Montana Politics

September hasn’t been the Governor’s month

September hasn’t been the best month for the Good Gov. It’s nothing to celebrate, but it’s interesting.

Schweitzer’s bad month started in Charlotte when he addressed the DNC Convention (he also made an appearance at the Iowa delegation’s breakfast – furthering speculation Schweitzer is considering a Presidential run).   The Governor’s speech was met with poor reviews.

Chris Cillizza of The Fix placed the speech in the “losers” column and wrote, “The governor of Montana was one of the breakout stars of the 2008 Democratic National Convention with a speech that lit up the Denver hall.  But tonight Schweitzer seemed too folksy by half (or maybe more) – like he was playing a character named “Brian Schweitzer.”  And his “that dog won’t hunt” refrain, well, it just didn’t hunt.”

Cillizza’s criticisms ring true.  When I watched the speech, I felt embarrassed.  His delivery was inauthentic and bordered on mockery – mockery of the people of Montana.  As Montana’s chief ambassador, he disappointed.

I’m hearing the same complaints from friends and fellow political junkies here in Montana.

Who says “that dog don’t/won’t hunt”?  This is Montana, not Missouri.

The Governor is damn good at giving a speech, but, as of late, he is falling a bit flat.  Maybe he’s spending too much time crisscrossing the nation appearing at high profile fundraisers and giving his token “in Montana this is how we do things” speech.  He is slowly becoming a charactuer of himself.

Schweitzer’s month got a little rougher when a recent PPP poll reported some interesting numbers, including a lead in the polls for Tester and a surprisingly close Congressional race between Daines and Gillan.

Public Policy Polling polls have been taughted by Schweitzer’s team in the past and there is rumor that his team has a close relationship with PPP.  Last year, The Hill reported that “Franklin Hall, a senior advisor to Schweitzer posted a poll [showing Schweitzer handedly defeating Baucus in a hypothetical primary] on his Facebook page and flagged it for friends on Facebook as ‘very interesting.’”

It’s no secret that there is no love loss between the Baucus and Schweitzer camps.

The latest PPP poll shows a much closer race.  The breakdown is now only 40-36.

Another interesting result of the PPP poll was that Baucus would beat a generic Republican challenger (maybe Daines?) 48-42.  Baucus has also seen a significant jump in his approval numbers.

Maybe the new poll numbers are a result of Montanan’s becoming bored of (or slightly embarrassed by) Schweitzer’s “shucks, I’m just a cattle brandin’ son of gun” act that borders on Palin-esc (except Schweitzer is very intelligent and Palin is far from it – Schweitzer should act accordingly) .

We deserve a better ambassador, especially if Schweitzer makes the leap to the national stage.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • I get twitchy every time a pundit, online or off, starts telling us all what “we deserve”. So, as a matter of fact, why do “we deserve a better ambassador”, and who do you have in mind? Seriously, Baucus? That raises more questions than it answers. But the rather pointed ones are these: What exactly do you think “we deserve” and why?

  • What used to be an endearing act has turned into a parody of itself. It was just one speech, though. I would love to see him run for Prez, but stopping acting so over the top… I cringed when I had to watch the DNC speech a few days later.
    Rob, I think you’re getting a little into the weeds and missing the larger point. Brian was a poor “ambassador” (or whatever you want to call it) at the DNC and needs to up his game, and stop being “too folksy” by half.

    • H.I., I’m not convinced that Schweitzer’s failed theatrics at the DNC was the larger point at all. Regardless of anything else, his time as Montana’s ambassador is finished 4 1/2 months from now. If the point was that ‘he needs to up his game’, then the most obvious question is *why*. The only attempt at an answer offered in the post was among the weeds, the notion that ‘we deserve better’. If the Governor is expected to be an ambassador of and for Montana, and we deserve better, then shouldn’t this post focus on Bullock v. Hill?

      It isn’t lost on any commenter here that it doesn’t. Instead, it weakly focuses on how Brian stacks up against Max, without ever actually going there. If we do “deserve” better than Brian Schweitzer, let’s be honest and compare Brian to Max as public speakers. Regardless of how fond anyone here is of Max (a sympathy I still have some of), it’s no question that Baucus is a dreadful public speaker. Even though he is one of the most powerful Democratic Senators, there is a reason he isn’t asked to speak at affairs like the DNC. So, I’m very sincere in asking what do ‘we deserve’, from someone who simply thinks *a* speech of over-used folksy cliches uses that instance to demean a person’s strengths in favor of someone much weaker.

