended at the panel that it was the weakness of our candidates in articulating populist messages that doomed them. "A lot of candidates do the focus groups and pick the top five issues that test well," he noted. "They have to believe the stuff. Leaders don't lead by polling you. This is why we have to have issues presented in a way that validates character -- and explain it in a way that they're sure about me as a person." In other words, authentic candidates who strongly present their case can win election support, even if people don't agree with every position they take -- as long as they trust you as a person. That's the approach Bush used in his first election campaign, no matter how much we may have disliked his phony down-home act.

Schweitzer argued, "Our candidates haven't touched our heart -- and we haven't done that since Bill Clinton. The last two candidates for president just recited the polling. Until we find a candiate who can touch hearts, we'll lose elections, one after another."
To read the rest, go here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why the DCers will turn on Brian Schweitzer

Despite very high hopes that it be a certain someone, I certainly have no great insight about who will actually be the Democratic presidential candidate will be in 2008.

But after re-reading Eric Alterman's book, "What Liberal Media," (by the way, get this book, it is chock full of nuggets) I have concerns about the insularity, the bias and the nose-rings-looking-to-be-tethered of many in the national press, especially regarding presidential campaigns.

Bill Clinton, despite shooting himself in the foot a few different times and thereby providing free ammunition to many, was detested from the get-go by the majority of the DC and national press elite. As Alterman's book details, this dislike actually began during Clinton's first presidential campaign, way pre-Monica. Clinton wasn't one of the 'familiar' ones, not among the comfortable coterie nor the frequent dinner party invitee. Heck he was from Arkansas for heaven sakes, a veritable heathen among the gentility! And his mere presence would despoil the shangri-la of the 51st state.

Al Gore became just as detested in 2000 but for different reasons. He was an overlorder, a know-it-all, just plain 'unlikable' and such became the blackballing theme during that presidential campaign. A smartypants running against a supposed genial doofus and, as Alterman's book quantifies, many in the the press chose the latter. Apparently what failed to register with many in the media was that this was a contest for the Presidency of the United States, the most powerful position on this planet, and not the choosing of a date for the prom.

Hell, look at the coverage from the DC media elite now. The Bush Administration threats to imprison journalists for involvement in leaks (one would think that might register with the media, that is the media who still believe in investigative reporting and not stenography), cumulative evidence of outright lies concerning the invasion of Iraq, a war that not only is killing and maiming thousands but is depleting our treasury, the amiable emperor of the free world forced into a veritible striptease with new disclosures of misconduct weekly and so on. Still, he's a 'fun' guy and remains in a what's-not-to-like media-spun cocoon.

So, what does this have to do with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer? Well, I may be putting the proverbial cart in front of the fairytale horse but Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, if he decides to run for president in 2008 (hint, hint, hint), will certainly be seen as an outsider and the DCers/media elite will likely be performing calisthenics, warming up in preparation to pounce on another uncouth infidel from uncivilization out west.

Thankfully for our country, but not for him, Schweitzer won't have the tragedy of 9/11 to mute any personal criticism. Schweitzer also won't have the Bush family lineage that provided so much immediate unearned entre for Dubya. Plus, Schweitzer isn't anywhere near a blueblood elite, nor one who prepped at the finest institutions or supped at an aristocratic family table.

Adorned in a bolo tie and cowboy boots, the Schweitzer caricatures will be many. But isn't it time we truly looked deeper into our presidential candidates, looking at character, at ability, at intelligence, at achievement, heck even mental health?

But will the media let us?

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Brian Schweitzer mantra

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

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 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."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Brian Schweitzer rights a wrong

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer did the right thing recently when posthumously pardoning a large number of Montana residents who were convicted and jailed under a state sedition law so severe that some went to jail for failing to buy Liberty Bonds.

The invocation of sedition laws is a prime example of the hysteria that overcomes reason and common human decency in times of war.
Montana gov. to grant pardons for sedition
Associated Press
May 3, 2006

HELENA, Mont. - Nearly seven dozen Montana residents convicted of sedition during World War I are finally getting official pardons from the governor, years after their deaths.

In a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the grandson of German-Russian immigrants, planned to sign posthumous pardons for 78 men and women convicted in 1918 and 1919 for criticizing the U.S. government or its war effort.

Relatives of some of those being pardoned were expected to attend.

Montana's Sedition Act, passed in 1918 but since repealed, was one of the harshest in the country and a basis for a national sedition law passed the same year.

Of those convicted, more than 40 were sent to state prison, said Clem Work, a University of Montana journalism professor whose book inspired the pardon effort.

UM law students spent months combing old court records and archives across the state to clear those convicted.

In one case, a 38-year-old traveling liquor salesman was arrested after he called wartime food regulations in the United States a "big joke" while talking with a Montana hotel owner in 1918. Less than a month later, he was in prison.

Another was a German immigrant who ended up serving two years in prison for suggesting that Americans "would have hard times" if Germany's kaiser "didn't get over here and rule this country."

In a letter to Schweitzer in late March, more than three dozen professors, lawyers and historians nationwide urged him to grant the pardons "to affirm Montana's commitment to free expression and to bring a measure of justice and redemption to these people and their living descendants."


Sedition Project: