President Barack Obama has cited a January jobs report as a sign the economy is on the mend. Robin Van Ausdall, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, said in a Monday interview that Wyoming voters, though roughly 70 percent Republican, aren't as tied to political ideology as that majority might suggest.

Individuals versus ideology:

"I think that it depends on the candidate and the race. People are much more likely to vote for a person than for whatever letter comes after a person's name on a voter registration form. Certainly, people in Wyoming do vote for and elect Democrats, up and down the ticket. So, as far as the electoral college is concerned, I guess we'll have to wait and see how that's going later in the year. It's pretty early still."

And the Republican presidential candidates are too quick to dismiss the report, says Ms. Van Ausdall.

Economy is improving:

"Two-hundred-forty-three-thousand jobs is really good, but, I think the more telling number--over and over and over again you hear, some of the Republican presidential candidates, especially, saying the economy is getting worse. But the fact is the economy is not getting worse; we've added jobs for 23 straight months, and over the course of the time the president has been in office, 3.7 million jobs have been created."

For the social issues, she says there's a disconnect, and much of the animosity toward government is a product of the charged political climate.

Other people's freedom:

"I think a lot of times when people are talking about freedom, they're not talking about their personal freedoms or even a concern that government is going to take those away. They think their freedom is being challenged at the point where they are not able to impose their will on others, which, is kind of a strange dichotomy, but, I think, for one thing, this whole sort of thing about government is recent."

The nation's debt crisis is partially due to fighting wars without paying for them, said Van Ausdall.

Unfunded wars:

"The fact is that we have been engaged long-term in wars on two fronts. We had at certain points in our history, when we needed to pay off war debt, had top marginal tax rates of 90 percent, and right now, 3 percent increase to a top marginal tax rate of 39 percent is being equated with socialism."

Van Ausdall said that in the past, pioneers would get together and form governments to make vital infrastructure, and that when people talk derisively about big government, they forget that the government is us.

Policies don't work:

"They've had ample opportunities to implement policies and the boots-on-the-ground reality is they just don't work. I suppose there's a small one tenth of one percent of people who are doing really well with these policies, but everybody else recognizes that rather than a free market, what they're getting is a stacked deck."


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