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Posts tagged: Idaho Democrats

Idaho Dems Stop Delaying Tactics

House Democrats had objected to waiving the full reading of HB 95a, the amended urban renewal bill, and the bill text was being read when House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, interrupted. Rusche said the Democrats still want hearings on bills to raise the state's cigarette tax and to hold an advisory vote of the people on this year's school reform legislation. “We've asked the introduction of two pieces of legislation in order that these concerns be heard,” Rusche said. “When we needed to, we used legitimate procedural protests to try to draw that attention…. But perhaps the best thing we can do for Idaho's citizens is rapidly bring this session to a close,” so lawmakers can return to their districts and hear the concerns of the citizens there/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What point, if any, did Dem legislators make with their delaying tactics?

The R’s & The D’s

They won't ban drivers who text
And health care reform makes them vexed.
Their right is to farm
Their students they arm
Your budget is what they'll cut next.

Objections don't stick in their throats
Nor loss after loss get their goats
Rather than cut
They'd revenue up
But they simply don't have the votes.

Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise

Larry Grant To Lead Idaho Dems

Larry Grant, a former Micron Technology executive and congressional candidate, will chair the Idaho Democratic Party. “Our job as the minority party is to hold the majority party accountable,” said Grant in his acceptance speech last week. “The Republican agenda is not hard to figure out. They want tax cuts for the wealthy, wage cuts for everyone else, and God help you if you can’t pay your medical bills.” Grant succeeds Hailey attorney Keith Roark/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Why would anyone want the job in No. 2 most conservative state in union?

Idaho Dems Rip Anti-Everything R’s

Idaho hasn’t seen an unemployment rate this high for more than a decade. In 2011, the Republican-controlled Legislature has made much ado about being anti-healthcare reform, anti-assisted suicide, anti-education funding, anti-urban renewal, anti-labor, and the list goes on. Idaho Republicans only listen to the GOP talking points sent from Washington, D.C., and they refuse to address what is most important to everyday Idahoans —jobs!/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is it fair to characterize the current Idaho Republican Legislature as “anti-everything”?

Semanko: Idaho D’s Left Of Obama

In a statement issued in defense of Superintendent Tom Luna's reform plan for public education, state GOP chairman Norm Semanko wrote, in part: “On Friday, the Idaho Democratic Party came out against Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna’s plan asking, “why should any parent, student or voter put the slightest faith in any idea proffered by the architect of such failure?” and saying the plan may include “ ’new’ ideas but they certainly are not good ideas.” Sherri Wood, the head of the teacher’s union, called the plan “draconian.” Sadly, the Idaho Democratic Party, which once succeeded in electing individuals to statewide office, has withered away into a wholly owned subsidiary of the teacher’s union. The party is so out of touch, and so beholden to the teacher’s union bosses, that it now sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues. More here. H/T: Kevin Richert.

Question: Do you think the Idaho Democratic Party “sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues”?

Sho-Con Closed Primaries Help D’s

Actually, in Idaho, closing primaries would benefit the Democrats immensely:

  • 1. “Traditional” Democrats or “Reagan Democrats” of the Silver Valley variety, who call themselves Democrats because their father was an FDR man and the Republicans were anti union, but nevertheless are quite conservative and vote Republican in the general election will register as Democrats, bolstering their conservative/moderate wing;
  • 2. Constitutionalists and Libertarians will be excluded, forcing them back into their own “third” parties, which will split the vote to the Dems' favor;
  • 3. Republicans in one-party Democrat counties will be forced to register as Democrats to vote for local officials, halting the GOP's advances in said counties; and (the rest of Shoshone Conservative's comment in drop box below)

Question: Who would benefit most/least by closed primaries in Idaho?

Otter’s Wrecking-Ball Budget Ripped

The House and Senate minority caucuses held a press conference this morning to give their response to the governor's State of the State message and budget. “In the face of enormous challenges and widespread economic hardship, the governor and many legislators have no plans to do anything significant,” declared Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello. “In fact, rather than being proactive, they've simply strengthened their resolve to dismantle the very public structures that help create prosperity”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai's criticism on Gov. Butch Otter's budget correct — that Otter's simply trying to 'dismantle public structures that help create prosperity'?

Grant Wants To Be State Demo Chair

Former congressional nominee Larry Grant says he's likely to run for Idaho Democratic Party chairman next month. Outgoing Chairman Keith Roark is not expected to seek another term. “What we Democrats need to do is get all back on the same page, dust ourselves off and move forward,” Grant said Tuesday. Grant said he began considering the race after the November election, in which Democrats lost their only major post — 1st District Congress — and five seats in the Idaho House. “My objective is to get those seats back in the Legislature,” Grant said. “And, in 2012, President Obama will be on the ticket and that will be interesting”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Larry Grant, on Facebook: “Okay, the cat's out of the bag, or should I say, the donkey is out of the barn. I have decided to run for Chair of the Idaho Democratic Party. I was going to wait to make it public until I had a chance to talk to more people, but the press caught up with the story first.”

