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Posts published in “Day: October 24, 2021”

McGeachin’s unfitness


That whooshing sound you hear is the air going out of the McGeachin campaign balloon for governor, evident by her ham-handed interchange with the national news network CNN, the resulting deflation in Idaho and new questions about her basic knowledge of state government.

McGeachin calls attention to herself on many occasions. Her picture with two armed militant thugs at her office door immediately following her 2018 election was a clear indication of who she would listen to. And she has.

She followed that with hiring a known law-enforcement hater as a security staffer. The individual, Parish Miller, is the cop critic behind the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s rankings of legislative measures. He had a post in which he effectively said it was okay for citizens to murder police. (DailyBeast, 7/25/2021)

But that was just as her campaign was getting going last spring. These days, she headed a do-nothing, self-created task force find examples of critical race theory, social engineering and the evils of communism allegedly being taught in Idaho schools. It turned up nothing.

Then there was her ignorant exchange with the CNN reporter who asked a simple question about her issuing executive orders while the governor is out-of-state on official business. When the reporter pressed her for her logic, she called him an activist and declared the interview at an end, turned on her heels and stomped out. She came across as a disgruntled child, defensive and shaken, a witch of the first order. (CNN, 10/10)

We’re no particular fan of media-in-your-face confrontations, but in this case McGeachin brought the result on herself. The painted lady is already swimming in an ocean of sharks. If you can’t say why you issued a particular executive order, why should people think you would exercise good judgment otherwise?

Just last week, McGeachin raised more questions about her competence when she admitted she didn’t have records showing the actual costs of the $50,000 alleged expenses of so-called legal fees she wants the taxpayers to foot.

McGeachin has a long track record of trying to extract more money from the state to fund her office. Perhaps the legal records don’t really exist. Are they just another McGeachin ploy to sweep up state money? Just asking. Members of the legislature’s Joint Finance & Appropriations Committee are already asking for more records from her office, as is the state Division of Financial Management. (CapitalSun, 10/18).By Wednesday, the records if they exist, had not been turned over.

And that’s where you can feel the air going out of the McGeachin campaign balloon. No one came to her defense, not even the crazies with whom she associates in the House or the John Birchers, whose members believe that President Dwight Eisenhower was a communist plant in American government.

McGeachin uses words like sovereignty, traditional values and freedom as “platform” points, but she seems to have no real understanding of any of these traditional Republican principles except as slogans. When asked about her, former Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones referred to her as the only Lieutenant Governor which Idaho has ever had who qualifies as an “idiot.”

Only slightly less generous was a recent column by political observer Chuck Malloy who up to now has treated her as a legitimate challenger to Gov. Brad Little. But in his column (CapitalSun, 10/12), Malloy relates how McGechin changed following her time in the House (2008-2012) where she was a competent if not leading legislator.

So what happened? It appears McGeachin went back to Idaho Falls to run a bar and began participating in local rightist politics, emerging in 2018 primary election in which she got less than 29% of the vote in a five-way contest. But that was enough. Since then, she has had one gaffe after another and has demonstrated repeatedly that she’s not ready, and may never be ready, for higher office.

The rightists in the House may not agree that she’s an idiot, but they’re not going to stand up time after time with her as she makes a fool of herself on national television and within her own state, with what Malloy calls “showboating” and a “stunt.”

They know intuitively that with an election coming, Janice McGeachin is drawing only small groups of ardent followers. A recent “freedom” rally in Twin Falls brought fewer than 80 people, probably half of whom were her handlers, law enforcement or media.
You can feel it in the political air as alternatives to McGeachin to challenge Little are suddenly getting “second looks.” These down-ticket also-rans are now fighting to gain visibility, media time, and contributions.

Little stretches his fundraising lead to nearly $400,000 over McGeachin ($500,000 to $100,000) and she’s fallen to third place in fundraising. Not a good sign if you’re trying to be the established candidate of the angry unestablished.

In today’s rough-and-tumble media and politics world, candidates need to demonstrate basic media competence. Her CNN pouty walk-off shows just the opposite. Wise political candidates and officeholders know the power of the media, and CNN, no friend of right-wingers or even Republicans, has opened the door for people to see what McGeachin is really like.

She had a great opportunity on CNN to enhance her viability as a candidate for Idaho’s governor, but she muffed it. Lots of folks saw it live on television and she doesn’t come across well. It’s football season, so we’ll call it what it is, a missed clutch kick to the far right.

Stephen Hartgen, Twin Falls, is a retired five-term Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee.  Previously, he was editor and publisher of The Times-News (1982-2005). He can be reached at