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Rod Miller

Rod Miller: Outlived His Usefulness

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By Rod Miller, guest columnist

Very recently there occurred a dust-up between Joey Correnti IV, an official with the Carbon County Republican Party, and the Laramie County Clerk. Correnti took the County Clerk to task for a clerical mistake in the Clerk’s office that left out a couple of names on the ballot for GOP precinct committee positions in Laramie County.

Doesn’t seem like too big a deal, until you ask yourself the question, “why is a public official doing clerical work for a private organization?” The Laramie County Clerk IS a public official, and the Republican Party IS a private organization.

While our Wyoming Constitution doesn’t mention political parties, and our statutes didn’t create them, the major parties do enjoy a lot of benefits granted under Wyoming Statutes Title 22, Chapter 4. These statutes weave party politics tightly into the fabric of our civic like and, like that gnarly outlaw in the western movie, might have outlived their usefulness.

The acid test of any law is whether or not it is good for the state, and that is a question that should be asked often. Its time to ask whether having private organizations so tightly enmeshed in our public elections is a good idea.

Political parties should have a very limited role in our civic life but, as Madison warned, they by their very nature seek to aggrandize themselves. Think about it! When was the last time that the Democrats built a school or the Republicans fixed potholes?

People who identify with either party did that work, but the parties themselves remained pretty useless. And schools don’t give a rat’s ass who builds ‘em, and potholes are apolitical.

Partisan political organizations are no more public entities than the Elks Club or the Hells’s Angels. And yet, by statute, the State of Wyoming is responsible for conducting their elections, and directs the parties how to choose leadership, where and when to meet and how to communicate.

The State of Wyoming grants to the bylaws of the major political parties a legal status, even though the Wyoming Legislature does not draft those bylaws. That’s why someone like Joey the 4th feels justified in hollering at a County Clerk when things don’t go his way.

Its gotta be so annoying for a political party in Wyoming, to have the state’s nose all up in your business like that. The parties should go together and hire a bunch of smart lawyers to get ‘em out of this nonsensical situation.

But I think the parties enjoy this cozy relationship with the state. They are protected, and they have a daddy to whine to when they skin their knee.

If they had the cojones the political parties in Wyoming have all the stroke they need to repeal every statute that puts the state in the position of interfering in their business. They have within their respective organizations the means to conduct their own internal elections without bureaucratic monkeying around. Nothing is preventing that other than political will within the parties.

The savings to the state and counties would be considerable, as well. What better place to cut government spending than in something they shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

A not-inconsiderable side benefit would be the time and effort that our pubic officials could dedicate to the real work of our state when they aren’t expected to hand-hold and coddle party officials with their knickers in a twist.

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Rod Miller: Finish the Wall…in Gillette!

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By Rod Miller, columnist

You’ve probably heard about the incident in Gillette a couple weeks ago wherein a transgender magician was scheduled to perform at the Campbell County Library, but was forced to cancel due to irate pushback with not-so-veiled threats against the magician and library staff. The resistance to the show was led, in large measure, by Scott Clem, former legislator and pastor of Gillette’s Central Baptist Church.

As one would expect, the event generated a whole bunch of reaction on social media. In one recent Facebook post, there were 350 comments. Distilled, the comments frame the old argument about the separation of church and state.

One commentator claimed that, “The U.S. Constitution is based upon God’s law”. The implication being that religious zealots are justified in abridging a citizen’s right to free speech on religious grounds and with legal impunity. History argues otherwise.

Delegates to our Constitutional Convention met from May through September in 1787 to craft our Constitution. That would have given them a whole summer to cut & paste from the Bible if their intent was to create a theocratic government. But they didn’t.

Our Founders failed miserably if they wanted to create a theocracy. Instead they crafted an elegant secular, enlightened and humanistic earthly government, innately suspicious of legislating “God’s Law”.

They were all aware of history. They all remembered examples of governments operating under religious urges…examples like the Crusades, the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, the Spanish Inquisition and the English Civil War. Our Founders knew that, under God’s Law, peace is elusive.

In fact, the Framers only mentioned “religion” once in the entire body of the Constitution, prior to the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. That mention occurs in Article VI, and states that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”.

This comes immediately after the requirement for public officials to swear or affirm and oath to the Constitution, not to the Bible.

