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June 19, 2014 12:50 PM Schweitzer Talks His Way Out of the 2016 Field

By Ed Kilgore

I’ve never been bullish on the presidential viability of former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, even in the off-chance that Hillary Clinton decides against a 2016 run. His basic problem is that he seems to want to run a Tom Frankish left-bent “populist” crusade against the Clinton-Obama legacy in the Democratic Party without any perceptible base in the demographics that would be necessary to pull of this kind of rebellion. His secondary problem is that he’s taken quite a few positions that deeply offend liberals, such as Second Amendment absolutism and support for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But that’s all academic now, because Schweitzer’s talked himself right out of the 2016 field with a couple of bizarre offensive comments nestled deep in an offbeat profile of the former governor by National Journal’s Marin Cogan. WaPo’s Aaron Blake assesses the damage:

Here’s what Schweitzer told National Journal’s Marin Cogan about Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in a story posted Wednesday:
Schweitzer is incredulous that Feinstein—considered by her critics to be too close to the intelligence community—was now criticizing the (National Security 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!”
Memo to Schweitzer: Yes, that’s the wrong metaphor.
And here he is on the — and we can’t believe we’re typing this — relative femininity of Southern men, in which he actually says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seems gay:
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.”

It’s not easy to lose California and the entire South in a couple of paragraphs, but Schweitzer did just that.

Blake concludes that Schweitzer has “basically no filter.” Maybe that’s it, or maybe he’s decided he’d prefer to be a media “personality” instead of tromping around the country for a couple of years in a quixotic run for president. He has “personality” to spare.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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