Saturday, April 14, 2018

Democrats have to ask themselves: When do we get mean?

Wyoming Sen./Dr. John Barrasso is a hyper-partisan ass-kisser.

We see him looming behind Mitch McConnell every time the Senate Majority Leader utters another ridiculous pronouncement. There's Barrasso, nodding and looking somber. Bobble-head Barrasso. This is the same senator that refuses to have public meetings around his state to explain his behavior. The citizenry has conducted congressional town hall meetings around Wyoming. On the stage are chairs with photos of Barrasso, Cheney, Enzi. That's as close as these public servants will come to a face-to-face with the electorate. Some of their peers in other states have been yelled at for their Triumpist policies. Egos have been bruised. Ask Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. He's used to fielding softball questions from true believers. Instead he got tough questions. Other people yelled at him for his bad behavior. He retreated back to the safety of the D.C. Beltway.

Wyomingites know how to tell shit from Shinola. You have to be older than me to know that Shinola is a shoe polish popularized by GIs in World War II. Shinola was handy and durable, great for those GI shoes and boots. GIs were adept at coining phrases, especially those that targeted inept officers, the guys sending them out to get killed. Not knowing shit from Shinola was dangerous. Funny, too, a fine play on words.

Wyomingites used to be able to tell shit from Shinola. Not any more. Congressional leaders now blow smoke up our asses and we inhale. That expression comes from cockfighting, where humans used to blow smoke up a rooster's ass to goad him into fighting harder. Cockfighting has fallen out of favor but the phrase remains and comes in handy in the political arena. Trump is a master at blowing smoke up people's asses. It incites his conservative base. Angers his opponents.

What is you can tell shit from Shinola? What if you resent having smoke blown up your ass? You have to find other candidates to vote for.

Try Gary Trauner. I canvassed neighborhoods for Gary when he ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and 2008. Trauner came within 1,000 votes of beating Barbara Cubin the last time she ran. Remember that Cubin's husband was ailing and she spent more time outside the Beltway than within. Even Republicans were irritated at her inattention to her job. Trauner hit the hustings and talked to voters. Lots and lots of voters. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Contrarians. People of many stripes voted for him. They crossed over the line between D and R and voted D.

Those were the days. Now we have an impenetrable wall between D and R. Just look at the 2016 election. Three of our best public servants were defeated by a wave of voters who came to vote for Trump the Savior and pushed all of the R buttons. I speak of Floyd Esquibel, Ken Esquibel, and Mary Throne. The Red Wave elected the bad ones and carried off the good ones. And we Democrats didn't work hard enough to get out the vote. Shame on us all.

Gary Trauner runs in 2018 to unseat Sen./Dr. Barrasso. Trauner drew about 50 people to his "listening session" in Cheyenne. Attendees asked great questions, the candidate had convincing answers.  He said he was going to talk to all people. His philosophy seemed to mirror the Dems' 2016 plan of "when they go low, we go high." One questioner challenged this philosophy, wondering if there isn't a time to "get mean." Republicans, notably out-of-state PACs, serve as unregulated attack dogs for Republican candidates and those candidates can disavow any connection with them. Meanwhile, voters minds are being swayed by right-wing paranoia. You know, the stuff you hear on Fox and talk radio. In 2016, these are the people who showed up at the polls in droves. Dems eagerly anticipated election night victory parties. As a volunteer offering rides to the polls, I picked up and delivered exactly one voter to a polling place. His vote, whatever it was, was overwhelmed by the Red Tide.

Will there be a blue wave in 2018 that lifts all boats? Gary Trauner will be in one of those boats. I will help him row, or paddle, or steer, or sail, or whatever else you do in a boat in this godforsaken windswept desert. But I am just one person.

My advice to you: help us roll with the tide. This should be the ideal year for The Dem Blue Wave. But you have to show up. Take a look at Trauner's web site. He says that this campaign is "all about leadership and integrity." Let's prove him right.

If you'd like to see my blog posts from Trauner's 2006 and 2008 campaigns, go to the search box on my right sidebar and type in Gary Trauner. There are a bunch of them, and not all are masterpieces. I do like this one. But they do give you some perspective on the temper of the times in 2006-2008. Remember 2008? We elected the country's first African-American president. It was only ten years ago but now it seems as if it happened in an alternate reality.

No comments: