"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

To Wasden – listen up

carlson CHRIS


Never having met or even talked with Idaho’s current attorney general, Lawrence Wasden, I have no compunction about offering some free political advice.

First, in reviewing opinions he has provided to the governor and through his deputies, to the various state agencies, he comes across as thoughtful, reasonable, prudent, and logical with a good dose of common sense. He is not overtly partisan, either. He reads the law with due deference to precedent, and gives solid advice.

Secondly, he displayed genuine political courage in reframing the upcoming primary campaign as a fight for the soul and the future of the Republican Party, with reasonable, sensible, moderate Republicans on one side and unreasonable, uncompromising, blindly ideological “wing nuts” (my choice of words, not his) on the other side.

He is absolutely correct.

Imagine my surprise then when I saw an op-ed in the
April 9th edition of the St.Maries Gazette-Record, written by an intelligent but nonetheless rock-solid right-winger in Benewah County, Ken deVries. He does his homework and he at least listens politely to those he disagrees with.

Ken charged the attorney general had aligned himself with the “take your guns away” crowd, led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when he signed off on Idaho filing an amicus brief in the case that led to the historic Heller vs. the District of Columbia ruling in a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That ruling, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority, was the first time the Court ever interpreted the Second Amendment to be a qualified right for an individual to keep and bear arms to protect himself and his property apart from the Constitutional language that appeared to tie that right only to keeping and maintaining a well armed militia.

For some yet to be adequately explained reason, the office of the Idaho Attorney General filed an amicus brief in the preceding case and joined with the likes of the attorney generals of states like New York and Massachusetts, and liberal “we-need-more gun control” mayors like Mayor Bloomberg.

In discussing the issue with the Gazette-Record’s publisher, Wasden’s office claimed a mistake was made, that they quickly withdrew the amicus brief, turned around and filed a brief supporting the ultimate majority view as expressed by Justice Scalia. I accept that explanation, but Wasden has to recognize there are still unanswered questions.

Is the lawyer who drafted the initial amicus brief still on staff? If so, why wasn’t he fired? Anyone with an ounce of sense looking at the other signers should have known Idaho didn’t belong in that company. Some may make the argument that the AG’s office essentially thought the brief which they temporarily joined was all about a state’s right to develop its own rules and regulations.

That argument though then leads to why a Mayor Bloomberg would be supportive – it also then gives a state or a city the implicit right to restrict the Second Amendment right even more than the slight qualifications Justice Scalia would allow for.

So where does the attorney general really stand? How did this brief even get out the door given the subject matter?

It would be so easy to put together a “hit ad” that could run just before the May 20th primary: show a picture of Michael Bloomberg and read off a couple of his pro gun control statements. Then, show his name on the brief, move the camera up a couple of slots and show Wasden’s name. Have a narrator ask “What’s our attorney general’s name doing with this crowd of gun control advocates? Now is not the time to weaken gun ownership. There is an alternative: Vote for Chris Troupis, a true supporter of the Second Amendment.” Wasden would be toast if he fails to handle this properly.

This is one of those true game changers that could lead to a primary upset.

From years of providing political counsel to successful office holders, here’s the advice:

Get out front quickly and frame the issue. Submit to an interview with one of several fair and balanced Idaho political reporters. Admit to poor oversight but say you corrected the matter quickly and fire the deputy attorney who was so politically tone deaf as to have created such an egregious misrepresentation of your views.

Then send a letter to National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre asking that he recognize an honest mistake; and, suggest the NRA let the voters decide whether he should be turned out of office without being subjected to an NRA financed campaign. The, restate your unequivocal support for Scalia and Heller vs. D.C.

If you move quickly you can turn this to your advantage. Here’s hoping you do so.

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