The next mention of religion in our Constitution appears in The First Amendment, which opens with a prohibition on Congress establishing any religion, followed by a clause guaranteeing freedom of religious expression.

You can read this amendment to say something like….this government has no business monkeying around in religion, and you are free to practice your religion as long as it doesn’t interfere with government. A couple centuries of legal scholars have split this hair a thousand ways, but that’s how I read it.

And, Thomas Jefferson would likely agree with that interpretation.

When the Danbury Baptist Association wrote to President Jefferson in 1802, they claimed that “Religion is the first object of legislation”. Jefferson, using the phrase for the first time, responded that our Constitution “builds a wall of separation between church and state”.

So lets finish that wall. And there’s no better place to put the last brick in place than Gillette. Lets make sure that the Central Baptists have as much luck as the Danbury Baptists in using our government for their religious purposes.

Let us, in our affirming our own rights to free speech, zealously protect the freedom of speech of transgender magicians and anyone else that might not think like we do. Our Constitutions, both U.S. and Wyoming, require that of us. And those documents, not any religious text, is the supreme law of the land.

It is written.

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Rod Miller: Crossing a Line to “Protect” a Border and Scratch an Itch

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By Rod Miller, columnist

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is sending a hundred or so National Guard troops to Texas, purportedly to help deal with the crisis on our border with Mexico. She is paying those troops with a million dollar donation from a private individual, transforming the South Dakota National Guard into paid mercenaries no different than the infamous Blackwater thugs.

Noem is crossing a line. And she’s stepping over that line not because South Dakota is at risk of being overrun by illegal immigrants who are fixin’ to trudge more than a thousand miles to occupy Spearfish, but for purely political reasons.

I’ll freely admit ignorance of South Dakota’s Constitution or statutes governing the state militia, but I can clearly recognize a symbolic political move when I see one. In her zeal to endear herself to the Trump wing of the GOP, Noem has debased her own state and its National Guard.

Its troubling enough to see the governor of Wyoming’s next door neighbor act out like this. Its even more disturbing to learn that Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is considering a similar move, albeit funded by Wyoming’s taxpayers instead by of a hefty bribe from a well-heeled right wing donor. At least as far as we know.

I have no bellyache with Governor Gordon dispatching Wyoming National Guard troops to a sister state to help with a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis, if asked. That transcends symbolism.

But, for the Wyoming National Guard to suddenly become Border Patrol agents does give me serious pause. And Governor Gordon should think long and hard before he signs that order.

Here are a few things for him to consider. Control of the United States’ borders is, under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, the responsibility of the federal government, not the individual states. Congress passes immigration laws, and the Executive Branch enforces said laws. As Tony Soprano would say, “End of subject”.

Our Wyoming Constitution, under Article 17, provides for a state militia (National Guard), and places it under the command of the governor. Wyoming’s governor, as commander-in-chief, may call out the militia “to preserve the public peace, to execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrection or repel invasion”.

Nowhere is it mentioned that the Wyoming National Guard is authorized to patrol the border in the Arizona desert, or along the Rio Grand in Texas. Maybe South Dakota’s Constitution permits their National Guard to perform that function. Ours sure doesn’t.

Wyoming statutes, however, do give a tad more leeway to our National Guard. Under Title 19-8-103(b) they are authorized to engage in “fresh pursuit of insurrectionists, saboteurs or enemy groups beyond the borders of this state into another state until the military or police forces of the other state have had a reasonable opportunity to take up the pursuit of such persons.” Again, no mention of patrolling our national borders.

Nowhere in our Constitution or our statutes is there a provision for our governor to mobilize our National Guard to scratch a partisan itch that bothers a political party. Trust me, I’ve looked. But if anyone can point to something I’ve missed, then I’ll stand corrected.

If Governor Gordon is seriously concerned about the situation on our southern border, then he shouldn’t stoop to a symbolic act. He should use the considerable weight of his office, and work with the Western Governors’ Association and the National Governors’ Association to hold Congress’ and President Biden’s feet to a very hot branding fire to convince them to get off their collective asses and do their job.

The situation on our border is serious and calls for serious action on the part of the federal government, not cheap, partisan political tricks by governors

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Rod Miller: “We the People”, Mob Rule and Wyoming Town Halls

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Way too many of us stop reading the U.S. Constitution after the first three words. That’s like closing the Bible after the first three words. You miss the point entirely.

