Guns and poses: Schweitzer part of Dems' 'in' crowd

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Now I’ve gone and done it. A couple of days ago I “liked” Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Facebook page and am now privy to what he’s been up to these days, namely, his spirited participation and endless cavorting at last week’s Democratic National Convention.

I had no choice, really, to get into the inner workings of the governor’s life. He’s been everywhere lately, giving interviews to Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” CNN and other news media. After he posted on Facebook that he’d been on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC, it was enough for Schweitzer fan to note, “He’s gettin’ around, that’s 4 sure!”

The Montana governor addressed convention delegates for several different states and then delivered a rousing speech to the entire delegation that one newscaster immediately deemed “very folksy.” It may have been the “that dog won’t hunt” metaphor that pushed him into the folksy category.

I heard Twitter went berserk when Schweitzer took the stage wearing a bolo tie. Of course his Western-style ties are old news to us Montanans.

Schweitzer, or Brian as I like to call him because we here in Montana are kind of colloquial that way, has even turned up in two of my favorite national columns, Joel Stein’s “The Awesome Column” in Time magazine and Dave Barry’s syndicated humorous column.

Stein, who was on a quest to get politicians to reveal their personal papers — he was contemplating asking Mitt Romney for his kindergarten records — gave Schweitzer a call because he said he “needed to practice my technique on a lower-profile politician, preferable one who would return my call within a business day.”

After Stein asked Schweitzer what he’d say if asked to cough up his kindergarten report card and the governor kindly told him, “I’d probably tell you to go to hell,” the conversation turned to guns.

The columnist goaded him to reveal how many guns he owns, but Schweitzer declined to answer.

“Eventually I found out that Governor Schweitzer seems to own a lot of guns. But he won’t reveal how many, which obviously means it’s way too many guns — even for Montana,” Stein wrote.

Brian does like his guns. He brought one to the Daily Inter Lake editorial board meeting awhile back, showing off a new pistol that was an anniversary gift for his wife. We were mildly impressed, and not shocked a bit. After all, this IS Montana. He also brings his dog to the editorial board meetings he occasionally attends.

Dave Barry regaled his readers last week with his encounter with the Montana governor at the CNN Grill bar during the Democratic convention.

“It turns out Gov. Schweitzer is something of a wild man,” Barry confided as he shared in detail the governor’s animated explanation of how to castrate cattle.

“The more he talked, the more enthusiastic he got,” Barry wrote. “Finally he got down on the bar floor to demonstrate his technique. He was down there for several minutes. I squatted next to him, taking notes and becoming increasingly faint. I was very grateful when he finished. (His conclusion was: ‘And then you throw them in a bucket.’)”

Schweitzer also gave Barry and Jeff Greenfield official Montana governor belt buckles. What? No bolo ties?

Here was Barry’s conclusion: “Governor Schweitzer is leaving office in January; if we don’t elect this man, at bare minimum, president of the United States, we are even stupider than I think we are.”

Exactly what Schweitzer has in mind for his post-governor years is anyone’s guess. He alludes to wanting to do more fishing and whiskey drinking, but we all know he’s up to something big. Time will tell.

He’s always been a showman. I remember going on one of his bus trips to Canada with a load of senior citizens to point out how much cheaper they could buy prescription drugs over the border. His mom passed out cookies. That was some 10 years ago and he already was a consummate politician.

I only hope we don’t have to sit through the castration demonstration the next time he’s in town.

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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