local reps shilling for Romney

Fresh off his drubbing by Rick Santorum in Tuesday’s caucuses, vulture capitalist and Thurston Howell impersonator Mitt Romney has assembled a Wyoming “leadership team” as he looks ahead to the next round of GOP primaries.

Among those on the team are Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff, R-Jackson, and Sens. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, and Dan Dockstader, R-Afton.

Ruth Ann backs Romney.

Our state legislators no doubt will help Romney corral Wyoming’s 29 delegates (a handful compared to the 1,144 needed for nomination), but given that Teton County is a hotbed for political giving, they also ought to help Romney wrangle what he loves most: MONEY.

This might put them at odds with many of their constituents, considering Barack Obama won 61 percent of the vote in Teton County in 2008, compared to 37 percent for John McCain. In Petroff’s District 16, Obama carried 63 percent.

Heading Romney’s Wyoming team is U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., who has inherited the flair for vituperative hyperbole of her predecessor, Barbara Cubin. Here’s what Lummis had to say about Mitt:

“Wyoming has faced first-hand the consequences of President Obama’s big-government over-regulation that has hindered our state’s economic development. Mitt Romney knows that the best thing Washington can do is to get out of the way of job creators. President Obama’s approach to government has been to balloon government and put us on a path toward Greece.”

Greece! Break out the ouzo and smash a plate, we’re headed for sun and olives.

Asked why she is supporting Romney, Petroff — who was criticized by the party establishment in Teton County in 2010 for not being Republican enough — pointed to his track record in business and as governor:

I like Governor Romney’s understanding and experience in private enterprise. I share his priority for getting people to work and creating jobs in our country.

Even more than that, I am impressed by his proven success in working ‘across the aisle’ in Massachusetts. If we’re going to begin to make a dent in our national debt without stifling business interests and without cutting off social services, it’s going to take someone who is willing to negotiate and make some concessions.

I am optimistic that we aren’t going to let our country succumb to this partisan gridlock and I am optimistic that we can elect a leader who can inspire us to think beyond ideology.

Wyoming Republicans will vote on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Santorum's right-hand man, even closer.

National media coverage of Santorum backer Foster Friess has reached full saturation, culminating in yesterday’s front-page profile in the N.Y. Times. In recent weeks Friess has made the rounds on just about every cable news program, touting his financial support of Santorum, first noted here on the night of the Iowa caucus.

Fueled by Citizens United, the rise of billionaires buying influence in the election has become absurd, a sort of fantasy politics like those spring training camps baseball teams hold for aging fans to mingle with their idols. Only instead of fielding grounders from Ed Kranepool, these financiers get to ride on the campaign trail and pull the levers of policy. Give another million, stand a little closer to the podium.

Tuesday night, as Santorum was sweeping Romney in three contests, Friess practically became a surrogate spokesman for the candidate. Watching him beaming and standing shoulder to shoulder with Santorum on stage begged an obvious question, one I’ve put to Friess before: Why doesn’t he just run himself?

Relayed by assistant Matthew Taylor yesterday, the query elicited a chuckle from Friess.

Democrats have been chuckling, too, as the fight among Romney, Santorum and Newt Gingrich has been prolonged. Pete Muldoon, who has tussled with Friess locally about the Occupy movement, cautioned Obama supporters not to get too giddy. “I’m sure Foster will throw money at Romney soon,” he said.

Alternative Romney campaign logo.

Finally, in other Wyoming GOP news, tax-and-spend Republican Rep. Keith Gingery of Jackson has proposed an additional 1-cent sales tax in Yellowstone National Park, to help pay for a maintenance backlog. The bill probably has little chance of passage in a budget session where lawmakers outside Teton County are likely to be skeptical, but Gingery deserves props for a true fiscally conservative idea, i.e., actually figuring out a way to pay for things.

I’m not sure taxing park visitors who already paid an entry fee (and income tax to the U.S. Treasury) is fair, but Gingery is showing political courage in proposing the idea. Let’s have him take it a step further and press Wyoming’s all-Republican congressional delegation to take a break from showboating on Faux News and provide more funding for the national parks. If Dick Cheney, enabled by the likes of Cubin and Sen. Mike Enzi, hadn’t squandered $4 trillion on the Iraq War, the maintenance backlog might not be so large.

