Drama in the GOP

To get a sense of the psychodrama unnfolding in the Idaho Republican Party, you can trace a bunch of the elements through a single Facebook post by state Senator Dean Cameron.

He started it by connecting to a story by Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, noting that at the state Republican convention this weekend (they never used to have conventions in Idaho in odd-numbered years, by the way), a group of activists including former state Senator Rod Beck will try to establish a new rule providing that only candidates who win support from party leaders (that’s an unspecific description) can be placed on the party’s primary election ballot. The idea is to set up a filtering system something like that used by the Utah Republicans.

Cameron: “This is a really bad approach. Some want to continue to disenfranchise voters. I hope those attending the convention will be able to stop this proposal.”

That drew a bunch of likes, and also a response from Beck: “Dean, what do you mean to “continue” to disenfranchise voters? Are you suggesting to give the Blue’s everything they want is to offer voters a franchise? Did also get a limo ride in Kootenai County at IACI’S expense? I notice you didn’t join Speaker Bedke in the taxpayer funded junket to NYC, however so congrats on that.”

Representative Stephen Hartgen (who doesn’t support Beck’s proposal) cautioned Beck, “it does not advance the proposal to attack those who question why you think we need it.”

Another commenter said she “may have to change parties just to have representation.”

Hartgen: “Don’t do that, Linda….this too shall pass….”

But another, addressing Cameron, said “but this is the final nail for me. I’ve voted Republican all my life, but now I’ll be sending in the official form to change. They didn’t listen to us about the Luna Laws, and now this control trip…. They would even fight YOU for daring to buck the approved “party line” – it’s starting to sound like the USSR here….”

Hartgen again, trying to soothe things: “Hang on, Ruth….the proposal isn’t going to go anywhere.”

Soon, Beck was back in the comments: “I’m not trying to prevent any evil. I’m just trying to provide a mechanism that would make local precinct leaders at least as important to policy makers as the corporate lobbyists for Blue Cross, Regence Blue Shield and others. That’s all. Nothing more or less.””

Another commenter, Mark Balzer, said that “I finally got a copy of the proposed rule changes for the summer meeting. to be honest with you I can only support 6, and 11-14. the rest of them including yours are dangerous. You and other seem to want to tie the hands of the legislature with the party platform and resolutions.”

All that on one Facebook post.

This’ll be a lively convention.

If I were to guess, from a distance, based on the history of recent conventions, I wouldn’t bet against Beck. Either way the vote, and debate leading up to it, should be more than interest.

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