For months the minor parties of Idaho (namely the Democrats and the Constitution Party) have sat in the cheap seats, nibbled on their popcorn and watched the dominant Republican Party make a spectacle of wrestling with itself. One match after another of Republican versus Republican filled the fight card: Phil Hart, John McGee, Closed Primary, Presidential Caucus, Proxy-gate, Redistricting Commission, Re-precincting, Richard Mack, CdA Recall, Ron Paul, blog lawsuits. It is yet to be seen if these weak opposition parties can exploit our internal squabbles by making membership and electoral gains, but you can assume they will try.
Unity is easy when you don't matter much. Yet one has to give the Democrats credit for fielding candidates in a majority of legislative seats across the state even if they ceded the county courthouses to Republicans without putting up much of a fight. No doubt the Democrats and their most powerful coalition member, the teachers union, plan to unify and collectively run under the banner of rescinding the Luna education reforms. Although they will fail, unless Republicans stop turning on each other and focus on our true opponents, we could take some hits that will not auger well for the long-term future.
It is past the time when chips need to be brushed off our collective Republican shoulders and we let go of the real and perceived slights and injuries tallied up over our winter of disunity. Our primary battles are over, our nominees determined and there is new leadership in both the state and county parties. Our family issues are settled and our die is cast.
Although the libelous attacks and slanderous diatribes continue on nefarious blogs, there is growing evidence that much of the apparent Republican vs. Republican venom is actually spawned and perpetuated by the bigoted fringe that leads the tiny and inconsequential local Constitution Party. Like a school yard provocateur who attempts to instigate a rumble between the two toughest kids on the block, those who despise the dominant Republican Party will throw online bombs in order to cause an intra-party fight. All Republicans of good will should swat away these annoying flies and get back to business.
We must put first things first and Republicans must rally to defend our reforms in Idaho, defeat legislative candidates who would do to Idaho what their party has done to America, and resolve to evict from the White House the current destructive tenants who have so damaged the place using our money as deposit.
Unity is not a place. It is a choice. We must choose it or condemn our future to an America and an Idaho we do not know or want.
Jeff Ward is former president of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, publishers of the Kootenai County Weekly Conservative newsletter.