Monday, November 22, 2004

A Democrat with Political Savvy, What a Concept

A hope-inspiring story from the Washington Monthly, "Top Billings - How a Montana Democrat bagged the hunting and fishing vote, and won the governor's mansion." A long but informative article.
But if we had simply tried to argue that Schweitzer was as hawkish on guns as any Republican, we would've won magazine covers but lost the election; in the absence of indisputable proof, voters will believe that Republicans are more likely to protect gun rights. We needed to open another front with an issue that showed voters the clear difference...

While D.C. interest groups like the National Federation of Independent Business have become de facto arms of the Republican Party, at the grassroots level, employees of small businesses aren't particularly Republican, and even small business owners are more up for grabs. Sure, these entrepreneurs don't like high taxes and regulations. But many of them have felt the sting of losing customers and markets to big corporations that used their size and clout unfairly. As a small business owner himself, Schweitzer shared these frustrations and knew how to use them. He seamlessly turned questions about taxation into opportunities to argue that big-box companies like Wal-Mart should pay their fair share and shouldn't be allowed to run roughshod over local business.
And not without a little humor:
During a campaign stop at a bar that became the stuff of legends, a young former Montana State University linebacker drunkenly told [Lt. Governor candidate] Bohlinger he didn't like guys who wore bowties. The 62-year-old replied, "I don't like guys who tell other guys what to wear." The two had to be forcibly restrained.


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