(We get no Respect)
After the special legislative session that passed the Governor’s Education, and Tax Rebate Bill I received phone calls from three legislators—two from the House and one Senator. All three I consider to be good friends and all three are looked upon by conservatives as being moderate. The Senator had watched the debate in the Idaho House on live stream and of course the other two were in Chambers when Heather Scott rose to voice her concerns about the Bill. I was ashamed of the way Speaker Bedke handled the debate and handled the objections by fellow Republicans as Representative Scott tried to speak. Conservatives—especially conservative women in both the Idaho House and Senate have been treated with disdain and disrespect by leadership. Chuck Winder and Scott Bedke have not only been both officious and officialistic in their treatment of those they disagree with—they have been rude, arrogant, and meanspirited. Heather and fellow conservatives are fully able of standing up for themselves, but after talking to the legislators that called me yesterday, I have some thoughts on how the Special Session came down.
The process of running for office and politicking requires marketing oneself as being “different” from your opponent. Politicians run for office on their differences, and they try to govern by finding common ground. The moderate Republicans in Idaho are trying to marginalize Conservative Republicans the same way Joe Bidden and the Obamacrats that are calling the shots from behind the scenes and are trying to marginalize MAGA. Calling one’s opponents evil is intellectually lazy. Instead of making an argument on the facts of the case, those who disagree with us resort to name calling and inuendo that quickly turns into calumnies. Using words in articles or newscasts like “extreme”, “fascist” or “racist”, is disrespectful of the recipient of information. It implies that they can’t make those judgements for themselves. Interrupting colleagues –peers on the floor of the legislature is disrespectful not only of them, their ideas, but also their constituents. In the House it became a model for “mass conformation bias” that was embarrassing. An opinion was offered during the Senate debate that the political debate has become fractured along political lines “liberal vs libertarian” and these extreme positions have led to a more inflammatory political debate. I couldn’t disagree more with that assessment. The problem with the political debate in our country and State is a lack of respect for each other not as political opponents, but as people.
One of the first things one learns in athletics is that you cannot respect your opponent unless you first respect yourself, and that by respecting your opponent you further respect yourself. The shout downs of a Representative by her colleagues, and the shutdown of debate by Mr. Bedke ultimately showed the lack of respect that they have for themselves and the insecurity they have in their own positions. MAGA, “extremist” “Orangeman bad”, “motion to object”—really! Let the lady have her say. Respect your adversary and opponent and that respect will come back to you many times over.
Self-respect is grounded in the idea that we are all made in God’s image and have value. By not respecting that just like you the other person is also created in God’s image you are placing them in a position of subjugation—”to bring under control”. This is the very bases of all the “isms”—racism, sexism, fascism—fill in the blank. It is what political opposition research (OPR) is all about. Trying to control the person, and not the argument is disrespectful of your opponent and of yourself, and ultimately of the people that you represent. It is an act of conceit and hubris. It is also an act of fear because you don’t believe enough in yourself to do battle on the playing field of ideas.
Mr. Bedke, Mr. Winder, and Mr. Little are good men. They love their families and have served their communities—and themselves. Thanks to all three for your service. Unfortunately, they have been part of a corrupt political process for so long they don’t even recognize “the log in their eyes”. Legacy politicians so many times fall far from the family tree of political philosophy. They are masters of “the process of governance” and their stewardship of a political machine that is now over forty years old must be respected—but the machine itself must be defeated or we will come to look like the “Brown—Pelosi—Newsome California so many new members of the Idaho family are running away from. Crony capital-corporatism—the cousin of mercantilism, economic fascism, and socialism, is the ugly stepchild of private sector government collusion. It always results in bigger more expensive government, a move toward monopoly in the private sector, and the marginalization of the private citizen and families.
One last word on a more personal level about Mr. Bedke—like I said he is a good man, but he lacks the one fundamental ingredient for being a good and worthy leader. He lacks respect for himself. Great politicians on both sides of the aisle had that (Ronald Reagan and Frank Church for example) That was obvious by the way he treated Heather Scott on the House floor Thursday. Virtuous Idahoans need virtuous leaders who are good people who respect themselves and recognize the goodness in everyone—even their opponents.
The machine giving headwinds to Idaho moderate Republicans (IACI, IMA, IHA, IEA….) and a lap dog media, needs to be respected and then confronted and defeated. We need to be better organized; we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves, and we need to be focused on principle and find leaders who respect themselves and others.