Saturday, September 24, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: Where did Wyoming's political parties go? A lament

Back in July I posted this item:
Where did Wyoming's political parties go? A lament.

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.
Based on the reaction to Gerald Gay everyone is having, perhaps there remains some hope that this era might revive.  Indeed, perhaps there's some hope that it'll start to revive now that Gay's given the system a shock.

I'm seeing a little evidence of it.

The big evidence is what the Billings Gazette, yes the Billings newspaper, noted about the GOP reaction to Gays' Neanderthal comments.  It praised the local GOP for condemning Gay's statements and suggested that its reaction should be a model to other state's parties that have candidates that say awful things.  It also rightly noticed, however that this was long in coming from the Wyoming GOP, which did not have the same very apparent reaction when Gay sued the Governor and some members of the legislature recently.  In their defense, however, the entire Cindy Hill spectacle probably made commenting less than desirable.

Well, the time to comment has really arrived, and Gay is getting what he deserves.  Perhaps there's some hope this will spread.

Indeed, the local GOP would do well to note that for the first time in a long time there are some Democrats, taking generally moderate approaches, that are getting some attention in places where they wouldn't have.  I 've noted more than a few Greene signs around, and given the GOP's failure to pick a true Wyoming candidate for that race, a fact that came about in part due to our first past the post system, that isn't too surprising.  Liz Cheney's connection to the state is thinner than her father's was and she hold a few of the state land issue that would absolute condemn her but for her party affiliation.  Some sportsmen I know are abandoning the GOP accordingly.  Around here I've seen quite a few Dan Neal signs for a state house race, to my surprise, although the GOP candidate is a moderate in that district and excellent. 

My point is not to suggest that the parties be milk toast. Far from it.  But the GOP has had a hard edge recently here that was not very Wyoming-centric and was headed right for where Gay went.  That some GOP politician got there is hardly a surprise.  Most Republicans don't hold that view and the party recognizes that.  It's time to recognize that a lot of the other extreme positions the party picked up in the last few years that were hostile to government in general, hostile to education and hostile, really, to the common Wyomingite are not necessarily sitting well with average people.  The Democrats have started to pick up on that.

Indeed, while its risky to say so, some of these views were things that we imported during the last oil boom.  Quite a few of the things that were debated here strongly resembled things that we read being debated about in other states far to our south.  As we imported a workforce, I suspect, we imported their political debates along with them.  This is hardly surprising.  People don't leave their old issues and spats at home, they bring them with them.  Indeed, one of the myths of the founding of the country is that Europeans left the old world behind them in every fashion.  Not hardly. English colonist brought all of their prejudices and hatreds with them and they were incorporated into the new culture as it developed for quite some time.  When the Quebecois say "je me souviens" part of what they remember, in a weakened mythological way, is that their ancestors came from France, even though that's darned near 300 years ago. And so on.

But now that the boom has become a bust, these fights that were more appropriate elsewhere should recede with them, and the issues central to Wyoming should surface again.  Politicians, and indeed parties, that can't grasp that deserve a drubbing.

Which is not to say, I'd note, that the Democrats get a pass here.  A few of the Democrats doing better this year do seem to get it, but not all.  The Democratic party during the Clinton years virtually died here and the party remains all to full of people who think they're in Berkeley California rather than Buffalo Wyoming.  Hard leftist whose views might make sense in Newark, New Jersey, if only barely, really have no place here.  And there's no good reason why a Wyoming Democratic Party needs to hang itself on views hostile to life issues and which back every social theory that the national Democratic party is fond of.

We can hope, anyhow, that perhaps the corner has been turned here, if only a bit.

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