This Guy Should Be President

And Joel Connelly should be Vice-president

JOEL CONNELLYSEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
CHENEY — A sky-high dreamer from the Big Sky State, Gov. Brian Schweitzer aims to make Montana government a lobbyist-free zone and to “create the new energy center of the world.”
The mint farmer and cattle rancher — he once exported bull semen — has already accomplished a near impossible task. He has revived the Democratic Party in an inland-west state snubbed by his party’s presidential candidates.

A statewide poll released last week by Montana State UniversityBillings gives Schweitzer an approval rating of 68 percent, compared with 45 percent for President Bush. Schweitzer is getting noticed in nearby states.

The Montana governor whipped off his bolo tie for auction recently at a Spokane fund-raiser for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. It went for $2,500.

“He’s not your Seattle-type Democrat,” said state Rep. David Gallik, a legislator from Helena who once worked as a U.S. Senate aide in Seattle.

Schweitzer was quick to make the same point during a visit to watch Eastern Washington play his alma mater, Montana State. “Well, look,” he said, “the Democratic Party has allowed a few to be defining its message, but the party is a big tent.”

But the governor is no fan of the Democratic Leadership Council — the centrist outfit, once headed by an ambitious Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton, that is populated by Washington, D.C., lobbyists and funded by their corporate overlords.

“Washington, D.C., is a giant cesspool filled with special interests,” Schweitzer said. “Unless we change the culture of Washington, D.C., we’re not going to change the country.”

I bet the DLC already has it’s Rovian miners looking for dirt on this guy so they can cut him off at the knees just as they did, working with the Kerry and Gephardt campaigns, to Howard Dean.

Read Connelly’s column here.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “This Guy Should Be President

  1. Anonymous

    “I bet the DLC already has it’s Rovian miners looking for dirt on this guy so they can cut him off at the knees…”

    No dah. Look at what happen to McCain when he tried to run for President. It’s not that McCain is a saint, but at least he has tried in some small way to diminish the influence from special interest. …….Somehow our individual “Rights” granted in the Bill of Rights have morphed into the rights of corporations. I don’t see that changing. How will it change? As long as money from corporate america funnels to those prostitues in DC – it will not.

    NL

  2. Anonymous

    Who are those “Rovian miners” that the DLC had out to “cut off [Dean] at the knees”?

    I was involved in the campaign, and I was FOR Dean, and I’m not sure what that reference means.

    DB

  3. You Know Me

    The reference is to the pukes at the Democratic Leadership Council. You know, Bruce Reed et al. Or as Joel Connelly so aptly characterized it, “the Democratic Leadership Council — the centrist outfit, once headed by an ambitious Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton, that is populated by Washington, D.C., lobbyists and funded by their corporate overlords.”

    During the presidential primary when Dean was riding high and putting a fright into the establishment candidates (and when, as I recall, some, who shall remain nameless, were predicting a Dean victory, and, thus, redemption for the democratic party), the DLC and the Kerry and Gephardt campaigns undertook a smear Howard Dean campaign to ensure victory for a DLC acceptable candidate. The campaign was effective and we ended up with Kerry and his entirely flaccid campaign which snatched defeat from victory.

    The DLC campaign approach is to wait until the republicans establish the subject of the conversation and then attempt to outflank the republicans to their right.

  4. Anonymous

    But what was the “smear Dean campaign” that was so effective?

    You mean playing the Scream over and over? (I even saw it as a hilarious rap number on the web.) Can you pin that on the DLC? Or are you just assumeing since it’s evil it must be DLC??

    DB

  5. Anonymous

    And BTW I agree with you about the cynical Teresa and John Kerry show.

    But they won the primaries and got the nomination.

    DB

  6. Anonymous

    This would sound a lot better if it came from El Macho Grande, but I forgot the password.

  7. You Know Me

    Was the password “girth”, which would be appropriate for El Macho Grande.

  8. Anonymous

    The Joshua Frnk story seems pretty thin. So Gephardt (is he DLC?) and Kerry “may have” shared information about Dean. And Democrats collected some big contributions and ran ads against Dean. I would have too in their place.

    And it all “may have been” encouraged by Terry McCauliffe or whoever. So what? That kind of thing happens every election cycle. At least the contributions are growing more visible under McCain-Feingold. (In fact, it’s now possible to track contributions on the internet– e.g., http://www.VPAP.ORG has all the Virginia numbers to an amazingly detailed degree.

    So the Deaniacs are just whining if they complain about that. Howard is now the Chair of the party, and his brother is running Democracy for America.

    DB

  9. You Know Me

    I think the point is that the democratic establishment (the Clintons, the DLC, Kerry, Gephardt et al and their “corporate overlords’, as Joel Connelly so accurately put it, who supported Never Broke Two Percent Joe) saw Dean and his populist support as a threat to their power over the democratic party; and, as a group, decided to work to sabotage his campaign.

