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WHEN COMITY MORPHS INTO COMEDY

There comes a time in the life of many nations when societal divisions which might have once been repaired through congenial debate and discussion become so deeply engrained and widened that they form an impassible abyss. It seems that the once-united United States has now become such a place. Wyoming seems to be trending in that direction as well. Our Republican Party appears fractured.

 

Despite the deep rifts in our society, some perhaps well-meaning folks stubbornly refuse to accept reality and invoke quaint notions such as comity (usually defined as courteous and considerate behavior toward others), advocating compromising with political opponents as a solution to nagging problems. Although that approach was once a somewhat feasible solution to societal ills, it has been used by some in recent years to avoid accepting responsibility for the results of policies and programs. It has facilitated dishonesty and concealment of less-than-honorable intentions. At times, it has even led to political corruption.

 

Currently we see a marked difference in publicly stated values of America’s two parties. But here in Wyoming that difference doesn’t seem to be of primary concern because Republicans hold a vast lead in registrations and party membership. Thus, success in elections is usually determined by the results of Republican primaries. This has resulted in a situation where some politicians run in the primary as Republicans, but subsequently turn out to be, as one writer has called them, “squishy Republicans” who vote many times with Democrats in our legislature for things which are clearly out of sync with our party platform.

 

And, let’s be clear (as the Biden Administration bureaucrats like to say), our party platform did not emerge from some smoke-filled cloakroom with party elites cooking up the platform’s planks and then ramming them downwards through the party hierarchy. It was built brick by brick by the members of our party at the county and state levels. If a registered Republican has major problems with our platform, perhaps s/he could summon the courage to re-register as either a Democrat or as unaffiliated! Or, for this election cycle, perhaps they could just abstain from voting in the Republican primary.

 

All that said, I would like to suggest to our Republican candidates for legislative office that they conduct a vigorous primary campaign to help voters make wise, informed decisions as to whom to support. Recorded votes of candidates who have served in the legislature are available on Wyoleg.gov.  Solid analysis of these records is available online through sites such as Evidence Based Wyoming and Wyovote. Candidates’ public voting records should serve as the gold standard in determining which are the “authentic Republicans” as one current candidate phrases it, versus those who appear to be RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) as they are sometimes called.  In past election cycles, this differentiation was defined as voting in consonance with the party platform at least 80% of the time.

 

For example, on the crucially important issue of property tax reform, has a candidate with a voting record proposed or actively supported measures to genuinely address this issue, or has s/he proposed or actively supported temporary band aid “solutions” to this serious deficiency without addressing the root problem?

 

All Republican candidates, regardless of the office they seek, should thoroughly familiarize themselves with all 23 planks of the official Wyoming Republican Party Platform. They might want to carry copies of this document with them on the campaign trail and be prepared to explain their support of (or, perhaps, reservations about) the values delineated in our platform. Genuine Republicans will doubtless find this very easy to do. They should encourage voters to question them and their opponents about the values expressed in our platform. Each candidate should be prepared to defend his/her voting record on these issues, or, for those who haven’t yet held office, to explain their reasons for supporting various public policies, proposals, programs, or actions. Ultimately, the most important job of each voter is to determine which candidates are most likely to vote to uphold the values they helped build into our Republican platform.

 

If a candidate has voted for or publicly supported stances listed in the Wyoming Democratic Party Platform, it is incumbent on that candidate to explain that to Republican primary voters. Examples of such publicly stated positions from the Democrat platform include such things as supporting “universal voter registration and mail-in voting,” or “open primaries and ranked-choice voting in elections” – both clearly advocated in the Wyoming Democrat platform.

 

I urge every Republican candidate for public office to carefully read and study the two platforms as published by the parties. Then be prepared to explain to voters whether you, as a Republican, support “compromising” with politicians who support things such as the following from the Democrat platform:

 

Support for: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; “marriage equality”; access to gender affirming care without interference from governmental entities; legislative funding to reduce climate change and transitioning away from fossil fuels; promoting “environmental justice”; a pathway to citizenship for and rights of immigrants and refugees to healthcare and education; opposing privatization of education and support for (so-called) equitable (emphasis added) funding for public schools; debt relief for current and future recipients; law enforcement being a last resort and opposition to its use as a substitute for proactive social programs.

 

Those are all direct statements from the Wyoming Democrat platform! They are, for the most part, in direct conflict with the values stated in the Wyoming Republican platform. Every Republican candidate needs to be knowledgeable of the values in each of the following and be prepared to fully explain the differences between them to voters.

 

 

 

This article might seem to some to be rather harsh and “exclusive” in its tone, but it seems to me that we’re now far past the days of gathering around the old fireside, singing kumbaya, and saying “can’t we all just get along?” For quite some time now compromising has required that Republicans put their principled values aside and agree to the positions of the other side – positions which, more often than not, completely contradict our values. I am not suggesting that candidates need to be mean, nasty, or confrontational in discussing these matters with voters and with their opponents. I am advocating, however, that authentic Republicans remain steadfast to the principles and values our party stands for. Some things in life can be compromised – core values and principles cannot be! Honest, principled public service should never be sacrificed on the altar of “civility.”

 

At the end of the day, the choice facing Republican primary voters comes down to their belief in one of two philosophies of governance – one of, by, and for the people, or the other which basically advocates government of, by, and for the experts. Either a candidate believes that (1) government is too expansive and excessively taxes its citizens, and therefore that our elected officials need to trust the people to conduct their business in enlightened self-interest and liberty, or (2) s/he thinks that government is the vehicle best suited to tackle and solve societal needs. Our Republican Party platform supports the former while the Democrat Party platform clearly prefers the latter. The problem we have is that there are candidates who run for office with an “R” after their names who campaign on the former but end up supporting and voting for the latter. The time has clearly come for that to end!

 

 Charles Cole, current Republican Precinct Committeeman 4-3 and candidate for that office in this year’s primary.

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This is an excellent article, Charles. I am going to make copies and get it around my neighborhood in 11-1. Thank you.

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