By Rod Miller, columnist
Senator Anthony Bouchard, a Republican from Laramie County, was the first announced candidate to challenge incumbent Representative Liz Cheney for her House seat in the GOP primary. I sure can’t fault him for that move, since I did the same thing.
But when one challenges a member of a political family that successfully prodded the United States into invading two sovereign countries in the Middle East, there are risks involved. Politics, at the candidate level, is nothing more than one high-stakes risk/reward calculation.
Playing a Cheney at the Big Table requires an acceptance of the fact that the rules are simple. Kill or be killed. To challenge a Cheney for a political post involves the risk that one’s own personal septic tank will be emptied and the contents strewn across the landscape for all to see.
That just happened to Bouchard. He, in a post to his campaign Facebook page, owned up to getting a fourteen year old girl pregnant in Florida, when he was an adult of eighteen years of age. He spun the event as a “Romeo and Juliet” moment between him and his middle-school girlfriend.
Henceforth, Bouchard’s street name will be Romeo.
Romeo Bouchard’s apologists have been all over social media, justifying his behavior as youthful exuberance, filling in blanks in the story, engaging in “shameless whataboutism” and confirming their continued support because “he may be a pervert, but he’s OUR pervert”.
But the lesson here has nothing to do with adolescent hormones, or tragic domestic trauma. The lesson here is Machiavellian politics. And about secrets.
Romeo Bouchard has consistently styled himself as a champion of transparency, when he’s not waving a gun around and channeling Aaron Dorr. But he is about the least transparent politician in the Wyoming landscape. Up until now.
During his legislative contests, Romeo has successfully dodged questions about his background. Nobody has been able to pin him down on where he came from, where he lives, what he did before he came to Wyoming and other details that make up a candidate’s history. It has always been enough for him to convince voters that he is protecting their guns.
And then he challenged Liz Cheney.
The Cheney political machine has plenty of time and money to do a thorough background check on Bouchard. And there are super-pacs out there who support her who are in the same position. Regardless of who is doing the digging, the dirt WILL see the light of day. Welcome to transparency, Romeo.
A paid-up member of the Bible and Bullet Brigade like Bouchard should have paid heed to Luke 8:17, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad”. So let it be written, so let it be done.
Its interesting to note that whatever sort of background research is being conducted on him, no reports have as yet been published. Romeo’s camp must have gotten wind of the look-see into his past and decided to preempt any revelations by having him fess up to the incident before any bad press came out.
So, Romeo’s opposition doesn’t even need to publish the results of their investigation. He does that for them. And shoots himself in the foot, negating notion of him being a responsible gun owner.
This will not be the last instance of his opposition making him dance and backtrack as new secrets threaten to emerge. Romeo Bouchard has a year of this kind of political colonoscopy to endure, if he decides to stay in the race.
If he drops out to save face, Wyoming will be denied a great Jerry Springer episode in our political history, and important lessons in transparency. We will be left to stand on the balcony and moan into the moonlight, “Romeo, Romeo…wherefore art thou”.