Thursday, June 05, 2014


Time magazine is responding to the imminent release of Hillary Clinton's memoir with a big story on ... former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer. The story is behind a paywall, but a quote-rich preview is here.

I have mixed feelings about Schweitzer. He says a lot of things I really agree with -- more so than I agree with Hillary:
... it turns out that the Republicans are mostly owned by corporate America and the Democrats are partially owned by corporate America. The same insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, the same military industrial complex that fills the coffers for Republican reelections, they filled the coffers of Democrats for reelection. So that things don't get done shouldn't surprise you because it's safe not to get things done. The status quo works....

I do know this. If someone has been entrenched in Washington, D.C., for 8, 10, 12, 20 years, they are bought and paid for by the special interests. Not because they wanted to, not because they consider themselves corrupt, but because first there is a deal, and then another deal, and then they look the other way on big banks, and then you look the other way on regulation, and then you allow outsourcing of taxes, and then you allow the military industrial complex to talk you into voting for another war, and pretty soon you look at yourself in the mirror and you go, "My God, I'm all of those things that I hated when I came here." ...

Are we going to choose more leadership that is going to roll over and get scratched on the belly by corporations like a fat dog? Are we going to be able to reform this healthcare system so it is one that doesn’t hand your taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies? Are we going to force the pharmaceutical companies to sell medicine in the United States for the same price as they do to the rest of the world?
On the other hand, as I've said before, Schweitzer is pro-gun and pro-traditional energy -- Keystone XL and all that. I'm sure he thinks he holds these positions because they put him in sync with his voter base, rather than with "special interests" -- but, really, it's both. Still, I'd like him in the scrum. My loyalties will be with whoever can win a general election, because Republicans are going to turn America into Georgia or Texas or North Carolina if they regain the White House. If it looks as if Schweitzer (or some other Democrat) has a better shot at preventing that than Hillary, I'm there.

Ed Kilgore finds it somewhat baffling that Schweitzer seems to be serious about a run, and that the press seems to be intrigued:
For some reason, TIME magazine is currently featuring a story on the presidential aspirations of former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

... I'll examine the kind of resistance Schweitzer would face if he trained his guns entirely on Hillary Clinton.

The last crosstabbed assessment of HRC's popularity was conducted by Public Policy Polling back in March. Her favorability rating among self-identified Democrats stood at 83%.... Among those calling themselves "very liberal," HRC’s at 91%, and at 77% with "somewhat liberal" voters.... Among African-Americans, HRC's favorables are at 80%, and among Hispanics, 60%....

Do you see a leftward path to the Democratic presidential nominations against HRC in any of these numbers...? I sure don't....

... until someone can show a viable path to the nomination for him or anyone else other than Hillary Clinton ... big magazine features strike me as excessive....
Kilgore is asking why Time is so interested in a guy who probably can't win. I think Schweitzer has a chance to win in part because media outlets such as Time are interested in him.

Beltway journalists would love for there to be a challenger to Hillary -- especially if that challenger has the sort of Last Honest Man vibe John McCain used to have (in the perception of the Beltway press corps). Schweitzer also seems to be the press corps's idea of a regular guy -- the press corps loved thinking of McCain as that as well. See also George W. Bush in the 2000 general election -- and, yes, see also Barack Obama in 2008.

Schweitzer is a lot closer to the press corps's ideal than dour old Bernie Sanders, or even Elizabeth Warren (who, y'know, isn't a guy).

Schweitzer would still have an uphill fight against Hillary. But the media will definitely give him a boost, strictly on style.


Victor said...

He might make an excellent VP choice.

I'll work as hard for the Democratic candidate in 2016, whoever she or he might be, as I did for BHO, in 2008.

My father had just died in the spring of 2012, so I had to care for my mother, and couldn't volunteer - except to place phone calls from home.

Anonymous said...

The thing is - Schweitzer is also a naked gender play, he's not that coy about it. So if you're "there" with him, you're there for that. And I'm not. No male nominee for 2016 under any circumstances - 44 is enough.

Phil Freeman said...

He hasn't got the slightest chance. As Victor said, he might wind up as VP, but it's Hillary's year. Just like I knew for ~3 years before the election that Romney was gonna be the Republican nominee, and that he was going to lose, anyone who's not just jacking off knows that Hillary Clinton's going to be the Democratic nominee, and based strictly on the state of the electoral map, she's gonna win.

Steve M. said...

Tom, you're right about that -- and it's obviously a big part of what's appealing about him to a lot of Beltway journos who are lukewarm toward Hillary.

I can't rule out a white guy, though, given that Warren doesn't seem to want to run and Hillary may not, or may falter. It's sort of like living in NYC after Dinkins lost -- we've had nothing but white guys since. White-guy power is hard to disrupt. (The new guy here is in a mixed marriage, at least.)