Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tracking the Local Races

Patrick Henry before the Virginia Legislature. . . probably not quite the way it really was.

I haven't tried to do a thread tracking the local races, although I've made some comments on them from time to time in individual threads.  I can no longer avoid that, although I'm not going to dwell on it all that much for a variety of reasons.

U.S. House Race 2016

This is the big local race this year and we've seen a lot of candidates contest for it in the GOP.  The number is declining a bit, as the relocated Idaho veterinarian Rammel dropped out, thankfully.  He endorsed Cheyenne attorney Smith when he did, whom I know little about.  Fewer are contesting in the Democratic Party.

Yesterday debates were held here in town, but I didn't go, as I have to work.  The Tribune ran some commentary on it today.

As we already know, Liz Cheney is ahead in the polls in this race at something like 20%.  The appeal of Cheney is more or less lost on me as she moved back into the state so recently, and that was a topic in the debate, and I feel a fair one.  I'm not keen on political dynasties and her relocating from Virginia to here before she took a run at Mike Enzi last election cycle is peculiar.

On stuff I'm tracking (which often the Tribune doesn't really fully cover in these storeis), it looks like Tim Stubson and Leland Christensen have gotten a clue on how detested the idea of transferring public lands to the state are, and they're both backing off that position.  They can only back so far off, but they are backing off.  Christensen may have backed off even more than Stubson at this point.  But they both now are indicating that they do not support the lands going into private hands.  That's a huge positive in the view of most Wyoming voters and its a shame that the GOP didn't wise up on this months ago.  Some of these candidates may not have wised up yet as the Tribune reported that only Stubson and Christensen had reached this point.

Right now, while anything is possible, this is essentially a three way race with Cheney amazingly ahead by quite some margin. The overwhelming majority of Republicans haven't decided yet.

At the debates only two Democrats debated.  I'd thought three were running. The two who debated were Ryan Greene and Charles Hardy.  Hardy in my view needs to get out.

Greene is running as a Wyoming Democrat, and in that he has indicated that he's not opposed to Wyoming's energy industry and in fact works in it.   He's also a supporter of gun rights and keeping the public lands in Federal hands.  Based upon earlier reading on him, he generally fits into the Democratic fold on social issues and would be regarded as liberal there, but he's running right of center on guns and right down the Wyoming highway on public lands.  He's sharp and does reflect the views of a lot of people in the state.

Hardy, in contrast, reflects the left wing delusional nature of Democratic Party that too often skips, jumps and twirls into the race and then goes down in blistering defeat.  There's no point to his race whatsoever other than it serves to demonstrate the way that the ice cold grip of Boomer antiquity has a firm grip on American politics.  Hardy is very left wing, no doubt very nice, and past retirement age and ought to get out.  He defines what most Wyomingites feel defines the Democratic Party and candidates like him hurt the Democrats here.  Go home Charlie.

House District 57

I don't live in House District 57 but this race has featured really spats.  I see quite a few signs for both candidates around town so they both obviously have their supporters.

They would be, of course, Chuck Gray and Ray Pacheco.  I know Pacheco slightly.  Gray is the son of the owner of a series of radio stations including a local one and has been a right wing commentator the last few years.  I've never listened to him, but from what I understand, he's on the hard right wing of the GOP that's stirred up a lot of dissent in recent years.  If what I understand is correct, he'd be in the Tea Party wing of the GOP.

I commented on this recently in this post t he other day:
When I was a young voter, Wyoming had political parties.  And by that, I mean rational political parties.  There was a large, rational, Republican Party and a smaller, but actually viable, and rational, Democratic Party.  You could be a member of either and not be ashamed of it.  Indeed, you could and would have friends in the other party and you weren't embarrassed for them.

My views, therefore, on this race can be found down there.

House District 56

My house district is open as Tim Stubson has left it to run for the U.S. House.  There are a selection of Republicans running for it and one Democrat, Dan Neal formerly of the Casper Star Tribune.

Neal is running wisely on public lands issues, indicating that he doesn't support a transfer.  He is running on the solid left on social issues.  I don't know what all the positions of the GOP candidates are but I do know that Jerry Obermuller, a retired accountant, is running to the right on social issues but also opposing land transfers.  I'm favoring Obermuller over his opponents in the primary.

