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.