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Carlson: Hoisted on their petard

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

There’s an old saying some may recall: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely! That so applies to Idaho’s Grand Old Party. Power has gone to the heads of many who drive the flashy Republican car model down the road. The road though is leading to a helluva crash and inevitable voter rebuke.

One cannot absolve the Idaho Democratic Party from its complicity. Failure to follow the tried and true “lunch bucket” approach led to the Idaho D’s drifting away from common sense conservation, balanced budgets, continuing investment in Idaho education and protecting the values which make Idaho such a great place to live. Instead, being on the correct side of hot button issues such as abortion, guns and more wilderness became the goal of what other Idahoans perceived as a party growing out of touch and into the hands of the “wine and cheese” liberal set as represented by multi-millionaires living in Blaine County.

From the mid 90’s on Idaho Democrats have appeared hell bent on narrowing their base of support. The voters noted and duly administered rebukes which should have awakened the D’s but so far haven’t.

Now it is the GOP hell bent on narrowing its base. In their zeal to eliminate anything that even smacks of “democrat,” these impervious believers now driving the GOP car have gotten the upper hand. Through adroit tactics that come down to good old grass-root organizing and getting their people elected to numerous vacant precinct committee positions they are in the process of solidifying their hold on the party structure.

Pardon the tortured pun but it seems like the phrase “democratic process” has itself become a target of the reformer’s zeal to take over because there’s a “democrat” in that there phrase, it’s got to go. So onto the very anti-democratic notion of purging those who aren’t true believers from being able to impact the right wing agenda.

A step in this process is to limit those who vote in a Republican Party primary to those who truly are members of the GOP. If one ain’t a registered member he’d best declare he is right there on Election Day or go home and watch for results on the television. If you’re an independent and prize your independence, tough luck. You are welcomed, however, to vote in a Democratic primary which is open to one and all.

Here’s the glitch the R’s aren’t advertising: once you say you’re an R you’re going to have to file a formal written renunciation of that affiliation by March (the filing deadline for the coming year’s elections) of the following year if you want to vote in a Democratic primary of any sort.

Not only do they restrict access to their party’s prospects, they will keep many independents from being able to vote in a D primary contest the following year.

To further underscore how they have figured out that the best way to ensure their ideology prevails is to also require a loyalty oath to any aspirant for office who wants the R behind their name. In some counties where these tea party purists have seized control this means in order to be able to call yourself a Republican candidate you have to buy into and swear support for every facet of their wacky platform/agenda.

Not good enough to be supportive of 90 percent, but want to demure from supporting repeal of the constitutional amendment that made election of U.S. Senators subject to a public vote rather than leave it to the scandalous vote-buying that went on when state legislatures named senators.

Apparently, direct election of senators is another one of those vile democratic practices that have to be eradicated! There’s that root word “democrat” again.

Such arrogance knows no bounds. It reached new heights of stupidity when the House Speaker, Lawrence Denny, and the current GOP State Party chair, Norm Semanko, tried to dump two of the GOP’s three nominees to the State Redistricting Board because they appeared not to be paying attention to partisan implications. My gawd, their appointees were following the law and not dictums from party leadership. Can’t have that, can we?

Several phrases come to mind like “they’re cruisin’ for a brusin’.” Perhaps the most apt though is the classic expressions: “pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered!” The Idaho GOP elephant is morphing into a Wooly Mammoth right before our eyes, and like the mammoth is headed for the extinction it deserves.

CHRIS CARLSON is a former journalist who served as press secretary to Gov. Cecil Andrus. He lives at Medimont.

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