Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Yee hah, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hit Wyoming

If this is March and people are traveling willingly TO Wyoming, then there must be an election going on.

Sure enough, the nation's least populated state is the destination today for just about everybody who's left competing for a presidential nomination, both of them. And the spouse of one of them was there yesterday.

In fact, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will both visit Vice President Dick Cheney's hometown of Casper today, not so much to honor him as to honor themselves and to seek support in this weekend's Wyoming caucuses. The windchill in Casper this morning was 12 degrees, which is...

I a major reason why Dick and Lynne Cheney -- indeed, 99.998 % of Americans -- live elsewhere.

So today's political events (Obama is going way south to Laramie too) likely won't be out in the park. Yesterday, Bill Clinton was also in Wyoming, a state he has loved ever since he reportedly took a poll when he was president to see where he should vacation and the answer came up Yellowstone.

You can bet your snowmobile it'll be a long time before this many Democratic presidential candidates campaign again in the Cowboy State, where a city of 50,000 makes up 10% of the entire state population -- not counting a couple million cattle. George W. Bush carried 22 of Wyoming's 23 counties in 2004 with up to 84% of the vote. The only county that Massachusetts Democrat won was Teton by 847 votes.

In fact, Wyoming hasn't gone for a Democratic presidential candidate in nearly a half-century since Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson overwhelmed the last Republican candidate from Arizona, Sen. Barry Goldwater, in 1964.

Many of Wyoming's Republicans don't mind the Democrats visiting today because, like sensible people, they're spending the winter down Interstate 25 in New Mexico or in its neighbor, John McCain's home state of Arizona.

The only reason Obama and Clinton I and II are there this week is because there are only about 600 Democratic delegates left to be had nationally and each of the candidates wants more than his or her fair share, even if it means smiling in the Wyoming wind for a day.

With the trout streams closed down until spring arrives this summer, the candidates' visits are huge local news. "I never imagined when I took this job," Bill Luckett wrote on his Democratic Party blog this week, "that we would see the day when the two front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination would hold events in Wyoming on the eve of our county caucuses. Not to mention the fact that one of them will almost certainly be president a year from now.

"And as an added bonus," he added, "the greatest president of the 21st Century (so far) would be touring the state to join in the fun." (Do you suppose that's an endorsement of that president's wife?)

You might think Hillary Clinton has a good shot in Wyoming. Given the equality engendered by the hardships of frontier life, it was the first state to grant women the right to vote and not long ago elected Rita Meyer state auditor, although, truth be told, she's a Republican who supported Mitt Romney.

There aren't many blacks in Wyoming -- less than 4,700 statewide -- for Obama to win 80% of. But he has shown unusual strength in caucus states all winter. And in Wyoming these days, it is definitely winter.

--Andrew Malcolm   

Comments () | Archives (24)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Andrew - I liked everything but the "Yee Hah" in the headline. "Yee Hah" is a bit, generic hillbilly. Real Wyomingites say: "Wahoo!" As in "Give me a horse, a big white horse, Oh give me a buckeroo, and we'll go Wahoo, Wahoo, Wahoo!"

(Excellent point, Paul. We'll do Wahoo next time. Thanks.)

Is Obama wearing his (Austin, Texas) cowboy hat?

You write as if LA was some kind of Utopia. Last I checked the good people of Wyoming that while there may not be many of them are still American citizens with the right to participate in the electoral process like those in LA.

Ask the UCLA football coach if he will ever underestimate Wyoming again.

What you forgot to mention about Wyoming is how nice the people are and how people in the state can actually breathe in clean air, unlike your polluted Los Angeles. Where you can go and people smile at you, help you out, where people genuinely care about others. Would you find that in LA? A place where all people care about is how rich they are, how big their house is, utterly obnoxious people who are willing to run over others and take off. Those whose concerns are more for themselves than charity or helping those in need. Why don't you actually go and visit Wyoming and find out what a gorgeous place it can be, and maybe find a new attitude while you are there.

(You're definitely right about how friendly and neighborly most everyone is, Meghan, except the state trooper who writes speeding tickets in the southwest corner. And you're right about the LA air and Shell and Ten Sleep canyons are among the world's treasures. But this is a politics blog, not travel. And you're making the same inaccurate generalizations as you accuse others of.)

Why the hate? Its very similar to my home state of Colorado.. and is a great place to live? Or is the columnist jealous of the fact that it has little traffic jams, great air, great national parks, fewer gangs, and love of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? plus a great climate? Spread love not hate...

Just another ignorant waste of good oxygen. Or should I say slightly brown air? Mr. Malcolmtent obviously has too much time on his hands and is unable to come up with anything more newsworthy or thoughtful. With nearly 2.5 times the violent crime rate as Wyoming, this hack adds to the burden of the fine people of California with this criminally thoughtless blather.

Stay in your sheltered sphere of stupidity, there isn't room for you in the real world anyway.

Parts of Wyoming are among the most beautiful landscapes in America. The other parts are interesting and the air is as pure a it gets in America. My sister has thrived there for thirty-five years. I used to visit every summer and ride my father's quarter horses in the most care-free days of my life. But the point is, Hillary will be a great president. She is straight-forward, tells it like it is, and is a fighter--like the Wyoming citizens that I remember from my youth. Vote your head and your heart! Vote Hillary!

(You're absolutely right about Wyoming and the Rocky Mtn west. If you get in the SE corner, don't miss Guernsey. You can actually see there the ruts worn into the trail stone of the thousands of covered wagons that traveresed the Oregon Trail. Amazing. Alas, this is not a travel blog, so we try to stick to politics and environs.)

You want politics and Wyoming? Large numbers of Wyoming republicans are exchanging their big Bush-esque ears for democratic donkey ears....hee. Haw. indeed! I smell a change in the political wind, and it ain't comin' off the local cattle farm, friend.

I think Mr. Malcom is just jealous because HE can't relocate to Wyoming like so many of the California expatriates who HAVE!

Your commentary shows a lot of willful ignorance and downright bigotry towards anyone outside your great state (the one that just outlawed home-schooling by parents unless they are approved by big brother).

NO thanks, we will stay out here in the west and enjoy our life immensely while doing our darnedest to ignore the likes of you.

I expect comments like this from New Yorkers, they do it all the time, but not California...shame on you.

As a Wyomingite currently abiding in LA - the Yee Haw in the title annoyed me, too. But then I got to the line about spring arriving this summer, and realized you HAVE been to Wyoming, so I forgave you.

Something many people don't realize about Wyoming Republicans (I was born into a family of them - only growing up in the relatively liberal Laramie saved me) is that they still cling to the idea that the government should be fiscally responsible and largely absent from people's lives. And they're perfectly willing to elect a democrat if they think that's the best way to see that that happens (particularly if they can set a Democratic executive up against a Republican legislature - which I guess could be a problem this time around. Last election, my father told me he was planning to follow the Congressional races more closely than the Presidential. He wanted to vote for the candidate from the party that lost Congress. His theory is that if politicians are forced to work with people from the other side of the spectrum, the things that do get done are likely to be important things. I don't know for sure that he's right - but his attitude is pretty typical.)

(Wyoming is a swell place. Have spent much time there. And Montana. Paul above points out that Yee Haw reminds him more of West Virgina and Wahoo would be better. Although I have heard Yee Hah at a rodeo in Sheridan, I yield to him on that and will use Wahoo next time 2 Democratic presidential candidates are in Casper on the same day. Thanks for sharing your story with others. It does indeed ring true. And thanks for reading.)

Malcom, you are an elitist snob. I went to school at the U. of Wyoming and it is truly one of the most beautful and friendly states in the nation. That you prefer smog and plastic is fine with Westerners, we don't want LA type people screwing up our lifestyles here. Stay in CA and maybe when you die, you'll go to Wyoming 'cuz it truly is heaven there. You can put that Yee in your Hah.

(And where are you living now?)

Typical person from LA dissing everyone else in the U.S. thinking they are so much better than everyone. Wyoming is a great state and is a part of a great nation! Sure Wyoming doesn't have a city like LA, but at least the people of Wyoming are down to earth compared to the snobs of LA.

(Oh, Patrick. You disappoint me. Lighten up. It's funny to see urban Democrats pandering to rural folks. Wyoming, for the record, is a swell place. I'll bet you live there, right?)

As a resident of Wyoming, we don't like the attention and by the way we had 55 degrees, no snow on the ground and clear clean view of the Yellowstone Mountains.

Barack Obama is the ideal choice. If Hillary wants to be Vice President, Obama might be open to it. The majority of Americans have voted for him. Otherwise, he would not be leading in the delegate count. So how can you say Americans voted for her to be at the top of the ticket? In order for you to say that, you have to buy into the Clinton philosophy that small states don't count. In Wyoming, I'm surprised that you would agree.

By the way, I would add that currently he is leading in pledged delegates and the popular vote. After the Texas caucus numbers come in, all estimates are that he is projected to win Texas. The notion that Americans have said it should be Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket is just not true. She is saying this, as she has said so many other things are not true. If you look at CNN exit polls from every primary, democrats overwhelming choose Obama as the most trustworthy. You can believe the Republicans will complete the "vetting" of Clinton and it won't be pretty.

Mr. Malcolm, I really enjoyed your column. I grew up in Wyoming, and now live in Denver, and relish every opportunity I have to go back to Wyoming. Getting away from smog, traffic, and folks who feel that politics define a people is a joy - thus a reason that I never visit California as well. Please continue to trash Wyoming as a crappy place to live so that it continues to be a nice place for people who know better - and aren't from California. And next time you are in Wyoming, particularly Rawlins, for example, please walk around with your editorial on your shirt so people know how smart you are! Great way to make friends! Cheers.

(Oh, Dear Kyle, This isn't an editorial. It's a blog item. It's blessedly not a friend-making business or you coujldn't tell the truth. You're right, Wyoming is a beautiful place, Shell and Ten Sleep Canyons and Guernsey's Oregon Trail ruts are my favorite spots. But it's not quite as beautifiul as Montana. None of which, just like with you obviously, stops me from living somewhere else and appreciating both places and telling stories about both places, including the hilarious scene of urban candidates "campaigning" in the last foreign place that they really want to be. It's all part of the unfolding panorama of politics this year and great fun to watch. You should try it sometime. Glad you enjoyed the item.)

Barak in Wyoming has been braging about his NRA membership going back many moons.Let's hope Cheney
invites him to some bird hunting.

Figures some big city snob from the state of cereals I.e fruits, nuts and flakes, would bad mouth Wyoming. Next time you go to Wyoming make sure to wear a target on your back so all the *YeeHahs* know who you are. Because I wouldnt want you to not miss any special hospitality that awaits you.

Oh and maybe if you lead footed L.A. snobs would lay off the gas pedals you wouldnt get pulled over by the Officer in the SW corner of the state.

(Oh, you mean like the hospitality good old Wyoming gave Matthew Shephard?)

Please don't begin slinging disfuntional societal mud. Every state and city has their closet full. I believe,as a Wyomingite we appreciate that we matter, Just ask the Kennedy election in 1960. There may not be many of us but ,we have a basic belief from neighbor to neighbor to encourage our strong independently minded backbone running through this state to understand all points of view but allowing common sense and character to shine through. Just ask our second term democratic governor!

We need a president who can inspire Americans across all divides, whether republican or democrat, black, brown, or white, woman or man, young or old. We do not need one who appeals to our fears and fuels mutual distrust. We need a president who can ask all Americans to make the sacrifices necessary to change the course of this country. We do not need one who asks us to go shopping while we send our young soldiers off to make those sacrifices for us. We need a president who understands that the government is not about politicians, corporations, or lobbyists; it is about we the people. We need a president who requires us to think, inspires us to dream, and challenges us to take action. We do not need one who asks us to trust blindly, to consume thoughtlessly, to follow the status quo without question.
Do not underestimate the power of hope, of words that inspire. We are at a pivotal crossroads in this country. We can choose to continue down a path that will leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren of insurmountable debt, endless wars, and environmental collapse, or we can create change. Only one candidate seems to get that it is not about him or her, it is about us. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” For these reasons, the choice for the next president of our United States of America is clear.

So lets take a look at some of the things that Wyoming doesn't have in comparison to LA.

One of the worst crime rates in the country
Some of the worst traffic in the country
Almost as many illegal aliens as US citizens
Celebrity morons
Out of control paparazzi
Britney, Lindsey & Paris
Hookers & Drug dealers on every corner
Housing prices that are through the roof

I will take the peace & quiet of Wyoming & Colorado any day over that cesspool called LA.

(Well, that's good cause there's enough people there already. Thank you for sharing.)

Wull gee, pardner,..I am so glad you got the word out about our loathsome little state. Pardon my speech here...I took the tebaccer out of my cheek and replaced it with tongue. On a serious note, I think it is good that you paint such a biased hateful picture of our state. It keeps the biased hateful people, who take you at your word, out of our beautiful and sometimes windy CHOICE of residence. You say the column was political...hmmm I didn't see much about politics there.

I find it very frustrating that the media has not only determined, but pushed Barack Obama’s success.

Unfortunately, most Americans would rather attend a sermon or a rock concert than do a bit of research. This is why we have such a terrible global IQ.

Any time that I read about Barack Obama, I am reminded of Heart of Darkness. Conrad noted that main character Kurtz was just a voice.

Barack Obama is just a voice as well, one of those charismatic sorts with more glitz than substance, more words than answers.

So many Senate "Present" votes, no clear direction besides the vague, frustrating promise of "change" and less experience than any major presidential candidate ever.

Mass media worship. Celebrity worship. Rock and Roll worship. If I were inclined toward biblical things (I'm not), I would think that he's the antichrist.

So much support, so little reason for it.

Wake up America!

Did anyone else see They Live? It’s an 80s film, but really captures the Barack Obamamania.

Smug smile. Glib answers. Hollow or non existent policies. Bush III.

To this independent voter, that means a McCain vote in November.

I have always voted Democrat, but not this time.

Barack Obama is just a voice as well, one of those charismatic sorts with more glitz than substance, more words than answers.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: