Where did the GOP go?

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Local Republicans are often accused of eating their own, but lately we are devouring one another with glee and a nice Chianti.

Recently, Kootenai County Republican Central Committee leadership has been intentionally difficult, lacking integrity, and non-responsive to the Precinct Committee Members they serve, specifically the ones deemed too liberal. (For context, even Sens. Risch and Crapo were recently criticized for being liberal globalists.)

Committee officers have accused people of writing letters to the editor they didn’t write, “investigating” online commenters who didn’t agree, intentionally mischaracterizing sitting precinct committeemen, and preventing folks from speaking in defense of themselves or to an issue on the agenda. Leadership will not provide contact information to other members. They claim to have only physical mailing addresses yet we receive emails monthly. Committeemen are better served by going to the county clerk with a record request to obtain phone numbers/email addresses of fellow members. Leadership will not state why they refuse, nor will they answer what happens to personal data collected but not shared.

Leadership appears to intentionally intimidate and lack transparency. Emails from officers lately arrive with a confidentiality clause asserting personal legal liability if benign information is shared without permission. This clause is invalid, unenforceable, and threatens those who receive it. Members are publicly elected and they meet in public buildings. Most votes are verbal without record. It is impossible to decipher whether the voiced ayes beat the nays, yet the position leadership supports passes easily.

My disagreement over these troubling integrity issues is coupled with absolute frustration. Leadership discusses “Redoubt Principles” that advocate peeling off Idaho to join other areas of neighboring states for like-minded Conservatives seeking political exile from liberal urban areas to live. This is inappropriate for Republican meetings and detrimental to Idaho.

Established rule of law is supported only when it fits the agenda. For example, this committee wants to instruct the Idaho Supreme Court to “nullify” longstanding federal case law. This approach would embroil Idaho in controversial litigation. The refusal to focus on state issues my neighbors are concerned with (like growing our economy or improving education) harms the party, our communities and our state. These fringe representatives preach with fire and brimstone fervor that the government should not tread on our lives, yet they seem to find multiple exceptions, especially when they are in control.

Local registered GOP voters are lulled into false confidence that the committee is advancing positive solutions. This is not the case. Many believe “it’s easier to take over the Republican Party than start a new one.” The rhetoric often heard is that “we are at war” with moderate Rs and anyone considered left of them. Redoubters label well-known conservative Republicans as “liberal.” It’s suggested we need another “revolution.”

The KCRCC passed a resolution in which Idaho Sens. Risch and Crapo are accused of “liberal” tendencies and “siding with globalists” for supporting a bill tightening sanctions around Russian interference. The bill passed the Senate (original vote was 98-2, Ron Paul/Bernie Sanders both voting no) and the House (419-3). Our two Republican senators are hardly liberal. In fact, they’re rated by the American Conservative Union Foundation in the Top 10 of most Conservative Senators in the Senate.

I grew up in Idaho. I support common-sense conservative principles. I’ve been a Republican through many internal schisms, but none like this. A group with appropriately placed motives should stand on the ideas they represent. Secrecy and marginalizing others is not leadership. Anyone defending this practice is either unwilling to self-reflect or simply wants to further political narratives in an echo chamber.

KCRCC once reflected the hope and optimism of Ronald Reagan while reaching across the aisle. I’ve obviously joined the wrong group. Our community needs impactful results that are tangible. We must find positive, intelligent Republican candidates who will work on the important issues facing our state. I plan to use my time to assist in this endeavor.

•••

Christa Hazel is a former school board member, Idaho Law graduate, and longtime resident who’s been engaged in Idaho Republican politics for 24+ years. Her resignation has been submitted and KCRCC will decide whether to accept it next month.

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