    The fact that it is business as usual, in my opinion, doesn’t excuse what they did. In fact, quite the contrary, it is business as usual, which is precisely one of the big problems with our political system. Corporate money control of the political process.

    Besides look at the DLC success record. Clinton (whose success was due, I think, to the force and quality of his personality not because of the DLC playbook) not withstanding, the DLC’s record of success is poor.

  10. Anonymous

    Of course “corporate money” controls the process. What other kind of money is there?

    In Virginia, where I live, we just finished a statewide election (for Gov., Lt. Gov., Atty. Gen., and General Assembly (state legislature).

    The current governor (a conservative Democrat who supports the death penalty, and opposes most gun controls) is hugely popular, but was unable to succeed himself under state law. The Lt. Gov. (by the name of Tim Kaine, also a kind of conservative democrat)ran to succeed him. His Republican opponent, Jerry Kilgore, tied himself to Jesus, the death penalty, and hatred of immigrants and gays, and came surprisingly close to winning.

    In the Lt Gov race, the Democratic Lt Gov candidate (Leslie Byrne) ran as a labor loving gay-rights liberal, and lost big. I volunteered and worked for her campaign. I wasn’t so enthusiastic about Kaine, but I’m glad he won, and I’m not going to complain about policies that are less that perfectly tuned to my wishes.

    The Atty Genl race is still undecided pending a recount.

    The General Assembly is heavily tilted (60 seats to 40) toward Republicans. The Dems gained one seat.

    DB

  11. You Know Me

    “Of course ‘corporate money’ controls the process. What other kind of money is there?”

    There is the kind of money that poured into the Dean campaign from individuals. Why did so many individuals send Dean money? I don’t know. But considering the largest portion of the money came in through the internet, I think, lots of the money came to Dean from more well informed citizens..

    Most voters are disinterested and uninformed; probably, I’m guessing, because they feel what they think or how they vote makes no difference in the political process.

    National democratic elected officials, with certain notable exceptions of course, are gutless and feckless. As you will remember, when Reagan emerged as a force with his “government is the problem” message and rendered the label “liberal” to the pejorative most national democrats immediately ran for it, eschewed the liberal label, and took the DLC approach of trying to outflank Reagan to the right.

    I wonder why some democrat doesn’t stand up and proudly defend government as the means our forebears established to “promote the general welfare” and to defend the individual against the rich and powerful.

    Perhaps in doing so they could quote George Washington, who said in his farewell address:
    “The Unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is main Pillar in the Edifice of your real independence; the support of your tranquility at home; your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity in every shape; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize.”

    Or perhaps they could quote Franklin Roosevelt, who said in his second inaugural address:
    “We of the Republic sensed the truth that democratic government has innate capacity to protect its people against disasters once considered inevitable, to solve problems once considered unsolvable. We would not admit that we could find a way to master economic epidemics just as, after centuries of fatalistic suffering, we had found a way to master epidemics of disease. We refused to leave the problems of our common welfare to be solved by the winds of chance and the hurricanes of disaster.”

    Or perhaps Senator Paul Douglas, who in noting the attacks from various quarters on the “welfare state, had to say:
    “Suppose we consider now whether the functions of government should include the promotion of human welfare. I should like to advance the thesis that this not only should be one of the purposes of government, but that throughout the history of our nation that has been one of the primary aims – perhaps the most primary – of our national government. So, far from the welfare state being of alien origin, it is a vital and integral part of the American tradition and ideal.”

    It was our federal government that busted the trusts that arose from the natural tendency of capital to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands and the human abuses those trusts entailed. It was our state and federal governments that put an end to the exploitation of children and their parents in the workplace. It has been our governments that have required businesses to internalize costs that had theretofore been externalized to the detriment of our natural environment. It was our government that put an end to slavery, that gave the vote to women, and that in innumerable ways has promoted for each of we individuals “the pursuit of happiness” and the “blessings of liberty.”

    In a process laid out in the Powell Manifesto of the mid-1970s, there has been an inexorable movement on the part of the rich and powerful, assisted by their republican and democratic handmaidens, to discredit and destroy government, so as to free them in their efforts at greater dominion over we, the individual.

    As long as money equals power and as long as the natural tendency of capital is to concentrate into fewer hands we, the individuals, need government to, as Franklin Roosevelt put it, “…to bring private autocratic powers into their proper subordination to the public’s government.”

    As long as the gutless, feckless Kerry’s, Clintons, Gephardts, Bidens, and almost all other national democratic elected officials, remain beholden to those ”private autocratic powers” and act to sabotage truly populist movements, such as propelled Dean, we will continue to see our civil and economic liberties eroded and the powers of those “private autocratic powers” increase.

