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Smart Bombs: Frontier integrity shot down

What in the name of John Wayne is going on in the Idaho primary? In the Old West, if you had a disagreement with someone, you settled it face to face. At 10 paces, if needed. But peek over yonder today, and all you see is a bunch of back-shooters.

“Idaho House leaders attempt fratricide” proclaimed an Idaho Statesman headline on Wednesday. Veteran reporter Dan Popkey revealed all the details of lily-livered dealings.

It seems some legislative leaders don’t like some of their brethren, so a pack of PACs has been released to attack. The alliances can be as confusing as those on “Survivor,” but the upshot is that some incumbents are being attacked by a political action committee that was formed to protect them.

For instance, the Gun PAC is supporting the opponent of Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, even though she has the National Rifle Association’s top rating. She also owns a gun and pawn shop in Boise. In the past, she has auctioned off gun scopes and other merchandise and given the proceeds to the House Victory Leadership Fund, which, in turn, has given $10,000 to the Gun PAC.

It gets even more twisted, because the Gun PAC is also opposing Rep. Ken Roberts, who is the Majority Caucus chairman and … treasurer of the House Victory Leadership Fund.

In “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” John Wayne’s character summed up frontier integrity: “Out here a man settles his own problems.”

Now they just send a PAC to circle in from behind.

Cuckoo. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann went from Swiss miss to political abyss faster than you can say “fondue.” So she quickly renounced her recently obtained dual citizenship with Switzerland, and the world is once again safe from … well, what exactly? Fabulous chocolates? Reliable watches? Aggressive neutrality?

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, called her act “civic bigamy.” In a blog post at the National Review, he goes on and on about how heinous it was for her to accept dual citizenship, without providing a single example for why anyone else should care.

Then again, this is the same “hombre” who complained that Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t use an English pronunciation for her last name. He must be fun to take an order from at Taco Bell.

What is it with issues that don’t affect third parties in any way, but must be opposed as if the nation were on the brink of extinction? Dual citizenship? Gay marriage? If it isn’t your passport or honeymoon, will these really rock your world?

Let’s say that by the end of the decade we somehow ended all wars, pacified the terrorists, solved global warming, retired the deficit, rescued Medicare and Social Security, slashed unemployment and filled all the potholes. Party time, right? Sadly, some folks still couldn’t rejoice because of anxieties over imaginary horrors.

No wonder so many people keep a secret stash of food, water and ammunition, along with that handy red pocketknife with all the tools.

Whatever. Once in high school, I was hanging out with some buddies. Nothing much to do. So we chased this kid we always teased, tackled him and pinned him down. Then I pulled out some scissors and cut off his hair. He sure was scared. Cried and cried. Good times.

At least I think I did that. Who knows? It was so long ago.

Unforgettable. Having never been a bully, I can’t say I understand the mentality. Could I do something like I just described in the previous item – as Mitt Romney did – and not remember? I suppose if it were routine. But if it happened once, and I was ashamed? My conscience would torture me forever.

The following story actually is true: I was jumped by a large group of kids in the high school bathroom. Kicked and punched pretty savagely. Thought I was going to die. As it turns out, the entire school was in the midst of some race-related ugliness, and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I could never relax at school again. If I were to meet one of those attackers today, and he said he didn’t remember an event that traumatized me? Well, he better have his buddies with him.

Associate Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter at @GaryCrooks.

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