No, I don’t mean the legislature. That’s a bouquet of roses compared to what his real good friend, Brian Schweitzer, gave him:
Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer is leaving the pending request for clemency from a Canadian citizen on death row for new Gov. Steve Bullock.
Schweitzer left office Monday without taking any action on the case. The former governor told the Associated Press that his replacement has all the paperwork necessary to evaluate the case.
The Montana Parole Board recommended last year that Ronald A. Smith be denied clemency. Smith is asking for life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of the death sentence he now faces.
Smith argues his original 1983 trial for shooting two Blackfeet cousins was botched.
Bullock did not immediately have comment on the case Tuesday. The former attorney general until last week led the office that is defending Smithâ€™s conviction and death sentence.
So here you have a newly elected Democrat governor placed squarely in the crosshairs of one of Montana’s most controversial issues – the death penalty – in a case that divided typically liberal constituencies: The bleeding-heart, anti-death penalty advocates and the tribes who are demanding the ultimate punishment for the murders of two of their own.
During the campaign last year, Steve came out half-heartedly in favor of the culling the gene pool:
“Democrat Steve Bullock, who is the stateâ€™s chief legal official as attorney general whose office represents the state in death penalty appeals, said, â€œIn limited circumstances, I personally support the death penalty.â€
Although support for the death penalty is not as strong as it once was, a majority of Montanans still believe there are cases that call out for removing certain scum from the planet. The families of Harvey Mad Man and Thomas Running Rabbit definitely feel that way about Canadian citizen, Ronald Allen Smith. Smith has been enjoying the hospitality of the Montana Department of Corrections since 1982 and has admitted that he would prefer to continue with his present living arrangements rather than moving on to his eternal reward/punishment, whichever. (What do you want to bet he doesn’t think the odds of “reward” are in his favor?). Now 55, Smith could look forward to many more years at the expense of Montana taxpayers.
So, what’s a newly minted governor to do? Either way he goes, he creates a political sound bite that can and will be used against him in future campaigns. Wowser.
That Schweitzer – what a friend, huh? Always thinking of his own political future:
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, in Washington to headline the Gridiron Dinner [Ed. note, last month], told CNN on Sunday that itâ€™s too early to discuss 2016, but then teased, â€œIâ€™m governor of Montana until January. At that point, Iâ€™ll no longer have a governorâ€™s mansion. I wonâ€™t have a driver. I wonâ€™t have security. So Iâ€™ll have a little time on my hands. I think I did mention that I have a warm regard for the people of Iowa and New Hampshire.â€
Guess who dodged a lethal injection?