    Of course, we individuals have the means to bring the “private autocratic powers” to bear; but, to do so, we must be interested. And about half of us aren’t. Isn’t it a coincidence that about half of us rely on the corporate media for our information?

  12. Anonymous

    Sorry, I had to go the movies. (“Shopgirl” with Steve Martin: don’t bother.)

    I was one of those tiny Dean contributors myself, because he was right about the Iraq war. But after that he never really put together a coherent program. Instead he floundered around. (If he had he might have been able to continue winning primaries, instead of losing repeatedly from Iowa onward.) Does anyone know how much he raised total?

    As for “the natural tendency of capital to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands,” I think Karl Marx was wrong about that. Half of America owns shares of stock in their retirement funds or whatever. You just can’t run an economy on a socialist basis. It always requires coercion. The labor theory of value (the cenral piece of Marx’s theory, saying that a unit of labor is the basis of all value) requires ordinary stupid humans to set prices and wages and allocate capital. (I agree with you that most of us are not that smart or public spirited.) The Soviets and Chinese, and Cubans and everyone else have proved that it doesn’t really work. Venezuela is going down the same road, fueled by temporary oil money.

    Markets have their problems and require government regulation. But the socialist revolution was lost a long ago.

    Karl was also wrong about “the human abuses those trusts entailed.” If you want to see human abuses go to China (which still claims to be carrying on the socialist revolution); even in your beloved Cuba they don’t allow their people to leave the Island, so they can maintain the illusion and the cheap tourist economy.

    DB

  13. You Know Me

    Where in my latest diatribe did I mention, let alone advocate socialism?

    My thesis was that the gutless, feckless national democratic leadership should stand up and defend government from the efforts to “drown it in the bathtub”, as GOP guru, and Abramoff crony, Grover Norquist put it. Rather than try to out republican the republicans as they have been since they immediately surrendered in the early days of the “Reagan Revolution.” Of course it would not be in the democrats interest to do so since they are fed from the same hands as are the republicans.

    As far as the tendency for capital to concentrate, it seems pretty evident from an empirical basis, even from casual observation. Exxon-Mobile is comprised of at least two of the companies, probably more, formed out of the Rockefeller trust that was dismantled early last century. Look at the concentration of media ownership. Just to cite a couple examples. I’m sure you can immediately think of many others.

    And, yes, more and more folks own stocks. None-the-less, the richest 1% of the population now owns 20% of the national wealth, while in 1970 it owned 10% of the wealth.

  14. Anonymous

    I agree that the nation is getting into a dangerous imbalance of wealth between our lower and upper classes. Also it seems that our upper classes are finding ways to build hereditary wealth and political power (like higher education).

    But just because companies are big doesn’t mean they’re dangerous. Exxon Mobil is the biggest company in the world temporarily, thanks mainly to a record hurricanes season (which spiked the price of oil up by knocking out production and pipelines). But its senior management is so dumb that they hang out with Dick Cheney. They are too dumb to recognize that they need to adapt to climate change. In fact, they spend hundreds of milions supporting contrarian climate “experts,” just to muddy the waters of scientific debate. Meanwhile they haven’t invested enough in their oil activities to keep their production stable in the future, let alone grow. It’s not a good company for the long run. Because they are subject to the price of oil, which is volatile. If you have any stock in Exxon, sell it.

    DB

  15. Anonymous

    “But the socialist revolution was lost a long ago.”

    I love capitalism, but have not the hatred for socialism that so many do. Sweden and Norway for instance have a wonderful standard of living and top the US in most comparisons of quality of life. Trouble in America is, that it no longer is capitalism. I don’t care how hard people argue that it is, it is a weird form of “corporatalism”. The government takes from the poor and gives to corporate entities. Whether it is subsidies to big agriculture (huge) or subsidies to oil companies or gifts to Haliburton – it is all money borrowed from China (okay and others) and mortaged on the backs of future generations. Socialism would be much better and true capitalism much much better. Trouble is, I agree that Americans are too sleepy to catch on to the needed political change.

    NL

  16. Anonymous

    I have nothing against Norway or Sweden, or even Canada. I agree with all of that. Agricultura subsitides are huge, and the Brazilians and Mexicans and lots of Africans say they work against their farmers. All that ethanol funding goes to Archer Daniels Midland, thanks to generaous payoffs to Congress. Halliburton’s corruption is in class by itself. The Brown and Root subsidiary (the one that overpays for everything in Iraq) came from Texas, with Lyndon Johnson, and started as a highway and dam contractor.

    And don’t get started about the anti-drug and prison lobbies, who are getting fat on America’s inner cities.

    DB

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