Commentary followup:  August 4, 2016

Long serving Fremont County Senator Eli Bebout has been faced with an ethics charge filed by four citizens whom the Star Tribune describes as "conservative".  One of those citizens ran on the Wyoming Constitution Party ticket for public office recently, and I'd generally regard members of that party as far to the right.  The charge entails a claim that Bebout benefited vicariously from the efforts of the Abandoned Mine Lands funds although he notes there was no vote to directly spend money on behalf of a company that he owned.  Those filing the charges maintain he should have abstained voting.

Bebout faces no opposition in the primary but does face Democrat Chesie Lee in the general election.

I don't know any of the details of the ethics complaint, but the association that it apparently has with individuals who are far to the political right causes me concerns. We've seen a run of similar things lately that commenced while Cindy Hill, who was on the Tea Party end of things, was Wyoming's Secretary of Education.  Since that time certain far right conservatives have used the courts to target things they haven't liked, something that conservatives otherwise generally accuse liberals of doing.

Bebout is one of those Wyoming Republicans who was originally a Democrat and he ran in 1986 for Governor on the Democratic ticket.  He switched, like many of the older Democrats of that era, to the Republican Party during the Clinton Presidency.

Commentary followup:  August 6, 2016

Commentary followup:  August 8, 2016

The House race is not only heating up, it's getting to feature some hostility.

Included in the attacks that Liz Cheney has been facing are those noting that her connection with Wyoming may be somewhat thin.  Leland Christenson did that in this video on his Facebook page that was recently sent to me:

Some would regard this as a bit of foul play in the Wyoming context, but it raises a legitimate point. For a state that's so proud of its own traditions, some would even say provincial, Wyoming has often relied on imported folks for our representation in Washington DC.  Early on that made a lot of sense, but a person has to ask if it still does.  Currently, for example, Senator John Barasso is an import.  Barbara Cubin, who was in the house prior to our current, and retiring Congressman Cynthia Loomis, was from California originally.  Her father, it should be noted, was from Nebraska but did grow up partially in Casper and graduated from NCHS.

Liz Cheney was born in Madison Wisconsin but she grew up partially in Casper, attending grade school and junior high here.  She graduated high school in Virginia.  Is she a Wyomingite? Well, that can certainly be debated.  Unlike Barasso and Cubin she has not had a long period of recent residence here that proceeded her declaration that she was running for an office.

That may be what makes her uniquely vulnerable to this sort of criticism.  We've had a lot of politicians who moved in here for various reasons, and then ran for office, but in her case it looks like she moved in to move run for office.  Her last name, which she's retained in her married life, is of course a famous one, but not necessarily a universally admired one.  She's extremely well funded.  It'll be interesting to see if these factors, amongst others, carry the day over her opponents Stubson and Christenson whose Wyoming connections are genuine.

Commentary:  August 10, 2016

A couple of interesting items.

First, Bill Sniffen, the columnist for the Casper Journal, has come out today in an article and predicted that Cheney will win in the election by a nose.  He places, to my surprise, Leland Christensen in second place with nearly as many votes as Cheney, and Stubson just behind Christensen. For reasons I'm not really aware of, I've been assuming that Stubson was running in a distant second place to Cheney right now, but maybe not.

Sniffen, whose views I respect, would have a combined total for Christensen and Stubson at nearly double of those that he predicts Cheney will take, in which case Stubson and Christensen are defeating each other but not Cheney.  If one dropped out, the other would therefore likely win.  Perhaps they should consider that.

Sniffen clearly wrote his piece prior to Rammel, the Idaho ex-pat, dropping out as he has him finishing last, behind Smith. So maybe there's some wiggle room in there, although I wouldn't be so sure. 

I would note that in trips around the state I have been surprised to see a lot of Christensen signs.  Around here you see a lot more Stubson signs, but then this is Stubson's home turf.  I'm seeing Stubson and Cheney ads on television.

The support for Cheney in some quarters really surprises me given her think connection with the state, as I've already noted.  Both Stubson and Christensen are trying to emphasize that in their campaigns.

On the Democratic side, a flap has broken out over invitations to a post primary party to be held for Democratic candidate Greene in Laramie County after he wins the Democratic primary.  Charles Hardy, who lives in Laramie County, is crying foul as the use of the state's Democratic Party symbol in suggests, he claims that the Democratic Party is working to defeat his campaign.

