Precinct 52 calls for political healing - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Precinct 52 calls for political healing

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - As the primary elections draw near, candidates are lining up and parties are gearing up to support them - but before they can be successful, some Republicans believe they need to do some healing.

Last month, a contingentof the Kootenai County Reagan Republican board resigned over differing political philosophies, and Kootenai County Republican Central Committeeman Bjorn Handeen started a new forum to begin pulling the party back together.

The new forum is called Precinct 52, which is Handeen's district, and it meets the last three Thursdays of each month at IHOP in Coeur d'Alene - at the same time the Reagan Republicans meet across town.

The Press sent reporters to both meetings Thursday to see what the competing groups are preparing for the primaries.

At the Precinct 52 meeting, Handeen opened it with a call to action, or better yet a call for healing.

"It's hard to describe the frustration of being denied political access," Handeen said. "While some ideas of the Tea Party have become somewhat mainstream today, that was not the case in 2010. We were denied a fair hearing at every turn - shunned and unwelcome."

He said in response to the cold shoulder that was given to the ultraconservative members at that time, they worked to attack the Republican Party as an "invading army."

"We thought by commandeering the nerve center of the local Republican Party, and then even the state party, we would force a fair hearing of our ideas," he said. "In May of 2010 it happened."

Handeen's group was able to secure enough seats in the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee during the 2010 primary election, just as their counterparts did statewide.

They shunned Gov. Butch Otter's recommendation for the chair of the state Republican Party and replaced the chairman of the local central committee.

"Like Napoleon in 1812, unaware that Moscow had already been burned and evacuated, our ultraconservative grand army marched in and went to work," Handeen said. "We tried to force conversations that we long sought, we passed resolutions, we held town hall meetings.

"We orchestrated showdowns so we could prove points and make statements," he continued. "But it was all in vain. We had thought we had captured the nerve center of the Republican Party, but it turned out to be a facade."

He said the true power brokers slipped out the back and set up a new nerve center somewhere else. True political power, he added, remained safely in their hands and inaccessible to Handeen's group.

"Four years later we ultraconservatives still occupy the burned-out empty shell that is the KCRCC," he said. "We are unable to exert political influence, and yet also unable to converse with those who still have power."

When Handeen's group took over the KCRCC, he advocated at the time that committee should be used as a weapon to be wielded, which he felt was appropriate at that time.

"But now it is time for a new approach," he said. "We need to transform the central committee from an ultraconservative vanity circle into a neutral ground where we can civilly negotiate an entry of Tea Party ideas in the realm of (local politics)."

He said the committee needs to invite honest exchanges of ideas with other Republicans, and remain open to ideas that may work.

The Precinct 52 function is the first step to making that happen, Handeen said.

While they have made some missteps along the way, Handeen said there were also victories, and he pointed to their successful strategy to get Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon appointed to fill the late Cliff Hayes' term as county clerk.

"And I make no apologies for that," he said. "This caused an uproar because the candidate the establishment would have chosen was a highly competent technocrat, who has done little to offend anyone."

Nevertheless, the ultraconservatives orchestrated an effort to get their Tea Party candidate appointed to that position.

Handeen then introduced Brannon to speak to the room of 20 attendees.

Brannon started his talk by updating the group on things his office is doing to prepare for the upcoming primary election on May 20.

While some candidates have already announced their intention to run for office, the official declarations of candidacy will be filed between March 3 and March 14.

He explained that voters should prepare for the primaries by making sure they are registered to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary elections, and to double check in which district they are qualified to vote.

Because the primaries are now closed elections, Brannon explained that voters have to register as a member of the party they are going to vote for during the primaries.

He said if voters are planning to switch party affiliations they need to do that before the March 14 deadline, but unaffiliated voters can register for the party of their choice up until election day and even at the polls themselves.

Brannon, who is also a precinct committeeman, said he also plans to run for that seat again because he wants to be a part of pulling the party back together.

"When we had the rash of Ron Paul supporters who jumped into our central committee, there were only two actions you could have taken," he said. "You could say, 'you know we don't want you guys,' or you could recognize that the people who are passionate about Dr. Paul brought some new energy into the party."

Brannon said the latter is the path he chose. He agrees with Handeen's efforts to pull people together rather than continuing the process of what he called the "circular firing squad in the Republican Party."

He said there are a lot of groups within the party, but the party needs to focus on unification.

"The enemy is not the country club Republicans, our enemy is not Bob Peterson (of Rally Right)," Brannon said. "Our enemy in our party is those beliefs we don't agree with.

"When are we going to get over that?" he continued. "People want to blame this person in our party or that person in our party, and now we have two lunch meetings and I told (Handeen) what I thought about that."

Brannon said the point is the party needs to unify.

"And I know that is Bjorn's intent with this luncheon is to open things up to his precinct," Brannon said. "I think it is a good idea, and I think I am going to do it in mine."

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • darcigirl posted at 7:35 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 692

    Why Not,

    Socialist Obama Progressives have destroyed our health care, printed worthless money, and borrowed this nation into bankruptcy. You might need that Republican pup tent after Obama is finished with us.

