Writings and observations

ID: A Democratic response

A response from Idaho Democratic Chair Keith Roark, to the December 11 post Grant and the percentages. A short note about one point follows.

Randy, there is no observer of Idaho politics that I trust or admire more than you. Nonetheless, I fear you suffer from an affliction common to men and women of the Fourth Estate: inability to recognize the deliberate use of irony by a politician. Larry Grant is not going to run for Walt Minnick’s seat as a Democrat or a Republican. His comment was clearly intended to be humorous and ironic.

Moreover, Keith Allred’s emergence as a candidate for the Idaho Democratic Party’s nomination for Idaho Governor belies nothing in the way of compromise by either the party or the candidate.

At the state and federal levels, Idaho Democrats have traditionally put good government well ahead of raw partisanship. We are not the party of litmus tests or doctrinal purity. We are not the party that favors closed primaries. We are now and have been for many generations the party that believes in quality education for all children, a tax system that fairly allocates the burdens of taxation and the party that believes that organized labor and collective bargaining raise the standard of living for all Idahoans, union members and non-union members alike. Keith Allred, Walt Minnick, and Larry Grant all embrace these values as did Frank Church, Cecil Andrus, John Evans, and Richard Stallings before them.

Idaho’s Governor is not the leaders of his/her party, titular or otherwise. I head the Democratic Party and Norm Semanko heads the Republican Party. The Governor’s job is to steer the ship of state government on a course that runs true for all Idahoans. Idaho Democrats run for office in an effort to make government work for the people of our state – not to “oppose” Republicans for the mere sake of such opposition. Cecil Andrus was a master at bringing legislators together even though he never had a majority of Democrats in the legislature at any time during his four terms in office. Butch Otter enjoys better than 2/3 majorities in both chambers of the legislature and has a difficult time getting them to agree on anything more important than the color of the bathrooms in the restored Statehouse. Keith Allred fits the Andrus model and is the polar opposite of Otter.

Idaho Democrats don’t agree with every vote Walt Minnick has cast since his swearing in. We won’t agree with every decision Governor Allred makes either. But our tent is large and we have long since learned to disagree without being disagreeable. I personally welcome Keith Allred’s decision to run for governor as a Democrat and I’m proud that Walt Minnick is representing his district as a Democrat – but I expect them to be men of conscience and sound judgment first and foremost. “Putting practical solutions ahead special interest and partisan politics” is exactly what Democrats expect their candidates and office holders to do. That is not a “conflict” Randy; that is exactly the philosophy that Frank Church, Cecil Andrus, Ray Rigby, Chick Bilyeu, Bruce Sweeney, John Peavey and so many other Idaho Democrats have preached and practiced throughout the years.

A quick note in response: Grant has (as an update in that Friday post points out) said he isn’t serious about the idea of running as a Republican. The initial Grant comment, as the post also said, came by way of a blog post by Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker; the tenor of his post indicates he didn’t perceive it (at the time) as entirely a joke. Presumably it was less than obvious to the Congressional Quarterly reporter writing in followup about Grant (see also that post), since questioning about it was posed in a serious vein.

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  1. […] that overconfident understates the absurdity of Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark’s phrase over at Ridenbaugh Press. Idaho Democrats don’t agree with every vote Walt Minnick has cast since […]

    December 14, 2009

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