Thursday, June 05, 2008

Good Old Boys #57: 2 Good, 2 Bad

Two Good Old Boys from the state of Montana.

First up, Democrat Brian Schweitzer. He's governor of Montana, and a possible choice to be Vice President. More about him here:

"[I]n addition to being a strong speech-giver, Schweitzer is a gifted quote-machine. He regularly delivers the glib, funny ways of both explaining his position on policy and mocking his opponents for their unreasonableness. It's hard to think of a more effective way of developing popularity among voters who think of themselves as uncomplicated common sense types. His most notable one-liner is actually a counterpose to the legacy of national Clinton branding of the Democratic Party: "Gun control is you control your gun and I'll control mine." It's glib, it's memorable, it communicates exactly where he stands, it's populist.

It matters when you can give voters lines like that, because the real sell-job is one regular voter to another. When one guy in the barber shop says, what do you think about this guy Schweitzer, is he one of those Democrats who want to take away everyone's guns? The other regular guy remembers that line and repeats it, and now the first guy just learned Schweitzer's position even if he's a low info voter. Low info voters are the voters with whom Obama has the most trouble. None of the names bandied about in the VP talk are in Schweitzer's league when it comes to this ability.

This way of speaking is not accidental. Schweitzer has made an amateur study of right wing radio, to understand how to turn the effective glibness those toxic hosts use for their own benefit into his advantage. Schweitzer is a hell of a smart guy. A soil scientist and rancher, he spent 6 years in Saudi Arabia working on irrigation projects. He speaks fluent Arabic and has an intuitive grasp of the region based on real life experience."

The other Good Old Boy is Bob Kelleher.
Sometimes a Democrat, sometimes a Green, since 1964, Kelleher, an 85-year-old Butte attorney, has run for public office 15 times, losing all but once. His single victory came in 1971, when he was elected as a delegate to the 1972 convention that rewrote Montana's state constitution.

And earlier this week, the Republicans in Montana picked Bob Kelleher, ahead of five other Republican candidates, as their candidate to take on the Democrat Senator in November's elections.

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