The Wasatch Behind: Mr. Schweitzer for prez
"Check this out," Uncle Spud said as he handed me a newspaper clipping. The clip was labeled, Helena, Mont. and the headline said: Governor Notifies Interior of New Wolf Management Directives.
The story tells that Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, politely telling him how Montana will deal with wolves from now on.
"Far out!" I cried. "Finally, a governor with the guts to stand up for state's rights. Other than Arizona's Jan Brewer, most western governors act like employees of the federal government."
The news story tells how the Montana governor is exercising his right to manage affairs in his sovereign state by telling the feds to butt out. In his letter, Schweitzer says for many years Montana has done everything asked of it to help reintroduce wolves to the west. But now, wolves are a problem in Montana and the interior department refuses to help out. So, the state of Montana will regulate the wolf population by killing individual wolves or whole packs of wolves caught killing livestock and elk. And, individuals who shoot predatory wolves will no longer be investigated or prosecuted by the state.
This will surely cause heartburn for the feds and those who dance with wolves. There will probably be lawsuits, but what the heck. Wolves were taken off the endangered species list in 2009 but quickly reinstated because of the outcry by wolf advocacy groups. The decision to reinstate was purely political. The wolf population is thriving, thank you. It is Montana elk and livestock that will soon be on the endangered species list. Wolves are decimating the elk herds and elk hunting is a major industry in Montana.
So, governor Schweitzer put the feds on notice that Montana will take care of the problem since the feds refuse to do so. It reminds us of Arizona and the illegal alien problem. What's with the federal government anymore? They selectively enforce laws while expecting states and individuals to blindly obey every stupid, costly and damaging thing they decree. It's time more governors decide to "selectively obey" the insanity.
Got yer ears on out there, governor Herbert?
"Who is this guy who does full-term abortions on wolves?" I asked.
"He's a Democrat," Spud said. "He was elected in 2005 and consistently has one of the highest approval ratings of any governor in the country, over 60 percent. He is Chairman of the Western Governor's Association and a veteran of the Department of Agriculture. He has degrees in agronomy and soil science and worked in Saudi Arabia for several years as an irrigation specialist. He speaks Arabic."
"That's amazing," I said. "Especially the Democrat part."
"That ain't all," Spud continued. "He's the guy who championed and signed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. He put the feds on notice that any firearm made and owned in Montana is exempt from federal regulation. The feds have power under the commerce clause only when a gun is sold out of state. Any state, including Utah, could pass such a law.
"And, Schweitzer is a guy who endorses green energy but does all he can to promote Montana coal. He's a champion of turning coal into diesel fuel. He believes in American energy independence and a strong military. He started the Yellow Ribbon Program in Montana that makes sure every returning war veteran is enrolled in the veteran's affairs system to be sure they get every government benefit coming to them.
He's a dog lover, too, and often takes his collie to work with him at the state capitol.
"We've got to get this guy to move to Utah and run for governor," I said.
"No, we've got to get him to run for president," Uncle Spud insisted. "This guy is a national treasure."
"Do you think he could beat former Utah governor Jon Huntsman?"
"I think Lady Gaga could beat Jon Huntsman," Spud said. "In fact, I'd run her against any of the Republican front-runners. Orrin Hatch is the only guy who could beat Lady Gaga. He's got the make-up down and he's been doing political burlesque for 38 years."
"I guess Schweitzer's our man," I concluded. "How about a slogan like, 'Hope and Change - No Wolves on the Range.'"