“In politics, it doesn’t matter what the facts are, it matters what the perceptions are. It is the way you frame it.” Brian Schweitzer, Montana Governor
Governor Brian Schweitzer, well-known around Montana for his hard-drinking and overly flirtatious behavior recently used a tax revenue press conference to publicly criticize Montana’s legislators. Citing Department of Revenue data indicating that wholesale liquor sales increase in Helena during the biennial legislative session, Schweitzer appeared to place that blame solely on the legislators. “These are the ones who are the biggest boozers” said Schweitzer.
In a session already expected to be contentious, the comments aren’t sitting well with Montana’s lawmakers. “That is outrageous. We work very hard,” said Dave Lewis, a Helena Republican who has worked in one capacity or another around the Capitol for decades. Considering the number of lobbyists and legislative staff in Helena for the session, it is ridiculous to blame the liquor sales spike on only the 150 elected lawmakers. Legislators make significant sacrifices to serve in Montana’s 90 day session living away from their families and being paid only minimally.
Hallmark mechanisms of alcoholism and other addictions are the use of projection and a tendency to blame others. Recognizing and owning one’s problems is key to recovery. Perhaps Governor Schweitzer is hiding his own chemical dependency issues by projecting his faults on to his adversaries. I have personally witnessed on numerous occasions, excessive “boozing” by Brian Schweitzer himself and his behavior is certainly not becoming of the office he holds. In the past, Schweitzer has criticized legislators for eating “thick steaks and old whiskey” compliments of lobbyists. No word on who buys the beef and spirits for the governor.