      No. This post is a salvo in a primary fight that hasn’t even been established yet. The rhetoric of “we deserve better” is one of the most over-used and pointless of all political canards, from the right and the left. I just want someone who uses that phrase to actually answer the damned question. What is it that we deserve that person X can’t deliver but somehow person Y can? What I expect of my representatives is that they represent my will to the authority of government. I frankly don’t a give a crap how they represent me to the great wide world of people who really don’t share many of my concerns, and don’t work or vote to favor those. That latter kind of representation is fickle and fleeting. Brian Schweitzer was the most popular Democrat in the country when he used his folksy theatrics to brand VETO on bat-crap crazy bills. Cool. What mattered to me is that he vetoed those bills because they would have hurt me. That was the Governor I voted for. But now, M. Storin would have me believe that it matters more that Schweitzer made a mockery of Montana during one speech in front of a Democratic convention than that I have been well represented by the man for 8 years. M. Storin would have me believe that I ‘deserve better’. It seems simple enough to me that M. Storin had better explain exactly what the hell that means.

      Now here’s another question. *IF* Schweitzer runs against Baucus for a role that actually does affect the whole of the fickle country, which Brian do you think people are going to remember? The ‘that-dog-don’-hunt’ guy from the DNC, or the one who burned a bunch of crazy crap legislation on the Capitol lawn? My money would be on Brian, because that’s what I deserve, and no amount of early cover fire for Baucus from M. Storin is likely to change my mind.

  • I FORGIVE YOU, storin! MAN, dude but you must be young! HERE is your challenge, young dude. Name ANY Dem in Montana history who has done MORE for the Dem party than Brian has? You see, dude, I have a long memory and I don’t forget! Schweitzer got the job done unlike ANY other Dem in Montana history! And now, after one speech that you think fell flat, you’re ready to cast him over the side? Sheesh. YOU embarrass me! YOU weakkneed dems who RAN from the fight for some thirty odd years when Dems were getting their ASSED kicked! Where WERE you, dude?

    Schweitzer did nothing LESS than save a battered, beleaugered, DESTITUTE Dem party here in Montana. And for that, I will NEVER say a bad word about the guy. BTW, I know lots of folks who actually LIKED his speech. But hell, I have heard nearly every speech the guy has given, and he is the best!

    • Woof. Ha! What has Schweitzer done for the Dem party? BS is always about HIMSELF. HIMSELF first. Where was he during the slaughter of 2010? Why wasn’t he campaigning? Why is he spending all his time in other states? Why did he try to steal the Citizens United fight from Bullock and Tester? Why did he try to swoop in and try to take credit for the north fork? Because he’s all about himself, DUUUUUDE. He could care less about anyone else int eh party unless it helps HIM. Where’s the most dangerous place to be in Montana? Between Brian and a camera.
      Oh, wait! He vetoed some bills!!! Wow. Any Dem would have done that. Get real, Larry. You allegiance to the Good Gov is just blind – he’s worked you over like he’s worked over the media and most Dems. His antics are cute, but it’s all about him first.

      • While I think Jag is being a little over the the top, I do think you should do a little more research into who has actually built and sustained the Democratic Party and progressive movement in Montana for the last decade.
        I think Gov. Schweitzer has been a great Governor – no doubt about it, but I also think you’re giving him a bit too much credit.
        Finally, I’m not sure accusing someone of being naive because you assume they’re young (which is an assumption) is the best way to change minds. It’s very patronizing. No wonder some young people would want to disengage from politics — they express their opinion and are told they’re wrong simply because they’re young.
        In any case, Storin could be 102 or 14 for all I know.

        • H.I., it’s called institutional memory. I have TONS of it. I’m an institution. I’m an old fart who has followed and participated in politics for a loooong time. And I know the players involved. I actually REMEMBER when the ENTIRE Dem party in Helena consisted of some courageous diehards from Cascade County. It don’t GET much lower than that!

          But by GOD outta nowhere rode a cowboy named Brian to change that situation! Montana could very well be am ENTIRE red state if not for the guv.

