Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Continuing Evidence that the Idaho Republican Party is Falling Apart Like a Dried-Up Old Cow Patty Being Kicked Around Like a Soccer Ball by Bratty, Quarrelsome Children


New continuing series, ladies and gentlemen. Can't tell you how long it's going to continue, but I suspect that as long as there are any intact remnants of the Idaho GOP, and as long as they are allowed to run the state as they see fit, there will be fractious factions within that body that can't help but bitch and spat and wrestle among themselves for power, prestige and pelf. I believe such contentious behavior is well worth keeping a close eye on, as it is my conviction that anything bad for the Idaho GOP is good for Idaho.

(A word about the title of this series: Yes, I realize it is ridiculously long. But I have always admired long titles. Ever since my teenage years, when Stanley Kubrick released Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, I have been attracted to long titles. Plus, I love a vivid metaphor. I am drawn to metaphors like a nose to a fart. And there is nothing like an involved, drawn-out metaphor to help extend a title past the bare, boring essentials. It is something I can't get away with in my columns. On the paper page, I am allowed only so many letters and spaces and punctuations, so you will never see a ridiculously-long title, complete with a drawn-out metaphor, in the printed version of my columns. But one benefit of having a blog of my own is the unlimited availability of infinite virtual space in which to make things as long as I please, whether it be a title, or an explanation as to why my title is so long. Because of this freedom, I did not hesitate to go with my first idea on what to name this continuing series: "Continuing Evidence that the Idaho Republican Party is Falling Apart Like a Dried-Up Old Cow Patty Being Kicked Around Like a Soccer Ball by Bratty, Quarrelsome Children." I do hope you, too, admire long titles. If not, I guess you are... as they say... "shit out of luck." And now, back to theme of my new series.)

I don't have to tell anyone politically savvy that the bickering and feuding among Idaho Republicans is a reflection of what's happening to the GOP across the nation. It's what they get for allowing the most vicious, suspicious and malicious among them to become the dominant force in that party. It's like collecting nasty rats in a burlap bag and then being surprised when the rodents start chewing holes in the fabric.

Perhaps the most intriguing hole being chewed in the Idaho Republican bag is the accusation by a couple of eastern Idaho party satraps and an Eagle lawyer that there is a "secret society" covertly taking control of the state GOP. This is coming from three men who seem to have no problems with secretive entities like the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Club for Growth or the Idaho Freedom Foundation covertly taking control of our legislature. They have no problem with the fact that the entire "Tea Party" experience—an experience all three of them are part of—was nothing more than a premeditated contrivance to thwart President Barack Obama and was organized, secretly, starting the day after he was elected.

No, these three (Doyle Beck, Brian Smith and Christ Troupis) only object to secrets they aren't in on, and they object strongly enough to try to turn it into a matter for the courts. Other party leaders are denying anything underhanded is going on, but let's be honest about this: Without underhanded stuff, there would no longer be an organizing principle to the Republican Party. It seems to be all they are capable of—underhanded, conniving, scheming, plotting, exclusionary stuff—so is it any wonder that at any given time, any number of them would suspect all the others of trying to pull something over on them?

A second, and more serious, piece of evidence that the Idaho Republican Party is falling apart like a dried-up old cow patty being kicked around like a soccer ball by bratty, quarrelsome children is the growing resentment among state officials, both in the legislature and the governor's office, that Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is doing his job.

It has reached the point where legislators and the governor are suggesting they want to have taxpayers foot the bill for lawyers independent of the AG's office to represent their various interests, all because Wasden can't be trusted to toe the line for them.

Case in point: Since the U.S. Department of Energy has not lived up to its end of the bargain at the Idaho National Laboratory, Wasden has refused to allow any more shipments of nuclear material to be sent there until they do, much to the consternation of the legislators representing that corner of the state.

He has also bucked the governor when Otter tried to switch the blame for the broadband fiasco from his own executive offices to the purview of the attorney general. It didn't work.

Attentive observers should have noticed Wasden is cut from a different cloth than the average party hack back in 2010, when he sued the Land Board to stop awarding sweet, below-value lease rates for choice, lake-side properties on state-owned lands—a move that undoubtedly put a huge whammy on the whole good ol' boy network. Now, there is talk of kicking him off the Land Board, an act of vengeance that would require a state constitutional amendment to complete.

From such indications, Wasden may be the only state official we can trust to perform his duties independent of the self-serving will of the party that put him there. I say, "Hang in there, Larry. And say, have you ever considered running for governor? We could use an honest one... for a change."

There is more. Seems that oily little clot of Koch brother's snot that goes by the name Idaho Freedom Foundation is busy gnawing at the political careers of north Idaho Republicans they deem too reasonable to belong in the same party with the strain of space-pod hatchlings increasingly being chosen to represent that end of the state. Elsewhere, the more we find out about the months of turmoil in the West Valley School Board, the clearer it is that the reasons have more to do with politics than education. But those will have to wait for later. This first installment of "Continuing Evidence that the Idaho Republican Party is Falling Apart Like a Dried-Up Old Cow Patty Being Kicked Around Like a Soccer Ball by Bratty, Quarrelsome Children" has dragged on quite long enough. Even for me.