If it isn't, and no doubt it isn't, it should be.  Hardy's campaign is delusional.  It serves optimistically to emphasizes the rebirth of a local Democratic Party that's really a Wyoming party, in the form of Greene.  Not so optimistically it make the Democrats look like a lame bunch of aging Boomers who are perpetually stuck in 1972.  He has no chance whatsoever and ought to drop out so that Greene can focus on the general election prior to the Republicans nominating their candidate, which might give the underdog Greene a bit of a chance.  It's unlikely that Greene can win, but it's impossible for Hardy to win.  The fact that he doesn't seem to grasp that makes him all the more unqualified to run.

The Democrats have said that Hardy can use the symbol too, so there's no big conspiracy.  They also organized the reception for Greene before Hardy time traveled out of 1972 to announce his bid for 2016, so there was nothing conspiratorial at work.  Too bad.

Finally, the Tribune endorsed Pacheco for House District 57.

Commentary followup:  August 12, 2016

The Tribune is reporting today that an autodialing, i.e., electronic call with no live person on the other end, is making the rounds amongst Wyoming GOP voters. The call backs Cheney.

Such calls are illegal in Wyoming and the Cheney campaign has denied responsibility for the calls.    A push poll in her favor, which is legal, is also being conducted, and her campaign denies being behind those.

The denials are likely genuine, but with the huge out of state financial backing she has, something like this is nearly inevitable.  It will be interesting to see who is behind these and these bring into focus that her backers have vast financial resources and a desire to see her win.

Locally, Tim Stubson is running television advertisements. We're seeing  a fair number of those, but not as many as we're seeing for Liz Cheney.  Running up to the August 16 Primary date (yes, next Tuesday) we're probably going to be seeing a lot of this.

Commentary followup:  August 13, 2016

The Tribune, in its last edition prior to Tuesday's primary election, endorsed Greene for the House in the Democratic Party and, to my real surprise, Cheney in the GOP.

I'm surprised by Cheney as, by the Tribune's own admission, she has no legislative experience and she also holds that the Federal government should transfer its lands to Wyoming, which the overwhelming majority of Wyomingites are opposed to. So shy does the Tribune think Cheney would be good for the state when she's both green and holds a major unpopular view?

Basically it comes down to her other experience and her influence.


I think the Tribune laid an egg with this one.

I can't see a good reason to elect somebody as the candidate when we know that they don't agree with us, and then expect them to change their views. And while I agree that a  Cheney is likely to have more influence than a Stubson or a Christensen, even the Tribune concedes that our House member is one of 400 something, so she's not going to be starting off titanically influential.

I'd prefer Christensen or Stubson as the candidate myself, and of those two (and I wish only one were running, as they're effectively helping Cheney by there being two) I'd prefer Stubson.

On Cheney, her folks were at the door yesterday.  I failed to question them on the public lands matter, which I regret, but as they were from just up the block I was a lot less blunt on my views than I'd normally be (at age 53, I've quit being reserved in the presentation of my views).  I was amazed, however, by the argument they brought up with no prompting from me that its not true that Cheney's connections with Wyoming are thin as, they told me, her parents, not her but her parents, graduated from a Casper high school.


She didn't.

Stubson grew up in Wyoming.  I'm not sure what Christensen's background is.

They also pointed out that she lives in Wilson and her parents live in Jackson.

That too is an odd argument, mostly pointing out that her family has vast sums of money.  I couldn't afford to relocate from Virginia to Wilson, and neither could you.  That seems to emphasize once again that she's not really one of us.  Probably very few people who live in my neighborhood could afford to move to Wilson.

As for Hardy and Greene, I tried to look up his actual positions on things and failed on some of them, so I should reserve my judgment in this race.  Maybe his positions would dovetail with mine on some things, I just don't know.  I do know that he received the endorsement of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, to my surprise.  He's also associated himself with the now defunct Sanders campaign, so he at least was trying to partially mold his campaign into the Sanders image.

Commentary followup:  August 15, 2016

Rand Paul yesterday endorsed Leland Christensen.  The Libertarian did so based, as we'd of course expect, based on an analysis of the issues from his prospective.

Paul made the odd statement that it's a "two way" race right now, which it certainly is not.  At least right now, I'd expect Stubson to out poll Christensen, but perhaps that's because I'm in central Wyoming where support for Stubson is strong.  You see a lot of Cheney signs everywhere.

