You might say the latest outside-looking-in story on North Idaho’s Republican politics has given the region a white eye.
Writing for BuzzFeed news, Anne Helen Petersen became the latest scribe — superscribe might be more accurate — to paint a picture of the local GOP that looks more like an officiated brawl than an exercise in civil discourse. Close observers of the local Republican phenomenon with a modicum of objectivity would likely agree that Petersen nailed it.
After a parade of journalistic investments in our peculiar political realm from as close as Boise Weekly to as far away, geographically and ideologically, as The Washington Post, Petersen’s piece concludes with a quote from Don Bradway. Bradway, one of the California transplants who have reconfigured the engine that now drives Kootenai County Republicanism, was cheerfully talking to Petersen about the Central Committee’s ongoing march to the right under current leadership.
“They had their way of doing things,” Bradway said of more moderate Republicans. “That’s the old way. This is the new way.
“And if people don’t like it? Vote us out.”
In the eyes of some, that might not be a bad idea. But it’s going to take a lot of will and a lot of work from the disaffected because one thing that’s become crystal clear is this: The small group of libertarians who have taken over the local Republican Party are well-organized, highly motivated and far from stupid.
One of the photos that accompanies Petersen’s piece shows 50-some souls attending a recent Kootenai County Republican Central Committee meeting. If Bradway’s challenge is accepted, those 50-somethings are the place to start, at the precinct committee level.
Easier said than done. How many reasonable, responsible souls want to go out and pound on strangers’ doors to earn the right to occupy an unpaid Central Committee seat? And then face the possibility that he or she might not be conservative enough for the majority of the group, thereby facing ostracism or worse? You’ve got to really love or really hate something to be that motivated, and most folks don’t; therefore, they aren’t.
Until the balance of power on the Central Committee shifts, we leave this well-worn topic with two more thoughts. One is that our GOP infighting might be more fascinating than most, but it is far from unique. Look at the actors on the national stage. Similar discord has prevented the GOP-majority Congress and White House from adopting any meaningful legislation.
And finally, while the far right despises what they call RINOs — Republicans In Name Only — a barbed retort is now being flung back at ‘em: LIARs.
Libertarians Impersonating Actual Republicans.