Opinion » Bill Cope

The Envelope Please

And the endorsement goes to ...

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Weeks ago, I promised my editor and my readers I would perform the chore of endorsing a candidate in Boise's mayoral race. You might recall I expressed distaste for having to choose between two earnest, good ol' Boise boys, both of whom (I assume) have the town's best interests at heart, and both of whom (I know for a fact) are but one intermediate friendship away from yours truly. Whichever way I went, (I told you then, and it's still true), I would upset friends ... possibly even lose them.

But a promise is a promise, and as odious a duty as it is, I intend to make good on that promise. Here. Today. Yes, Auntie Boise (Mom being Meridian), before you are done reading this page (possibly even this paragraph ... wink, wink!), you will know who I think ought to be your mayor for the next four years, and I've no doubt my decision will come as a surprise (nay, I say ... a shock!) to anyone who has followed my thinking for any length of time, for I believe (hold onto your socks!) that you ... the citizens of Boise (Jiminy, this is gonna blow your mind!) ... should vote for (whew, I can't wait to see the look on your face!) ... Tibbs.

That's right. Jim Tibbs. That's who I think you should vote for. Not Dave Bieter. Jim Tibbs. And if you read any further, you'll find out why I think that.

It would be my Democrat readers to whom I owe the lion's share of explanation, seeing as how: 1) the Boise mayor's race, not so long ago a nonpartisan affair, has become a battleground between Democrats trying to scratch out a beachhead on the shores of Idaho, and entrenched Republicans determined to squash any minority party upstart like a cootie before he can put together a record of accomplishment; 2) I am recognized as a devoted Democrat and have never, not in a dozen years or my wildest imagination, ever before endorsed a Republican; and finally, 3) Republicans don't give a damn what I think, anyway. Therefore, I will address my reasoning to the Dems, only. To those few Republicans who might be reading this, feel free to skip the rest, and ya'll remember to vote for Jim Tibbs like you were going to anyhows, ya' hear?

(Tibbs hasn't declared a party affiliation, but I say if it waddles like a Republican, and quacks like a Republican, well then ... )

Here's the deal, Dems. I'm sure you expected me to endorse Bieter, I'm equally sure the Republicans expected me to endorse Bieter, and until the unfolding of recent events I, myself, expected me to endorse Bieter.

But a big wet kiss to Larry Craig and his, uh, situation , for showing us there's more at stake here than one town's future. Truly, without Sen. Larry, I probably would have never realized what Idaho's place is in the Grand Scheme of Things—The Big Picture. Consider: For at least 40 years, Idaho has been cranking out one ludicrous GOP loon after another and sending them to D.C. all dressed up in Congressmen costumes. George Hansen, Steve Symms, Helen Chenoweth, Bill Sali and, God forgive us ... those are merely the more overtly laughable examples.

Outside of our own borders, though, the full measure of their absurdity has gone largely unnoticed. Sure, Hansen went to prison, Symms fell into disgrace when it came out he'd left his sick wife in the midst of an affair, Chenoweth ... well, she was just nuts (I suspect had she not been so adamantly against government regulations—seat belt laws, for example—she'd still be with us), and I don't have to tell you about Sali. In a perfect world, where citizens were as aware of what kind of people are running America as they were to what drunken bimbos are up to, each and every one of these Gem State jokers would have warranted, at the least, a monologue from Letterman.

But it wasn't until Craig's, uh, situation, that Idaho received the attention it so richly deserves. Finally, the other 49 states are aware that when it comes to shameful and humiliating spectacles, Idaho takes a back seat to no one.

And you know what else? After Craig, they'll be watching us like hungry dogs to see what we come up with next.

This is why I'm pulling for Jim Tibbs, get it? Frankly, I think Bieter would, now and always, make a better mayor. To my taste, Tibbs is snuggled in a bit too cozily with the faction that continues to make the Treasure Valley incrementally less livable, while Bieter seems to have a reasonable sense of what a whole and healthy community needs, not just the developers.

But as so many of the Craig-related letters to the editor remind us, we must think of The Greater Good. Of course, their idea of "The Greater Good" is for Craig to slip quietly (and quickly) into obscurity so as to make way for the next Republican twit. But as I see it, especially when the concept is extended beyond Idaho's provincial borders, the "Greater Good" means a more heavily Democratic Congress and one of our own in the White House.

So you see, this may well be Idaho's destiny—our place is in the Grand Scheme of Things—to supply a dependable stream of demented buffoons to that great (and growing) pool of GOP scandal, which is inexorably turning America Democratic. If the most Republican state in the union doesn't do it, who will?

Granted, Sen. Craig's, uh, situation, is going to be a hard act to follow, no question. But as long as we Idahoans keep coughing out Republican leaders, it's just a matter of time before we come up with another hairball like Hansen. Another Symms, Chenoweth or Sali. And by the grace of Larry, America will notice.

I can offer no guarantee that Jim Tibbs will do for Democrats what Craig has. (My impression is he would be a rather uninspired functionary, slavishly giving away what's left of our store to his backers, and as to who the next national-class embarrassment might be, my money's on Risch.) But unless Tibbs is allowed to hold office, we'll never know what his full potential is, will we?

My apologies to Dave Bieter and all of Idaho's Dems, and I would understand if none of you ever talked to me again. Yet if we can contribute in this small way to America rising out of the swamp of conservative dreck, isn't the sacrifice worth it? Certainly, it will be frustrating to continue on in a state so thoroughly dominated by clowns of a lesser calling, but it is the cross we must bear. I envision a day when Idaho is but a small island of Republican corruption, surrounded by a great sea of Democratic enlightenment. When that day comes, Dave, you'll understand.

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