Democratic Party

Remember the "Libertarian Democrats"?

Brian Schweitzer prepares a presidential run.

|

The bolo tie espouses Austrian economics.

Today in Slate, Dave Weigel interviews former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who's likely to make a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Schweitzer was beloved by the "libertarian Democrat" crowd back in the Bush years, when the Netroots were looking westward for new approaches to politics. Almost a decade later, the governor is sounding the same notes: anti-war, pro-privacy, in favor of civil liberties, and—this is where the libertarian leanings melt away—generally interventionist on economics. (He does score some points hitting Obama for being a corporatist, but he doesn't seem very interested in anti-statist alternatives.) The Second Amendment doesn't come up in the conversation, but Weigel notes in his intro that Schweitzer has a history of favoring gun rights. (There are some exceptions to that.)

Read the interview and decide for yourself whether Schweitzer meets my old criteria for "How to Be a Half-Decent Democrat." He certainly sounds better than the frontrunner for his party's nomination, not that that's a high bar to clear. Sounds better to me, that is; among Democratic voters, he's polling below 2 percent.