The Grouse on Gov Candidates

We don’t endorse anyone here, but we might poke some candidates in the eye.

The PBS interview on August 9 of four serious contenders and two wannabe Republican candidates for governor revealed a few things about the candidates.  The PBS debate of two Democratic candidates and an apparent Ewok (Star Wars, remember?) was disheartening.

First, the GOP debate: it was an act of charity, or maybe a calculated invitation to horrifying embarrassment, to allow Tom Ubben and Alan Kousoulos to participate.  My paralegal’s 13 year old son would have outshone these two; why invite kindergarten-level hopefuls to debate people with some actual political knowledge and experience?  Chalk it up to an egalitarian tradition in Wyoming politics.  And, not a Wyoming thing, was it Sen. Roman Hruska of Nebraska who said that mediocre voters deserve representation, too?

Yeah, they do.  But not by mediocre governors, thank you.

The best thing about Tom and Alan was you could run to the bathroom or the kitchen while they were incomprehensibly muttering about Wyoming.  “Didja git yer elk?” would seem erudite in comparison with their best efforts to imitate, or try to emerge from being, well, hillbillies.

[Oh geez, says the angel on my shoulder, that’s just too cruel.  You’re just envious because they probably did get their elk.]

I’m starting to like Rita Meyer after a plagued audition for the part; she now acknowledges that there is a role for government in aiding the unfortunate.  Boy, did that spark a stinging rejoinder from Ron Micheli; he wants the private sector to take care of the disadvantaged.  Hmmm, I don’t know if that happens everywhere.

I know this: the energy companies in Gillette contribute mightily to the United Way, and drum up employee participation in literally dozens of local charitable events.  Industry pumps millions of dollars into local charities.  The same is true in many Wyoming communities.  The private sector in Wyoming can be extremely proud of its role in helping the disadvantaged.

And, Ron is a Mormon, and the Mormon church, whatever your opinion of its theology might be, is famous for building community networks; Mormon businessmen use Mormon lawyers and accountants, etc., and Mormon churches help out their members in need.  Ron might be using that as his principal frame of reference as he extols private sector “thousand points of light” metaphors as a reason to slash government aid to the poor.

But Rita perceives that the private sector can be intolerant of people who fall off the edge and need a hand up to climb out of perdition, and not all of them are cared for by religious and secular charities.  At least she is indulging a broader perspective in these days of rigid adherence to tea-party rhetoric.

Colin wants the government to promote jobs.  Funny, I remember some votes on the split estate act and eminent domain which were definitely not helpful to industry.  However, those votes might play well with other constituencies.  Colin has a history of being a centrist, but in a primary, he has to run as a conservative.  Like Rita, he has stumbled a few times trying to be Rush Limbaugh when they both are really more like John McCain.

Matt Mead was the most articulate speaker (except for Ron’s inspiring Hal Holbrook-like reciting of John Adams’ campaign speech).  But, Matt wants to target Medicaid, a huge budget burden on the Dept. of Health.  Does he know that Medicaid’s reimbursement rate for hospitals and doctors is so punitively low that many private doctors and dentists will not take Medicaid patients?  Public hospitals have no choice, they take the patients, so they get dinged, and the taxpayers pick up the difference.  Cutting Medicaid just shifts taxpayer burdens.  Matt needs to do some homework.

Here’s an idea for Medicaid: take fingerprints for illegal alien status, provide only necessary emergency treatment and call the INS and send them home.

(The angel and the devil on my shoulders draw a collective gasp: You Arizona maniac!!  You are to the right of Ron Micheli!  My response:  illegal aliens do not pay premiums for health insurance therefore they cannot obtain treatment except at emergency rooms, they have babies in our hospitals, and they drive up taxpayer costs.  This has nothing to do with ethnicity, skin color, political affiliation or even their sense of humor.  Illegal aliens drive up health care costs for all of us. And if anyone thinks I am a racist, my telephone number is in the phone book.)

Changing to another lightning rod topic: The candidates all said the same thing about wolves, except Rita stumbled: wolves are not trophy animals in Yellowstone Park.  Rita alert:  They are protected from everything except other wolves in the Park.  They are treated by Wyoming as trophy animals around the park and predators elsewhere, except none of that matters thanks to the federal government and federal judge Molloy.  Wolves do not behave conveniently; they cross borders in search of fawns and lambs like Central American workers cross borders in search of a job.  Let’s adopt an Arizona law for wolves, and require interrogation whenever one is apprehended.

