The Wyoming Republican Party will choose a new chairman here in a few days. Both candidates are named Frank, and both hail from the same county and wear cowboy hats. That’s where the similarities end.
For my money, Frank Moore is the best man to have the reins of Wyoming’s Grand Old Party in his capable hands. His is the sort of calm, confident, conservative leadership that our party needs at this point in our history.
And those are precisely the qualities for which he will be criticized. That’s a sad commentary on the state of things in today’s Wyoming GOP.
Growing Up With The Moores
When I was growing up on the ID north of Rawlins, Frank’s uncles had neighboring ranches. Tommy Moore ran the Stone Ranch, and Tye had the Buzzard. It's a pretty rough country out there and there’s a helluva lot of it, so we rely on our neighbors.
The Moore family were the finest neighbors a man could ask for.
If memory serves, Tommy Moore was best man at my folks’ wedding. That kind of neighbor. And apples don’t fall far from trees in Wyoming.
I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that Frank Moore will guide the Republican Party precisely that way – like a valued neighbor in a state where the word “neighbor” is a verb.
He’ll pitch in to help at brandings, to keep the fences tight, to take care of strays and return them to the herd. And he’ll come a’runnin’ if there’s an emergency.
With your indulgence, I’ll string out the cowboy analogy a bit further. I’d liken today’s GOP in Wyoming to a trail-sour herd of cattle on a hot afternoon. The herd is tired, footsore and cranky, they can smell water but don’t know where to find it.
They’ve lost sight of their calves and they’re pushing and shoving each other to find them. Some begin to peel off from the herd, headed in every direction and the rest are ready to follow.
Without some calm and savvy cowboys to keep things together, the herd is a wreck looking for a place to happen. Frank Moore is that brand of cowboy.
No More Division
In a state that has, unfortunately, become accustomed to hair-on-fire politics from the GOP, Moore will be a welcome relief.
I wouldn’t count on him to start any stampedes among fellow Republicans. Instead, drawing from his lifetime of leadership, he can be relied upon to keep the bunch together and lined out toward the waterhole.
To become chairman, Moore will need to convince a restless and cranky party that the politics of division just won’t do the job anymore. His brand of leadership won’t generate many dramatic headlines, but it’s just what the party needs.
He’ll be cussed up one side and down the other by the firebreathers for being a steady cowboss. The very qualities that make him the best choice for GOP chairman will be used as ammunition against him.
Dependable Cowboy Dignity
But I never knew a Moore to shy away from tough work.
Here’s where I introduce another Frank, my dad Frank Miller who was the finest man I ever knew and the best cowboy I ever saw or even heard about.
When he was alive, he neighbored with Tye and Tommy Moore, Frank’s uncles. He fixed fence and sorted strays with them.
All of them had that quiet, calm, dependable cowboy dignity that’s hard to describe. But you know it when you see it.
If Frank Miller was with us today, he’d nod his head with approval when I tell you that Frank Moore is the right man for the job.