Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Down Home Politics - Corrupt Or Just Plain Stupid?

Years ago when we were first learning about the political climate in Idaho, Hub commented you could label a tree stump a Republican and it would be elected. That observation has been proven correct on too many occasions as I think back on those we've elected. The two most egregious to national office were probably Bill Sali, of 'abortion causes breast cancer' fame, to the House and Larry Craig, 'I have a wide stance', to the Senate.

It is no less troublesome on the state and local level. There are so many recalls in small communities they might as well put the loser into the job. Losers in primaries go after write in votes claiming the people are stupid for having nominated their opponent. Yep. We just don't get it. Just listen to the campaign rhetoric from the big guys from both parties.

Here in Idaho though, I think they may have a point. We have a state representative who has been in trouble with the law for years because he refused to pay his taxes. Unconstitutional. We elected him and he was assigned to the Revenue and Taxation committee. Go figure. After being told his issues with the IRS had been squared away they arose once again. This time, reluctantly, the ethics committee had a look and concluded his personal problems had no bearing on his professional responsibilities.

He ran again, unopposed. More information was revealed about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liens still unsettled and on top of that the fact he stole timber from state land with which he built his house. This man has a serious disconnect.

This is but the ground work of the story. Some citizens, Republicans, have come to their senses. Tired of the scandal, he has a write in challenger who I hope wins.

Other local Republicans have refused to distribute his campaign literature. Who knows what will happen to them? Why? Because a state committeeman is on the verge of losing his position for balking at the thought of supporting this legislator. "Character matters. Being honest matters."

But does it? Not if it's at odds with the "primary process" which apparently binds one at such level to support the nominee regardless. Speaking on the issue, another committeeman said, "I don't care who it is. If the guy is elected through the primaries (not hard if you're unopposed), that is the person we're obligated to support. It could be Bozo the Clown, for all I care..."

Therein lies the problem does it not? Inflexibility. Character? Nah. Honesty? Nope. Heaven forbid the sacrosanct primary process be denied! And people wonder why I don't claim a political affiliation.

As I read the headlines this morning I found where one early voter pushed the button for a straight Republican ticket and the machine printed out Democrat. A voter in Nevada got to the booth and while looking at his ballot found Harry Reid's name had already been marked.

We stew over the integrity of elections in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet another of our committeemen stated because the one who would not support the candidate was out of step with their charge of having an executive board required to lead by example he is likely to be relieved of his position.

I thought we were to lead other counties by example. If their election processes are flawed, ours are totally broken. This has been the dirtiest election season in recent memory. The half truths and lies abound, some to the point of ridiculousness.

Oddly, we've just finished up a trial on the city council level about flaws in and breeches of the almighty process. The plaintiffs lost. Local level.

State level. The process rears its head again. Will the plaintiffs (the voters) lose again? You bet.

Before we go foisting "democracy" on others and overseeing their elections for honesty and integrity, we had best take care of our own house. As of right now, I see nothing gained no matter who is victorious November 2nd. Corruption is invasive and has no favorite. All are welcome to the siren song.

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