          • p.s. I say all this as a radical enviro who has disagreed with the guv on many enviro issues. But hell, I’m a Dem first and an enviro second. We can discuss enviro issues once we send these no good fascist bastards packing! I mean, for GOD’S sake, what the freakin’ HELL do we have in common with a bunch-o inbreds who THINK that the earth is four thousand years old?! Schweitzer has advanced degrees in science. He don’t ABIDE no crazy ass bullshit from the inbred crowd! And that’s a helluva place to start! Plus, like the Rangers themselves, he don’t negotiate with criminals! He vetoes their asses! Think about it. That’s all I ask. THINK!

          • Um… WHAT? Who do you think paid to get people like Denise, Linda, and Monica elected? Who do you think funds the Dem Party??? Who do you think has been working his ass off to re-elect Jon??? You may have institutional knowledge, but your current categorization program needs an update.

            • You’ve let the fluff that Brian throws around blind you to his positions on the environment. It was MAx who spent his career on the Rocky Mountain Front and the North Fork, but Brian will do all he can to take credit when ever some credit is being thrown around… Enjoy your otter creek and all the drilling brian loves to talk about! SUPER!
              Oh and those vetoes and all that crap… do you think any other Dem Gov wouldn’t have done the something..? only difference would have been that a lot fewer cameras would have been involved.

              • WisCONsin is missing an idiot. HE’S HERE! How long you been here, cupcake? It’s obvious not very. Sorry, dude, I don’t like to be so blunt, but you don’t know SHIT! And is shows.

                • p.s. The Front was the ONLY bone that Mini Barfus threw the enviros. Hell, even Sen. Cornhole BURNS was for preserving the Front, dufus. It was a bi-partisan bone! Get yourself educated and up to speed before posting.

                  And BTW, NEVER, repeat NEVER assign credit for the Front to one pissant like Mini Barfus. To do so is to totally misrepresent the HUNDREDS of folks who have worked for the last hundred years to preserve the Front! You’re just silly.

                • HAHA! Awesome response. *Slow clap* You sir, truly are impressive! And your arguments are just so thorough and well though out. You sound like someone who thinks they know what’s going on but has no clue… I can see this “debate” is quickly turning into a joke. Shut. It. Down.
                  HelenaInsider is right… you’re a patronizing, know it all.
                  Again, let me congratulate you on your incredible knowledge of, wait for it, everything.

                • Just answer the question. Good place to start. Where you from? You see, jag, you have NO sense of Montana. None. NO sense of our history, NO sense of who we are, nor NO sense of place! That’s all. You’ve got no skin in the game I’m guessing. That’s why you can’t answer. “That’s your fault, you’ve got so much to yet go through”. Yes, Cat Stevens said it better than I ever could have. I don’t fault you either. You’re simply a dumbass who’s feeling his way through without paying his dues.

                • I’m multiple generation Montanan, you smug, smug man. You honestly make me sick and I doubt you will ever change anyone’s mind bc of your smugness and lack of knowledge when it comes to real world politics.

    • Jack, Barfus is a broken man. He has no “fight” left in him. Believe me on this one. He cast his lot with the devil, and the devil took his due. Ain’t nuthin’ left. I looked into Max’s eyes. There’s only a shell of a man left. He sold his soul. And a whole lotta good it did him. He has to live with that for the rest of his days. I couldn’t do it. I feel for the dude, ’cause he had such promise. I remember Max from the day’s when he walked across Montana. THAT was Max. Young, vigorous, idealistic to a certian extent. What’s left is not. He’s a lost soul.

      Now, the only option left for Max is to spend his days in repentance. I feel for the dude. It’s gotta be hell living like that.

      • Kidding me? Max has lots of fight left in him. Unlike SO, SO many other members of congress, Max is one of the few people who doesn’t shy away from the tough issues. He engages in the fight. He may not always deliver what YOU want, but at least he has the guts to engage in the tough fights! And he doesn’t then go and jump in front of every camera he can find.
        And Larry, why are you so in love with coal-lovin’ Brian anyways???

        • To quote Brave Heart if I must. “Men follow courage”. Schweitzer is the MOST courageous leader that we’ve had in a long, looong time. Now, here’s your chance to shine. Name ONE, only ONE, simply ONE other Dem in the ENTIRE FRIGGIN’ COUNTRY who had the courage to select a Republican running mate? I’ll await your response. Schweitzer is in a class by himself.

          • JB is a great man and I wish more Republicans were like him. JB has been more supportive of JT than BS has… but courageous?? GET REAL. It’s called a political calculation. Keep drinking the kool aid. Waiting for witty nick name now… Oh, and for you to tell anyone who disagrees with you that they must be too young or from out of state or just aren’t as smart as you.
            Next I’ll be waiting for you to tell me how courageous BS is for bringing his dog to the office.
            PS Most states don’t allow split tickets…

            • Just answer the questions, dude. Just answer the questions. I’ll readily answer any you have for me. For you see, that’s just the way I am.