I have been in countless political conversations with folks who struggle to articulate an intelligent point and always fall back so easily on “We the People”. That is a cop-out.

That phrase is frequently used in town hall meetings in Wyoming, wherein an elected official is roasted for their voting record because “We the People” don’t like it. Its about the only part of the Constitution that is quoted in these diatribes.

Absent the rest of the Constitution, “We the People” is nothing more than a mob. The balance of the Constitution describes a political process in which a mob becomes a nation under the rule of law. And the end of the Preamble has “We the People” ordaining and establishing that process.

By doing so, “We the People” rose above the mob.

This is what Plato had to say about mobs: “Mob rule is a rough sea for the ship of state to ride; every wind of oratory stirs up the waters and deflects the course. The upshot of such a democracy is tyranny or autocracy; the crowd so loves flattery, it is so hungry for honey, that at last the wiliest and most unscrupulous flatterer, calling himself the ‘protector of the people’ rises to supreme power”

“We the People” in the context of our Constitutions means that we reject mob behavior in favor of a system of common governance. It means that we have entrusted that system with our own political power.

It means that, even though demagogues may try to sway our emotions to their point of view, our Constitution prevails over emotions. Everything after the first three words says so.

It means that we favor elections every couple of years over storming down some dark street with pitchforks and torches to guillotine politicians when they don’t do what we want. Our Constitution is not mean to protect politicians from mob rule, its meant to protect us from ruling by mob.

Our Constitution all but guarantees that pissed off citizens will always be present in our republic. We live in a system that promotes opposition instead of suppressing it. How those angered citizens express their anger is how they define themselves as “We the People” in our Constitution, or the mob.

Keep this in mind while you talk with your fellow citizens about our political life together. Pay attention to the level of political discourse around you, and when you hear an appeal to mob behavior, remember that our Constitution has 4,400 words, not just three.

When you hear someone pull that “We the People” crap on you, tell ‘em to read the whole goddamn thing.

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Rod Miller: Political Espionage & History

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Nothing surprises me any more in politics. The recent revelation by the New York Times that the ultra-right wing of the Republican Party sent political spies to infiltrate their opponents in both parties wasn’t a surprise. Just a disappointment.

There’s nothing new about political skullduggery, but this is an entirely different animal we’re seeing here. This isn’t Dick Tuck or Donald Segretti doing a little political rat-f******. This isn’t trying to screw with one election, or one candidate.

This is something else. Something much more sinister. This is a frontal attack on an entire system of civic life, and this happened in Wyoming.

It appears that the spies involved were set upon their mission by a network of hard right wing GOP activists that includes Erik Prince (of Blackwater fame), Susan Gore (of camping fame), and a shady British spy among others.

Both Prince and Gore have residences in Wyoming, and broad contacts with the national GOP power structure, so maybe they thought that the Cowboy State would be a good laboratory to field-test their ideas. They hired the British spook to train a couple of young, right-wing recruits, then they turned Boris and Natasha loose on Wyoming citizens who didn’t share their worldview

Their mission was to bore into opposition groups to get the names of opponents, and to get intelligence on the groups and individuals that could be used against them. Let me repeat that: they were gathering names.

Much like Mao Tse Tung did during China’s Cultural Revolution when Mao had spies in every little village to report on their fellow citizens, and to enforce party discipline. Just like Ho Chi Minh did by infiltrating NLF and Viet Cong spies and enforcers into every hamlet in South Vietnam.

Like Reinhard Heydrick’s Gestapo, blending into the German population to watch, listen and bust heads. It is not hyperbole to draw comparisons to these despots.

This attack was not upon political opponents, really. It was an attack upon a political system that guarantees opposition. It was an attack on the rights of every U.S. citizen that wants to think for themselves and act for themselves.

My disappointment is this: it’s sad to see any major political party in the U.S. begin to act totalitarian, regardless of the motivation. That means that they have lost confidence in democracy as practiced in our country, and in pluralistic government.

A party that behaves as the GOP just did, isn’t going after their political opponents, they’re going after us as a society. They’re not out to undermine opposing candidates, they are out to destroy freedom of thought and expression.