Update 2/14: Gingery’s bill failed to receive enough votes to be introduced.


Posted under Economy, Politics, Republican Party

23 Comments so far

  1. Mark February 10, 2012 1:23 pm

    I understand not agreeing with Romney’s political positions, but I don’t understand the flaming. Romney’s lofty bank account doesn’t equal a love of money…his charitable giving is between 12-14% per year. That’s more (as a percentage) than all the other candidates combined.

    It seems to me that Romney’s history in office is similar to the praised ideals of Rep. Gingery, but on a larger scale. Moderate conservatism, willing to cross party lines to get things done. Local Reps supporting the most moderate of all republican nominees (Romney) shouldn’t be overly offensive to a constituency who voted the Reps in knowing they were republican leaning; even if the majority of the constituency voted for Obama. .02

  2. D February 10, 2012 2:19 pm

    Its no secret charity really means tax break. Still a good deed, but lets be real.

  3. js February 10, 2012 3:01 pm

    Mitt Romney at Bain Capital

    It’s hard not to poke fun at Romney, who says a lot of inflammatory — and patently untrue — things about President Obama. Romney has run from every courageous position he ever had, else he might get more respect.

  4. Bennett February 10, 2012 9:14 pm

    D: Tax break for charitable donations would probably be 33-37% in Romney’s tax bracket, maybe less depending on if the income was from investments or income from working. So between 63 and 85 percent of his charitable donations is from his personal money, not money that would have gone to the federal government. There are probably very rich people in Jackson who donate to Old Bill’s Fund Run or other Jackson non-profit organizations which directly improve the lives of all in Jackson. Would you complain about their dontions being a tax break? Yes let’s be real.

  5. dave February 11, 2012 6:49 am

    super pacs know no party boundary. obama may well be be the biggest benefactor before this is over. he may end up spending a billion dollars on this election.

  6. PD February 11, 2012 8:11 am

    Romney’s primary “charitable donation” is the Mormon Church. He paid $4.1 million to the church in 2011 and only $3.2 million in federal income taxes. How patriotic is that?? I don’t consider financing Mormon missionaries proselytizing around the world a “charity”. He sure as hell shouldn’t get a tax break for it.

  7. Danno February 11, 2012 9:09 am

    The blog writer’s liberalism comes through like a caricature, so cliche

    I mean, ‘money, it’s what Romney loves most ‘, can anyone really take that seriously?
    He doesn’t love his family most, he loves money more…if anyone really believes that they are brainwashed to resent the successful beyond hope

  8. joe February 11, 2012 1:10 pm

    the real question becomes is, what has devolved to lowest lizard brain level,
    politics or journalism. stay tuned. 9 months to go

  9. Mark February 11, 2012 4:21 pm

    @PD: Donations to the Mormon Church go largely to humanitarian aid projects, church maintenance and construction, and subsidizing tuition at church schools. The mission program is largely funded by the missionaries themselves who pay their own way. Since when is generous giving unpatriotic? Nobody in their right mind is going to pay more taxes than is required. I’d give you props if you donated your tax return this year back to Uncle Sam, it’d sure be heroic.


    There’s already so much to poke fun with at Romney with his flip flopping, romneycare, question dodging, and general uninspiring demeanor. But trying to turn his good qualities and life successes into negatives is plain backwards.

  10. dswift February 12, 2012 8:15 am

    It’s silly to spend a dime or even a thought on presidential politics in Wyoming.

    Until we finish the National Popular Vote movement, which does an end run around the archaic Electoral College, every Wyoming vote for president may as well not exist.

  11. joe February 12, 2012 9:58 am

    a schechtorum wyoming hater, and yes the electoral college should go.

  12. Carl February 12, 2012 10:35 pm

    @Mark; Speaking of props, California’s Prop 8. Now, would that fall under ‘humanitarian aid projects’, being that the church helped protect the renown sanctity of traditional marriage in CA…. or perhaps ‘tuition at church schools’ in that California’s gay population got a lesson in Bigotry Financing 101?