Question: Would Larry Grant be a good state chairman for the Idaho Democratic Party? Or are Idaho D's so beat up after the last election that no one can bring them back from the dead?

Grant: Only One Way To Go For Idaho D’s

Larry Grant: Nope, DFO, no obituary (for Idaho Democrats), but I do agree we are on life support. Then again, when you are so far down that the only way is up, it is a good time to assess what it is you are about. There are plenty of good Dems out there who are not afraid to say so. And, yes, that means we probably will not get elected in most of Idaho, but that doesn’t mean we quit. I figure we need to start acting like the minority party we are, calling out the majority whenever appropriate, holding their feet to the fire. I firmly believe that the majority of folks in Idaho are not as conservative as much of our legislature and, in the end, democracy works, but not without people willing to do the work to make it so.

Question: Is the Idaho Legislature more conservative that the people of Idaho?

Grant: John Foster Admits His Failure

Larry Grant (re: Foster: No Democratic Party in Idaho): Given that one of the primary responsibilities of Foster, first as Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director and then as campaign manager of a top-of-the-ticket candidate, was to build the party organization and infrastructure, I guess his statement is as close as we are going to get to an admission that he failed. (Also: RedStateBlueGuy takes John Foster to task in this latest post-election analysis of Democrat losses in Idaho here.)

Question: Who or what is to blame for the decline of the Idaho Democratic Party?

Roark Responds To Hansen Dismissal

Idaho Democrat Chairman Keith Roark told Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman the following re: executive Jim Hansen’s firing today: “There is no ‘scapegoating’ involved. Jim Hansen is in no way to blame for the results of this past election. The IDP has little or nothing to do or say about the individual campaigns of our candidates and Jim is no more responsible for a losing campaign than he is for a winning campaign. Obviously, the IDP must take on the challenges ahead with new ideas, new approaches and some new faces. This move has nothing to do with what is now behind us and everything to do with what lies ahead.” More here.

Question: Who would you want to see become the new Idaho Democrat Party exec?

Sis: We’d Rather Go Down Swinging

Democrats running against the Democratic party is a shortsighted losing strategy which enables the destruction of the Democratic brand in Idaho leaving us little to work with in the next cycle. … When all the Democratic candidates do it, as all three top tier candidates did, people just stay home. And in addition to being dead wrong, poobahs telling the media after an election that there was nothing to be done, ignores the consequences of that pronouncement. That self serving excuse demoralizes volunteers and tells funding sources not to bother next time we come a knocking, not to mention throwing a bucket of cold water on future candidate recruitment. Most Democrats would rather go down swinging, standing up for who we are, whether right or left, but as proud Democrats, with pragmatic and successful solutions, not self contradicting platitudes/Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Question: Which strategy is better in Idaho — to run as a Democrat against the Democrat Party, and occasionally win as Minnick did 2 years ago — or to run as a Democrat and lose?

Idaho D’s Boot Hansen To Curb

Huckleberries Online received the following intercepted e-mail written by Idaho Democrat Party leader Keith Roark from a Berry Picker: “Following the meeting today of the Executive Committee of the Idaho Democratic Party I am announcing to the full Central Committee that the term of our current executive director, Jim Hansen, will expire December 31, 2010 and his appointment to that position will not be extended.  I am forming a search committee and the process of hiring a new executive director will begin immediately.  Jim has agreed to continue serving as executive director while the search process is being carried out.” More below.

Question: Is Hansen being made the fall guy for the disastrous election results for Idaho Democrats?

George: Idaho D’s Should Infiltrate

It’s totally futile to vote for a democrat in Idaho. The Hart victory shows how far the faithful will lockstep in maintaining party loyalty. The value of the candidate is immaterial - only the R counts. My guess is that it will take 20 years before Idaho moves into a progressive mindset. Meanwhile, we’re getting what the majority wants - which is the way its supposed to work. IMO, activist progressive democrats who are unhappy with the state of affairs should consider joining the republican party and taking their social values with them. The changes that they could make in the party might be much faster than waiting for the demographics to change in their favor.

Question: Is that the best way for Idaho Democrats to make an impact — join the Republican Party and try to work from within?

Stapilus: Where Have Idaho D’s Gone?

Earlier this morning, long-time Idaho political observer Randy Stapilus pointed out Democrats in Idaho fared worse than their brethren throughout the country in the big Republican victory. Noting that Congressman Walt Minnick is one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives, he said that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred and superintendent of public schools candidate Stan Olson were solid candidates who got stomped. Then, he points out that Democrats will some of the few seats they have in the Idaho House, concluding: “The point is this: Idaho Democrats are going to have to figure out a different way of doing things if they want to move beyond fringe status. Will they?”

