His decidedly unpresidential comments on Eric Cantor and Dianne Feinstein have set off a blogosphere storm
Here’s a shocker: Brian Schweitzer will not be the next President of the United States.
If the MSNBC-commentating former Montana governor with low name recognition faced an uphill battle to the Democratic presidential nomination, it’s now become a vertical cliff. The shoot-from-the-hip governor put his foot in his mouth for the umpteenth time in an interview with National Journal’s Marin Cogan published Wednesday night, saying outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sets off his “gaydar,” and crudely questioning Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s commitment to intelligence oversight.
Even without the likely Hillary Clinton candidacy, Democratic operatives have long dismissed Schweitzer—who has said he is weighing a presidential run—as a country side-show, firing wildly on all subjects from his home in Montana, unlikely to run and a sure loser if he did. Like a Chris Christie on steroids, he is refreshingly candid—but without the self-control.
In recent months Schweitzer has become an odd darling of the liberal left for his populist anti-Wall Street positions. He’s been one of the only Democrats willing to front their criticism of the Clintons—something he did just weeks ago to TIME. But even a cursory examination of his recent public statements makes it clear that Schweitzer is not going to be the figure so eagerly sought by Democrats thirsty for a primary challenge to Hillary Clinton. Just this past weekend, he participated in a panel at a summit of Mitt Romney’s former presidential campaign donors, criticizing the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama’s energy policy.
And that was before his comments to Cogan, which show insensitivity to key Democratic constituencies.
Schweitzer is incredulous that Feinstein—considered by her critics to be too close to the intelligence community—was now criticizing the agency. “She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, ‘I’m a nun,’ when it comes to this spying!” he says. Then, he adds, quickly, “I mean, maybe that’s the wrong metaphor—but she was all in!”
Last week, I called him on the night Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his GOP primary. “Don’t hold this against me, but I’m going to blurt it out. How do I say this … men in the South, they are a little effeminate,” he offered when I mentioned the stunning news. When I asked him what he meant, he added, “They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I’m fine with gay people, that’s all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he’s not, I think, so I don’t know. Again, I couldn’t care less. I’m accepting.”
Beyond the substance of his comments, which have already set the blogosphere and Twitter aflame, Schweitzer demonstrates a lack of discipline that is no longer tolerated in American presidential politics—but it’s gold on cable news.