  • darcigirl posted at 7:29 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 692

    Peter - maybe we did learn something from the Clintons...."un-American, communists, facists, or whatever" yet the tactics of slippery slope analogies, hyperbol rhetoric, and McCarthyist tactics to tarnish their "enemy" is the exact same way that communists & facists used against their own people" were describing the Clintons...weren't you?

  • darcigirl posted at 7:25 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 692


    If you don't like "our" state....MOVE. Yes, pack up your stuff, throw it in a U-Haul and blow this popsicle stand if you think its so bad. Sweetie, really this great state will survive without you....promise.

  • darcigirl posted at 7:19 am on Tue, Feb 18, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 692


    You a spokesperson for Ronald Reagan? (Still laughing) I seriously doubt Ronald Reagan would ever have give a rats rump what you think but just to reply to your ridiculous Republican claims....John Kennedy could not get elected as a Democrat today. John Kennedy was pro-life. John Kennedy believed in lower taxes and smaller government. The Democratic party has been hijacked by Socialist folks are no longer Democrats.

    And by the way, you left out the Department of Education! Some of us prefer to reduce or eliminate the wasteland Department of Education in addition to the EPA.

    Yes, Ziggy, you are the uniformed that Obama counted on for votes. You are a faithful Obama follower.

  • Ziggy posted at 10:51 am on Mon, Feb 17, 2014.

    Ziggy Posts: 1229

    What about the Republican party isn't about greed? They want to do away with the EPA so they can trash the environment to pull out coal and oil and to dirty the streams, rivers and lakes. They start wars so their buddies can sell arms and oil. There were virtually no environmental controls on that plant that spilled that toxic chemical into the river in Virginia. They are against health care for the poor because it might cost them a little bit. They are against millionaires and billionaires paying one more dime in taxes to support the country in which they made their billions and which protects their right to do so. They cut money from education and deprive Idaho kids of a fair chance. The reason all the dairies are in Idaho is because California had environmental and animal cruelty laws that prohibited the dairy owners from torturing animals and running a dirty business. They are against clean energy because it interferes with the "Ohl bitness." They would cut food stamps of which 2/3 go to children and the elderly all so the millionaires won't be taxed.
    Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of the Republican party today.

  • searcher posted at 2:50 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    searcher Posts: 365

    The problem is that the original tea party (grass roots version) has been silenced by the astro-turf: Koch Brothers, Freedom Works (funded by Koch), Heritage Action, etc. Those of us who only casually pay attention are poked into anger and resentment by the blatant disrespect for civil society and actual people. This is NOT what the tea party started as, but it is what it has become. Don't get so angry at liberals and progressives, IdahoLove, what they hear and see are irresponsible and just plain mean policies - including those from your precious Raul Labrador (who is more interested in his own future than anyone else's. See quote below:

    " Think Tanks support privatization; grassroots does not
    Rank-and-file Tea Partiers have considerable affection for Social Security and Medicare, even as they pay lip service about slashing federal spending. Grassroots Tea Partiers have a different take than the policy-makers at right-wing ideological think tanks, for whom Social Security and Medicare are anathema. National groups such as FreedomWorks have long been committed to privatizing these huge, popular US social insurance programs, taking funds out of them so that taxes on business can be reduced. Right-wing ideologues also hope to boost for-profit businesses that manage savings for retirement. So what happens when FreedomWorks and other ultra-free-market advocacy groups push these privatizing plans in the name of grassroots Tea Partiers, most of whom are either on Social Security and Medicare already, or expect to be soon? Will local Tea Partiers become skeptical of advocates claiming to speak for them--at least on matters where Tea Party people have concrete experience and views of their own?
    Source: The Remaking of Republican Conservatism, p.116-117 , Jan 2, 2012

  • MAR-BEE posted at 8:51 am on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    MAR-BEE Posts: 933

    I'm very much an Eisenhower Republican and when the Republican Party finds and backs another "IKE," I'll not only vote for Him/Her, but campaign and donate to their Republican (?) candidate that puts America before Corporate and Special Interest Groups greed.

    Truth being, the Democrats need to find themselves another JFK.

  • Scott S posted at 8:54 am on Sat, Feb 15, 2014.

    Scott S Posts: 66

    Yo Oscar, "Our state is on so many lists of worse living conditions it is ridiculous" please provide the links to these lists.

  • Peter posted at 1:05 pm on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Peter Posts: 679

    However, the media made the "partiers" look like idiots, and some of us dropped out of the spotlight. Then the "ultra right wingers" appeared and made tea partiers look really stupid. The original idea of the tea party (to me) has been lost in nonsense, no compromise, my way or the highway thoughts.

