Read the entire piece by Kemmis, its very good:
Politically, Democrats are poised to continue the region's realignment by delivering 30 or more electoral votes in 2012, and perhaps promoting rising stars like the Democratic mayors of Salt Lake City, Boise and Denver to statewide offices. But presidential appointments that simply swing the pendulum back to a "now it's our turn" approach to public land and resource issues are liable to be perceived as a new "War on the West." That will certainly make it harder to elect or re-elect Western Democrats and harder to hold and expand Obama's foothold in the region.
Now there's an opportunity to move beyond the pendulum swings in policy that produce more gridlock, more litigation, more bitterness and less sustainable protection of Western ecosystems and ways of life. Westerners should be using every ounce of influence they have with the transition team to make sure that opportunity isn't lost.
Democrats haven't become a stronger party in the West since 2000 because Westerners have over eight years given up on being libertarian-bent conservatives.
First, there are a lot of smart Democrats out in the West who have made their moves since Bush came into office.
Also, Bush (a Southern fried style religious Republican) was a nice foil for those smart Western Dems to leverage against, just as previous Democratic administrations were for Republicans.
Don't give Western Republicans any ammo, its time to do it right in the West.
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