let’s spend all of Wyoming’s trust funds on … a really big gun

By Jim Stanford on February 23, 2010

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Wyoming legislator in Cheyenne.

Maybe it’s the water in Cheyenne, or a surge of Republican testosterone.

But there’s something about the Wyoming legislative session that turns otherwise rational, reasonable men into a pack of chest-bumping bro’s trying to out-redneck each other.

This year the aggressive posturing has reached a near-absurd low. First, the governor moved to effectively squash wind power in Wyoming.

Then came a slew of bills railing against the federal government, stopping just short of secession. Five bills challenging federal authority have passed the House, including one that would further sanctify the Cowboy State’s central obsession: guns.

Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson, talks of a “palpable anger” toward the federal government from Wyoming residents.

What are they so angry about?

Oh, yeah: We elected a black Democrat president.

Maybe they are just channeling some of this rage:

Several bills Wyoming lawmakers have been working on are resolutions calling on Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution. Good luck with that, guys.

Rep. Pete Jorgensen, D-Jackson, calls the Legislature’s actions “disillusioning.” Even Gingery, who has received a flood of calls from gun nuts, is bewildered.

(Then again, Gingery co-sponsored a bill calling for repeal of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives citizens the right to elect U.S. senators instead of state legislatures. That’s right: Keith wanted us to forfeit our power to elect senators and trust him to do it instead. Mercifully, the bill failed.)

Is Wyoming so angry that it is ready to give up its federal funding? Hah! As Sam Western writes in his de-mythologizing takedown Pushed Off the Mountain, the Cowboy State traditionally rails against the federal government while taking generous subsidies for ranching, mining and forestry, among other handouts.

Like many red states, Wyoming receives more tax dollars than it generates. As a friend recently suggested, perhaps New Jersey, which pays far more than its share, should be irate.

Because this is a budget session, and because these bills are a colossal waste of time, much of the anti-(Obama) government ranting is unlikely to go anywhere.

But in a state where bumper stickers snicker, “Pull the trigger on the nigger,” lawmakers ought to show courage by standing up to the crazies instead of caving to their demands.

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• Follow the Legislature via Cowboy State Free Press

List of bills and legislators

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Posted under Humor, Politics, Republican Party, Wyoming Legislature

9 Comments so far

  1. D February 23, 2010 3:12 pm

    Let me start by saying I don’t agree with much of anything in these polices and don’t think WYO should consider secession. However federal funding would be the least of our worries considering abundance of fossil fuels we would now own and tax instead of the federal government. Add that to the tole we would charge to travel down our highways and we would be fine. We would be loaded although loaded with nothing to buy, and a complete mess. On the gun issue not everyone that owns and wants to carry a gun is a crazy right wing tea bagging Nazi. Radical are on both sides believe it or not.

  2. js February 23, 2010 3:27 pm

    Not everyone is a nut, but why are Republicans so afraid? Did I miss a big federal roundup of Wyoming’s weapons?

  3. D February 23, 2010 7:08 pm

    I don’t know unfortunately it probably because 65% of the state is closer to that view then yours but I do agree they are pandering to the hard right of the state. You just tend to lump all Rep. in to one big racist red neck gun-loving club. Which is not true. Also I know the bumper sticker your referring to its right next to the Palin for Pres. and Wolf Pack in the crosshairs followed by SMOKE A PACK A DAY. However I would have left the end part of it out it didn’t add anything. Government is broken city to fed.

  4. DAVE February 24, 2010 9:38 am

    why the racist spin jim. is that what you really believe?
    maybe our wyo lawmakers are concerned because their constituents are concerned about the 2nd ammendment, gun rights, and the liberal attack by pres obama and ag holder.

  5. js February 24, 2010 9:47 am

    That sentiment is out there, Dave, as much as it stings to admit. A friend came back from a tour of the state pretty shaken by what’s being said. Our legislators are fanning the flames of this anti-(Obama)government hatred and scoring cheap political points.

    Same thing in Arizona: http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/arizona-to-obama-show-us-your-birth-certificate.php?ref=fbfp

    Tell me there’s no racism there.

  6. D February 24, 2010 11:29 am

    I believe Obama being elected only highlighted how racist people steel are no doubt. But hardly feel its the majority. At CPAC the other day the X Rep. from Colorado suggested bringing back literacy test which is about a racist as it get. It was on Rachel Madow the other day.

  7. Dale February 24, 2010 11:12 pm

    Even though I routinely travel all over the state, I’ve never seen the bumper sticker you refer to. Nor does it make me racist because I want an ethical government that behaves in a fiscally responsible manner.

    Thankfully the Governor has the wisdom to recognize and address some of the problems associated with wind energy development, which for some reason most people blindly and foolishly turn their backs on. From my perspective I’d rather have a wind farm installed on Pass Ridge and Mount Elly to serve Idaho electric customers than sacrifice the Laramie Range and Shirley Basin.

    I’d gladly accept a return of lost liberties in exchange for less federal dollars. I wish we never would have given in to the Feds many highway funding bribery tactics. Sure we likely would have had to cut back on highway spending, but we could save some dollars by closing WY 22 during the winter season – as is done with other mountain pass highways in the state.

    Instead of just spewing nonsensical partisan gibberish, why don’t you educate yourself first by spending some time around the state and discussing the issues with real people? An open minded person would likely be surprised what they would find in Wyomingites living outside of Teton County. It certainly is not the stereotype that you like to tout.

  8. js February 25, 2010 2:06 am

    It’s easy to assume that, like most people in Teton County, I haven’t been outside this part of the state. But that’s not the case. I have lived and worked in Cheyenne, covered the Legislature, spent time in Laramie, Rock Springs, Casper, Lander, Fort Washakie … even Torrington.

    The report of that sticker came from a friend who visited just about every county in the state last fall, and came back thoroughly demoralized. This person spent a career in government and is usually indefatigably positive, a champion of civil political discourse, but he was disturbed at what he heard.

    I am partly a libertarian at heart and have always admired Wyoming’s rebellious, independent streak, even if some of it’s a myth. But our lawmakers today are feeding a Tea Party hysteria that’s so irrational and, frankly, hateful.

    Anyone who believes the Bush-Cheney administration was “an ethical government that behaves in a fiscally responsible manner” is spewing nonsensical partisan gibberish.

  9. D February 25, 2010 11:07 am

    I am way more right then left but Bush-Cheney and the current positions in the party are the reason I can no longer associate with the Republican Party. Obama is shinning up the turd that they left him he never had a chance! I am a Independent, as in I look at every issue independently and make an informed decision. There are many problems with wind energy and they need to be addressed, its sad that the far leaning left is not fighting them for answers on wildlife issues, inefficiencies, and the realistic energy production because its a trendy green energy. However there are problems with coal gas and oil as well and they love to take up this fight and rightfully so. We need a common sense balanced approach to all of these energy forms and then we need to do what is best for the people of Wyoming as a whole. JS does seem to lean a further to the left on a lot of issues then I do, however his portrayal of some “Wyomingites” is not all that far off sadly. PS Dale: I work for the Oil and Gas industry and I have lived here for over 26 years born and raised and I left for a fwe short years but I have been all around the entire state. I know Wyoming has some of the best people in all the country and the world for that matter; however we also have some very narrow-minded and uninformed people as well. We can all get enough of what we want but not by playing this game of tug-of-war. TH eleft and right need to get informed of the facts and then meet in the middle.

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