Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in September 2007

RSR transition time

Transition time for one of Idaho's oldest political blogs (almost four years old), and still one of its most-read - Red State Rebels, blogging from the left.

Julie Fanselow, who also has been doing blogging work for political campaigns, is moving into a new non-political job: "Because this work is nonpartisan, I have decided the time is right to retire Red State Rebels in its current incarnation. I plan to launch a new, multi-author version of RSR sometime soon – and then mostly back away. I will leave the RSR archives online as a historical record of the past four years."

From Scott to Hanna, meaning

Bruce Hanna

Bruce Hanna

Representative Wayne Scott, who not long ago resigned as leader of the Oregon House Republicans, was a very strong personality, and his personality had a definite effect on the chamber as a whole. His replacement announced (as expected) this last week, Representative Bruce Hanna of Roseburg, will doubtless have a significant effect too, but it may be a little different.

(We know of the change in leadership, by the way, from a press release; the House Republican web site still lists Scott as leader.)

There will likely be a change in tone simply from the change in circumstance. Most of Scott's time in leadership was spent in the majority, running the House, and in the last session, in the minority, he was only barely in the minority, by a single vote. Hanna, entering the leadership now, will be minority leader from the first, and in a shrinking minority: Seven Republican House members either are on their way out or will be at the end of this term, increasing the odds that Democrats will add to their numbers. (Although: If Republicans do manage to gain even one seat, rather than hold even or lose, Hanna could become speaker.)

There is a little more besides that. Scott has been in the House since 2002, and Hanna since 2004 - a term and a half. Scott has been a relatively autocratic leader; Hanna may be less so, maybe less confrontational. That doesn't mean ineffectual. The Eugene Register Guard reports that "His first act as caucus leader was the creation of a new Republicans-only committee of veteran House members to develop strategy and policy for the special session planned in February. He named Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, to chair the House Republican Policy Committee. Hanna said returning the Republicans to majority status was a top priority."

Sounds like the laying of groundwork for long-term strategy, which might be a wise thing. The 2008 elections are not shaping up as favorable for the House Republicans, but the longer term is a blank slate yet to be filled.

Breaking ground

The Northwest is not a major center of the country's Muslim community, but it's growing. Today's piece in the Spokane Spokesman-Review is a case in point: Saturday marked groundbreaking in construction of the Inland Empire's first formal Mosque.

In the Spokesman: "Spokane’s Muslim population is relatively small, estimated at around 1,000 people. El-Aarag said that the typical turnout at Friday prayers is about 60, and he hopes the new center will bring in Muslims from different backgrounds. He also said the new mosque is exciting for the next generation of Spokane Muslims, including his 7-year-old son."

And he’s out

Larry Craig

Larry Craig

There was a poignant moment before Senator Larry Craig started to speak this morning, when he turned away from the cameras and all the people, the crowd of two or three hundred, and by himself paused to look out from the Boise Depot down the hill toward the Statehouse, and seemed lost in thought. What was he thinking?

This is where he came out of, and this was where the last of his support - personal support at least - was. It seemed to have cycled around: This was where it began, and where it ended. Here, he was not entirely alone. His family was there, as he turned to the cameras and announced his resignation at the end of this month. And Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, Representative Bill Sali, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and others. (Those officials probably merit a kudo for showing up; they showed some intestinal fortitude in standing with a friend, something a lot of other public officials didn't do. Craig's remark: "For any public official to be standing with Larry Craig at this moment is a humbling experience.")

When he said he would quit, the words drew some applause (which seems tacky), but also some cries of "We love you, Larry!" As he leaves office, under immense and powerful pressure more nationally than locally, he may become a more sympathetic figure in Idaho over time. Idaho's anti-Washington feeling may be expanded; it was Washington more than Idaho that led to this.

There was no surprise this morning, and nothing especially new. Craig made reference to pursuing his legal options - presumably meaning trying to overturn his Minneapolis guilty plea - but there's almost no way that will go anywhere.

NEXT UP The appointment. No indication of when word on that will come.