election post-mortem

As much as I looked forward to hearing Matt Mead at the Rotary forum last month, he lost me at "Obamacare."

Step back from the edge. On a whole, the election results weren’t as bad as they could have been. Voters saw through what one friend described as a “fog of irrationality” to elect good candidates locally. The county, another friend said, will continue to have “cohesive, responsive, logical leadership.”

Nationally, Democrats still control the Senate by essentially a 53-47 margin, with 51 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party. No matter what wacko legislation comes out of the Republican-led House, the Senate will cool the wilder impulses.

How now, Tea Partiers? Ye wingnuts who have railed against government woke up this week to find out, guess what, you ARE the government! That means you bear the responsibility for getting things done, not just ranting angrily. Odds are these “outsiders” become just like everyone else elected to Washington, feel voters’ wrath and get tossed out next election.

In a year when the radical fringe invigorated the GOP, Wyoming Republicans found success by doing the opposite, selecting relatively moderate candidates. Teton County Republicans deserve credit for this. Ruth Ann Petroff, Paul Vogelheim, Keith Gingery and Leland Christensen are moderates who will represent the community, not just supporters in their party. They are light years ahead of some of their predecessors. There’s even hope for Governor-elect Matt Mead, who, despite his campaign rhetoric and lack of insight about health care, holds promise for governing from the center.

For eight years Republicans have enjoyed an unfair advantage in Teton County, after the GOP-dominated Wyoming Legislature redrew voting districts in their favor. The delegation we send to Cheyenne will have a hand in redistricting. Christensen and Petroff are on record saying they will work to make Teton County whole again. We will be watching very closely.


Posted under County Government, Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party, Wyoming, Wyoming Legislature

19 Comments so far

  1. dave November 5, 2010 3:26 pm

    according to the casper trib the democrats in wyoming had their worst defeat in 90 years.

    i would agree with your line “Odds are these “outsiders” become just like everyone else elected to Washington, feel voters’ wrath and get tossed out next election”.

    they have earned a chance and i can’t see them doing less of a job than the congressional excuses we have had watching out for us in washington over the last few years.

    for a grassroots loose knit political party less than 2 years old to defeat the centuries old well funded machine we call the democratic party in a few races is remarkable.

  2. Tom Frisbie November 6, 2010 8:32 am

    Help me out with the moderate tag. Is it a point system? Can you be more moderate or less moderate? What disquaifies you and makes you either conservative or liberal?

  3. danno November 6, 2010 3:38 pm

    The reason that the Senate kept a democratic majority is simple: only a third of the chamber is up in a given election. If all 100 seats were up there is no question there would be a republican majority. The 2012 election, democrats have many more senate seats to defend than 2010, expect a much more conservative Democratic senate majority this year after they have seen what just took place on Tuesday.

  4. ij November 6, 2010 6:46 pm

    Why is there so much generic hate for Republicans? Obviously more than half of the country agrees that they aren’t all bad…

  5. D November 7, 2010 6:27 pm

    You would have more cred if you didn’t assume/say every republican idea was crazy both sides have good ideas.

  6. js November 8, 2010 8:50 am

    Lowering the payroll tax is a good idea. Disbanding the EPA, not so much.

    Thanks to the likes of the Koch brothers and Foster Friess, the Tea Party was anything but a loosely knit, underfunded bunch.

    Tom, I’d say most of the local candidates in this election, yourself included, were pretty moderate. We were fortunate to have good candidates from both parties.

  7. Brad November 8, 2010 9:15 am

    Nice try, Jim. But your patronizing of Tom didn’t answer his question.

  8. js November 8, 2010 1:48 pm

    It’s a relative term. Ruth Ann, for instance, was criticized by hard-liners in her own party for not being Republican enough.

    Maybe I meant, more palatable to Democrats? As in, Leland is preferable to Grant Larson, and Paul Vogelheim is preferable to Bob Shervin.

    Keith Gingery, as much as I give him a hard time, has broken ranks with his party on issues like wolves.

    I wasn’t patronizing.

  9. Brad November 9, 2010 9:09 pm

    Fair enough, Jim. It did seem that way. More substance in #8, however. But I would go beyond the political, more than palatable to either party, and go right to your assessment of Keith. In other words, one who predominantly shares his or her party’s sensibilities/platforms, but doesn’t let dogma defeat common sense, or what’s in the genuine best interests of his/her constituents, or the public at large. We have a history of that in this state, which belies one recent national assesments of Wyoming being the most conservative state. Three of our last four Governors have been Democrats. Last I looked, Sweetwater County, for example, tilted more democratic that one would expect.

