A Warning for the Idaho Republican Party
Here’s an assignment for Idaho’s mostly leftist news media. Walk down any street and ask people if they can identify the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Toss in the American Conservative Union.
Here’s a question for all of you. Before you vote do you look up candidate rankings from the IFF and ACU?
Then why all the wailing from political elites and news media when it comes to these organizations? Remember the line about the last refuge of scoundrels?
What are they going to do, jail critics?
A couple of weeks ago, a member of the Old Boys Club denounced the Freedom Foundation at a luncheon. Reporters immediately raced for the exits and telephoned their newsrooms. “Stop the presses,” they breathlessly gasped. From a media standpoint, the IFF is the embodiment of evil because it opposes redistribution of resources. There’s more than a few card carrying Marxists in any media gaggle. Just hearing the word freedom makes them swallow their tongues and wobble with tremors. This is the same outfit that cheered the loss of your liberties during the pandemic. The same crowd that supported closing your churches and they promote snatching your guns. It somehow eludes them the same constitution that supposedly protects your liberties allows them to consistently perform malpractice!
When it comes to the politicians, they somehow run in fear when someone mentions the IFF has a ratings system. I’m not surprised, the lords and ladies of the legislature often believe we’re supposed to kiss their bottoms. After all, it’s what the lobbyists and party committee sycophants practice. It angers them when they take some heat. What are they going to do, jail critics?
How many of you would agree with the belief elected politicians work first for special interests and then get around to constituent concerns when the thirst of the donor class is slaked? The IFF tends to make this inverse approach clear. And it annoys the establishment. It also shows you how detached many legislators are from the public. Chuck Winder is a State Senator. He blames a think tank for the woes of his Republican caucus. Again, how many voters could tell you what the Idaho Freedom Foundation does? About as many as can identify Senator Winder!
When I was a teenager I used to watch a lot of television. One of the top sitcoms of the 1970s was a program called M*A*S*H. It was set during the Korean War. A character named Major Houlihan was angry about the practical jokes played by Captains Pierce and McIntyre. “They’re ruining this war for everyone,” she shouts as she breaks into tears. The irony had me rolling with laughter. Echoes of some political practitioners.
Dear Chuck, it’s not any rating system. Your votes are public record for anyone with a laptop. What’s changing is the electorate. Republicans have been talking small and accountable government for decades. They talk a good game about liberty every other year when they want my vote. They take an oath to state and federal constitutions. Then they’re surprised when voters actually expect their representatives should walk the talk.
There’s also another factor at play. There were two moving vans in my neighborhood late this week. Some weeks there are even more. I look at the license plates and it’s obvious there’s a great diaspora underway. The people coming here read the brochures and they believe this is the last bastion of liberty and accountability. They’re engaged and they vote. They didn’t know your granddad or your daddy. They don’t really care that you flip pancakes at the service club fundraiser.
They came here on a promise and after uprooting and investing in a lengthy move, they’re in no mood for empty bromides. The Freedom Foundation is a strawman or bogeyman. It avoids addressing the changing demographics.
When I was a student 40 years ago, I watched a performance of a play called the Cherry Orchard starring, I believe, the late Maureen Stapleton. I recommend it for Idaho’s political class. The rumbling you feel is the shifting of the landscape.
An old football coach when frustrated with his players during practice would tell us, “Get with the program!”