          • Honestly, Larry, for you to attack my “Montanan-ness” is just beyond the pail and sickening. Truly sickening and you should be ashamed. I’m done interacting with you. You are pathetic.

            • Sorry that you don’t like the TRVTH. HEY, I didn’t invent truthiness, dude. I simply report it. I’m the Blue Heeler of truthiness. When folks like you begin to wander off the beaten path, I herd you along to the TRVTH. And for the record, the guv likes Border Collies, and I like Heelers. Oh sure, I like Border Collies too, but Heelers have more attitude!….kinda like me.

  • Wow. Things have gotten a bit heated since I was last here. I really do agree with the meat of this post that the Governor’s act has gotten a bit tired and is losing it’s authenticity. I think he’s been a great Governor and Max is a great Senator.
    This nastiness has to stop. We had three great election cycles that put Democrats in power (2004, 2006, and 2008) and it was because we all stood together. But once we got in power we started all this idiotic infighting and suffered horribly in 2010 (for other reasons, as well – of course). 2012 is looking a bit rough, too.
    Let’s support our Democratic team so that we don’t ever slip back to the days of the ’90s.

    • It’s a bit difficult to avoid nastiness when you’re engaging with a person you know has two mouths and one ear. A man who will ALWAYS KNOW he is right, but has no clue a about how things really work in this state… and has an unbelievable crush on the Governor.

    • Time to call bullshit on a couple’a dipshits. Are you two morons rightwing plants? For you seem to have all the Pubbie talking points down pat. SO, I’ll make it as simple as I can for a couple’a simpletons. POST a guv speech as excellent at THIS one is! Then, by doing so, you won’t look like a couple of complete horses asses! Good luck!

      Is that “tired and losing authencity”, or are you just a dumbass? I report, you decide! For I already have!

        • Then don’t come to a debate with no facts. Jus sayin’. I don’t have time for folks who don’t know there ass. That’s all. Peace, H.I.

          • p.s. For the record, H.I., please list for me the LAST Montana guv other than Schweitzer who INVITED Native drummers and singers to conduct a grand entry at his inaugaration? Can’t do it? Well, I thought so. You see, when you fault Scwheitzer, you don’t know your ass. He’s a good man who does NOT deserve limp ass criticism from the peanut gallery. And that’s all I’m seein’ here. You see, I’m not a debater in the formal sense as Pogie and Rob are. They are quite skilled in debate and logic. I simply call bullshit when I see it.

            • Duuuuuuude, I’m really, really, really going to try to not engage with your xenophobic ass, anymore. But you need to enroll in some damn anger management classes, duuuuude.

  • Third straight poll showing the incumbent losing is bad news for the challenger? Hahahahahahaha.

    The most important race for Democrats in 2014 is getting rid of Baucus. Not just the most important race in Montana, but the most important race for Democrats nationwide. It would be nice to retire him in the primary and hold the seat, but no frosh Republican could do as much damage to Democrats and America as Baucus has been doing consistently all century.

    It is sad that some on the left are so morally bankrupt that they’ll take the payola at the expense of the party and country, but exposing such misbehavior will be a fun additional benefit of running Baucus out of office.

    I can’t wait, it will be the most fun since primarying Lieberman.

    • And how did the Lieberman challenge turnout? And, come on, it’s obnoxious to compare the two Senators.
      I love people like you who are so ideologically pure that it places them outside the confines of reality. You’re comment is so blatantly dramatic that it’s almost laughable. Just keep living in your perfect little world that has never seen real results.
      As to the meat of this post, I’m just happy to see someone call Brian out on his over-the-top “oh, shucks” act. Everyone is so terrified of the guy.

      • Factless Check, it needs to be pointed out that telling someone they are “outside of reality” while hiding behind a fake handle loses a whole lot of the impact you intended. In fact, it loses almost all of it.

        For the record, I’m a more moderate Democrat, which means I disagree with Bob Brigham most of the time. But I’ve never been silly enough to call him delusional. He isn’t. About Baucus and Schweitzer, I generally agree with him. Though I must admit, a primary against Max couldn’t be half as much fun as voting for Bob Kelleher was.