The tactic employed is meant to sow discord among us as citizens, to pit neighbor against neighbor, to impart their own mistrust of democracy to us. No matter what party you belong to, this is an attack on you.

Here’s where we justify the confidence placed in us by those who passed down our republic and the system that keeps it alive. Here’s where we, as individual citizens, resolve within ourselves to oppose any party or person tho threatens our political freedom.

Here’s where we (and in deference to my editor, I won’t use the phrase that I want to) tell idiots like Erik Prince, Susan Gore and anyone like them, to go to hell.

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Rod Miller: Election Integrity and Freshman Errors

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By Rod Miller, columnist

When Representative Chip Neiman presented his pledge to fellow Republicans to sign (see last week’s column), he offered this rationale, “for decades Wyoming has struggled with primary election integrity”. Lets fact check that statement.

Since the 2014 election cycle, according to my county clerk, there have only been four or five examples of voter fraud in Wyoming. And every one was caught. These cases involved a few individuals who, having been convicted of a felony, tried to vote without having their voting rights restored.

That’s it, a handful of fraudulent votes among the million and a half votes cast by legitimate Wyoming voters since 2014. The numbers themselves prove Rep. Neiman’s claim about election integrity is a falsehood.

“Election integrity” is a term used as a straw man, or red herring, by the Wyoming Republican Party power elites in their attempts to do away with crossover voting in our primary elections. The security of our voting process has nothing to do with it. Its all about consolidating power within one of Wyoming’s political parties.

Lets be honest; the practice of crossover voting is completely legal under our election code, but its also a gnarly burr under the GOP’s saddle. And Neiman’s ill-advised pledge is but one more dead rabbit the GOP has pulled out of its hat in its attempt ban it to gain an electoral edge.

To be fair, its not the entire Wyoming GOP that supports this nonsense. It is a brittle, populist wedge of the party that is behind it.

But, when a Wyoming Republican pokes fun at their brazen tactics, they are immediately labeled a RINO. This has absolutely nothing to do with election integrity, but everything to do with intra-party politics.

Neiman and his ilk claim that recent elections wherein moderate Republicans have been elected have not “represented the will of Wyoming people”. Horseshit!

Every one of the million and a half votes cast since the 2014 election has been cast by a registered Wyoming voter. Well, except tor those four or five knuckle-headed felons we already discussed. So, to claim that the political will of Wyoming’s people was not expressed during recent elections is simply a lie.

To cloak their drive for partisan hegemony, the arch-conservative wing of the Wyoming Republican Party spouts off about “election integrity” and that should offend every honest voter in Wyoming. We should be doubly offended by the GOP’s attempts to use Wyoming’s election code for partisan advantage.

Our Wyoming Constitution states in Article 1, Sec. 3, “… the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.” That’s bad news for felons, and for political parties that want to use our laws to gain an edge.

But don’t expect Rep. Neiman’s gambit to be the last attempt. Neiman rode into office on a small wave of populist candidates who pledged to toe the line of the GOP hierarchy, and he was their flag-bearer on this fiasco. There will be more attempts by a private political organization to use our public laws to negate political opponents.

To characterize Neiman’s pledge as a freshman error is to gloss over the real threat to election integrity in Wyoming – one political party trying to hijack our electoral process. THAT is dangerous stuff, friends and neighbors.

And the word around the ol’ campfire is that Neiman has his eyes on Senator Ogden Driskill’s seat, wanting to bring his populist brand of politics to that upper house. Forewarned is forearmed.

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Rod Miller: Trains, Cows & Nukes

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Wyoming’s economic history is full of scandals and sketchy characters. It seems as if every boom brought with it some headline-grabbing fiasco that ranged from seedy to downright deadly. And yet, each time that happened, the economic life of the state took a great leap forward.

Here’s a partial list. The construction of the transcontinental railroad served to link Wyoming with the rest of the country and the world, and ushered us into the industrial age. But the names of two of the principals involved in that project, Thomas Durant and Oakes Ames, will be forever tarnished by the Credit Mobilier scandal. Fraud against taxpayers on a massive scale was committed, careers were trashed and people went to jail.

In spite of that trainwreck, nobody in Wyoming today will tell you that the Union Pacific Railroad was a bad idea, or that we should have insisted it be built somewhere else.

