I am frustrated. I have tremendous respect for people who put their names on the line and run for public office so I hesitate ever being critical of them on paper. Almost to a man and women-almost, these are good men and women who love their families and communities. They have been or are successful in their own lives. In Republican leadership we actually have a former Navy Pilot who flew jets off aircraft carriers. In my opinion we have too many lawyers, not enough doctors, and too few full time parents in our legislature. The number of CPA’s is getting less—same thing happened to Health South and WorldCom and Enron—always helpful to have people that know how to follow the money. There are way too many conflicts of interest-how can legal counsel for a small town also serve in the legislature when the interests of local and State Government—especially when it comes to budget issues and funding or tax relief may be at odds with each other? Could you imagine the Attorney General of the United States being a Senator from a State?
But this legislative session has been a farce and a complete bust. First both branches of the legislature went into recess—we should call it hibernation because 6 legislators tested positive for the dreaded Covid-19 virus and all were asymptomatic. This shut down affected maybe 160 people counting support staff and pages. Like all State employees and teachers, their paychecks didn’t stop. How many live next door to small business owners or self-employed contractors who didn’t get paid when they didn’t work. PPP is like spitting in the wind for them All but a few had already received their vaccines. All had ready access to health care or at least one could infer that because a good many of them got front of the line privileges when they received their vaccines earlier than their constituents assigned to similar “clinical tiers”.
And this at a time when fellow Idahoans were going back to work-many mothers and fathers working two jobs and homeschooling their children. As I mentioned above I was more than happy to acknowledge their political courage for running for office, but they lost any respect I had for them when they abandoned their duties to serve the people. I by the way saw several of them out and about in Boise and Eagle. Those “I Am an Important Legislator” License Plates stick out like a sore thumb at the YMCA during a pandemic shutdown.
The budget process has been a joke. Because of the ACA, and the new stimulus monies the State is in a better financial position than I can ever remember. There has been little restraint on spending that I can see except in one place that I will get to in the next paragraph. No grocery tax relief. No property tax relief of significance. IACI, the IMA, IHA, CoC, the teachers’ unions have run circles around our elected representatives for weeks. And they are still in session! Who could have ever guessed that the teachers would get back to work before our legislators?
All I can say about Idaho government so far this year is that we have no leadership in the Executive Branch, we have sclerotic leadership in the legislative branch, and we have the best judiciary money can buy. And everyone from all three branches will show up at the Governor’s Cup and proclaim that they made money for educational scholarships for Idaho kids—why not just have the lobbyists give the money to the kids and save the cost of cocktails, steak and trout, golf and skeet and trap shooting? The Governor’s Cup—oftentimes called the “Rendezvous for the elite and ruling class” is nothing more than a schmooze fest to remind pols that there is “more where that comes from” when they run for reelection.
But today I came to the end of my rope and there is no knot. Watching the House debate for the 3rd time about the Lt. Governor’s budget request for another ½ time position that would cost the State $6000—those against the request said they were saving money for the State—REALLY! Really when you have no trouble funding Medicaid to the tune of $600 million. $3.5 billion when counting Federal monies. REALLY what did Stalin say? —I paraphrase, a million is a tragedy and a billion is a statistic—or something like that.
This was all about a few old men in leadership putting the screws to our Lt. Governor and I can’t figure out why. Like many of the conservative women in our legislature, she has more testosterone and adrenaline running through her veins than they do, and she would probably kick their butts in hand to hand—a true lady of the west like my wife. She can probably out shoot them and out fish them and from what I have seen the last few months “out think’em”. I mean REALLY. The President Pro Temp of the Senate took her Key Card so she doesn’t have individual access to the Senate floor. They took her legislative signing privileges away from her. No tax relief guys, but the Lt. Governor doesn’t have a key card and we took away a $7000 part time position from her. REALLY! Nany booboo. We will show her.
So again after watching a few old men try to put down another women on the House floor—Rep Priscilla Giddings, I’ve decided to create a new award for the legislator that has the most bluster, is the most condescending to women, and who is the most clueless and irrelevant for the past week. I wanted to name the award after a person who had served for over 50 years in government, who has no political center, has a great smile, and has little respect for a “train of thought”—THE JOE BIDEN AWARD. The base of the award will support the hind end of a donkey. I respectfully request that my readers send in their nominations for the FIRST Weekly Joe Biden Idaho Legislator award. The second place award will be called the McCain—Romney—Kasich—Boehner—Ryan—Cheney Award. The base of the award will support the head of a RINO. You would be amazed at how much a RINO looks like the hind end of a donkey.
The winner will be announced in next week’s column. I will present the award the 1st week of July in the Capitol Rotunda before the legislature goes “Sine die”. There are many people I can think of that are more than deserving of being recognized in such a fashion. You the voters will decide. Any lobbyists that want to “weigh in” can e-mail me. Like any good politician I have a price.