Mark Warner? Hillary Clinton? Bring back Brian Schweitzer
Policy speeches are one thing. You can expect a lot of them at any convention. And we've had plenty of them. But is it physically possible to give an energy policy speech and have fun?
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer did the equivalent of summiting Everest for the first time yesterday, getting the crowd to roar while discussing renewable energy.
Sir Edmund Hilary would be proud. (The momentous video is below).
Wearing cowboy boots and a bolo tie, the burly governor from the Big Sky state had people electrified from the get go - including someone who is, well, pretty well known for his speaking prowess - former President Bill Clinton.
Video cameras cut often to the former President -- all smiles -- applauding and laughing at the governor's powerful and entertaining delivery.
His prepared remarks are one thing. But putting him in front of the crowd and letting him rip was another.
"We need all of you to stand up," he yelled. "Colorado! Stand up! Florida! Stand up! Pennsylvania! Get off your hind end! In the cheap seats! Stand up! We want to hear you from Denver to Detroit, from Montana to Mississippi, from California to Carolinas."
He even made the chant "four more years" work. But in a different context than what you would normally hear in a convention.
"Can we afford four more years?" he asked the crowd. "No!" was the thunderous response.
"Is it time for change?" he yelled. On cue from the crowd, "Yes!"
"When do we need it?" raising the decibel level even higher. "Now!" screamed the crowd.
Schweitzer's appearance demonstrated once again that the Obama folks believe this historically red state could be winnable.
NewWestPolitics had a unique take on the speech. The reporter described how she was standing in a basement hallway when Schweitzer began speaking. No one was listening she said. But it didn't take long ...
Pepsi Center workers began to pause at their jobs and hang around the screens. Journalists and political staff did the same. The center of the hall was still a thruway, but now many Schweitzer-watchers leaned on the walls.
When Schweitzer hit one of his winning applause lines or did his twinkly-eyes thing, the housekeeper standing next to me, Lorena, would clap and laugh. “Why didn’t you people nominate HIM?” she wanted to know.
Like President Clinton, vice presidential candidate Joe Biden seem enthralled by the rancher-governor as well:
"When Schweitzer began to shout out the names of the states and called in his high-spirited way for the delegates to stand, the in-house cameras cut to Joe Biden’s face. He looked so amazed and delighted by Schweitzer’s speech that the two young Biden guys looked at each other. “Joe is so loving this,” one said."
The rest of the convention will undoubtedly be interesting. For sheer fun, however, they might want to request Schweitzer do an encore.