If you are in Natrona County Wyoming, you may wish to consult the Where Do I Vote page on the County's website.  Every school polling place in Casper has been removed due to security concerns which I think to be, frankly, a bit overblown. A lot of people will end up voting at the Industrial Building at the Fairgrounds, thereby making what were local polling places one giant one.  I also feel that if the schools were not to be used, surely some other building was available rather than send us all of to the fair, which is distant for a lot of us.

Commentary followup:  August 16, 2016

Wyoming's primary election day

Okay, because it was in fact election day here, and we'll be narrowing the field for the Fall, I wasn't going to post.

I was particularly not going to do so as I recently posted a long, actually on topic, post, regarding horses in the Punitive Expedition.  And I've been over posting recently anyhow.

But then, after I'd already read my electronic copy of the Tribune, the paper edition arrived at my door (the paper guy must wonder about the Manx Guard Cat there every morning, but that's another story).

Stuck to the Tribune was this:


I thought Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney, our former Congressman who went on to be a controversial VP, whose connections with Wyoming are thinner than her current major competitors, was running for Congress.  Not traffic cop on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now, okay, I know what this sticker is supposed to mean, but what it brings to mind is the old police series Hill Street Blues.  That series started off every episode with the policemen being briefed and the briefing officer was say "Be safe out there."

Well, Be smart out there.

It has been argued to me that Cheney will have more influence than Stubson or Christensen, because of her family's connections back in D.C.  Indeed, the Tribune argued that. But if she doesn't reflect us well, and the Tribune admits that she's a complete non fit on public lands, which really matter to us, so what?  We want her to represent us, not a narrow selection of interest on issues like that which would, quite frankly, wreck the state.

Be smart out there.

Indeed, let's be honest and smart on things in general.

The Tribune picked up on something I've posted on here a lot, which is the fantasy of a "war on coal" that all of the GOP candidates spout.  Bull.

As the Tribune stated, "there is no war on coal, unless natural gas started it".  As some GOP pundits said several elections ago, "It's the economy stupid".

It is, the energy economy moved on from coal and its not coming back. And as we read here recently, in petroleum extraction, technology has reduced the need for hands, and when that comes back, to the extent it does, it's not going to be the employer it was before.  Time to wake up on these things.

And time to be honest.

The GOP and the Democrats are in real trouble nationally as they keep lying to the population, and the base of both parties is hopping mad. Well, leading people on about the energy sector fits right into this.  It ain't 1966 anymore.

 A pre World War One British suffrage poster

So, Wyoming voter, don't be handicapped by traditional positions.  Think.  I'm not saying vote liberal, or vote conservative.  I am saying that if you have exclusively hard left or hard right views, you ought to re-think them.  Because if your views fit completely into the hard edge of one of the parties, you either aren't thinking them through, or you are sort of a political freak of nature.  And assuming its the former, and not the latter, your chances of being taken advantage of are high.

I'm also saying that if you are adopting views that are fed straight through, without pondering them, by organizations that have a peculiar interest in these topics, you should reconsider them as well.  If you are simply accepting the views of people sponsored by The Wyoming Liberty Group that came to you via radio or op-eds, rethink them.  Are their interests really yours?  If you believe that Common Core is bad because some right wing organization says so, rethink it. Why is it bad?  If you think that same gender marriage is nifty because it's "progressive", where is it progressing to and how does that relate to a state of nature?  If you can't answer those questions, maybe you ought not to vote at all.  If you don't really know when life beings and aren't going to err on the side of life, are you a conscientious voter?

Voting is serious business. Think.

Commentary followup:  August 17, 2016

Well, the local results are in. And as in most instances, the primaries determine who will win in the Fall, as the Democrats are rarely competitive here, this race determines who has won (for the most part) in the election itself.

Elizabeth Cheney, in spite of her thin connections to the state, won the House contest for the Republicans and will go on to be our Representative after the general election. This is a real shame, as the two  members of the Wyoming Legislature who were opposing her were better candidates and grasped the seriousness of the public lands issue.  So Wyoming will send another non native to Congress who already is in opposition to what most Wyomingites think. Why did the electorate do it?

That's a good question, and its notable that Wyomingites, in spite of being quite provincial in their views, have very often turned to imports for their Congressional representation.  Right now two out of the three people Wyoming has sent back to Washington hail from somewhere else.

