Opinion » Bill Cope

Dear, Dear Andy

I saw you last night...


... in the IPTV debate, and you did well. Outstanding job. I have to say, both you and that other independent, what's his name, came across better than either Grant or Sali. Grant acted like he was shy or nervous, like he'd never been on teevee before, and Sali acted like he always does--a smug, blood-thirsty snake who's convinced he's already got it in the bag. But you and what's-his-name did yourselves proud--honest, colorful, straight-shootin', concerned and likable. We here in the 1st District would be fortunate indeed if either of you were our representative in Congress. And that's what makes this so hard. I hate like a son-of-a-bitch to have to be the one to ask this of you--again--but I don't believe anyone else will and it's getting late. I can't just sit here like a toad in the road and not give it one more stab, not with what's at stake. So, Andy, for the sake of our state, our nation, and our children's future ... would you kindly get your honest, colorful, straight-shootin' butt out of this race before you do the irreparable harm of handing it to Bill Sali?

Just to let you know, I am not making the same desperate appeal to what's-his-name. He seems like an awfully nice fella and I'll bet the two of you had some good ol' times out there on the campaign trail, trying to grab enough attention to yourselves to make a ripple.

But I know--and you know--and Sali and Grant and the entire state knows--what's-his-name's presence, either on the campaign trail or in the IPTV debate, was meaningless. It was a waste of valuable debate space. If he made a ripple, the feeble little thing will never make it to the beach.

You, on the other hand, have caused a rousing ripple. A rambunctious ripple. I've even seen a couple of your yard signs over here in Meridian. By the persuasive power of that boisterous personality of yours--which I know so well, and I will go to my grave appreciating the opportunity you gave me at Boise Weekly--you have convinced a respectable smattering of people there's a chance you might actually win this thing. While what's-his-name will undoubtedly garnish the votes of his loving family--possibly a few of his neighbors, maybe even a couple hundred Idahoans who see themselves as fellow mavericks--you could conceivably pull in thousands of votes. Maybe even ... dare I say it? ... 5,000 votes!

For the sake of argument, though, let's say I'm off by half. No! Let's say I'm off by a factor of five. Let's say you get 25,000 votes. Andy, do you believe, as you shave that happy face of yours in the morning, that you will rake in 25,000 votes? Does that seem possible to you, here in Idaho? Where the Republican is guaranteed the dumbshit vote without even showing up for debates? Where the Republican is guaranteed the blind faith vote, the sheep-over-the-cliff vote, only because he or she is the Republican?

One step further. Let's say you pull twice my wildest speculations. Fifty thousand votes. Out of the 250,000-ish likely voters in the First District, let's say you do (with that United Party trick you pulled out of your ... er, hat ... a year ago) what no third party has done in Idaho in a century and a half. Not George Wallace's American Party or Ross Perot's Reform party. Not the Libertarians or the Greens or the Communists or the Nazis or the Natural Lawsters or Gene McCarthy or Ralph Nader or Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party or nobody. Let's say you do it. Fifty thousand votes! An unimaginable tally for an odd-guy-out.

That's still not enough to win, Andy. Nowhere close.

And from where are those votes coming? The dumbshit constituency? The blindly faithful or the sheep-over-the-cliff crowd? Andy! You founded Boise Weekly. On Channel 2's "Point to Point," you appeared opposite that back-slapping weasel, Dennis Mansfield, as the liberal side of the argument. That's what you're known for. You're more liberal than me, for Christ's sake! Brother, you ain't fooling anyone! You aren't going to pull any support from Sali, you just aren't. That power-climbing finagler had the slathering paranoid vote wrapped up tight before he ever declared.

You aren't going to snag any moderate Repubs, either. Those who haven't already decided for Grant will either stay home next Tuesday, or swallow their vomit and vote party line. You've been around long enough to know that. What! In! The! Hell! Are! You! Thinking!

Uh, sorry. I may have gone over the edge there, and you may never speak to me again after this.

But as long as I've come this far, I gotta ask. Just how involved is Mansfield in your campaign? I know you like him and all, and I'm certain he likes you. You're easy to like, and I figure you and he bonded like opposites sometimes do during the "Point to Point" gig.

But why would one of the most notorious right-wing operatives in Idaho be traveling with you, especially when you're running against one of his faith-based buddies? Is Mansfield telling you you have a chance? Is that it? Is he slapping your back, and it feels good? And you trust him?

Or could Mansfield be finessing the one most insidious tactic he can conjure up to help out little Soapbox Sali, which is to keep you in the race down to that last count? Down to where Grant mighta pulled if out, except for those 5,000 ... 50,000 ... whatever ... votes that went the Hedden-Nicely way. Would Denny do that to you? And could that be why Sali kept grinning at you throughout the debate like he had a magic mouse up his sleeve?

Now, I know it's your position that it doesn't matter whether the country's run by Republicans or Democrats. But there's no time left to argue that "Republocrats" bull. I don't think you believe it, anyway. It's just something all third-party candidates have to say, isn't that right? And I simply won't believe that, in your mission to capture the middle ground, you can think it will help anyone if the most vicious candidate, ranting and raving from the edge of the earth, takes home the ticket to Congress by a slim margin. You have more sense than that. Andy, tell me you have more sense than that.

I'm out of time. I can only hope you understand why I'm doing this. If what I suspect of Mansfield is true, I'm just trying to undo some of what he has done. Don't stay mad at me. It'd be like having Santa Claus mad at me. After the election, let's do a happy hour somewhere. And you can slap the piss out of me if that'll make you feel better.