Sunday, June 03, 2018

Top three Republican governor candidates want to out-conservative each other

The three richest Republican gubernatorial candidates seem to think that Wyoming needs rescuing from a cabal of liberals. Did I miss something? For the past eight years we've had a Republican governor and the four other state elected officials. Conservatives increased their lopsided majority in 2016 as a new wave of Know Nothings swept into power on Donald Trump's coattails. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one. Yet Republican candidates in 2018 seem to think we need to be more conservative, which is hard to fathom. It's like asking Trump to to be less of a loudmouth greedhead. It just can't be done.

Millionaire stock trader Foster Friess, the man who embodies the loathsome side of Teton County politics, looks ridiculous in his cowboy outfit. His pitch is even more ridiculous. In his TV ads, he promotes himself as a"conservative businessman "who wants to see that Wyoming remains a land of dreams for the next generation." Dream on, Wyomingites. With Republican policies, you can work three jobs for less than minimum wage while dreaming of life in a mansion with a mountain view. And golf! FF will create jobs by tapping into "clean and abundant energy resources (shot of oil well), cut down on wasteful spending and make sure Washington doesn't get in our way." Is he talking about Trump's Republican government? Or that guy Obama? Will businessman Friess be as efficient at running the state as Trump is running the country? It's too hard to go on, watching TV spot after TV spot. Bless you, mute button. Stephen Colbert summed up Friess's campaign in his segment "Profiles in Discourage:"

He's only one of the conservatives who wants to make Wyoming more conservative. Mark Gordon actually looks pretty good in his cowboy duds although I'm getting a bit irked at his hay-pitching routine. Gordon is a rancher from Johnson County and our current state treasurer. In one of his spots, he says that he "will fight to get government out of the way." Do you know that, as governor, you are actually the head of the government? I guess it doesn't matter. Many R voters in this state see "government" as a dirty word. They must not drive on any gubment roads or depend on rangeland fire fighters when wildfires threaten their mountain homes. And I'm certain that none of the ranchers get U.S. Government grazing subsidies. Republicans hate government -- let's put them in charge. What could go wrong?

Conservative businessman Sam Galeotos is from Cheyenne. I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone describe themselves as a liberal businessman. Not in Wyoming, anyway. Mr. Galeotos has been instrumental in lifting our downtown out of the doldrums -- I will give him that. His refrain is "get government out of the way of small business." Also: "Conservative ideas, fresh perspective." He's run many successful small to medium-sized technology businesses. He is big on tech, which is a hopeful sign. I wonder, though, how many college-educated tech people want to come to a state whose legislature continues its Stone Age policies of demonizing the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and science? They don't believe in funding education and Know Nothings continue to usurp power at our lone four-year state-funded university. We have tech businesses in Cheyenne. Many of those young employees are commuters from mostly-liberal northern Colorado, mainly Greeley and Fort Collins. And UW grads continue to flee the state after graduation. Where are those jobs and policies that will keep our young people in the state?

There are other Repubs in the race but they are not on TV, not yet. And there is a great Democratic Party candidate, Mary Throne, who is our best bet. I'm a Democrat and you probably expect me to be biased. I'm a liberal and I live here too. I matter, but none of the above-named Republicans seem to care. It's all about name recognition and the "R". And the money.

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