Monday, December 24, 2007

More on Matheson and Courage

More thoughts in the wake of Matheson's Complaints over the AMT vote, and progressive leadership in a red state.

Again, my objection is not that the AMT vote deserves defense, it was indeed, to borrow Matheson's phrase, "gutless." But I'm very put off from this sudden outpouring of criticism from Matheson, who speaks as a representative of the most effective yellow streak in the 110th Congress, the Blue Dogs.

And to further illustrate, I wanted to draw attention to an example of real courage from a true leader also surrounded by red state Republicans, Wyoming candidate Gary Trauner. From OpenLeft:

Blue Dog Democrats tend not to stand up for the Constitution because they think that the public is willing to let the government intrude into every facet of their lives. They think that convincing Republicans to vote for you is about pandering to fear. Gary Trauner stands this equation on its head by showing actual leadership. He actually fights for core Constitutional values, says no to fear, and is able to persuade Republicans to vote for him as a result.

Now, Wyoming is not an easy state for a Democrat, but there are several trends that make this race winnable. One, there is tremendous frustration with the war in Iraq, and a strong sense that there needs to be a change in strategy. Two, though Wyoming is an energy patch state and has a budget surplus, it also has one of the highest percentage of people working multiple jobs in the country. The people are struggling, and the benefits of high energy prices are going to large companies which don't put their profits back into Wyoming.

Three, the 'hook and bullet' crowd of hunters, fishers and ranchers are beginning to see climate change and environmental damage as a real threat to their way of life. With more BTU's of coal in Wyoming than BTU's of oil in Saudi Arabia, the state is being physically gutted. Fishermen and hunters are noticing gas rigs in their favorite spots. And Gary told me that that when he goes to talk to ranchers, he is beginning to hear less about cheap beef imports and more about health care and climate change. Rancher families that have lived on the same land for five generations are noticing the extended drought and changes in weather patterns, and are beginning to realize something has got to be done to curtail carbon emissions.
In 2006, he ran against Bat Shit Crazy Barbara Cubin, and lost by less than 1%. He has been propelled to run again in a traditionally conservative state by public support for the courage he has shown to speak out when it is important, on issues people care about.

People are drawn to leadership. And people vote. It's not rocket science.

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