Cowboy poets have been savaged in the media lately, as conservatives found it convenient, and hilarious, to attack federal funding for an annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in Nevada and defended on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Harry Reid.
But as this has been going on, another, pro-cowboy political movement has sprung up in the West.
Since last year, three state legislatures have adopted the "Code of the West" as a common ethical code.
What is the "Code of the West," you ask? It's a recent thing, offered up by former Wall Street executive and self-styled cowboy James P. Owen in his 2005 book, "Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West." Referenced in 1934 by Zane Grey in a cowboy adventure novel, "Code of the West," Owen has promoted the Code through his Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership, espousing the virtues of cowboy ethics in speaking engagements across the West.
Owens's more recent codification involves 10 points. They are:
1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work
3. Always finish what you start
4. Do what has to be done
5. Be tough, but fair
6. When you make a promise, keep it
7. Ride for the brand
8. Talk less and say more
9. Remember that some things aren't for sale
10. Know where to draw the line
Wyoming was the first to adopt the tenets. In March of last year, Wyoming, known as "The Cowboy State," adopted the 10-point cowboy code at the suggestion of State Sen. Jim Anderson (R). "The thing that appeals about this to me was these are the things I was raised by," Anderson said at the time. Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed the maxims into law as the official state code -- something like an official tree, flower, or motto.