The Cheney’s relationship with Wyoming is like a woman’s worst date. They use us and don’t call again until they want to use us again. This time we should say no.
When one of her GOP rivals said Ms. Cheney lied about being outside the state, it recalled the times the Cheneys have used and abused Wyoming.
Dick may have grown up and graduated from college here. He first tried to avoid attending the University of Wyoming. He wanted to go elsewhere. But he flunked out of Yale. Then he needed Wyoming. With no place else to go to avoid the Vietnam draft, he high-tailed it back to Wyoming, enrolling at UW.
In 1976, his White House job vanished. President Ford lost to Jimmy Carter. Again, Dick Cheney needed Wyoming. He returned to run for Congress. Wyoming voters were smitten because important politician wanted to date us again.
Later Mr. Cheney became Secretary of Defense. When that ended he went to Texas to cash in on his government experience and contacts. He became head of Halliburton until George W. Bush tapped him to be his running mate in 2000.
But there was a problem. The 12th Amendment to the Constitution says, "The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at lest, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”
George Bush and Dick Cheney both lived in Texas. What to do? Dick Cheney said, “Oh yeah, remember Wyoming? I can always use her.” The week before the Republican Convention, a Halliburton jet filed a flight plan for Jackson Hole. Dick was there long enough to register to vote.
Abracadabra. He was no longer a Texan. He was now a Wyoming resident. The barrier presented by 12th Amendment was magically eliminated.
Later that year the U.S. Supreme Court elected the Bush-Cheney ticket on a 5-4 vote. A Republican friend of mine from elsewhere said, “Wyomingites must be very excited to have the Vice President from their state.” I replied, “He may be from Wyoming for purposes of the 12th Amendment but he hasn’t been here long enough to apply for a resident fishing license.”
Little did I know what role a resident fishing license would play in the Cheney family political aspirations.
Liz Cheney decided she wanted to be a U.S. Senator after spending her life in Northern Virginia, where she graduated from high school. Unlike dad, Liz didn’t even try to cover her bets by going to the University of Wyoming. She went to college in Colorado and law school in Illinois. Then she returned to Virginia.
She realized being elected to the Senate would be tough back home in Virginia. What to do? Then she remembered the motto on the Cheney Family Crest. “Oh yeah, remember Wyoming? I can always use her.”
She moved to Jackson, which we all know is “Wyoming” for wealthy newcomers who can afford to live like they don’t really live in Wyoming. Even so, Ms. Cheney didn’t want to stay long. She didn’t have time to get to know us. She could’ve run for the school board or county commission but then she’d have to actually live in Wyoming.
Her handlers thought she needed to show she wasn’t a carpetbagger. So she hurried to the sporting goods store in Jackson and applied for a fishing license. Like her father, she wasn’t here long enough to buy a resident license. But only a carpetbagger would be caught with an out-of-state fishing license. What to do? She lied on the application.
Her Senate race collapsed. But, she’s back and running for Congress. If the polls are right, Wyoming Republicans are willing to let the Cheneys use them again.
The disappointment is that neither Tim Stubson nor Leland Christenson have given the voters any reason to distinguish Ms. Cheney’s extreme politics from their own. At least with her we’ll get that warm, familiar feeling of being used again.