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Mail April 21, 2004



President Bush's administration goes against so much of the Idaho Republican Party's platform, he can practically be considered as a "Republican in Name Only."

For example, let's consider the Idaho Republican Party Platform as a report card. How does Bush stack up?

Some primary points Idaho Republicans hold dear include: fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget and a reduction in bureaucracy. (From the 2002 Idaho Republican Platform.)

Federal spending is up to historic levels, even discounting for national defense and the new Department of Homeland Security. The Bush administration has a two-faced budget policy that lets the super wealthy keep more of their money on the tax side, but steadily runs up debt on the spending side. This is a train wreck in the making, because as anyone with a credit card can tell you: What is spent now will be paid for later. Of course, the cost to taxpayers will end up being much, much more, as interest adds up.

Early in the year the U.S. Treasury announced that the federal debt subject to congressional limits has for the first time surpassed $7 trillion—approximately 62 percent of gross domestic product. In addition, in fiscal year 2003, over $300 billion was spent on paying interest on the debt.

According to OMB Watch: "Rising federal deficits will push the debt level even higher in coming months and years. With projected deficits near $500 billion for 2004, the congressionally mandated limit of $7.384 trillion will likely be reached sometime this fall. Without congressional action to raise the debt limit, the U.S. would not be able to meet its obligations and would potentially be in default on some loan payments."

What happened to Bush's campaign promises? This is not a Republican administration to be proud of.

—Richard Wright,



I always look forward to Bill Cope's column with great enthusiasm. This week (BW, "Brain Damage," 4.14), however, I was disappointed and troubled. We are Liberals. We may disagree heartily with a point of view, but we are never reduced to personal attacks.

As Cope says, we think and ponder. We do not reduce ideas to sound bites and talking points, and we do not engage in personal invective. Conservatives are neither stupid nor lazy, and they have lives. They are simply people who like certainty, and things that have either right or wrong answers. That's probably why they are also drawn to fundamentalist religion, John Wayne movies, and ideas of family life a la Leave It To Beaver.

We, on the other hand, are messy people; let's face it. We love things that have no answers. We are freewheeling souls who are perfectly comfortable in a world that makes no sense. We think that confusion is the first step to wisdom, and we know that a good argument (if kept on point) is one of the best ways to get to the gist of any idea. Like Will Rodgers said, "I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." We like it that way.

Our idea of heaven is their Hell, and their heaven would have us starting an argument in a week, just to relieve the boredom. They're afraid of our complexity; we disdain their simplicity. But neither of us is evil, stupid or lazy. We're different. On our side, at least, that should not be a reason for humiliation.

So, laugh it up, Bill. Give us more reasons to think they're funny, as you always do. But no more insults. You're above that. I hope we all are.

—Sharon Barker,




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