Shooting The Breeze With Rod Miller & Cat Urbigkit

Cowboy State Daily columnists Rod Miller and Cat Urbigkit have teamed up to do a joint column to discuss Wyoming politics!

Rod Miller

July 28, 20226 min read

Collage Maker 27 Jul 2022 06 35 PM
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Rod Miller and Cat Urbigkit
Miller and Urbigkit are opinion columnists

Cat Urbigkit: Hi, Rod. We both write about GOP politics in our columns, but we never get to chat about it together. I know you had a bout of writer’s block recently, resorting to bringing Good Dog Henry in for inspiration, so the next time that happens, let’s compare notes and make a column of it.

You know, like the New York Time’s The Conversation by liberal columnist Gail Collins and conservative Bret Stephens. Since they already laid claim to a great column name, we need to tackle that first. I suggest Shooting the Breeze seems appropriate – not that Wyoming is known for guns. Or wind.

Since we’re only a few weeks away from Primary Election Day, we’ve got a lot to talk about, but let’s start with this delightful email I received from the Sublette County Republican Party. Your reaction?

Rod Miller: That request from Sublette County Republicans for “pole watchers” stimulated a vivid mental image of the one-armed pole dancer who used to ply her trade at the Green Door Lounge here in Cheyenne. Like a good political trainwreck, it was difficult to pry the eyes away from her. But the Sublette Co. GOP apparently is requiring some sort of training for this political voyeurism. Is there a vision test as well?

I’m mildly interested in watching this show, and am willing to relocate to Boulder or Marbleton for good eye candy because I’m sure the aforementioned young lady is long retired. Cat, can you score me a copy of the Sublette County GOP pole watching manual? Is it illustrated? Is there a scratch & sniff centerfold?  

God help me, but I LOVE politics in Wyoming!   

Cat Urbigkit: And that response is exactly why I had to share it with you. I also noticed the signature line from the County GOP chairman is followed by “GFC,” which I had to Google. General Flow Control? Global Fighting Champion? Nope. God Fearing Christian.

Coming on the heels of U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s call for the GOP to be a Christian nationalist party, that signature line on an email sent to elected GOP precinct committee members from the party chair wasn’t a welcome sight. I don’t know if Greene or the party chair understand what Christian nationalism is, but I do, and I’m not a fan.

I get a lot of emails that contain a signature with acronyms indicating a professional accreditation, like Certified Public Accountant, Certified Wildlife Biologist, etc. Not to be left out, should we create our own? Should we start our own club so we can have an acronym? I’m open to suggestions.

Rod Miller: Hey now…. don’t knock Christian Nationalism!! Remember, it gave us mega-hits like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the English Civil War and the Nazi Party. Nothing really draws a crowd like faith and war, and we ridicule the snake handlin’, full gospel zealots at our peril.

And they’ve never been shy about their zealotry, that’s how we recognize ’em.

Now, for the Holy Roman knuckleheads in the Republican Party to identify with this Blood, Soil and God fringe doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m sure they’ve done their polling and focus groups, and found that this strategy is aces.

Signs and wonders!

p.s. SW (Signs and Wonders) ain’t that bad for an acronym.

Cat Urbigkit:  Hey, did you see WyoFile’s reporting on the “Save Wyoming” rally? Care to share your thoughts on that event?

Rod Miller: Great article!! It’s been pretty evident for a while now that the once-monolithic Wyoming Republican Party is Balkanizing. It’s being fractured along fault lines like Trump, RINOs, guns, abortion and whether turquoise goes with red. There used to be something binding the party together that is missing these days.

The Wyoming GOP, under the leadership of Frank “Briefly Oral” Eathorne is coming apart at the seams because of the divisiveness within under his tutelage, and there’s nothing he can do about it. He sowed the wind as is reaping the whirlwind.

The only thing saving the Wyoming GOP from becoming obsolete and meaningless is the total lack of any legitimate opposition. 

Cat Urbigkit: What jumped out at me was that LaBarge’s Mike Schmid, who is challenging my good friend Albert Sommers for the House District 20 seat, was one of the speakers. Schmid called various elected officials (including Sommers), “part-time” conservatives who use “disguise politics” to win elections. That’s just crap, but this is the quote that really grabbed my attention: “These are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Schmid said, “and this country needs some shepherds to come and save the herd.”

Rod Miller: Albert Sommers knows that there’s a spot in my yard for one of his campaign signs, since a bunch of his signs were vandalized by some junior mutton-busters like Schmid who tagged them under the cover of darkness. This race is a microcosm of what’s happening within the Wyoming GOP. 

Sommers represents the old-school civility of the GOP of a couple decades ago, a legitimate political organization that, if it wasn’t universally loved, was not the object of ridicule like today’s version. Schmid is of the ilk that want to turn Wyoming into some sort of theocratic, right wing MAGA caliphate.

There’s no room in my yard for a Schmid sign.

Cat Urbigkit: And there I thought maybe you’d pounce onSchmid’s wanting to shepherd the herd. Sheep, shepherds, and wolves are something I know a bit about – you know, since I’m a shepherd whose primary job is to protect sheep from wolves. Contrary to popular belief, sheep aren’t stupid, and they don’t blindly follow and obey a bad or untrustworthy shepherd. However, they will trust and follow those who actually nurture them.

I’ve never been confused by a wolf in sheep’s clothing – it ’s pretty obvious when I encounter a wolf. Generally, the worst insult coming from a shepherd is to call someone a “coyote.” Coyotes blend into the landscape, but when they sneak your way, they reveal themselves. Schmid’s gone under the radar, but his campaigning at “Save Wyoming” (outside his district) and his comments there reveal all I need to know.

Thanks Rod, for the discussion. Cheers!

Rod Miller: Ditto, Cat. Its nice shooting the breeze with you.

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist