In 1973 Libya claimed the Gulf of Sidra as part of its territorial waters, and sporadically harassed American reconnaissance aircraft above its waters. Seven months after he took office Ronald Reagan ordered a large naval force, led by the carriers USS Forrestal and USS Nimitz, into the disputed area. Two F-14 “Black Aces”, piloted by Commander Hank Kleenmann and Lieutenant Lawrence “Music” Mucszynski, shot down a pair of Libyan Sukhoi Su-22’s which had fired a missile at them. Since that time, no one has questioned that the Gulf of Sidra is in international waters. If you’d like to see Kleenmann’s F-14, it’s at the Reagan Library.
China is challenging the world by claiming sovereignty in the South China Sea, and as the leading maritime power of the world it’s up to the United States to back them down, by force if necessary. Freedom of the seas is a vital national interest, and always has been. We haven’t been in a lot of wars, but three of them were because of this issue — our first, Jefferson’s war against the Barbary Pirates at the beginning of the 19th century, the War of 1812, and the First World War. On this issue, we mean business. I expect President Trump to get this taken care of. If he doesn’t, he’s not the man he says he is.
We passed the Wyoming House on third and final passage, 35-23. It’s on to the Senate, where I expect Senate President Eli Bebout will see it passes quickly. Number 29 is just around the corner.
It was a tough fight, all the way to the final tally. The hard right wing of the Republican Party in Wyoming went down fighting. They trafficked in pure fear mongering, and much of what they claim to be afraid of will be resolved at the Nashville Convention this summer, but they are a force to be reckoned with in these western States. We got out of Judiciary, even though we were outnumbered there, because one member of this group, Rep. Bo Biteman, decided to think on his own. He not only voted against his core right wing clique, he refused to do the bidding of the man who financed their campaigns, an investor from Jackson named Dan Brophy. I hope to shake Bo’s hand some day. If only there were more like him.
Bill Fruth tells me we also got out of Judiciary because we got a Democrat vote. This is one of the very few time that I know of where a Democrat has provided us with a necessary vote, one we would lose without. I think this may be significant. We’re all worried about possible rescissions in New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada. But my hunch is that the Democratic State legislators in these States will not be uniformly against the Balanced Budget Amendment. It’s politically popular, and with Trump in power it may have some appeal on the merits. I’ll find out the name of that Wyoming Democrat. I want to know if there are more like her out there.
I’d like to meet Dan Brophy some day. I bet we agree on most everything. I admire him for what he’s trying to do in Wyoming. I wish there were more like him. Once he understands he’s wrong on Article V, he’ll be a good ally to have.