Democrats are struggling in Montana. Last week, Sen. John Walsh ended his campaign for a full Senate term after it was revealed that he had plagarized his Army War College thesis, and state Democrats will hold a special nominating convention to replace him this weekend. Brian Schweitzer, the state's popular former governor, isn't coming to the rescue.
Enter Change.org and its petition with well over 1,000 signatures to "encourage Jeff Bridges, Park County Resident, to run for the Montana U.S. Senate."
The petition, organized by Lizbeth Pratt of Billings, is to the point:
Jeff is a great person. He has loved Montana and all it represents since he first set up residence in Park County four decades ago. He has great name recognition! Charisma! Brains! He's internationally renowned, but he is also highly accessible. We need The Dude to be Montana's next U.S. Senator!
"I agree with Mr. Bridges social priorities," writes one petitioner. "The Dude abides!" writes another. "This man is intelligent and thoughtful, a true paragon of the human race," signs a petitioner from Bozeman. "Facial Hair," a man from Billings concisely comments.
Bridges and his wife, Susan, are big Democratic donors, so it's reasonable to assume that the political interest is there. But unfortunately for fans of The Dude (or his Tron character, who knows), this just isn't going to become a reality. For one thing, according to the Montana Secretary of State Office, Bridges isn't even registered to vote in the state (although he does own property in Paradise Valley). For another, Bridges himself told Howard Stern on Monday that his wife, who Bridges called "Mrs. Senator," is against the idea.
Alas, we haven't yet reached the stage of American politics where a high-profile Change.org petition trumps a primary or nominating convention.
But there's still another hope, not including, you know, the actual Democrats likely to stop in at Saturday's convention. Michael Keaton — Batman, Beetlejuice, and Democratic donor — actually lives in Montana. And to get him to show up, state Democrats may not even need thousands of Change.org petitioners. You just have to say his name three times.