Idaho's super-dominant Republican Party was widely expected to swing back toward the middle this year, after tea party activists peppered the party platform two years ago with planks urging abolishment of the Federal Reserve, eliminating direct election of U.S. senators and pushing Idahoans to stockpile gold - and then forced all state GOP candidates to pledge allegiance to the platform or specify publicly where they disagreed. But after last weekend's Idaho GOP convention, very little changed. All those planks remained in the platform, except the pledge - but it was removed solely because it duplicated party rules, where it remains.
“It's my personal feeling that the convention is an illustration that the strength of the party is in the foundation, which is essentially made up of the precinct committeemen who elect the delegates from amongst their peers,” said new Idaho GOP Chairman Barry Peterson. “The quicker in my mind that any elected official realizes that they get their power and authority from the grass roots, the better public servant they'll be.”
The relatively few changes to the platform included hardening the party's anti-abortion stance; removing a clause expressing support for the Idaho Human Rights Commission; and calling for “total abolition” of inheritance taxes. “I don't think the party moved further right or came back any to the middle,” said state Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, who chaired the resolutions committee at the convention. “I think maybe we have a good direction going forward right now.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.