But the GOP candidates all agree; they will “fight” the federal government on wolves.

Why is the word “fight” an essential element of every campaign slogan?  Is the Gov supposed to fly to DC and punch the head of Fish and Wildlife in the nose?  Or maybe Nick Rahall.

How to solve two problems: capture and release the wolves where there are too many wild horses.  It would be fun to write the script for that dialogue between USFWS and the animal rights constituencies.

Oops, I wandered off from the governor’s race.

One thing to admire about Ron Micheli:  he is not ashamed to unabashedly adopt a controversial position.  His comments that across-the-board spending cuts are irrational rang a note with me.  When Gov Dave ordered a ten percent budget cut, DFS cut all of its grants to outside agencies in order to preserve its Paleolithic bureaucracy:  Too bad for needy constituents.   Ron wants zero-based budgeting, probably politically impossible, but I like the ideal.  I bet I would not agree with him on where to build from zero, though.  But, how do you figure out which programs are needed, which are effective, which are a parking ground for useless bureaucrats, and which can be tailored with razor laser precision into delivering maximum results for the taxpayer dollar?   Zero-based budgeting would require creation of a new bureaucracy which would analyze needs and budgets, a hopeless quagmire.

Moving to the Democrat debate on August 10, the one solid conclusion is that we will have a Republican as the next Governor.  My old friend Leslie has been hit in the head too many times by those spirited parade horses and she lacks the fire in the belly.  Smart she is, but driven to win, she is not.

I like to fly with smart pilots; horror, imagine the alternative.  Pete Gosar is a smart guy; it will be fun to watch him in the future.

Didn’t I actually see Rex Wilde on a speederbike evading storm troopers in the second Star Wars movie?

Here’s a suggestion to Gov Dave, who has a sense of humor, sometimes:  Make a lifesize cardboard cutout of Rex Wilde and put it on display in the Capital rotunda.  Is he “Presidential”?

Maybe next do the same with some of the Republicans.  Put that lifesized cardboard right next to the entrance to the Governor’s office and let people contemplate the reality of a Governor Micheli, or Governor Mead, or another Governor Simpson, etc.

Goodnight Geoff.

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  1. In response to Mr. Sage Grouse – RUNNING for office/getting elected to office doesn’t necessarily require the same things as BEING in office – which we hope involves true leadership, sincerity, wisdom, ability to listen, ability to surround oneself with smart and qualified people – some charisma and a sense of humor is always a plus – so let’s see how it looks tomorrow.
    I love our State and its people – and I admit I tend to be a little idealistic. I don’t respond favorably to grousing from the cheap seats – darn – they’re often in the back row…

  2. I don’t know if Mary is encouraging me to run for office, sort of a compliment, or excoriating me for sitting in the back row and throwing rocks. I did tend to sit in the back row in law school, which provided no immunity from withering questions. Running for office requires a level of all-day optimism and smiling which is not part of my character. I have a dreadful inability to remember names and faces. So if I am to provide leadership, it has to be in another role. I can be a critic, and I can be an advisor. As a critic I can indulge a bit of wordplay and acid tongue; as an advisor I don’t do that. I will put together a column on policy issues which our candidates should pursue when elected.

  3. Yes, but you have to agree that two very liberal candidates are still worse than one almost conservative candidate.

  4. I enjoyed the commentary as well and wonder often why some waste their time running for an office like Governor. Several of the candidates should stay with their day jobs although I commend them for throwing their cowboy hats into the pen. We have a well rounded list of candidates for Governor and August 17th can’t come quick enough.

  5. Interesting article. However, it is too bad Dr. Taylor Haynes wasn’t asked any questions (he is also getting signatures to be on the ballot as an independent). He not only has answers but a plan on how to support the constitution and get our state back where it should be. At least check him out to see where he stands, you might be pleasantly surprised and excited to see someone who is ready to take on the fight, whatever it may be!

  6. The idea of cutting Medicaid will hurt all the seniors in this state. Especially those with low income. Medicaid takes up the gap in perscriptions . Medicaid has QMB which pays the $100.00 deducted from SS checks for Medicare. When you are living on $800 per month ,that $100 means a whole lot plus the amount paid for medications. Why does Michili want to hurt the seniors in our state?????

  7. Very interesting commentary. HOWEVER I think those who offer the cynical perspective from the back row ought to step out there and take the lead. I guess a sage grouse isn’t known for leadership.