By Rod Miller, columnist
Rod Miller is a life-long Republican and Wyoming native. Born into a ranching family that has been in the Cowboy State since 1867. He ran against incumbent Liz Cheney in 2018.
When the Wyoming Senate voted the other day to strip Sen. Anthony “Romeo” Bouchard of his committee assignment, the vote wasn’t close at all. In political terms, it was a landslide.
The Senate took this action against Bouchard not because of a dust-up between Romeo and the hospital lobby, but because he has been an asshole during his entire tenure. And the Wyoming Senate has rules against Senators being sphincters.
The colonists didn’t rebel against King George because of the stamp tax or any other single despotic action. They did so because of “A long train of abuses and usurpations….” listed in the Declaration of Independence.
Like the colonists with the king, the Wyoming Senate, Senate District 6 and the whole state have exercised immense patience with Bouchard as he has lied, threatened, bullied, obfuscated, intimidated, whined and pouted from within and without the capitol building. The train of Romeo’s offenses is long indeed.
Romeo’s defense of his behavior has always been “I’m hunting Rinos” and “I’m fighting commie gun grabbers” and “I represent the REAL Wyoming values”. Out of the other side of his mouth, he disparages constituents, rants obscenely about fellow legislators and responds to criticism with a sort of banal venom.
In short, Romeo Bouchard is an asshole with an election certificate.
He has spawned a small crop of like-minded activists, both in and out of the legislature, who emulate his tactics and his personality. They bemoan the Senate’s disciplinary action against Romeo, and whine about First and Second Amendment rights being violated.
Bouchard’s acolytes plead that they represent their constituents, and that the folks back home elected them to kick some ass in Cheyenne. That’s all well and good, and an elected representative SHOULD give voice to those who elected them.
As an aside, I’ll state that I know a lot of folks in Senate District 6 and there are damn few assholes in that population. I’ve always been perplexed as to why they would want to be represented by one.
The Wyoming Senate has rules for conduct in their chamber, rules that issue from our Wyoming Constitution. Romeo violated those rules once too often, and the chickens have come home to roost.
I think we could all see this coming.
Forget the fact that Romeo has an abysmal legislative record. Forget that he is a one-issue Senator. By his comportment and demeanor, he shames the Wyoming Senate, his district and the entire Cowboy State.
Romeo himself should have seen this coming. When his political hubris prompted him to run against Liz Cheney, he should have known that his past would come back to haunt him. The Big Table doesn’t suffer fools, and a quick investigation of Romeo’s past by his political opponents revealed that he had impregnated a middle schooler.
What began as a campaign of fire and brimstone quickly fizzled out and the money tree dried up as Romeo cried about being picked on.
I think the entire political landscape in Wyoming can learn something from the cautionary tale of Romeo’s precipitous decline. We can learn that we can hold deep beliefs about our civic life together, and we can express those beliefs freely and advocate accordingly.
But in so doing, we must learn that advocacy of our beliefs can only be effective and bear the fruit of change that we seek if we are civil citizens with respect for each other and our institutions.
Romeo Bouchard has not yet learned that lesson. But, if he was paying attention, he did learn that the Wyoming Senate has rules against assholes.