There are ins and outs of politics — the inside game, and the outside. The outside comes from the voters — public pressure. With millions of dollars at its disposal, the Convention of States (CoS) has succeeded in mobilizing the grass roots around the country, and is able to generate phone calls, emails, and attendance at legislative hearings. These are Tea Party people, committed to the use of Article V to repair our broken system of government.
In fact, CoS itself is a bottoms up, grass roots political movement. Over three years ago Lew Uhler invited CoS founder Mark Meckler to his office in Roseville so I could meet him. Meckler lives in the Gold Country of California, about 100 miles north of me, so when he showed up wearing a big black cowboy hat, it gave me pause. At least he wasn’t wearing one of those big silver belt buckles.
He explained why CoS has three sections: a BBA, term limits, and a reduction in the power and scope of the federal government. He went around the country, talking to the grass roots, and this is what they said they wanted. By selecting these three subjects, he knew he would excite the grass roots, motivate them to pressure State Legislators around the country.
And pressure them they have, just this year in South Dakota, and Arkansas, and Utah, and Wyoming, and Arizona, and Idaho. They lost them all. They couldn’t play the inside game — persuading Legislators of the wisdom of your approach. Because, by definition, the grass roots are political amateurs, they don’t understand what is politically feasible. Meckler, himself, is an amateur, never having served in public office. Before proceeding with CoS, he should have talked to a pro. But, on the other hand, he had made a very good living the last few years.
Task Force Special Agent Loren Enns has learned the inside game, and he’s learned it very well. He put 10,000 miles on his rental car in 2016, criss-crossing the State of Wyoming, speaking directly to Legislators in their far flung home towns. He didn’t attempt to pressure them, he reasoned with them, and they have responded, with a 20-10 vote in the Wyoming Senate today, and Wyoming, at last, is our 29th State. Loren’s been hanging around Cheyenne for three weeks, and he has exhausted its attractions. On to Idaho for a relatively young man who has acquired a valuable political skill. I’m confident that once the Task Force has concluded its work, Agent Enns will be able to put his newfound skills to work.
Two and a half years ago I called up freshman Rep. Tyler Lindholm of Sundance, Wyoming about introducing our Resolution. I called on a Sunday afternoon, not knowing that you don’t make political calls in Wyoming on Sundays. Tyler didn’t mind, and we had an excellent discussion of Article V and the BBA. Tyler was one of eight Wyoming Legislative candidates who had signed a pledge card to support our Resolution. As it turned out, he was our original sponsor. And he, along with his sidekick Rep. Dan Laursen, get to take a big bow today. Former Speaker Bill McIlvain, along with his nephew, State Senator Kevin Lundberg of northern Colorado, also helped out. Bill introduced me to current Senate President Eli Bebout, a man I greatly admire, and who made sure it got through the Senate, with the strong support of Sens. Jeff Wasserburger and Cale Case..
When I first met Tyler at the Capitol he was wearing a big white cowboy hat, which was fine, except he’s six feet seven inches tall, as skinny as a rail, and it was all a little too much. It turned out Tyler was a great guy and a strong patriot.
I was sitting with Tyler and Dan in the audience of the Senate Rules Committee in 2015, waiting for the Committee to convene, and our Resolution to be voted out. It was all supposed to be greased by then Majority Leader Bebout, but I wanted to be there, just in case. Tyler told me there were a couple guys from Gun Owners of America who were there to oppose the bill. I found out who they were and so I went over and asked them what the hell they were doing there. The BBA didn’t have a damn thing to do with the Second Amendment, and so on, and so forth. I got a little hot under the collar, and I think Tyler and Dan got a kick out of it.
I’m off to the woods, to hoist one to Tyler, Dan, and Special Agent Enns.