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Posts published in “Day: October 14, 2015”

Losing his political soul


Shame on you, Senator Crapo. Shame, shame on you.

Recently your campaign published a list of Idaho legislators who had endorsed your re-election. Among those was that of State Senator Shawn Keough, recently elevated to the co-chairmanship of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee.

She has served Bonner County honorably and well for 20 years and is a long-time loyal supporter of Senator Crapo’s. Her reward for all these years of support?

Senator Crapo, in his continuing groveling before the Tea-Party faction of the Republican party and its Freedom Forum caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, named as his Bonner County campaign chair, Danielle Ahrens, a Republican Tea Party zealot who has twice challenged Senator Keough in Republican primaries.

It would be one thing if Ms. Ahrens had conducted a campaign with debate centered on thoughtful explanation of differences. That’s not the case, however. Even minimal due diligrnce on his campaign’s part would have told Crapo that Ms. Ahrens ran a viciously personal campaign full of false charges, innuendo and lies.

One would think Senator Crapo would not want to be associated with this type of campaigning; nor, with the type of zealot for whom the end justifies the means and so what if the truth gets mangled in the process? The old Mike Crapo wouldn’t want to be caught dead with someone like Danielle.

Neither would the “new” Mike Crapo, one would think. Such thinking is wrong. The new Crapo is so pandering to the right it is downright disgusting to view. He will win re-election easily, even if someone like First District Congressman and Freedom Forum zealot Raul Labrador is a challenger.

Crapo is running an unseemly race to the far right in the fear that if not, he would face a primary challenge. Thus, he runs, driven by fear. He must be rationalizing that if he goes to the extreme right there’ll be no room for a challenger.

Additionally, he must fear his Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) charge and conviction a few years ago will be brought up and LDS voters, especially those with “temple passes,” will abandon him.

Likewise, the new Crapo wants to repudiate the old, who, as a member of the Simpson/Bowles Budget Reform Commission voted for a solution that reflected judicious compromise. It called for a combination of spending cuts and “revenue enhancements.”

The latter phrase is a euphemism for “tax increase.” Thus, the Senator broke his pledge to Grover Norquist that he would never support any tax increase. That he was correct is irrelevant as he runs from his previous stance.

Senator Keough, for her part, has to be angry. She knows, unlike Crapo, that political loyalty runs both ways---at least that is the expectation. Presumably she has expressed her displeasure but one suspects true to the form of the new Crapo, his campaign does not dare rescind the appointment.

Admit that they’d made a mistake and not done their due diligence? Are you kidding me? Rather than do that and write a note of personal apology, the campaign will muddle through this stupid decision. It is a sad confirmation that Crapo so desperately wants to be re-elected he is compromising his reputation for integrity and rectitude.

When asked to comment, his campaign chair, Sara Nelson, gave the old line about welcoming the support of all interest groups including people divided on issues but agreeing in their support of the Senator’s re-election. Follow this logic and they would have welcomed the late neo-Nazi, Rev. Richard Butler’s support. Nelson claimed they’d done their due diligence and were aware of Ahrens past, but another staffer conceded theysimply took the recommendation of a member of the Bonner County Republican central committee.

What is truly sad is that Senator Crapo and his cynical, clueless campaign are contributing further to an environment in Republican ranks that is hell-bent on driving the moderates, the so-called Rhino’s, out of the party---especially those in leadership, whether it is a Speaker like John Boehner, a majority leader like Kevin McCarthy, or the co-chair of a Legislature’s JFAC committee, like Shawn Keough.

This is a downhill path that will inevitably lead to the dissolution of the Republican party as we know it today. For Senator Crapo not to be aware of where this groveling and pandering is leading is to demonstrate an incredible degree of self-induced ignorance.

For him, by his actions, to repudiate the value of political loyalty going both ways is simply unconscionable. There’s a Biblical verse saying what good is it for a man to inherit the world but lose his soul in the process? One wishes the Senator would ask himself that question but its obvious he won’t.

It might mess up his application for membership in the Senate’s Freedom Caucus.

First take/debate

Probably not an enormous lot changed after the first Democratic presidential debate last night, but a few things became a little clearer. One is that Hillary Clinton is now a terrifically skilled and polished debater - on the evidence of Tuesday night, substantially better than she was in 2008, and significantly better not only than any of the other Democrats on the stage, but also much better than any of the Republicans on the stages up to now. She was prepared for everything and had strong responses, and clear statements, on all topics. If she has wanted some extra boost to her campaign (coming on the heels of the McCarthy admission about the Benghazi committee) the debate may have given it to her; don't be surprised if her numbers rise a bit. Bernie Sanders did not do badly, though this sort of debate wasn't really his best kind of venue, and when drawn off his preferred collection of talking points he could come across as scattered. He'll need some work before the next debate. Even so, he got the chance to show who and what he is before a swath of new voters, and he may have gained some support too. The big moment of the debate, when he backed Clinton by saying he was "sick and tired of hearing about the damned emails," likely did both candidates some good. Of the others, Martin O'Malley looked semi-vice presidential, and Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb seemed to strike as being candidate for early departure from the race. - rs