  13. js February 13, 2012 8:43 am

    Lighten up, Danno. It’s a joke.
    While I agree about the Electoral College, Swift, I think when we vote for a representative, we ought to know their values, and it’s helpful to see where our reps stand on national issues. When you have an uninterrupted chain of local and state leaders patting Dick Cheney on the back, you get the Iraq War.

  14. D February 13, 2012 8:49 am

    Bennett, You got the wrong guy. I wasn’t complaining, and I like Mitt. Stating the facts is not complaining as you call it. I don’t care what people do with THEIR money, it is none of my business. I would rather it go to charity, local or not then go to the Fed. I don’t believe they can run or manage anything effectively at this point. The only thing they seem proficient at is collecting taxes. They always get that right. Mitt is not an average Joe and shouldn’t try to act like one, that’s when he losses me. Ron Paul 2012 :-) This house of cards will fall. We can then begin to rebuild on a solid foundation.
    I think your accounting is off a little as well, but I could be wrong.

  15. joe February 13, 2012 9:32 am

    wyoming state and local leaders paved the way for the Iraq war?

  16. Mark February 13, 2012 3:46 pm

    @Carl: The church did not directly fund campaigns related to Prop 8. The $10-20 million came from private donations of individual church members to Prop 8 campaigns. So no, Mr. Romney’s charitable contributions were never used to brainwash CA with the apparently provocative, outlandish conjecture that marriage is between a man and woman.

    Prop 8 was never about hate or resentment. Generalizing people as bigots for voicing their opinions is uninviting to the democratic process that makes this country great.

  17. Carl February 13, 2012 11:41 pm

    The church encouraged its members to directly support the prop 8 campaign. Congrats to them for skipping the middle man. Although, a little research shows that the church contributed in-kind funds (i.e. paid for some pro-Prop 8 logistics), failed to report it and paid a fine to California’s version of the FEC.

    If a people repeatedly voice an opinion, and that opinion is widely accepted as bigoted, then I’m going to say its ok to generalize those people as bigots. Pretty sure thats how it works. And while I wont suggest Mormons practice hate – they are usually nice people – the church proliferates intolerance while the flock supports the church.

    I cant believe we’re debating this. Gold plates! Seer stones! Nephi and Moroni! Organized religion benefits from an uneducated populace and has held our species back.

  18. D February 14, 2012 9:08 am

    Two cheers for Carl Hip Hip Hooray Hip Hip Hooray.

  19. K B & diane February 14, 2012 11:27 am

    Doomed, we’re doomed!

  20. Brad February 15, 2012 9:16 am

    Let’s go back to Jim’s statement on Obama’s ’08 victory margin of 61%. The bloom is long off the rose so that won’t happen again. Obama’s biggest ally is the prolonged heated process the republicans have put forth. Especially if the convention winds up being brokered. The nomination is Romney’s lose, due to his lack of consistency on the issues.

  21. Colleen February 16, 2012 7:29 am

    Back to the Electoral College. There is a national movement, mentioned by Swift, to do an end run round this archaic institution. Check out nationalpopularvote.com. Many people do not know that the EC was established in the Constitution, so it would require an amendment to abolish it. However even more people do not know that the allocation of EC votes is determined by each state. The fact that many states’ votes are winner-take-all is what makes the system unrepresentative, leading sometimes to an election “winner” who actually lost the popular vote.

    nationalpopularvote.com is working to have states change how they award their votes; California was the most recent, in August 2011. In January 2012 the Department of Justice cleared the National Popular Vote bill under the Voting Rights Act.

    The National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes. Wyoming’s 3 votes would put the bill over the halfway point.

    It’s ironic that in the U.S., the standard-bearer for democracy on the planet, our leader is elected using an undemocratic system. I have lived in Wyoming for 40 years, and my presidential vote has never mattered. It would be nice to change that.

    Occupy Jackson Hole is working toward this end. You can see more at occupyjh.com. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to support this movement.

  22. Kate Cho April 5, 2012 10:18 am

    Hey, I see you like my Romney/Money Logo. Let me know if you need anything else drawn up for you blog – but a mention would be nice ;)


  23. js April 5, 2012 11:35 am

    Thanks, Kate. Great work!

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