In this case, of course, name recognition had a lot to do with it as Wyoming has remained sort of perversely proud of Dick Cheney, the Nebraskan we sent to Congress years ago who went on to be VP.  That name recognition counted for a lot and overcame Cheney's other detriments to a large extent.  As Wyoming virtually never tosses out an incumbent, Liz Cheney probably has a seat for life, but she probably also has higher aims than being Congressman from a state that she hasn't lived in, until recently, since her teenage years.

Of course it should be noted that Cheney came in with 40% of the vote.  More people voted against her, than for her.  Smith did surprisingly well with 15% coming in a respectable fourth.  Christensen came in second with about 20% of the vote, and Stubson third with the remainder.  If the three contestants hadn't split the vote against her, Cheney may not have won, although its a little difficult to tell where Smith's votes would have gone.  Anyhow, Cheney advances with 60% of Wyoming voters having opted for somebody else.

Stubson, it should be noted, did take his native county, Natrona.  But only barely.  And frankly, if you only barely take your home county, your campaign was in real trouble.  That shows, I suppose, Cheney's strength in the GOP.

The results would seem to present an opportunity for Greene, who blasted by the hapless and clueless Charlie Hardy's quixotic and hopefully final campaign.  But it won't.  Greene has no chance against Cheney given Greene's left wing social views and Democratic Party membership.  He may have a vital role in correcting Cheney's privatizing land instincts.

A person has to wonder what would occur if the Democrats could actually encourage a known and respected Democrat to run. What would occur, for example, in a contest between Liz Cheney and Dave Freudenthal?  Or Cheney and Mike Sullivan (who is likely too old to run at this point)?

Would that there were a third option who actually reflected Wyoming's views. And would that Wyoming voters would look more seriously at some of these issues, rather than so easily accept the pablum that they tend to be fed about "wars" waged by Washington, when in reality we're ignored more than we're consciously oppressed.

In other elections we've tracked, Chuck Gray, a real right winger, defeated Ray Pacheco.  This is unfortunate as Gray is far too right to be a successful legislator in my view.  In positive news, however, Jerry Obermuller, a really good candidate in House District 56, took that contest by a large margin in spite of a low key campaign.  A retired accountant and political moderate, he will be an able replacement for Stubson in the legislature.

Overall results, for the County, are listed on its website.

Commentary followup:  August 18, 2016

The Tribune today ran a headline and a following article on Cheney's "strategy" being better than her opponents. Reading the article, the strategy was, according to the Tribune; 1) not running against an incumbent; 2) having lots of money; 3) having that Cheney recognizable name and 4) that the other parties split their efforts of every type against her.

I didn't cover all of those here before today, but did some.  No surprise.

Commentary followup:  August 22, 2016

In a really surprising event, Rosie Berger, who was likely to be Speaker of the House in the upcoming session, lost her primary bid.

An incumbent loosing  her spot is rare in Wyoming, let alone one slated for an important position.  I have no idea why this occurred, but it is not only rare, but a bit startling.

Commentary followup:  August 26, 2016 

The Democratic Greene campaign has challenged the GOP Cheney campaign to direct debates.

According to the Tribune, the Greene challenges have gone unanswered up until the Greene campaign made them public, at which time the Cheney campaign spokesman released this written reply to the Tribune; "We look forward to debating Mr. Greene so he can explain why Wyoming shouldn't turn its single seat in the House of Representatives over to the Party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and their policies that would be so destructive to the state of Wyoming and Wyoming families."

Hmmm, snarky snarky.

Greene has stated that Cheney, who received less than half of the GOP vote in a crowded field, has been challenged on her residency but not on her positions.  There may be something to that.  Indeed, while I think Greene's chances are extremely poor, both because he is a Democrat and because he is in the Democratic mainstream on social issues, but not on gun issues, he may turn out to be a bit of a handful for Cheney to some extent.  I frankly hope so, as even though I'm sure Cheney will win she needs to be given a titanic dope slap on some issues.  She's been feeding the public the GOP pablum about a "war on coal", which is absurd, and he has drank the minority Utah Madness Koolaide on transferring Federal lands to the state.  And frankly she does appear to be a carpetbagger that 60% of Republicans didn't want.

Commentary followup:  September 14, 2016

So, this thread goes silent for nearly three weeks as not much is happening, when all of a sudden a legislator says something amazing.  Amazingly stupid in this case.

Representative Gerald Gay, who is somewhat of a gadfly anyway, and who is already mentioned in this thread and blog, came out and stated that the gender gap in pay is due to women's workplace behavior.


