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September 05, 2013 8:21 am

The Amend Corner: Voters want to know: Where are you from?

Written by Don Amend

Watching the political scene is always good for a few laughs.

Not that politics isn’t a serious business. Politicians can, and often do, cause a great deal of mischief, and not a few disasters.

But there are times when you just have to chuckle, especially when politicians turn themselves inside out trying to defend positions they condemned just a short time ago.

A case in point is the possible presidential candidacy of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz is serving his first term ever in elective office, having been elected in 2012, and is now talking about seeking the presidency.

Honestly, I don’t think he has a prayer, but I’m sure he will have some supporters, and I’d bet many, if not most, of them have argued that Barack Obama, who had a similar background, didn’t have the experience to run for president. It will be interesting to see how they justify their own candidate’s similar lack of elective experience.

Even more interesting will be how they handle the fact that Cruz was born in Canada. After all, these are the same people who have been arguing that Obama is unqualified to be president based on the proposition that he had been born in Kenya, despite all the evidence, most notably the state of Hawaii’s official certification that he had been born in a Honolulu hospital to a mother who was an American citizen.

Well, I’m sure the true believers will continue to believe what they wish about Obama’s birthplace, even if all the Biblical prophets reappear and testify to the authenticity of the Hawaiian birth certificate, but they will still have a problem, because there is no doubt about Cruz’s birthplace — it was in Canada.

My guess is that Republicans will, by and large, keep quiet on the issue, but if they have a crazy slate of primary candidates like they did the last time, one of them will no doubt bring it up, especially if Cruz shows any strength in the polls or the primaries.

Here in Wyoming we have our own possible humor generator in a senatorial race between incumbent Mike Enzi and challenger Liz Cheney, who wants to take Enzi’s seat despite the fact that she has lived her adult life outside the state until moving here a year ago.

Such a move is not altogether unknown.

Within my memory, Robert Kennedy and Hillary Clinton have both moved to New York from other states in order to run for the Senate, moves that were criticized by Republicans.

Here in Wyoming a few years back, after the Legislature failed to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a legal holiday, a white supremacist, whose name I have forgotten, decided Wyoming was his kind of state, and announced that he would move to Casper and run for office. Fortunately, his proposal drew a decidedly unfriendly reaction, and he never followed through.

More recently, in the last two elections, Republicans have labeled Democrat Gary Trauner a carpetbagger because he isn’t a lifelong Wyoming resident.

Truthfully, Wyoming is an attractive place for wandering candidates looking for a place to run for office because of our small population and one-party rule. If a candidate can get himself or herself into a crowded Republican primary, he or she could win it with a minority of the vote, especially if he or she has a famous name and lots of money to throw at the race.

Once in office, he (or she, in the case under discussion) can be assured that he can serve as long as he wants, given the power of incumbency and the outrageous amounts of money that would be required to unseat him.

That, in a nutshell, is what attracts Ms. Cheney to the race. Her former longtime state of residency, Virginia, isn’t quite as Republican as it was a few years ago, and her money would go a lot further in Wyoming’s limited media market than it would in Virginia’s big one.

Her father’s name no doubt carries more political weight in Wyoming than it does in Virginia as well. That might be enough to give her the more prominent position than she currently occupies, which is what she wants.

By contrast, Enzi has been a small businessman in Wyoming, the mayor of Gillette in the heart of coal country, and a member of the Legislature in addition to his two terms in the U. S. Senate.

He has intimate knowledge of the needs of the state and the importance of small business as well as a close-up understanding of the importance of the mineral industry to the state. Moreover, he is every bit as conservative as Cheney, and he has served Wyoming well.

That’s the kind of guy Republicans always say should be representing Wyoming, not someone who is searching for a grander stage and sees Wyoming as an easier path to that position.

I will be interested in how Cheney’s campaign rationalizes her sudden desire to be a Wyoming resident, and how Republicans in general receive that rationalization, especially in the light of their past campaigns against Trauner.

I expect to get a few laughs out of her arguments.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link September 16, 2013 12:42 pm posted by Rose Wenstrom

    You're right about Enzi. He's done an awesome job for our state, and he'll keep his seat.

    I'm sure Liz Cheney is very nice, but she won't unseat Enzi. He's a good man and we'll keep him. Maybe when he or Barasso are done in political service, she'll be successful in securing a Wyoming seat in the U.S. Senate.

    - a proud Tea Party member

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