Schweitzer for President?
I have written before about the importance of conservatives using their superior numbers to do what the left has been doing for decade: fight within their opponents' base political party. We ought to push within the Democratic Party candidates who are sympathetic to our ideals.
Brian Schweitzer, the two-term governor of a Montana, a state which has gone Democrat in the presidential election only twice in the last sixty years, may be such a man. Schweitzer is not a perfect conservative, but he is a principled opponent of much of the stupidity and wickedness that is entrenched leftism.
He supports aggressive development of domestic energy, and he also understands the issues involved in energy policy. He has been an aggressive defender of states' rights, displaying the sort of suspicion of Washington any good governor of Montana ought to have.
Schweitzer has been a fiscal conservative not only in rhetoric, but in reality. The voters of Montana, who were last rated by Gallup as the 15th-most conservative in the nation, not only elected Schweitzer governor twice, but also have given him one of the highest performance ratings as governor during his time in office.
Governor Schweitzer is a vocal opponent of ObamaCare, and he can be relied upon to aggressively push its repeal. When questioned about the good things that Obama has done, Schweitzer poured withering contempt on Obama and mocked his presidency. Schweitzer's idol is Teddy Roosevelt, that fiercely independent and high-testosterone president who even today defies conventional ideological definition, but whose personal integrity and plain speaking have not been tarnished in the last hundred years.
Despite this public dismissive attitude towards the Obama presidency, Schweitzer has been feted at Democrat national conventions. He could not reasonably be portrayed as a closet Republican, and his tenure as Governor of Montana included tough attacks on state Republicans, but these were often for being too free with the taxpayers' money.
What would happen if Schweitzer ran? His principal opponent would surely be Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, whose incompetence and dishonesty regarding the Benghazi Massacre should weigh heavy around her neck. If Schweitzer is in the race, and if it appears that Hillary will have to fight for the nomination, then other Democrats may be enticed into entering a political contest which is no longer simply a coronation. The Democrat primaries and caucuses could suddenly get bloody and brutal, weakening the eventual nominee.
Schweitzer could also win a lot of primaries if conservative voters -- not just Democrats, but independents and even Republicans in open primaries -- pull for him. That could generate momentum during the nomination contests and create in his candidacy a voice for ordinary Democrats disgusted with Obama and his totalitarian leftists. A strong Schweitzer showing in primaries and caucuses would also give Schweitzer and his supporters much say in the 2016 Democrat Convention, even if he did not win the nomination.
If Schweitzer appeared viable, he could also corral some elements of the Democratic Party coalition who are deeply dismayed by Obama. Industrial unions, particularly those who have lost jobs because of Obama's hostility to domestic energy development or have faced the true disaster of ObamaCare, might find Schweitzer appealing. Democrat politicians holding state government office could see in Governor Schweitzer a Democrat who understands their problems; Schweitzer's active involvement and leadership in state government associations like the National Center for State Government might prove important in the battle for state government politicians.
If Schweitzer stayed in the fight through the Democrat Convention in 2016, he could create enormous problems for leftist Democrats. The last time this happened was in 1972, when George Wallace garnered more primary votes than any other Democrat and carried a number of states like Michigan and Maryland. McGovern won the nomination, but he lost every state but Massachusetts in November. Democrats in the aftermath of that disaster moved publicly and dramatically toward the political center.
Schweitzer may have an even better chance than Wallace. If Democrats suffer a pummeling in 2014, then they may be already looking for a genuine alternative to radical leftism by the time of the 2016 presidential election. Schweitzer is a Rocky Mountain governor far outside the Beltway, and he is the man who opposed ObamaCare from the start.
Schweitzer could actually win the nomination, if the despair among party faithful is great enough in 2016. Schweitzer could even win the White House if Republicans choose some Beltway insider as their nominee. President Schweitzer, de facto leader of the Democrats, would be in a unique position to actually transform government in Washington.
Even if he wins, conservatives might not have to despair. He might even wind up being what conservatives have wanted for a long time: a real-game changer in the White House.