More specifically, Gay related it to their taking advantage, as a gender, of maternity leave and sick pay.  Gay made these comments in an interview by Kerry Drake for something called Better Wyoming, which I'm not familiar with, but they then circulated rapidly.  The Star Tribune followed up and Gay actually amplified them, amazingly enough.  They display a view of women in the workplace that reads like something from a century ago.

I'll refer readers to those publications, in part because the Tribune's comments come in pdf form but not in a way that's easily capable of being copied and there's just too darned much. Suffice it to say Gay, who sued Governor Mead earlier this year, is rapidly evolving from right wing to something else, and that something else isn't something most in the Equality State can get behind.  Some of his comments in both publications, according to the Tribune, apparently were:
Women are always going to take their full maternity leave, and there’s the dependability issue about whether they’re going to show up for things,
 * * *
"They look at how many sick days you get in a year,” he said. “Say you get 12 sick days a year. If they go for two years and they’ve only taken three sick days, they’re going to cash in the remaining 21 sick days. That’s a gender thing and it hurts getting [the gender wage gap] rectified. Some of the misuses and abuses that go on there, and it’s predictable, it’s statistics that are written in stone. As long as you have people who behave differently on it between the two genders, it hurts the chances of getting that gender wage gap shrunk all the way down. We’ll make small progress on it, but they won’t make it [go away.]”
Here's a doosy:
“Women in the workforce traditionally take a disproportionate amount of their sick days off for other reasons than sick days,” he said. “They take Junior to the hospital or go see Johnny’s soccer game.”

Gay is running for reelection this year.  He did loose his seat to a Democratic contender once before, and then regained it.  Given his comments, I really think the GOP Legislature would be well advised to censure him when the Legislature next sits, and the party itself ought to boot him, assuming that he regains reelection.  His comments are a gift to his Democratic opponent who commented:
“That attitude is kind of a '50s attitude, when a mom’s job was to stay at home, barefoot and pregnant,” she said. “I think it was insulting to women, and it just appalls me to think there’s somebody out there who thinks women aren’t dependable workers because they’re women. I’m not sure he ever looked at the fact that we have so many families where both of the husband and wife have to work. The cost of childcare is horrendous. They’re balancing trying to go to work, paying for child care.”
I think his opponent, Debbie Bovee, a retired teacher, is mischaracterizing the 1950s quite frankly (as so often is the case), but if she'd said that his attitudes fit better in the world of 1916, rather than 2016, I'd agree.

Commentary followup, September 15, 2016

The AFL-CIO endorsed Ryan Greene, the Democratic candidate for Congress.

In contemporary Wyoming, this endorsement frankly doesn't mean a great deal, but it is noteworthy.  It's likely that any Democratic candidate would receive it, and to some extent, except for the unions membership (and here many will ignore the endorsement) it could even hurt Greene a bit.

Commentary followup, September 16, 2016

Sometimes the national news becomes local.

That's what's occurred with the leak of former Secretary of State Colin Powell's email.  Powell let loose pretty freely with his opinions, including his opinions on the Cheney's, whom he called "idiots" in regards to a book that they released some time ago.  The comment might be somewhat nuanced in that it reflected to the release of the book, which he expected to flop.  I frankly haven't heard of the book in awhile, so perhaps that's what occurred.

The Tribune's article, I'll note, contained the common error of claiming that the Cheney's are "from Wyoming".  They are not.  Dick Cheney is from Nebraska, not Wyoming, although he did live here in his teenage years.  Liz Cheney was born in Madison Wisconsin, but grow up here, although she graduated from high school in Virginia and lived there for many years.

Republicans are sensitive to this, and it plays into the strong nativist sentiments that many, including myself, have in this region.  A lot of born and raised Wyomingites, like myself, are quick to point out just what I did, none of which has stopped all sorts of things from being named after Dick Cheney around here.  For example, Natrona County High School's stadium, which as been there since the Great Depression, was renamed Cheney Stadium for some reason some years ago.  At the same time, however, a GOP booster who came to the door during the primary was quick to point out to me that Liz Cheney is "from Wyoming" as her parents graduated from the local high school and her kids participate in rodeo, a really strained argument.

That may or may not really matter.  Wyoming has an extremely long history of sending non natives to Congress, but it's interesting to note that there is a misconception there.

Commentary, September 18, 2016

We learned yesterday, from the Tribune, that the Cheney campaign has refused the Greene campaigns request for five debates.

