I knew Wyoming would be different the minute I boarded my connecting flight in Denver.
Folks coming on board wore one of two kinds of hats—hard or cowboy.
The rest of us hatless folks obviously were outsiders. I went through Denver to Jackson to talk to a group about American politics without either hat, so you can correctly assume that I was in the third category.
Make no mistake about it; Wyoming is McCain country, and the hats will tell you why.
The hard hats represent the explosion of the oil and natural gas industry here.
Wyoming is flourishing with the search for energy.
Government fields have been opened up for year-round drilling and the results have been positive.
So successful is the energy industry in Wyoming that companies are experiencing worker shortages! Needless to say, the folks here are thrilled with Republican John McCain’s drilling proposals.
The cowboy hats love McCain, too. Anti-big government at the core, these people operate with a live and let live approach to life. That means that the best government is the smallest government. Whatever John McCain’s sentiments on the financial sector rescue package, he is a small government guy at heart. So the cowboy vote is in his corner without a doubt.
What do we make of all this? Simply that there is a huge swath of Americana that wants nothing to do with Democrat Barack Obama.
They think that west and east coasters are a little nutty, even if they’re too polite to say it up front.
More to the point, places like Wyoming and the nearby states of Utah, Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska, show that support for John McCain is alive and well. Find an Obama sign here and it will be in the hands of a newly arrived transplant from a coast or from other place out of this world.
Mercifully, their numbers are few.