Give a big welcome to the two new members of the Idaho RINO club – Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.
It’s not an exclusive club. Gov. Brad Little, Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke and Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder are charter members. The depth chart also includes Congressman Mike Simpson, anyone who is involved with Take Back Idaho and a slew of GOP legislators – errrr, RINOs – who are accused of supporting big government and otherwise going against the Republican Party platform.
Crapo and Risch are on the list because they are big spenders who lack knowledge in national and international security. Well … they know about those things, but not to the extent of State Party Chair Dorothy Moon. Her resume includes three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives and a primary election loss in her bid to become secretary of state.
Risch’s background evidentially pales by comparison. He’s just the ranking member, and former chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During his time as chairman, he was at the table with then-President Trump in high-level foreign policy discussions. Risch receives generous accolades from both sides of the aisle for his knowledge of foreign policy and understanding of national security.
See? He doesn’t know anything.
As for Crapo, he’s the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, but surrounds himself with those who understand why the U.S. gives aid to places like Ukraine and Israel. As Moon apparently sees it, Crapo should be spending more time with Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“The phones at the state party headquarters have been ringing off the hook after news broke that 22 Republican senators worked feverishly through the night with Democrats to pass a bill to spend nearly $100 billion, most of which goes to fund the seemingly endless war in Ukraine.”
Moon pays heed to Paul’s warning about the aid package serving as an “impeachment trap” if the next president (Trump) decides to pull funding for Ukraine.
Granted, Risch and Trump appear to be on opposite sides of aid to Ukraine, but it’s a stretch to suggest that the Idaho senator would be leading an impeachment parade. Risch, who has endorsed Trump in this year’s presidential race, would never compromise his access to a President Trump.
Moon offers more: “Americans are not interested in funding more foreign wars. Every taxpayer dollar that we send to fund the war in Ukraine prolongs a conflict that has the potential to spin out of control, even leading to a third World War.”
Risch also sees a threat of a world war, but only if Putin is allowed to take over Ukraine and move on to other nations. As Risch has said, the cost of a world war would be many times more than the $100 billion aid package.
The senators are not commenting on Moon’s rant, but they have issued a joint statement outlining the reasons for their votes.
“Our first and primary responsibility as senators is the safety and security of Idaho and the United States of America. It is critically important we help defend Israel … stop the advancement of China, and halt Russia from once again expanding its adversarial empire.
“The United States cannot be the policemen of the world, nor can we engage in every conflict, which is why we must support allies who will stand with us in what is a very dangerous time globally. Although this legislation is not what we would have drafted, it is a strong bill that makes Idaho and America safer.”
In the end, Moon’s side of the argument probably will prevail. House Speaker Mike Johnson has said that Republicans will not accept an aid package that does not include border control. And, with Trump’s blessing, no bipartisan agreement will come until after the presidential election – and only if Trump wins.
As for the state Republican Party, forget about the GOP serving as a cheerleader for Republican incumbents. Under Moon’s leadership, it has turned into a lobbying organization, much like the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
Established leaders such as Crapo, Risch, Simpson and Little don’t have much to worry about. They can dismiss Moon’s lobbying efforts and survive without the backing of the state party.
There’s no good reason why they would want that support.
Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com