Likewise, nobody has ever claimed that the range cattle industry was anything but an economic building block of the State of Wyoming, or hasn’t served to help populate our home state and create our ethos. We are, after all, the Cowboy State.

Yet T. A. Larsen, our revered historian, has called the Johnson County War “the most notorious event in our history”. That conflict, instigated by members of Wyoming Stockgrowers Association elites, some of whom were our state’s founders, involved those men hiring outside gunslingers to accompany them to northern Wyoming to kill small ranchers and settlers in order to keep the state’s rangeland firmly in the hands of the bigwig cattle barons.

Add to the list the Teapot Dome scandal, wherein a sitting U.S. cabinet official was fitted for an orange jumpsuit because he conspired with Big Oil to defraud the government. Yet nobody in their right mind would claim that oil and gas exploration hasn’t been an economic boon to Wyoming.

When the Rockefellers were buying up ranchland in Jackson Hole to turn over to the government in order to create Teton National Park and the JDR Parkway, they were castigated as commie land-grabbers. But today nobody will deny the incredible economic boon to the state resulting from that act.

Enter Bill Gates and Warren Buffet with their plan to site a small, modern nuclear reactor somewhere in Wyoming. As soon as the plan was announced, the Sagebrush Telegraph was filled with vituperative invective against Gates as a U.N. One-Worlder Lizard Person who is only coming to Wyoming to harvest baby parts.

Don’t misunderstand, I am no fan of Bill Gates. I will never forgive him for Windows 10, but c’mon folks! If we are able to look past John Clay et al and the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association’s killing foray into Johnson County, we should at least hear Gates out on his plan.

I, for one, am willing to give this nuke plan a good think.

I grew up in Rawlins around a couple of Wyoming’s nuclear pioneers, Dr. C. W. Jeffrey, the namesake of Jeffrey City, and restaurateur Bob Adams, who took the advice of Dave Love, eminent Cowboy State geologist, and geiger-countered for uranium deposits in the Sweetwater River country right after WWII. Needless to say, they each made a lot of money.

I used to visit Doc Jeff’s office to get my physical for football and wresting in my younger Outlaw days. The office was up a couple of flights of rickety stairs in an old edifice in downtown Rawlins, and if an aspiring athlete could climb the stairs, Doc Jeff would sign the release.

But I digress. Back to Bill Gates’ nuke plant.

As a state, lets overcome our fear for a moment and dispassionately consider this idea. To me, it is a much more positive and productive move than suing other states who don’t want to burn Wyoming coal for their electric power.

To reject it out of hand would be akin to digging in our heels and saying keep that disruptive railroad, or those pesky Texas cattle out of our state because we don’t like the folks associated with such nonsense. Regardless of the personalities involved with bringing a nuclear power plant to Wyoming, we need to consider the proposal on its merits.

Now, permit me a word or two about Governor Mark Gordon. Since meeting him on the dusty ol’ campaign trail, and taking an immediate liking to the guy, I’ve followed his administration with great interest.

Up until now, I have considered his tenure in office as pretty much a place-holder…no big triumphs, no disasters. In fairness, Gordon assumed office in a difficult and weird time, and I think has done his honest best. But I’ve waited for a break-out, cowboy move on his part. This is it.

Governor Gordon’s willingness to look beyond the horizon to Wyoming’s energy future, in my view, negates anything he’s done to tie us to Wyoming’s energy past. By simple willingness to consider a new way of doing things, Gordon is turning our collective vision away our tried-and-true-but-dying hydrocarbon past.

It’s like emerging from a dark old coal mine into sunlight. I think that, when our eyes adjust to the light, we’ll all be glad he did.

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Rod Miller: Scorched Earth Politics and You

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By Rod Miller, columnist

A friend was bemoaning the current state of politics the other day, and asked “Why can’t politicians raise the bar?”. Given the sorry state of our political discourse today, that is a very valid question.

Candidates for public office, both at the state and national level, are increasingly resorting to “negative politics”, and lowering the standard of campaigns by using ad hominem attacks on opponents, name-calling, falsification and baldfaced lies. Nothing, it seems, generates headlines like a good smear, and headlines are the mother’s milk of politics.