      • How did the Lieberman challenge turnout? Great, Democrats won the primary. Only through a bizarre quirk in Connecticut law (that Montana doesn’t have) was Lieberman able to run as an independent after losing the nomination.

        How is it obnoxious to compare them? Was Lieberman’s vote for Iraq worse than Max’s? Or the Patriot Act? Or NAFTA? Or the Brady Bill?

        If anything, Lieberman has been a better vote. Not even Lieberman pulled the type of stunt Max did for Medicare Part D. Lieberman didn’t get a picture of himself on the RNC website’s “accomplishment’s” page for his work on the Bush Tax Cuts that have bankrupted the country.

        It would violate the laws of physics for Democrats to get anything done while Max holds the Finance Gavel. There is no more pragmatic focus for a Democrat in 2014 than working to retire Max.

        • Listen, I’m not the biggest Max fan, but he has done a lot for this state. You choose to only point out the bad and none of the good.
          My real point is this one: a primary between Brian and Max would be hugely destructive.
          ALSO, I think Brian has some hugely anti-progressive positions that most liberals simply ignore. Don’t you agree??
          I really don’t want to fight and I apologize for being so aggressive in my first comments… I just had a visceral reaction. I think Brian gets off the hook far too easily.

          • “Good” and “Bad” is not a teeter-totter. No one needs to focus on both low points to see that the the height of one outweighs the height of another. Max has done a lot of good for the state, but a whole lot of bad for the country. His is a national position, a Senator. It needs to be evaluated with regard to the worth that position has to us all. I can’t speak for Brigham, but I think that’s where he’s coming from.

            I don’t think that a primary between Max and Brian would be “hugely destructive”. It would be a decision point for Montana voters. Do we care to share our concerns with the will of the nation, or do we want the representation that best serves us? Max favors the former, Brian the latter. If, and it’s still a big *if*, Brian challenges Max, that would be the decision we face.

      • Im just happy to see the long knives finally come out. If anything this should be entertaining to see both camps anonymous trolls going head to head no hold’s barred. I didn’t think old limp noodle Baucus was going to have it in him to take on Governor BS.

        • Think Brian will actually run for the Senate or run for President? He keeps saying how he has no interest in the Senate and after 8 years of being the executive, I wonder if he’d want to be number 90-something in the US Senate. Maybe he really does make a run in 2016 — I’m sure it would lead to big things for him either way.

          • If he really wants to run for the presidency it probably would not hurt to raise his national profile in the senate. If he went to the senate and made the kind of high profile stands in favor of single payer, citizens u tied and dare say fed legalization of med marijuana he has taken in the past he would get a lot of support from people on the ground but maybe not so much the money givers. I like a lot about governor bs and I’m no expert on politics but I have a hard tome seeing him actually winning the nomination this time around if he ran in 2016. Lot of time between now and then though. Obviously he would be a vast improvement over mr baucus either way. He has tried to win the office before I don’t think being in the senate would somehow be not high profile or not without enough clout to make him happy.

            • If he runs for President, I’m not sure he has enough time to run for the Senate. Election 2016 begins in the fall of 2013. No time to waste in my estimation,

    • I hate to keep harping on this point, Bob, but I’ve asked several times now with no response. In the absence of Schweitzer’s primary challenge against Max, who have you got?

      • MUCH MORE civil conversation happening now than what took place here last night! Wowza. In any case, I’m obviously NOT a fan of the “Good Gov”… Brigham, what is it that you like so much about Brian? OF ANYONE, I’d think you would see through his phoniness … IS not that you like Brian as much as it is you HATE MAx?

      • Democrats will get more gain simply by removing Max than electing somebody. We are 16 months earlier in the cycle than when anyone first heard of Ned Lamont. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, the person is simply not Max. Primary or general, it’s all progress.

        It won’t take that much time to get a total nobody in the lead against Max, especially when there will be around 8 figures in ads up against Baucus by Democrats nationwide.

        But if Scheitzer runs, we not only get rid of Max, but save a ton of money as Baucus will have to retire. Which he should do anyone, forty years is more than enough.

  • “taughted” or touted?

    “…there is rumor that [Schweitzer’s] team has a close relationship with PPP.” A rumor? You certainly wouldn’t want to be convicted of anything on the basis of evidence that flimsy.

    Schweitzer has an executive’s temperament. He’d go crazy in the senate. If he goes to Washington, D.C., he’ll join the executive branch. He won’t challenge Baucus in 2014.

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