No reason was given, she has agreed to one debate, but chances are that her campaign fears that the more exposure Greene has the more serious of candidate he appeaers to voters. Right now, his campaign his hampered by comparative low funds.

Greene is a candidate that has a mix of issues in which he's in line with the national Democratic party, such as most social issues, but is out of sync with them on some others, like gun control. As he is from Wyoming and is running on the public land issue to some extent, Cheney may have some reason to wish to limit the voter's exposure to him.  Except on issues like gay marriage and abortion, where he's weak (and seriously weak, that makes voters who value these issues seriously out of his running), he may align more closely with Wyomingites than Cheney.

On other news, the Tribune came out with a Sunday editorial calling Gerald Gay "unfit" for office, based on his recent comments, which are noted above.

Commentary, September 20, 2016

The Wyoming Mining Association endorsed Liz Cheney.

This creates the interesting situation that, to at least a minor extent, industry if for Cheney and labor for Greene, if the endorsements carry much weight with their members.

Commentary, September 22, 2016

Natrona County's GOP came out and criticized Natrona County GOP house member and candidate Gerald Gay over his recent sexist statements. Virtually no one has come to Gay's support, which is hardly surprising.

October 8, 2016

The degree to which infighting remains an issue, albeit a declining one, in the State's GOP was revealed again this week when an effort broke out to censure a selection of GOP members in Laramie County over their endorsement of Kym Zwonitzer's write in campaign over GOP candidate Anthony Bouchard.

Now, GOP members endorsing a write in campaign against a person who won a primary is, of course, extraordinary, but in this case two of the people backing Kym Zwonitzer are her husband and son, both of whom have been politically active in Laramie County.  Moreover there's good evidence that Bouchard only won due to the insanity of the first pass the post system.

Bouchard pulled in five more votes, that's right, five against David Zwonitzer, one of the Zwonitzers endorsing Mrs. Zwonitzer.  The third place finisher was behind by about 60 votes.

Pretty darned close.

Now, the Zwonitzers aren't the only ones who backed Mrs. Zwonitzer.  There were others, and the GOP down there is considering censuring all of them.  But those backing Zwonitzer are cognizant that Bouchard reflects a type of Republican view that can only exist in the vacuum of the rural West, and only there as long as they aren't given a test.  He's extremely right wing and indeed has been the head of a group that claims the NRA is too soft on the Second Amendment, a view so extreme that it would likely result in the Second Amendment not being taken seriously anywhere.

That's fine, if that's a person's view, but the fact of the matter is that views like this are so extreme that when they escape the state's boundaries, or at least those of the Rocky Mountain West, the flop on the sidewalk of public discourse like fish out of water before they die a ghastly death and in the process they make Conservatism, which has deep intellectual roots, look vapid and shallow.  To some extent this sort of thing makes one recall the U.S. government's brilliant conclusion to Red Cloud's War, taking the chiefs to Washington D. C.  That is, maybe folks like Bouchard, who have radical views on almost everything, should take a trip through the political zones where those views can't get any sort of airing and them come back and ponder that.  Certainly, it would seem, folks backing the Zwonitzers have.

One of those folks has given the middle finger salute to those who would censure her, pointing out it has no effect at all.  And indeed, it does not.  But, by the same token, we have to wonder if the GOP in Laramie County is going to censure the Zwonitzers for oppoing Bouchard, should it elsewhere censure Gerald Gay for insulting the work ethics of women in general?

On Gay, the Tribune recently reported on a press conference he held noting that city counsel candidate Todd Murphy were there supporting him.  Murphy reacted immediately with a "oh no, I'm not, I just wanted to hear what he had to say" and the Tribune was generous enough to correct itself.  But frankly it does raise questions about Murphy.  Politics is a game that has to be played carefully and showing up at a Gay event, right now, does indeed suggest support.

Added to that, Murphy is one of those candidates that is using a bright red sign this year for a campaign sign.  Nearly all the candidates doing that, at least here, are on the far right of the GOP.  Rummel, the relocated Idahoan veterinarian, used a bright red sign.  Chuck Gray uses one as well, and he's on the far right.  It may be mere coincidence, but  it's hard not to draw that assumption this year.  Liz Cheney, on the other hand, uses a blue sign.  And for that I'll applaud here, as the weird reversal of colors in the US, where red means conservative, is indeed odd, at least in an historical context.

