Huckleberries: Shedding party label a liberating experience

SUNDAY, SEPT. 9, 2012

Christie Wood is fed up with the hard-liners who are driving state and local Republicans further and further to the right. Unlike other disillusioned Republicans, however, the North Idaho College trustee and Coeur d’Alene police spokeswoman did something about her political discontent.

On her birthday Thursday, Wood “woke up with a plan that would set the world on the right course for me again.” She visited the county clerk’s office to change her voter’s registration from “Republican” to “unaffiliated.”

Wood told Huckle- berries: “It felt so good to be free of ideals and platforms I do not support. The state Republican platform failed to include support for human rights. The national Republican platform has no exceptions for abortions, even if a woman is raped. What has happened to the party that used to be celebrated and recognized for the great people in it like Nelson Rockefeller? Oh, let me guess – too moderate. Not pure.”

Wood isn’t impressed with Democrats either, especially after their indecision regarding whether God and Jerusalem should be in or out of the national party platform. Now, she feels “free to look at candidates for their strengths and weaknesses rather than their party. It feels good.” How many solid people like Wood will have to leave the “little tent” Idaho/Kootenai GOP before party managers rein in the rigid ideologues?

Wed in Portland

Thoughts about giving away a daughter in marriage in a downtown Portland church on Aug. 24: It’s more emotional – and expensive – to marry off a daughter than a son. But it’s worth every tear and every penny to do it right … I’m now the No. 2 man in her life – and that’s alright. I’m not retiring as Dad, only worrying less … Is there anything more comforting to a father than knowing his sweet girl married a good man? … I couldn’t figure out why my knees and ankles ached as I awoke the morning after the reception – until I remembered that I’d tried a few too many 1960s moves on the dance floor. (Note to self: You’re no longer 18 – and it’s 2012.)


Poet’s Corner: “I look in the mirror/and quite startled I stare/at the strange older gent/who’s now living in there” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Birthday Shave”) … Firefighters battling a two-acre blaze near Worley on Thursday afternoon had one request for buddies at the firehouse: Make a “big pot of spaghetti” … Did I really hear a patrol officer report Thursday that a “road hazard” spotted by a motorist on Highway 53 near Hauser was (drum roll, please) a big bag of Froot Loops? … Also Thursday, a Kootenai County Deputy Dawg checking a motor license told a dispatcher that the driver’s surname was “Osbourne, like the singer.”

Parting shot

Today begins my 28th year with The Spokesman-Review – all in the Coeur d’Alene office. I was a local government reporter for the first nine years. An editorial writer for the next 13 years. A blogger since February 2004 (overlapping my Opinion page duties). I’ve written Huckleberries (originally Kootenai Grapevine) since January 1985. I started in the news biz in 1970 with a hot metal press and now manage a newspaper blog with more than 10,000 readers. At 62, I’m having too much fun online to retire. Here’s to a few more Sept. 9 anniversaries.

Read Dave Oliveria’s North Idaho blog, Huckleberries Online, at

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