Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Hope for the Future

My hope, after Idaho’s primary election concluded Tuesday, is that soon we may see a brisk reduction in the number of campaign signs along our roads and byways.

Additionally, I hope within the next few days to get an answer to this question:

Where’s the Tea Party in Idaho?

The Associated Press has this answer, claiming that Tea Party members helped to oust four moderate Republican state representatives in Moscow, Twin Falls, Hayden Lake and Cascade and replace them with Tea Party members or sympathizers, and that Tea Party courtiers Rex Rammell and Chick Heileson gave Butch Otter and Mike Simpson, respectively, more of a primary challenge than they’ve expected in the past, but I still have to ask: After all the complaining about TARP, whining about Obama and everything else the Tea Party has done in Idaho, this is the best they can do?

No, they did a little better than that. In Western Idaho, they got Raul Labrador elected to challenge Democratic Representative Walt Minnick. The AP makes hay that the local Tea Party favorite won over Vaughn Ward, the national GOP favorite, but I think there’s more to play in Idaho’s west than mere Tea Party Politics.

This is the senate district, remember, that brought Idaho the likes of Helen Chenoweth and Bill Sali, both of whom make your average Tea Party candidate look sane. This is also the same district that narrowly elected Democrat Minnick, so to say that the majority of folks in that district are Tea Party enthusiasts is a stretch.

The AP tries to paint Simpson’s primary polling of “only” 58 percent of the voters as a show of growing Tea Party strength in Eastern Idaho, but that’s hardly indicative of anything aside from a race that attracted four Republican contenders, two of which tried to make Tea Party hay out of Simpson’s TARP vote. His closest competitor, Heileson, won 22 percent of the vote, leaving Simpson with still nearly a 3 to 1 margin over his closest foe.

National media are speculating that the “divided” GOP in Idaho might lead to Democratic victories for Minnick – which is not outside the realm of possibility, given that Minnick is already in as a representative – and to Simpson’s Democractic opponent Mike Crawford, but they’re displaying a fundamental misunderstanding of politics there. Idaho GOP adherents are quite capable of holding their noses to vote for a Republican they opposed in the primaries, rather than to cast protest votes for a Democrat.

Tea Party activist claims that more moderate Republicans like Otter and Simpson need to pay more attention to Tea Party views is also misguided, given that both Otter and Simpson – highly likely to win re-election already have the majority of GOP voters on their side.

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