By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
HELENA – Just the other day, Politico said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s rhetorical prowess is a valuable asset and a dangerous liability for his future political ambitions.
Case in point: Less than two weeks ago, Schweitzer delivered the keynote address at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual dinner. In the speech, he told a gripping tale of his grandmother immigrating to the United States to start a new life.
In the same address, Schweitzer dipped into darker rhetoric to blast Caucasian Montanans as racist toward American Indians.
Through his 30-minute speech to Ohio Democrats, Schweitzer repeatedly boasted of his gubernatorial achievements, putting special emphasis on the Indian Education for All project. Schweitzer spearheaded the program, which requires Montana school children to learn both American-Indian and U.S. history.
Why did Schweitzer shepherd the innovative and groundbreaking program? Well, because Montanans are a bunch of white, racist rednecks – the governor’s words.
“All over Montana, you can walk into a bar, a café or even a school or a courthouse and just listen for a while as people talk to each other,” Schweitzer explained, shortly after noting 93 percent of his state’s population is classified as Caucasian. “And you will hear somebody, before very long, say something outrageously racist about the people who’ve lived in Montana for 10,000 years.”
The governor delivered the program to sway the minds and hearts of Treasure State youngsters. “So, I decided, I can’t turn the heart of a 45-year-old redneck,” Schweitzer said.
It’s a stunning rhetorical reversal from the governor’s stance on his April trip to New York City to promote the Treasure State as a paradise for tourists.
“Best place in the world to take your family,” Schweitzer said of his home state during a stop in Times Square to hand out Montana jerky and jam.
Schweitzer visited New York to hawk a new direct flight from New Jersey to Bozeman. “With this new direct flight, we’re giving our friends from the New York area convenient access to the most spectacular places and experiences they will encounter in the lower 48 states,” Schweitzer said in a news release. “And we’ll deliver it with our customary Western hospitality.”
The governor’s Ohio remarks makes one wonder if he should have warned New Yorkers about Montana’s “Western hospitality.”
Also noteworthy is Schweitzer’s dip into hot water after he discussed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s roots in a polygamous sect in Mexico. Schweitzer was talking with the Daily Beast just days before his New York City getaway.
“I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of (the) polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into (a) polygamy commune in Mexico,” Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer sought to add fuel to the so-called Republican War on Women. He commented that women are generally uncomfortable with polygamy, and Romney is a byproduct of the practice.
The governor never walked back his remarks, instead doubling down in a subsequent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
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