    The media didn't do jack. The tea partiers self inflicted their own wounds with their ignorance and stupidity. Comments from Canadian born Theodore Cruz, Sara Palin, Fox News pundits, Glenn Beck, and motley of House Representatives elected thanks to Gerry Mandering all contribute the decline of the tea party movement and the divide within the GOP. It is no wonder that the House has a 13% approval rating. It is a pity that thanks to Gerry Mandering that the majority will be Republican again. Far be it for me to give the GOP advice, but my suggestion for them would be to divorce themselves completely from the tea party and let them form their own party. Simple as that. It is with extreme irony that tea party conservatives continually attack those who don't agree with them as "un-American, communists, facists, or whatever" yet the tactics of slippery slope analogies, hyperbol rhetoric, and McCarthyist tactics to tarnish their "enemy" is the exact same way that communists & facists used against their own people.

  • CHSdad posted at 12:47 pm on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    CHSdad Posts: 380

    The tea party blew the opportunity for the GOP to gain the senate. Harry Reid was on his way out until the tea party gave him a life-line.

  • Where's Waldo posted at 11:14 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Where's Waldo Posts: 15

    I Carry - you spend almost your whole post dissing the Tea Party, then wrap it up sounding like a Tea Partier:

    "It's time for the Republican party to get off it's duff and be a leader in our country, not some money grubbing power hungry bunch of old men.
    That above statement is from what used to be a staunch Republican!"

    I think you're confused.

  • searcher posted at 9:36 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    searcher Posts: 365

    'the Tea Party gave you the House.</I<"
    Which they immediately crushed into complete and total dysfunction. Heaven help us all if they take the Senate.

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 8:17 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    Look RINOS, the Tea Party gave you the House. If you want to keep dissing us, we will primary you. I for one am sick and tired of holding my nose to vote for the lesser of two evils, which is still evil. Either start acting like conservatives, or go home. We will vote Libertarian if you don't provide a decent candidate. You can win the Senate back, but not without us. Get that through your thick skulls.

  • IdahoLOVE posted at 8:11 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    IdahoLOVE Posts: 84

    Can you please cite some examples of people in the tea party saying, "let's just drop Social Security now?" I can't think of a single person that says this. I am not suggesting nobody has ever said this. But I am involved in the tea party ... and I frankly haven't even heard this. "I Carry" -- that's pretty offensive that you would sling mud without telling us "WHO" is saying this. If there is any politician who represents the tea party ... it is Raul Labrador. I attended his town hall last month and Raul made it clear that people who have paid into Social Security should keep those benefits ... but changes need to happen to the program over time. This is not "No Social Security." I'm offended that people like you throw around lies without being accountable to the truth.

  • Miketeague posted at 7:57 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Miketeague Posts: 2391

    Unbelievable, not as unbelievable as Ward running for office but unbelievable still. Handeen comparing his republican group to Napoleon is just perfect. What else did he want, oh yes neutral ground where he could impose tea party ideas. I also enjoyed the part where they admitted “orchestrating” getting Brannon appointed over a better qualified person, nice going there buddy. Having the county clerk pay homage to the political entity that “orchestrated” his appointment is a little unnerving but not unexpected

  • Wiseguy posted at 7:35 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Wiseguy Posts: 77

    You used to be so amused
    At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
    Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse

  • oscar posted at 7:32 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    oscar Posts: 1489

    Beware Idaho, these are the people trying to run our government. Now wonder the nation looks at us and laughs. Our state is on so many lists of worse living conditions it is ridiculous.

  • Why Not posted at 6:23 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 5020

    The Grand Old Party's big tent was replaced with a pup tent. Oaths, closed primaries, religious litmus test, and you think it's the media that makes Republicans look stupid?

  • Screen Name posted at 6:10 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Screen Name Posts: 949

    How about this quote: "He said the true power brokers slipped out the back and set up a new nerve center somewhere else. True political power, he added, remained safely in their hands and inaccessible to Handeen's group."

    I always thought the true political power was vested in the people, not the power brokers. Silly me.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 5:53 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1484

    The Napoleonic analogy and the use of the word "enemy" is all ya need to know about this group.....

  • I Carry posted at 4:17 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    I Carry Posts: 529

    IMHO, When the "tea party" first came on the scene, it seemed like a very good idea. Citizens became involved, ideas were touted, people that had never actually come out for a movement were standing up to be heard.
    However, the media made the "partiers" look like idiots, and some of us dropped out of the spotlight. Then the "ultra right wingers" appeared and made tea partiers look really stupid. The original idea of the tea party (to me) has been lost in nonsense, no compromise, my way or the highway thoughts.
    Like the NO SOCIAL SECURITY idea----too late guys. There are people on Soc. Sec. and you just can't stop a plan in mid stream, especially after the people have had to pay and support the plan with no say in the matter! Period! The list of really right ideas goes on, and most of them aren't in tune for a good society. There has to be some common sense in the Republican party, and we're not seeing it!
    For example, Repubs are ruining their chances for a good candidate for a 2016 Presidential runner. There is dog fighting in the ranks and the Dems are wringing their hands in glee! The Repubs need to see that they're a sneeze away from Hillary just walking in and being our next "leader." Oh, and every ( I mean every) Repub that is caught cheating and lying is killing the party!
    It's time for the Republican party to get off it's duff and be a leader in our country, not some money grubbing power hungry bunch of old men.
    That above statement is from what used to be a staunch Republican!

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Not you?||
Logout|My Dashboard