Bracken Hendricks

Recent Articles

A New Prairie Populism

Brian Schweitzer is an agricultural scientist, a gun owner, and a third-generation Montana farmer. He is also a popular Democratic governor of a usually conservative “red” state. Schweitzer likes to joke that he has a rule for himself: If he stays longer than 24 hours in Washington, D.C., he takes a bath in tomato juice when he gets home -- the classic home remedy for the stench of skunk spray. This is pure Schweitzer. The man is not of the elite, and he is not going to be pulled away from his roots. But Schweitzer has a powerful, homegrown, progressive vision of America. In his bid for governor, Schweitzer ran as an unabashed Democrat in a state with a long Republican tradition, and he ran on values: not the narrowly defined moral values of the Christian right, but broadly shared American values of freedom, opportunity, self-reliance, and responsibility to future generations. This stance played out in his treatment of the issues. On the environment, rather than accepting the right's...