I watched with interest and even anticipation the debates regarding the Governor’s “Education and Tax Bill”. Once again, the insiders—the “Idaho Swamp”, controlled the process. There was a hint of vindictiveness by Senators that lost long standing seats in the primary election. One Senator who I consider to be a friend and a reasonable man warned against “liberal and libertarian extremism”. His speech reminded me of Barry Goldwater’s inauguration speech in 1964 from the Cow Palace in San Francisco:
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Yes, we have great differences in political philosophy. If the end point of every political battle is compromise, even when Providential issues are in play why have political debate? Should we compromise on right to life and end of life issues, or should we compromise on 2nd and 4th Amendment issues that speak directly to the sanctity of life and of the individual? Our Founding Fathers tried to compromise with King George for two years before the Declaration had to be written. The other side always wants us to compromise, yet they refuse to budge when it comes to these same Providential issues. Compromise is a process not a goal. It is a means to the end, not the end unto itself. Maybe conservatives should right our own Declaration of Purpose
That all being said there were some serious moments in the debate. One such moment was mentioned by Senator Steven Thayne. We should try to focus legislative efforts on what is best for families and recognize that our children belong to us and not to the school system. We should not incentivize bad behaviors by families, who are costing decent citizens many millions extra in tax expenditures in programs administered in the Departments of Health and Welfare and Education. Education dollars should follow students—not teachers, administrators, or school districts.
There was not one mention in either Chamber about accountability for spending. Not once did anyone address accountability issues regarding how transfer payments to special interests are spent after they are allocated or appropriated. How about some audits of government agencies? Everything was about allocation and appropriation. And why should there be any accountability when special interests control the process of governing and government agencies run in lockstep with special interests and their lobbyists. Heck rumor had it that brunch catered by Chandler’s was held in the legislative cloak rooms served by Alex LaBeau and Mr. Whitlock—that may have just been a rumor, but it is sure believable. After the Governor signs the Bill, you know who will be paying the legislators tabs downtown tonight, and at breakfast at the Arid Club tomorrow.
Here is my takeaway. The coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats are more attuned to each other’s political philosophies than they are to conservative principles of the so called “libertarians” —which really is an example of an argument of the extreme more commonly utilized by the progressive media, than by politicians. I am not a libertarian. For example, I am against the legalization of Marijuana—a position many liberaltarians hold in common with liberal progressive Democrats who today voted in lock step with our progressive Governor and moderate legislators. This coalition I believe would be very comfortable with the politics of the Bush’s, Romney’s, Kasich’s, and Jim Jones’ of the world. They are not afraid of big government and government spending taking a bigger piece of the economic pie. What both groups in the new Idaho progressive coalition have in common is that they desire power and control over citizens and families. Maybe Joe Brandon and Kamala will come and campaign in Idaho for Brad Little and Scott Bedke? Or what about Mitt Romney?
Conservative patriots need to take a deep breath and seek a new path. We are about families and faith in God, and small government that costs less. We are for breaking the crony capitalism and private sector -government oligarchy and monopolistic policies that favor the big guys who finance political campaigns and that ultimately cost families who pay taxes. Those costs are growing faster than ever and our liabilities as a State should government transfer payment formulas change could be devasting. And still no grocery tax or property tax relief! Are legislators more beholding to government or to their constituents? Answer—Follow the money. It is not coming back to citizens but going into bigger and bigger government.
There were several members in both the House and Senate who spoke today about “unity and reconciliation” Over the past few weeks I talked to seven or eight of them. Not one of them or the Governor for that matter has publicly congratulated Dorothy Moon on becoming Idaho GOP Chair. Not one. The “sign of piece” needs to come from both sides. The problem with the Republican Party in Idaho isn’t extremism, it is a lack of respect for the opinion of others.
Here is my own quote about extremism: “Cronyism and corporate collusion in the name of progress is no virtue. Capitulation on principle is always a vice.” jl
Conservative Republicans probably makeup 30% of the legislature. If moderates control the levers of power and when they can join when issues that are important to the special interests are at stake—education and Health Care transfer payments to large hospitals and insurance companies for example, they will always win. In those cases, the citizens and families of Idaho become more marginalized, and their voices become more muted.
The “Idaho Swamp” is looking more like DC. Time for The Governor’s Cup!