Paradox Politics
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After 21 years, a second edition of Paradox Politics, the history of Idaho politics . . . up to when it was published, in 1988. This is a new edition of the book, with some glitches cleared and corrections noted, but including the text of the original. It isn’t intended to cover the two decades since, but it does bring some of the stories and political circumstances up to date with more than 100 notes throughout the book. A lot of what happened then, looks a little different now. (Certainly Idaho has changed a lot.) If you’re interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, this is now the edition to get. If you’ve read the original . . . this one will put a lot of it in more perspective than was available those many years ago.

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Not much noted amid the headlines about other Obama Administration nominees – some sliding through, some held up – is the story of David Hayes, formerly of the World Wildlife Fund and chairman of the board of American Rivers and once an Interior official in the Clinton Administration. Not an especially controversial guy, evidently, but not to the liking of certain interests. Turns out that Utah Senator Bob Bennett has put a hold in his nomination, which could freeze it in place for some time.

Ray Ring of the High Country News has posted a piece on this, including some review of what underlies Bennett’s actions, that’s well worth review. Ring concludes: “No doubt there are other Senate Republicans who think Hayes is OK … but they’re also gunshy of the rightwingers they would face in their primaries. Another reason the rightwingers fight this round so fiercely: They’re gearing up for the upcoming battles over Obama’s call for raising taxes on the oil and gas industry.”

The key players aren’t specifically Northwestern, but the impact surely is.

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Northwest

By the numbers, the Washington legislature is a very partisan organization – overwhelmingly Democratic, dominated by one party a little more than the legislature in Oregon, though a little less than the legislature in Idaho.

But Representative Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, makes an interesting case today in the online Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the Washington legislature is more bipartisan in practice than many people think.

“I enjoy watching the criss-cross traffic on the Floor of the House as Reps from one side walk over to consult with a colleague of the party opposite.
The votes tell the same story. The House had 857 recorded votes in the 105 day session just ended. I’ve not recounted, but my guess is that about 800 of those Yea or Nay questions gathered 90 or more of the 98 Representatives to the same conclusion,” he writes.

Of course, most votes in most legislatures are pro forma, acceptable to pretty much everybody, and the measure really comes in those tougher calls when the caucuses tend to break apart. And it’s probably easier for someone in the majority party to make this sort of an argument. Still, his take on this is worth the read.

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Washington

Updating the item below, on the matter of trespassing at the governor’s office during office hours:

Evidently Ada County Magistrate Kevin Swain had a reaction somewhat along the lines of many others’. At the sentencing of Christopher Pentico, he said the man had in fact technically violated the law. But he must not have thought much of the law or its application in this case, because he decided against jailing Pentico, fining him or even barring him from the places where state police had ordered he not go.

Openness in government isn’t always a comfortable thing, for public officials included – or especially. But that’s the way it is.

A side note. We just returned from a city council meeting in our town, and during it a resident stood to complain (courteously but firmly) about the size and structure of his water and sewer bill. He probably didn’t comfort the mayor and council in the process. But, after explaining (along with a couple of council members) the city’s rationale for what it was doing, the mayor told him: Thank you for coming here and talking with us about this. Much better that we have this open conversation about this, aired in public with actual facts discussed on both sides, than the alternative.

A point for public officials high and low, all over.

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Idaho