October 17, 2016

The extremity of some positions this year has now come down all the way to the city council race level, as the Tribune ran snippets of candidate Todd Murphy's  Facebook comments in today's edition.

I'm not going to repeat them, but they're vile.

Murphy was one of the GOP candidates who showed up at Gerald Gay's attempt to pour oil on the troubled waters caused by his comments about women. The Tribune noted that at the time, and Murphy then came right in and stated that his mere presence didn't indicate support for Gay, only that he wanted to hear what he had to say.  He's taking a similar position now on his own Facebook comments, backing away from them and stating that they don't really reflect his beliefs.

Well, a person probably ought to be held accountable for calling people Nazis and Communists, even if you really don't mean it.

And that's party of the problem we have in politics right now.  It's become increasingly common to tolerate really absurd name calling and accusations over the past decade or so, maybe longer, and so it should be no surprise that we see this sort of conduct at all levels.  People need to be held accountable for things of this type, at least in some fashion.  A censure, at a bare minimum, is in order.

And, as an aside this reinforces my earlier observation that, at least locally, signs that are in bright red tend to indicate that the GOP candidate using them is really extreme.  Lots of GOP candidates aren't using the bright red sign here, whether by design or accident, but those who do seem to uniformly be of a certain mindset.

Finally, I don't know how it occurred that people started hating their government.  Conservatives of prior eras did not hate their government.  Now many seem to.  I suppose in comparison many extreme left wing people of the 60s and 70s seemed to hate the government as well.  Disagreeing with the government is one thing, hating it is quite another.

October 19, 2016

Oh, you knew it was coming.

The absolute rule of thumb in Democratic politics in Wyoming is that once it looks like a candidate really has a chance, he or she hauls off and says something stupid.

In this case, Greene, candidate for the House, who last week said neither Presidential candidate, said he'd vote for Clinton even though he doesn't like her stand on guns and energy.


He didn't have to say anything at all, and he shouldn't have.  Now he's tied himself to Clinton, and his race is over.

Not that there weren't so many problems that he was likely to fail anyhow.  A Democrat in a Republican state, and fully aligned with the Democrats on abortion and undefined marriage, social conservatives couldn't vote for him anyway.  But individuals who were close to using public lands as their most significant issue will walk, no run, away from him in droves.

Democrats in Wyoming, the party of political suicide.

October 20, 2016

The  sole debate of the 2016 campaign for house, for the general election, was held at Casper College tonight.

Not a terribly impressive debate.

Neither of the two main party candidates shined in the debate.  The Libertarian candidate appeared clueless and the Constitutional Party Candidate came across every poorly, to say the least.  I think his shining moment was when he went after Social Security. . .yeah. . ., like that's going to get you votes.


All in all, no surprises and there was very little effort on anyone's part to go after big issues.  Cheney accused Greene of supporting Clinton and Sanders, which hardly is a rip roaring debate moment.  She flubbed when she accused Green of getting "to go to work for her father's company" as Green fired right back that her father got her a job in the State Department.  The topics of public lands, abortion, same gender marriage, where they have real differences, were never brought up.

Cheney appeared  the most comfortable in the debate but Greene, while, well, green, did not do horribly.  The Libertarian guy could have just gone home and the Constitutional Party candidate did best before the camera ever appeared on him, after which he dropped like a rock.

October 21, 2016

A keen observer of this debate commented to me that third party candidates like those are what keeps third parties from become major parties.

I can't disagree.

November 3, 2016

For the first time ever, in my memory, we are receiving floods of local mail on a single local race.  My house district race.

I can't ever remember receiving mail every day on a state house race, but we are now. And all from the same candidate, the Democratic candidate for our house seat.

And they're slick documents too.

But there are so man. At some point, getting so many, makes you start to wonder.

And as if getting one every single day wasn't a bit excessive, now we're getting ones in favor of the same candidate from something called "Forward Wyoming". For those of a long historical memory they might recall that "Forward" was the name of a Communist journal back way back when.  An unfortunate association, if ever there was one. And using "forward" suggest there's some place we need to go, which of course is what "progressives" seem to believe, but there's never any definition of exactly where we are going, and when we are there. Will somebody let us know when we arrive?

Anyhow, it's a bit much.

November 3, 2016, addendum

With  less than a week to go, incumbent Casper city councilman Scott Miller has withdrawn from the race for his Ward 2 seat.

That is cutting it a bit close.

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