Montana Governor and western Democratic poster boy Brian Schweitzer stopped by the Ada County Democrats annual JFK banquet last Tuesday to deliver the local donkeys an impassioned wake-up call--and then some. Schweitzer, a fast-talking political salesman who crosses the passion of Howard Dean with the drama of WWF-era Jessie Ventura, beat his chest about the myriad alternative energy, conservation and social program improvements to take place in our neighbor to the east over the last year. Then--no kidding--he took off his Montana State Seal bolo tie and auctioned it off to the audience to raise funds for gubernatorial hopeful Jerry Brady ($1,500!). Sheesh.
But rather than harvest the cookie-cutter responses from local pundits, we've decided to let Schweitzer speak for himself. He wouldn't want it any other way. Cut this out and put it next to our Quotable George W. Bush and Quotable Dean lexicons from their visits earlier this year, and you've got an instant political dialogue good enough to forge a decent term paper. Enjoy.
On open government: "We have not only open government, but open door. On the first day in office, I invited the press in, I showed them the key to my office, and I threw it away. I told them, 'This door will never be closed.'"
On biodiesel: It just doesn't make sense for farmers to produce wheat, being subsidized by the federal government, shipping that wheat to the Middle East and everywhere else, and meeting boats on the high seas delivering oil."
On the Iraq War: "After Every one of those [soldier's funerals, I recommit myself that we will not buy oil from sheiks and dictators and rats and crooks from all over the world. It's time for us to be energy self-reliant."
On being governor: "There are very few other jobs where you are expected to know for an entire state what's biting, where they're biting and what they're biting on. But I do."
On Plame-gate: "'Scooter?' What kind of a name is 'Scooter' for a man in the White House? Of course he can't keep a secret!"
On coal burning energy: "Here's what you do: Crush it, ignite it, and then you create high pressure steam which turns a turbine. Then, here's the secret: You build a stack, really high, high enough that all the mercury and the sulfur and the carbon dioxide that you can put up that stack goes to somebody else's community."
On the deficit: "I'd like you to look over at your spouse and see if there's a little twinkle in the eye. Because we need more children to pay this thing off. A lot of them."
On the rationale for Iraq: "Democracy in the Middle East? Let me tell you something: You know who our allies are there? Saudi Arabia: king. Kuwait: king. Jordan: king. Amman: king. Bahrain: king. The list goes on. All kings."
On China: "They have coal, and if they burn that coal in the old technology like they want to do right here in the Magic Valley, they will destroy the planet with both mercury and CO2. If we get clean-coal technology right, and we get them that technology, we might be able to save their country and our planet."