2010 will likely be remembered in the coming decades as the year when Americans turned back from the brink and reasserted their devotion to the traditional values and principles that have produced the most powerful, most prosperous, and until recently, the freest nation on earth. The elections of last November were a thunderous refutation of the arrogant elitists in Washington and an irrefutable declaration from the people of the heartland that they are not ready to relinquish their national inheritance to the counterculture and the political left.
Earlier last year, several stunning primary upsets, epitomized by the ouster of Senator Bob Bennett, a Utah Republican “moderate,” set the stage for the conservative ascendancy that is beginning to register shockwaves among the “business as usual” members of both major parties. Unfortunately, in the midst of such triumph, a disturbing confluence of circumstances in Wyoming curtailed the possibility that the waves of national restoration might be likewise enjoyed in the Cowboy State.
Benefiting from a four-way Republican gubernatorial primary race that was fairly evenly split, candidate Matt Mead was able to garner significant support from liberal Democrat crossover voters who took advantage of a major deficiency in Wyoming election law allowing them to change party affiliation on Election Day. Reports of entire state offices in Cheyenne, the capital, engaging in such behavior were rampant, as well as exasperated statements from election judges who had to contend with the massive volume of resulting paperwork, while being forced to watch helplessly as the electoral process was hideously perverted.
As a result, Mead won the split primary, with barely twenty seven percent of the vote, and went on to claim Wyoming’s governorship on November 2. And despite offering the standard conservative and traditional GOP platitudes to which Republican “moderates” typically resort in the closing days of the election cycle, in barely three months since his win he has in many ways already validated the worst fears of his conservative critics.
It is virtually impossible to refute the evidence that his predecessor, Democrat Governor Dave Freudenthal, was instrumental in securing Mead’s election. Freudenthal, a skilled political operative, has mastered the art of speaking on the right while governing to the left. On more than one occasion, he has loudly criticized the liberal excesses of his own party, even refusing to attend the 2004 Democrat National Convention in which Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was nominated to run against then President George W. Bush.
Yet Freudenthal’s charade was not entirely airtight. Clearly, it was a safe bet that the hapless Kerry was no major threat to the incumbent Bush. In those predictable circumstances, Freudenthal had little to lose by failing to sufficiently sanction his party’s candidate. In 2008 however, he recognized the energy of Barack Obama’s drive for the White House, and was quick to get on that bandwagon, thoroughly dispelling any doubts as to his true liberal loyalties.
So Wyoming voters had ample evidence to alert them of what mischief was afoot when Freudenthal refused to promote Democrat Gubernatorial candidate Leslie Peterson, thus backing Mead by default. The legacy of the Wyoming political “insiders” club would necessitate that Freudenthal’s liberalism and government-bloating ambitions be maintained. And Mead was just the man to do it.
True to form, among Mead’s first acts as Governor-elect was to appoint Democrat Greg Phillips, a former two-term State Senator, as Wyoming Attorney General, a move which did not portend well for those who hoped to join the anti-Obamacare lawsuits sweeping the nation. Yet more was shortly to come.
From the early days of the 2011 Wyoming State Legislature, Mead began sending signals that the “conservatism” of his campaign was merely cosmetic and soon to be jettisoned. Now secure in the Governor’s office, he is clearly angling towards the “middle,” by waffling and backtracking from conservative positions which he felt compelled to take in front of the cameras in 2010.
It is hardly imaginable that a true Republican would have any problem denouncing Obamacare, either from a political or a moral standpoint. Yet Mead was a definite latecomer to the notion that Wyoming ought to resist the imposition of medical socialism. His belated participation in the effort was half-hearted at best.
Likewise, in regards to grassroots efforts to protect the institution of traditional marriage, his duplicity has rivaled anything from those double-speaking Beltway insiders. This year’s legislative session has witnessed a bold grassroots effort to institute a constitutional amendment that would preserve the time-honored definition of marriage in Wyoming as it has been upheld in virtually every other state. Facing the prospect of having to sign or veto the measure, Mead is now desperately looking for “wiggle room.”
In a January 28 news conference, he asserted a personal belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman. This he immediately followed with an admonition to be “very careful and pragmatic about how we approach this,” followed by a caveat suggesting that neglecting to sufficiently straddle the fence might somehow “limit access to our court system,” presumably by same-sex “couples.”
Across the nation, 2011 proved to be the year in which principled and unapologetic devotion to the American ideal swept the political landscape. And among the citizens of Wyoming, this was no less the case. Yet it is clear that just as Heartland America must confront the “ruling class” inside the Beltway, Wyomingites will need to project their concerns and convictions forward and upward into their state’s political system. Truly courageous and conservative office holders will need vigorous grassroots support, while imposters must be shown the door.
Unless the citizens of Wyoming loudly rise up and voice their concerns, demand accountability from those in office, and exact a political price from any who would remain indifferent to them, they will see all of their sweat and toil of the last two years diluted and eventually neutralized.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming. He has been involved in politics at the local and state level for many years, and is a contributing columnist at the new print publication “Liberty Ink Journal.” His contact information and article archives can be found at http://www.chrisadamo.com