Saturday, October 02, 2010

What Heritage is Matt Mead Carrying Forward in Governor's Race?

Matt Mead has big political shoes to fill. His grandfather Cliff Hansen took principled Conservative stands in his service as an elected official. So how does grandson Matt stack up against that? We’ve gone to Mead’s campaign website as a primary source for his positions on the issues we’re exploring.

To be fair, his website says he’s a fiscal Conservative, so it may that he’s not claiming to be an all-round Conservative. But let’s assume that in his quest for Conservative votes, he’s trying to convince us he is.

How do Conservative Republicans define themselves right now? The newly formed Republican National Conservative Caucus gives us some clues. Their No. 1 defining issue is a commitment to “work together to restore our Constitutional Republic”. Nowhere can I find that Mead is even interested in this, much less driven to accomplish the goal.

Conservative Republicans are also committed to:

• God, family, country, conservative principles, political party, in that order.

• Accountability (requiring individuals to answer for what they say and do).

• Free enterprise, limited government, low taxes, individual liberties, and a strong national defense.

• Dignifying human life and holding it sacred.

• Protecting families from interference in their lives.

We could add others, like state’s rights, a topic not found on Mead’s issues list. The most Mead has said about state’s rights is he ‘believes in them’. Mead generally says that any federal mandate forcing states to pick up the tab for regulating and enforcing a federal law should be decided by the courts.

So how do Mead’s positions fit into the rest of the Conservative ones?

Committed to God, family, country, conservative principles, political party, in that order.

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle quoted Mead on his priorities.

“My major priorities include creating jobs and building the economy; developing our resources – ag, energy, water; making our education system the best possible for our children; protecting our gun, private property, and state’s rights; improving our transportation infrastructure and our quality of life; and improving connectivity and technology for the freedom to live and work wherever we choose to live in this great state”.

Clearly his priority order doesn’t match up. As for the priority issues themselves, some of the Conservative issues are missing in Mead’s and some of Mead’s aren’t found in the Conservative list. One noteworthy absence involves the top priority, commitment to God. I can’t find any quotes showing that Mead recognizes the existence of a Creator, or that he would agree that that our basic natural rights, like life, are granted by that Being. The LAST priority is supposed to be commitment to political party. Mead? I think it’s safe to say that he would put commitment to party way ahead of many of the others. And he definitely expects the R-people to be committed to him, which he tells us on his campaign website…” Wyoming GOP needs unity to win gov’s race”. In other words, he’ seems to be saying “R’s, I won the Primary, now you owe me your vote”.

Accountability. Mead, an experienced attorney, is a practiced sidestepper. See ‘Dignifying human life…’ below for more on that.

Free enterprise … limited government…individual freedoms and liberties, and a strong national defense

His priority of ‘creating jobs’ is not a Conservative concept. Government isn’t business and should have no influence except to keep regulations from hampering business. As for limited government, his website includes his statement that “Wyoming must honor its commitment to the state retirement system”. If his priority is to state employees, is it also to growing their influence, numbers, bureau size and reach? Much of his website describes how the state, meaning state bureaus, not the citizens, needs to guide, direct, dominate, and drive our government in all sorts of areas.

Dignifying human life and holding it sacred

He says “Regarding abortion, I believe in the sanctity of life and am against abortion. But, as a conservative, I believe in individual rights…” Possible translation, he’s against abortion unless the pregnant woman wants one.

Protecting families from interference in their lives

More families are finding themselves under the not so protective wings of social services, education programs, and so-called justice programs. Families we know worry about their family incomes, about their kids getting a poor scholastic education and a too liberal social education. They’re worried about bullying, by kids and school staff, about whether their kids will find work and a successful, happy life, and they worry about how to keep them ‘busy’ and out of trouble while Mom and Dad are at work.

Mead’s legal focus has apparently caused him to zoom in on one thing he sees as a priority for families – “protecting Wyoming children from exploitation” and making adoption easier. Seems narrow, given the concerns of our families, and in some respects, even vaguely threatening.

In the end

Mead’s positions seem to be at odds with Republican ideals, and the fact that he successfully recruited at least a couple thousand Democrat votes for the Primary puts a point on his chameleon political nature. Could a Conservative Republican really garner this kind of support? Not likely.

So if he’s not a Conservative Republican as we’ve defined it, where do his views fit?

Check the article  "A Progressive Heritage - Not Constitutionally Based" for some answers.

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