By Jim Stanford on February 10, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.