Skip to comments.Should Hillary be Worried About Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer?
Posted on 10/21/2013 8:50:24 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
It almost seems comical. A a pro-gun, pro-coal former Democratic governor of a small red state with zero national name recognition who used a branding iron to veto bills from the Republican legislature challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination?
On the surface, the idea that Brian Schweitzer would have a ghost of a chance against the former Senator from New York and Secretary of State seems delusional. Indeed, Schweitzer himself said last year that he expected Clinton to breeze to the nomination and beat any Republican in the general election.
Has the political landscape changed that much in a year? Schweitzer himself hit upon Clintons major weakness in an interview with RCP:
Theres a whole lot of America that looks at each other and says, Well, theres 340 million people living in America. Isnt there somebody other than a Bush or a Clinton who can be president in these modern times? Isnt there hope for somebody whos running a business or who has served overseas or comes from a different occupation to become president? Are we now in the era of royalty again? So I think theres some level of frustration about that.
Schweitzer is articulating the exhaustion felt by many voters with the hyper-partisan, dysfunctional politics of Washington. And since theres every indication it is only going to get worse over the next three years of the Obama administration, why not a smiling, likable populist from the romantic west whose unquestioned popularity in Montana that crosses party lines could translate into victory in the 2016 general election?
Shortly after leaving office, Schweitzer executed a hostile takeover of Stillwater Mining the largest publicly traded mining company in Montana. He also owns several ranches across the state.
His latest comments about potentially running against Clinton are in stark contrast to an appraisal he made to the Associated Press a year ago. At that time, Schweitzer said, If Hillary runs, she walks away with the nomination and then beats whichever Republican.
But as he has settled into his private sector role, Schweitzers views on whether anyone can beat the former senator and secretary of state appear to have changed significantly.
After being term-limited last year, he was heavily recruited by national Democrats to run for his states open Senate seat in 2014 but announced in July that he would not do so.
His heavy use of the veto pen or veto branding iron, in his case and reputation as a competent fiscal steward earned him consistently high approval ratings in Republican-leaning Montana.
Schweitzers tough-talking leadership style, anti-Washington ethos, and proven ability to win in a state that has not been friendly to his own party in presidential elections might draw Democratic comparisons to New Jerseys Republican Gov. Chris Christie, another 2016 presidential aspirant.
But the pro-gun, pro-coal policies that worked for Schweitzer so well in Montana would be a far tougher sell in a Democratic primary.
Another of Schweitzers most immediate challenges in mounting a serious campaign would be to build his name recognition against the universally known and already nearly anointed Clinton.
But in the interview with RCP, Schweitzer suggested that his down-home persona and knack for generating free media coverage might keep him in the hunt, particularly in Iowa a state that has not been friendly territory for Clinton in the past.
Who wouldve thunk Obama would come out of this thing when you had, my God, Dodd, Biden, Billy Richardson, Hillary Clinton, Schweitzer said of the 2008 Democratic nominating contest. So the nice thing about the people of Iowa is they aint going to let the rest of America make up their minds for them.
Some of Schweitzers views are out of the mainstream of the Democratic party. He signed an innovative pro-gun bill that exempted Montana-made firearms from federal regulation. He also vigorously pushed development of Montanas huge coal reserves.
But on the flip side, he also promoted renewable energy for the state, vastly increasing power generation from wind and solar sources. And his administration was cited for innovative educational reforms, including a universal kindergarten program.
In short, Schweitzer could be considered a mainstream Democrat. Unfortunately, thats not the profile of the average Democratic primary voter, who tend to be much more liberal. Still, Schweitzer has a populist streak that might appeal to some of those liberals looking for a credible alternative to Hillary Clinton.
At the moment, the liberal darling Elizabeth Warren is being encouraged to look into making a run. And Marylands very liberal Governor Martin OMalley has let it be known he is seriously contemplating entering the race as well. Warren is a long shot to make a go of it and OMalley doesnt excite too many people on the left. Might this mean that there is room for someone of Schweitzers unique personae and abilities to challenge the front runner?
Hillarys run for the nomination is looking less and less like a coronation after all.
Small? 800 miles across is small?
Montana is the most peeps/'critter district in the US.
Underrepresented they are.
I do tend to agree that a State that could elect and elect Baucus could be RED though.
HitLIARy should be worried about having to answer questions about Benghazi, Whitewater, Travelgate, USAttorneygate, Vince Foster, Huma, and her endorsement of ZeroCare.
Should she manage to leap THOSE hurdles, THEN she can worry about Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer!
I’ve always liked Schweitzer. He reminds of the Democrats from long ago. Not in a racial way.
the D’s would be super-stupid to nominate damaged goods with so much horrid baggage as HC
Seems he has decided Hilliary will run and that's the quickest way for him to get to Washington.
“Democratic governor of a small red state “
Small? 800 miles across is small? “
Small as in the uppity elites think a state is sized only by population...
The Leftwing media sure do give Democrats an easy time.
No negative adjectives in front of this guy’s name. Guess he won’t get the Palin/Cruz leftwingmedia treatment.
whoever thought that a Democratic Gov from Arkansas could be POTUS in ;92. This poor bastard will probably wake up with a buffalo head beside him as a warning
From who? All those issues have been addressed and swept away long ago.......
The MSM is gearing up to give Hillary the nomination just like they did with McCain. If you recall, for two solid years every time they needed GOP comments or feedback, their go-to guy was "THE MAVERICK". I find it hilarious that the nickname "MAVERICK" was never mentioned again following the 2008 election...........
Huey P. Long maybe.
Schweitzer is a feather-bedding, gas-bagging, boondoggling, non-tax-paying jackass.
Echos of '08.
Her toughest challenge will be in the primary because she will not be able to unleash her viciously vile attacks on a fellow Socialist. If she pulls her punches, she's history.
No, they weren't. HitLIARy did her usual duck, bob and weave to avoid answering those questions satisfactorily. And, any conservative POTUS candidate that wants to win will pin her down and ask the questions again and again and again.
She still won't answer them satisfactorily, but the point is to bring them back into the public's memory along with her infamous "we're going to take things away from you" line.
Wasn’t Schweitzer part of the Helena, MT cabal who turned a $1B surplus into a $1B deficit a couple of years ago?
Isn’t Cut Bank a fair distance from Rim-Rock places?
Fallen far, The Tribes have from their heritage.
I'd be happy with either price.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.