    BTW, while the tea partiers may not have been underfunded bunch, I believe that they are a lot less firmly knit than liberals fear. Now that the election has settled, I predict Republicans at large will significantly muzzle this extremism, while, yes, patronizing them.

  10. D November 10, 2010 8:45 am

    Sweetwater County has always been a blue dog county. Nothing has changed; there are many very conservative democrats. Look at the history of voting in this county and you will see it is almost always blue.

  11. Fresh Tracks November 10, 2010 10:15 am

    One Wyoming race you haven’t mentioned is the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, which many speculated might be close. In that one, the clearly more-qualified candidate with across-the-aisles support was squashed by his oppenent, a candidate with a questionable background who didn’t offer much of a platform. The difference? A “D” in front of one candidate’s name on the ballot.

    Keep your eyes on the Wyoming Department of Education, which is under scrutiny from the Legislature right now because increased spending isn’t leading to student improvement.

  12. Brad November 10, 2010 6:34 pm

    D — if you’re talking about SW county, I did, that was my point. Historically democratic, blue dog or otherwise. And, by the way, what is a blue dog, in your mind? Any democrat who holds even one conservative view? As opposed to “very conservatibe democrat”, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say a “moderate democrat”. Are those folks down in Rock Springs so conservativbe that they ought to just switch parties? Surely they hold some dem/liberal views that help them keep their party bonafides.

    Fresh Tracks — If Massie had so much “across-the-aisles” suport, where did it show? He got trounced everywhere but Albany Co. (UW), and Teton Co. (nuf said). There were some allegations against Hill, but they didn’t stick. Better campaigning by Massie might have made the difference. But then, that always comes down to money, doesn’t it?

  13. js November 10, 2010 6:45 pm

    Fresh Tracks, I mentioned the schools superintendent race in a previous post on Election Day. But you’re right. Scary.

    We are headed into a period of one-party rule that could be a throwback to the Geringer administration, or worse. Get ready for a long 4-8 years.

  14. Brad November 10, 2010 7:29 pm

    Jim, can we be a bit more fair on the superintendent candidates: I went back to your article linked on Nov. 2. While Hill wants creationism taught in science classes and Massie doesn’t, Massie IS in favor of creationism being taught in public schools. The stipulation is, some other classroom venue. He suggest a history class, which sounds a bit patronizing. I would think you would have a problem with Massie’s stance as most liberals want want this sort of thing farther away from the schoolyard than guns. My personal view is Hill won’t have any success if she pushes for her idea.

  15. D November 11, 2010 9:08 am

    I don’t put anyone in a box I lived there for 20 years and that’s how they described themselves. I don’t have a definition of “blue dog”, other then they are more conservative then the democrats portrayed in the media. I wasn’t necessarily responding to you I was just pointing out a fact that many people wouldn’t realize which is, SW county is going blue a lot more most would think.

  16. Chad November 11, 2010 12:16 pm

    I have some theories I’d like to see taught in science classes. Anyone know how I go about getting them in the curriculum?

  17. js November 13, 2010 6:09 pm

    Brad, I doubt Massie was enthusiastically pursuing the teaching of creationism. Sounds more to me like he was saying if schools are to have it, here’s a suitable place, not in science class.

    This is beside the point now. The new Wyoming schools superintendent seeks to undermine public education with a voucher program for private schools. That’s more worrisome.

    Also worrisome is the fact that all five of Wyoming’s statewide elected officials are Republicans. They make up the state land and loan/investment boards. There will be very little check on how the Wyoming Biz Council distributes grants, for instance. Get ready for a lot of GOP back-slapping.

  18. Brad November 13, 2010 9:02 pm

    I agree, Jim, but, that Massie might entertain its place in a school is still surprising. If public education in Wyoming is that bad (which I don’t believe), the specter of vouchers could be a good wake up call. In this state, we enjoy a very centrist govermnent, so I would go back to your note of republican succes with “relatively moderate candicates”. Lack of democrats may not mean the worst for those boards.

  19. js January 18, 2011 10:57 pm

    A witty conversation between Gail Collins and David Brooks over what it means to be “moderate:”

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