I use the term “increasingly”, because mudslinging is not new to our political landscape. Read up on the presidential election of 1800, and see for yourself. That election led directly to a sitting Vice tPresident killing his political rival in a duel. Banner headlines, of course, ensued.

American voters have always loved a good political bloodbath. While we may express public shock at scorched earth politics, we can’t turn our eyes away from it. When we see the knives come out in a political campaign, its like we are driving slowly past a horrific wreck on the highway, craning our necks to see the mangled wreckage, hoping to get a glimpse of blood and tut-tutting about how sad it all is.

Politicians know this about us, and have raised to an art form their ability to grasp our collective attention with mudslinging, personal attacks and political carnage. They behave this way for a very simple reason. Voters reward these blitzkrieg candidates with what they covet most – election victories.

By tacitly allowing politicians to move the needle away from civil political discourse toward the worst of talk radio sophistry, we voters are complicit in damaging our representative democracy. We have abdicated our responsibilities as citizens because, it appears, it is easier to let some jerkwater politician do our thinking for us.

For all of our chest-thumping about “We the People”, we have failed to stop callous, spiteful candidates from hijacking our political process as they seek the lowest common denominator in politics. My friend was right – the bar has never been lower.

But she was wrong in thinking that its up to political candidates to raise the bar. They will never do that as long as they keep winning.

But if we as citizens demand better from those who seek to represent us, things will change. If we deny them our attention, and withhold our support when they descend into the political slimepit, then and only then will things change. When we use our votes as responsible citizens, the bar will raise itself. That is OUR job!

Our votes are the holy grail of any politician. Lets make sure we don’t give those votes to those who don’t deserve them.

My granddad, Kirk Miller, used to say, “The average person would be shocked to learn how little water it takes to make a good pot of coffee.” I’ll paraphrase him here: The average voter would be shocked to learn what a politician will do to get his or her vote. Lets make them work for it…our way.

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Rod Miller: Romeo Bouchard and Politics 101

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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”.

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Rod Miller: Liz Cheney And A House Divided

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By Rod Miller, columnist

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Thus, Charles Dickens opens his classic, “A Tale of Two Cities”. Dickens could just as easily been describing today’s Republican Party and the schism that makes the GOP look like a house divided, warring against itself.

As the GOP leadership, both in Wyoming and nationally, purges from the ranks any voices critical of ex-president Trump, the ideological schism widens. The result will be a party containing two cities – one loyal to a demagogue, and one loyal to the U.S. Constitution.

So, what’s the solution? Let’s take a look at another old, dusty document and see if we can get a hint.

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

Dissolving political bands seems, in times like these, to be a wise idea. The Republican party (or one or the other of the factions within it) should summon up the intellectual honesty to admit that the current schism will not heal, and that the opposing internal ideologies should divorce.

Break-ups are always painful and angsty, but often necessary. The modern GOP is, in fact, the result of the Whig Party dividing over the question of slavery in the new western states back in the 1850s.

The new Republican Party, only a couple of years old, lost its first presidential election in 1856, when John C. Fremont was the candidate. They took their lumps in the first contest, but won four years later with Abraham Lincoln leading the ticket.

So, history teaches us that being a brand new political party splitting off because of ideological differences is NOT the kiss of death.

The Whigs split over slavery, but today the shear point in the GOP is the personality of one man. One element of the Republican Party would gleefully follow Trump over a cliff just to kiss his ass. The rest of us owe fidelity to the Constitution, rather than to any individual. The only solution is to divide the party.

The Trump wing should proudly disavow itself of any political impetus other than what comes out of his mouth, thus freeing themselves totally from any constraints that the Constitution might impose. And they have an instructive example from Argentina in the first half of the 20th Century with Juan and Evita Peron and the Peronistas.

The rest of us should re-read “Conscience of a Conservative” and re-dedicate ourselves to a party that embraces the Constitution, the rule of law, fiscal constraint, individual (rather than governmental or corporate) rights and responsibilities, peaceful transitions of power, civil debate, and good grammar and punctuation. We should also take a firm stand against the designated hitter rule.

These two approaches to a nation’s civic life simply cannot co-exist within the same party. Its time for a break-up and a new political party. I suppose we can flip a coin to see who gets to keep the name “Republican”, but if this current situation goes on much longer, that name won’t have much meaning anymore.

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