You Can Deflect, But You Can't Hide
This is the time of year when all of the various groups that rate Wyoming Legislators publish the results from the recent Session. It seems like every year there is an additional group and every year they are criticized for “cherry-picking” the bills to make bad legislators look bad and good legislators look good.
A little history. The idea of rating bills and legislators goes back to the Wyoming Republican Party’s “Governance Review” committee once chaired by Sheridan’s own Bryan Miller. The intent was to determine if Republican legislators were supporting the Wyoming Republican Platform by at least 80%, or if they were voting as Democrats. That committee actually read over 500 bills and rated them compared to the Party Platform. As expected, the committee took a lot of heat and the results, while released to each County chair, never had the impact intended. When State Statute prevents the Party from taking sides in the Party Primary, there isn’t much the Party can do to support Real Republicans over those adopting the brand just to get elected.
Fortunately, a number of people stepped up and started rating legislators independent of the legally emasculated state party. Some have remained anonymous, probably a good move given the violence The Left seems to love, and others such as Douglas Gerard, have been public. [Note: The Natrona County Republican Party, a reliable indicator of "all things RINO," has just challenged the anonymous WyoRino.com to a debate. In typically snarky manner, they know they have a "winner" on their hands because either WyoRino publicly exposes themselves to their ridicule, or they get a one-sided debate, which is perfect for their well-developed egos.]
If you follow Wyoming politics, you should be familiar with at least one or more of the ratings websites:
The fabulous Legislative Action Committee (LAC) arm of the Republican Women of Sheridan County (RWSC) has just released a report on the 2023 State Legislature. This group picked 70 bills, a mixture of pro and con, that were important to them and tracked and scored the votes by each Representative and Senator. Voting for a bill the LAC supported garnered a point for the legislator, voting against got zero points. No one had a “perfect” score. Interestingly, the results are similar to the other ratings sites, with the exception that Rep. “Auntie Fa” Provenza came in as the most left-leaning communist ahead of Rep. Yin.
Critics of these ratings sites complain that they “pick and choose bills to make certain people look good and others look bad.” That criticism may have been valid at one point, but both WyoVote and EvidenceBasedWyoming rate ALL the bills and, amusingly, their results aren’t much different than what the LAC got with 70 bills and WyoRino got with 10-15. So that argument is pretty much bunk.
We always find the results of these rankings to be highly amusing when measured against what Legislators say about themselves and what the Media publishes. One of the more amusing claims is that “the Freedom Caucus members are a far-right cult and vote in a bloc.” Obviously, the point of this is to make you believe the Freedom Caucus people are just stupid, non-thinking idiots who take orders directly from Donald Trump. This leads to a wonderful little chart published by EvidenceBasedWyoming:
In the upper left corner, the big blue dot is the voting behavior of Rep. Michael Yin, D-Teton, arguably one of the most socialistic, progressive, leftist communists in the Wyoming State Legislature. In the lower right is John Bear, R-Campbell, who is one of the most conservative legislators. In Media newspeak, Rep. Yin is a Moderate Democrat and Rep. Bear is a far-right conservative. Do you see how the Media works?
What conclusions can you draw from the above graph? Keep in mind that there are only seven (7) Democrats in the Wyoming Legislature, so here are some easy conclusions:
A huge number of “Republicans” vote with the Democrats. Given their tight blue-dot grouping, you might say they vote like a bloc, or maybe a cult? Who are they taking instructions from? George Soros? The WEA?
There are a scattering of red dot Republicans from the middle of the graph to the lower right corner. No real grouping. Do you think those people might actually consider what they are voting on and deviate from some sort of political agenda? That scatter of independent thinking is what the Media and the RINOs want you to believe is a cult-like voting bloc (of stupid, Donald J. Trump boot-lickers).
There are only 26 red dots to the right of the center pink dot. They are the legislators who support the Wyoming Republican Platform and represent the voters who want a Republican, not a Democrat, as their representative.
All of the so-called “Republicans” in leadership positions are blue dots.
The blue-dot “Republicans” have recently formed the Wyoming Caucus, which, according to the Media is made up of “conservative” Republicans. Yeah, right. Do you suppose they are scared of something?
The RINOs claim the term "RINO" is pejorative and mean. What else would you call the large group of blue-dot Republicans In Name Only? The term DIABLO has recently popped up, meaning Democrats In All But Label Only. Do you think they'll like that one instead?
Okay, maybe that graph isn’t amusing but rather pathetically sad.
The point is, the data doesn’t lie, politicians do.
Let’s take our confused friend, Cyrus Western. If you live in his district, you likely received a letter from him telling you how hard he worked for you in Cheyenne and how “conservative” he remains. Well, he is more conservative than similarly confused Barry Crago, but that’s not saying much. Cyrus ranks 48 out of 93 and Barry leans slightly more left at number 53. For the record, EvidenceBasedWyoming labels both of them as Democrats. (Chart Here) Well, “Howdy Pilgrim!” after all, you suckers who elected him.
What should all of this mean to you? If you are serious about voting, and you should be, use the information these various tools provide to make your choice. Don’t fall for the glitzy mailers that come from out of state printers (as a note, Cyrus Western’s recent letter to us peons was printed and mailed by a mailing house in Virginia. VIRGINIA! Don’t you think he’d want to support Wyoming business? Did he get the Liz Cheney discount?). And, seriously, don't believe any of the Media without verifying what they tell you by at least two other non-mainstream sources.
If you feel the rankings websites are somehow biased, do your own research by going to wyoleg.gov and looking at the bills that are important to you and how your representative voted. Remember, most politicians will tell you what you want to hear to get your vote. The really slick ones will do so without you knowing so. Look behind the curtain to see if they really back up what they tell you; the good ones do.
The tools are out there to expose your elected officials. Use them.