Flashback from 2006: Schweitzer dares to be himself

I’ve got a column coming out Monday that gives my take on Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana declaring his run for president in 2020. In it, I mention that back in 2006, I had dreamed about another Democratic governor from Montana sitting in the Oval Office. At the time I was growing disheartened with President Bush, especially on the deficit and the immigration issue, and I loved the idea of an outsider shaking up politics as usual. I thought Gov. Brian Schweitzer might be just the guy to do it. Turned out I was wrong and I had to wait for a New York businessman in 2016 to get my wish, but I’m reprinting this 2006 column as a reminder that Democrats weren’t always anti-gun zealots. Schweitzer wasn’t perfect but he was a far sight better than Bullock, Biden, Sanders or Beto.

Schweitzer dares to be himself

February 12, 2006

By FRANK MIELE/The Daily Inter Lake

Politics these days is too much about political correctness, which is why it was refreshing for the governor of Montana recently to show up at a meeting with the editorial board of the Inter Lake with a gun.

No, he was not brandishing the gun; that would not be so nice.

But it turns out that Brian Schweitzer had stopped at a local sporting goods store prior to visiting us, and before we could ask questions about his plans for coal liquefaction or school funding, he just had to show off his new Browning handgun. He was as giddy as a schoolboy who had just got his first BB gun, and whether you care for guns or not, it was fun to watch his excitement.

That’s one of the many nice things about Gov. Schweitzer. He doesn’t mind being himself. He doesn’t mind saying what’s on his mind, and he doesn’t mind offending people who might not agree with what’s on his mind. Which is to say, he really doesn’t fit into the mold of this politically correct age.

He wears blue jeans to work at the state Capitol, and brings his dog to work with him, too. Some people take offense.

He tells the education lobby enough is enough. There’s no more money to “cough up” unless you want it covered with blood. Some educators take offense.

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He says Washington politics has the whiff of the skunk about it. Some skunks take offense.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking Brian Schweitzer is all show and no substance. That coal-to-liquids program the governor is proposing for Eastern Montana is just the kind of creative solution that can make Montana a major player in the national economy instead of a bench warmer.

Did he think of it first? No. But does he have the energy to promote it and very possibly get it done? He just might. In fact, if you could bottle up whatever it is that keeps Mr. Schweitzer bouncing happily along, you very likely could do away with fossil fuels altogether.

Some people say it’s just hot air, but that’s the problem with politics today. It’s all about deflation and deflection, and not enough about paying attention when somebody has a good idea.

Brian Schweitzer has good ideas, lots of them. And he doesn’t care about credit for them. What he seems to want isn’t credit; it’s results. He apparently understands that if he leaves Montana a better place, he is going to be remembered fondly no matter what anyone said about him when he was trying to herd cats, er, I mean legislators.

And Montanans are not the only ones who have noticed Gov. Schweitzer’s quirky individualism. Lesley Stahl of CBS recently interviewed him for an upcoming “60 Minutes” segment, and he has been mentioned more frequently as a presidential candidate than any Montanan for the past 40 years.

It may be crazy, and the governor dismisses such talk as hallucinatory gibberish, but I for one would pay good money to see the look on the faces of the gathered leaders of the Senate and the House when President Schweitzer pops open the fitted case on his desk and shows off his newest Browning handgun just before announcing that he expects a balanced budget on his desk by the end of the year.

A guy can wish, can’t he?

To read more of my columns about the Dishonest Media, the Deep Swamp, the failed presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Trump’s war to restore American greatness, read my “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” My new book is “The Media Matrix: What If Everything You Know Is Fake.” They are all available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. 

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2 Replies to “Flashback from 2006: Schweitzer dares to be himself”

  1. Too bad you didn’t convert him to being a Republican as you and HTC did for me.

    1. Not sure which anonymous reader you are, but I’m glad you swung to the good side. Not sure Brian could have made it. Even though he has some good instincts, he probably could not have stood being vilified by his fellow Dems the way Trump has had to put up with Brutus and Cassius (er, I mean Mitt and Pale Ryan)!

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