by Christopher Adamo
Despite all of the hype the media have spawned from the Mark Foley controversy and the direction in which they want to take it, a critically important facet of the 2006 elections should not be overlooked. With few notable exceptions, this campaign cycle once again focuses chiefly on the issues of importance to conservative America. And this pattern has remained unchanged for more than the past two decades.
Admittedly, the War on Terror, and in particular, the ongoing situation in Iraq, provide aspiring liberal politicians with an occasional opportunity to pander to their far left, "cut and run" base. But even when attempting to appeal to that fringe constituency, liberal candidates often pull their punches, seeking to establish themselves as "cut and run" candidates who do not really endorse the idea of cutting and running.
Outside of the Terror War, in which the GOP still holds a commanding advantage, the two biggest issues on the minds of the general public are congressional pork barrel spending and immigration. Here, the Republican majority has unfortunately left the door open to justifiable criticism, except that those doing the criticizing are inarguably in favor of an agenda that is much worse for the nation.
It is altogether amusing to listen to California Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, attempting to portray her party as one of "fiscal responsibility." Yet that is the very case she must make if she is to have any hope of victory.
The other major "wedge" issue that the Democrats are attempting to use for leverage is illegal immigration. However, their flagrant track record of promoting "diversity," "multiculturalism," and special "rights" for every minority group, essentially abandoning America’s traditional heritage, does not equate to a believable Democrat stance in favor of border security. So again they must tap dance.
Returning to the Foley scandal, it is bizarrely amusing to see Democrats feigning indignation over a congressional page situation that mirrors what they demanded of the Boy Scouts. It far exceeds any boundaries of hypocrisy that they would now recoil at the prospect of young, vulnerable pages under the stewardship of homosexual authority figures. Yet this is the case that they must make, if they are to convince Americans who hold to traditional values that they are indeed the party of preference to champion such things.
Apparently, we are supposed to believe that the moral integrity of our young people would be better protected in the hands of the God-hating liberalism embodied by the nanny state and the counterculture. But only on such a basis can they hope to gain any advantage from the Foley scandal.
So the charade continues, escalating into "high gear" during the last few days before the midterm elections. And any in depth observation of the Democrat posturing and antics reveals that most are having a very difficult time of it. But some notable exceptions do exist.
One of the most accomplished politicians, who may well succeed at this ruse, is the current Governor of Wyoming, Dave Freudenthal. An inarguable Democrat in a stridently "Red" heartland state, Freudenthal initially assumed his position as a result of an odd conflagration of circumstances. Consequently, he has been compelled ever since to maintain a skillful "balancing act," at least until he can secure reelection.
In the 2002 race, he was pitted against a former Democrat turned moderate Republican, who had been hand-chosen by the state’s Republican establishment. Voters rejected the obvious cronyism that had predetermined the GOP nominee, and thus Freudenthal won by default. Since then he has masterfully talked "right" while governing left.
Now he finds himself in a race against a true conservative in the person of Ray Hunkins. And although all signs currently point to Freudenthal’s ownership of a commanding lead, his behavior shows him to be far from confident, unless he can continue to control the nature of the campaign.
From the early days of the campaign season, he consistently shied from debating Hunkins. Only recently did he engage his challenger at a time and place that would most certainly not be viewed by any majority of the voters.
The reasons for his hesitance are obvious. While knowing what to say in front of the cameras on a multitude of topics, his track record, especially in regards to defining social/cultural issues, is decidedly far to the left of the traditional mindset of the Cowboy State.
Ample evidence of his liberalism exists, for those willing to seek it out. Unfortunately, the Wyoming GOP has done little to help, having been thoroughly shell-shocked by the ferocity of press accusations of scandal mongering, in the wake of an investigation into possible misuse of public funds.
So his safest course is to keep the focus off of his liberal track record, presenting a public persona that ensures such information remains as thoroughly suppressed as possible. And in this he has a misbegotten accomplice in the often-clueless Republican state political apparatus.
Despite all of the media hype, when boiled down to its essence, this year’s elections are no different than any other of recent years. In order for liberal Democrats to win outside of Vermont and California, they must successfully create the impression that they are anything but liberal Democrats. Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming’s undeniably slick Governor, can show them all how it is done.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming with his wife and sons. He has been active in local and state politics for many years.