Question: Is there any way for Idaho Democrats to return to respectability?

Keith Allred Talks To Huckleberries

DFO: Do you still think you’re a better cowboy than Butch Otter?
Keith Allred (Web site here): I’ve certainly stayed on my horse more consistently. I actually worked as a real cowboy. In 1981 the cattle market had plummeted, which meant I was the lone hand on my grandpa’s 1200-acre, 400-head cattle ranch. We wondered if we were going to lose the ranch. He had to focus on his real estate business. And asked me to run the ranch. That wasn’t dressing up and playing cowboy. The family business was on the line.

  • DFO: You are an unusual mix of cattle rancher/Mormon/Harvard prof. How do those things help in an election like this?
  • Keith Allred: It goes to heart of my approach to governing which is based in the founding father idea that broad and diverse support is the best indicator of wisdom. We live in this highly partisan era where we draw lines and say I’m one thing of the other. That’s never what the founders intended. They intended for us to take the best from all sides. That’s what I tried to do in my life. I absolutely loved running my grandpa’s cattle ranch on my own. I learned so much re: practical problem solving. I loved my experience as professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government. My specialty was conflict resolution.
  • See more below

Statesman: A Test For Phil Hart

Howard Griffiths, a registered Republican, is stepping in where Idaho Democrats couldn’t. The Hayden businessman has launched a write-in campaign to challenge GOP state Rep. Phil Hart — a six-year lawmaker who is, depending on your point of view, either a principled tax protester or a habitual tax scofflaw. Said Griffiths, who leans toward the latter school of thought: “Some politicians forget who they are working for and think they’re above the law.” One thing is certain. Before Griffiths announced his late challenge, Hart, of Hayden, was untouchable at the polls. He was — and still is — one of 46 Republicans who face no Democratic opponent in the Nov. 2 legislative elections. Democrats waved the white flag in 17 of 35 state Senate races, and 29 of 70 House races. Do Democrats remain the state’s minority party because they can’t recruit candidates, or do Democrats fail to recruit candidates because they’re a historic minority party? It doesn’t matter/Idaho Statesman Editorial Board. More here.

Question: How much do Democrats matter in Idaho?

Idaho Blogs: Idaho R’s Strike Back

The political war of words between the state’s top party leaders continues today, with Norm Semanko, Idaho Republican Party chairman, issuing a statement sharply critical of Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark’s guest opinion last week, which was entitled, “You Have Been Invited to Leave the Idaho GOP” and derided the “fringe element now running the Idaho Republican Party,” saying Idaho voters are “tired of one party rule and your loyalty oaths.” Semanko called Roark’s statement “sad” and an “attempt to mislead Idahoans and spread falsehoods about what took place at the Idaho Republican Party State Convention in Idaho Falls when he wasn’t even there”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Also: Semanko paints Dems as party with loyalty requirement/Brad Iverson-Long, IReporter)

Question: Do you think Idaho Democrats have an informal loyalty oath (as Semanko claims in the Idaho Reporter link above)?

Marty: Jeers To D’s For Booting Dustin

JEERS … to Idaho’s Democratic Party. Meeting in Worley last weekend, the state Democratic Convention voted - with only one dissenting vote - to complete its platform in private. Say it ain’t so. Tell us the champions of openness and transparency, the party that condemns Republicans for conducting business behind closed doors, didn’t just do exactly that. According to’s Dustin Hurst — and there’s no reason to doubt it — delegates decided he was an unfriendly observer. Hurst works for Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman. So what? Even if Hurst worked for the GOP, what’s the difference? Out went Hurst, along anyone else who wasn’t a delegate/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Did Idaho Democrats compromise themselves at their state convention in Worley by excluding the media and other public from the platform discussion?

Rusche Won’t Ask Hart To Quit Tax Panel

RE: Rep. Hart faces nearly $300K in new IRS liens/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, told that he won’t call on Rep. Phil Hart, R-Hayden Lake, to resign from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee following a revelation by a writer from the Spokesman Review that the IRS had filled more than $300,000 in liens on Hart’s property for failure to pay taxes. Rusche, attending his party’s state convention in Worley, said that though he wouldn’t call for Hart to resign from the committee, on which Rusche also sits, he isn’t entirely comfortable with it.  ”I see significant problems in someone with those kind of problems helping to craft tax policy for the state,” Rusche said.  He said the he feels that constituents in Hart’s district deserve proper representation and he is unsure if Hart can provide that/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here. (Idaho Reporter Photo: John Rusche during 2010 legislative session)

Question: Should someone with Hart’s long-standing problem w/paying federal taxes be allowed to continue to serve on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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