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You can’t spell RINO without Frontier

Forgive me, I’m not particularly eager to stoop to such comments, but that one was too funny not to include.

Beware who you vote for down-ballot! The Frontier Republicans and their political action committee the Frontier Conservatives are promoting a slate of candidates for precinct-men and precinct-women in Campbell County. I’d advise you not to vote for any of those candidates.

I’ve noted, despite their claims, the Frontier Republicans don’t stand for civility in politics. The history of their founding and their behavior since that founding is indicative of a group that wants control and nothing more.

In the last four years, we have seen a significant effort to increase accountability for Republican elected officials coincidental with the rise of conservative Republicans. Liberal Republicans and consequently, Frontier Republicans do not like this. Part of what Frontier Republicans stand for is the removal of accountability at the party level for elected Republicans.

Some will say, “But Frontier Republicans say they stand for civility!” 

Yes, they say that, but, no, they don’t.  

For comparison, let’s start with a look at the conservative wing of the Republican party since 2008. I consider myself to be a member of that group. Early on, conservatives were a minority and had difficulty getting our views heard. I noticed, despite many defeats, our most conservative legislators and party members express support for the Republican Party. They always supported the party, went to their events, and helped raise money and make donations to the Republican party. It did not matter the fights inside the party; we are all Republicans, subject to the Reagan rule. The Reagan Rule says if you agree with 80% of the Republican platform, you are a Republican, period.  

Supporting the Republican party despite many defeats was a hard lesson for me to learn. My knee-jerk reaction to the idea was adverse. Its wisdom slowly proved its point as conservatives gained traction and became a majority in the Wyoming Republican Party.

In essence, despite many defeats, Conservative Republicans support the Republican party even when in the minority. Over the last 12 years, we’ve seen a shift in the Republican Party, with those of a more conservative mindset rising to power by working hard and convincing others of their cause’s rightness.

A prime example of Conservative tolerance was the state GOP convention in Evanston, where Governor Matt Mead was brought up for censure. Governor Mead escaped censure by six votes, much to the chagrin of the conservatives. Did they get angry? Perhaps but we had had our say. Many conservatives attended and supported the fundraiser that night. In other words, while conservatives didn’t get their way, their support for the Wyoming GOP remained high. (On a personal note I couldn’t stay. My flight from Rock Springs back to Gillette was leaving just after the end of the event.)

Contrast that with what we saw from the Frontier Republicans at the most recent convention:

  • Very few if any Frontier Republicans attended the Republican fundraisers over convention weekend.
  • Frontier Republicans held a fundraiser competing with a fundraiser for the Wyoming Republican Party. 
  • At least one of the Frontier Republican floor actions ended with a motion to end debate, unusual as it takes a two-thirds majority to pass. That motion succeeded. What happened next? Two founding members of the Frontier Republican eventually stormed off chased by the floor leader for the Campbell County GOP. The floor leader respectfully said, “Are you leaving? You have to tell me if you are leaving.” The lead Frontier Republicans replied in anger, yelling, “I don’t have to tell you anything.” 

Additionally, at the final event of the convention, a vocal conservative Republican was assaulted. I do not know if the assailant was a member of the Frontier Republicans. However, the Casper Star-Tribune ran with a story that painted the conservative Republican as the bad guy, all without waiting for the police report. Just to add a coup de grace, there were also unconfirmed rumors of lawsuits threats against the Wyoming GOP.

The point being Frontier Republicans were angry, created a hostile, uncivil, and dangerous environment at the convention. Isn’t that what they stand against? They must have ulterior motives. I surmise that they don’t like not being in control and that is their ultimate goal.

Before you say, “But Doug, you’re a conservative, of course, you don’t like those guys.” Understand I was chairman of the Campbell County GOP, and I actively recruited Republicans with whom I disagreed to fill empty precinct positions. Its probably my best and worst decision as county GOP chair. Heck, two of the founding members of the Frontier Republicans are people I saw seated as precinct-man and precinct-woman.

I value reasoned, solid and contentious debate. It’s a great way to learn, or at least understand people that think differently. It is vital to our big tent, Republican party. I also support accountability. From what I’ve learned this is not what Frontier Republicans value.

There are good people on the Frontier Republican side, but the naked aggression and hostility of the Frontier Republicans as a whole puts me off. Their claims to support civility aren’t enough. You have to support civility and tolerate those who believe differently than you. Its what Ronald Reagan would have done. Reagan was a happy warrior for the conservative cause. We all need to be more like Ronald Wilson Reagan.

It’s unfortunate to see those I like and respect, even when I don’t agree with them join forces with this pernicious group. I’m sad to see people like Tom Lubnau and Michael von Flatern join forces with Frontier Republicans.   

Wyoming Republicans, we are better than this.

Ignore the Frontier Republicans and vote for solid Wyoming Republicans instead.

Better yet get yourself written-in to fill a precinct -person slot and take up the mantle to make Wyoming a better state and the Wyoming Republican Party a better party!