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The Friends of Larry Grant

Posted by Adam Graham on June 27, 2007

One argument in the Idaho Statesman regarding the late campaign of Larry Grant that I had to respond to came regarding campaign funding. First, George Moses wrote in the letters to the editor:

For the record: Larry Grant took on a race when no one else would. He fought it with limited money.

Mr. Moses is wrong on the first point (Larry Grant had a primary opponent by the name of Cecil Kelly.)  but let’s move on from that. How underfunded was Larry Grant? He spent $687,000, a pretty chunk of change, not as much as Sali, but hardly an obscenely low amount. Where did this money come from? Many sources the Democrats would not like you to know about including arch liberal Congressmen Barney Frank and Charlie Rangel, and far left talker Al Franken.

It’s the liberal Dems biggest secret, but Grant received plenty of out of state cash, mostly from unions, but also the sugar industry and some other business interests. Read until the end and I’ll be happy to introduce some very interesting supporters of Larry Grant. You can read the list of committees here.

Grant received $92,500 from Labor Unions (which might explain this behavior.)

Immediately after Sali’s bruising primary, Grant had a great chance to establish himself as a moderate, business-friendly alternative. He had two meetings with the Associated General Contractors, who doubted Sali’s reliability on infrastructure spending, including highways.

Instead of courting them, the Ivy Leaguer from Fruitland lectured the contractors on unions, the minimum wage and a gas-tax hike, and said his aim would be to clean up Congress. “You may hate unions, but that’s the way it is, guys,” Grant recalled telling AGC. “I’m not afraid of being on the side of the working guy.”

AGC endorsed Sali. “We wanted to talk about infrastructure and regulation,” said AGC Executive Director Michael Gifford. “It just became clear that his issues were not our issues.”

Well, $92,500 is quite a bit to tick off. But where else did Larry Grant’s money come from? An insignificant amount ($5,000 came from business PACs) and then we see Larry Grant got very direct support from ideological allies who transferred money from their personal campaigns to his campaign. Who were some of these Congressmen?

A couple Big Names. Barney Frank sent Larry Grant $2,000 and Liberal Charlie Rangel (who is busy finding finding ways to raise your taxes) also sent $2,000, as did arch-proabortionist Henry Waxman Oddly enough, the contributions from Mr. Frank and Mr. Rangel weren’t received until November 1st (for some reason Larry Grant didn’t proudly tout the endorsement of Barney Frank.)

Larry Grant also took in some huge donations from leadership PACs. Leadership PACs are campaign entitities set up by members of Congress to allow them and their supporters (often lobbyists) to donate up to $5,000 in a primary on $5,000 in a general.

Mr. Grant received $5,000 from “AmeriPAC: Fund for Greater America” which is House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer’s leadership PAC. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) PAC, Committee for a Livable Future kicked in $6,000. DNC Chariman Howard Dean’s PAC, Democracy for America gave $1,000. Leadership 21, Rep. John Tanner’s (D-TN) PAC gave $1,000. Midwest Values PAC controlled by that great moderate Al Franken gave $2,500. National Leadership PAC which is Charlie Rangel’s PAC gave Grant $5,000, which brought the total Rangel contributed directly or indirectly to $7,500.

I count one dozen out of state Democrat members of Congress trying to influence our elections. I didn’t list such unknowns as Xavier Becera (D-CA.), but when you add them all up with leadership PACs, it comes to a dozen. Yet this isn’t news to the Idaho Statesman, while Bill Sali’s out of state contributions are. Liberal media bias lives.

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Posted in The Idaho Conservative, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Mistakes Were Made

Posted by Adam Graham on June 27, 2007

Larry Grant delivers his response to Dan Popkey’s column in a reader’s view:

In the 2006 congressional election, an out-of-state, ultra-conservative fringe group, Club for Growth, hijacked the Republican primary and made Bill Sali the official candidate of the Republican Party.

“Not that I’m bitter about it.”  As this guy thinks Daily Kos is mainstream in Idaho, I don’t think he has finger on the pulse of Idaho voters.

Stuck with a candidate that most Republicans did not like, but with control of the Congress at stake, the Republican Party had no choice but to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Sali campaign in order to keep the seat in GOP hands. Republican leaders, state and national, put out the word for Republicans to vote for Bill Sali, even if they didn’t want to, because a vote for Larry Grant was a vote for Nancy Pelosi. For their trouble, they got both Nancy Pelosi and Bill Sali.

“Ha, I told you so, but I’m not bitter.” Actually, I know Republican circles better than Mr. Grant and Mr. Sali has nowhere the problems that Mr. Grant things.

Dan Popkey, in his column of June 17, talked to some committed Republicans and anonymous Democrats who think that was not enough

Committed Republicans who’d thought of voting for you before finding out intractably far left you were.

Every candidate makes mistakes and I certainly made my share. I am truly sorry I disappointed my supporters. And for those of you who think I didn’t listen, I hope you will be forthright with your advice in the future and forgive me if I did not explain well enough why I chose to do things the way I did.

You made a fair share of mistakes? Wait, I thought you did almost everything right? Which is it? And apparently his subtle message is, “If you have a problem with me, tell me, don’t tell Popkey.” Of course, the way Popkey wrote about it, the people who spoke to him may have been trying to do a political intervention.

And, yes, I will do it again for 2008 because no Democrat yet has won the first time out and because, as Mr. Popkey correctly noted, I have “a tougher hide than most.”

And, yes, it will be different this time.

This time, Bill Sali has to run on his record.

So, I’m guaranteed loads of material for the blog until May, 2008 at least. Then, we get the letters from the Grant staffers which defend Grant and attack Sali. They didn’t necessarily agree. Jill Kurtz wrote:

For the record, Larry did as much “retail politics” as any candidate I’ve seen.

Julie Fanselow wrote:

As a veteran of last year’s Larry Grant for Congress campaign, a bit of what I read in Dan Popkey’s June 17 column rang true to me. I agree that Grant needed to do more retail campaigning.

So which is it?

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | Leave a Comment »

Protesting Gonzalez And Other Fun Things to Do When You Lose Elections

Posted by Adam Graham on June 25, 2007

There are many negative things you can say about my prototypical big spending congressman. He’s got one good thing going for him, he’s not Jim Hansen who is leading a protest against our Attorney General. Hansen writes:

It appears this visit is designed to show that people in communities like Boise, Idaho support Gonzalez and Bush’s policies. They have kept the visit quiet as long as they could to ensure a bare minimum of publicity. They need to take pretty pictures back to DC to show that America really does support Gonzalez, even though millions of people are calling for his resignation or impeachment and for a repudiation of the Bush administration’s torture and domestic surveillance policies.

Jim, this is the 21st Century and whether you or your buddies would care to admit it, we are at war. You don’t telegraph where you’re going. The Attorney General has a press availability, and a visit to US Attorneys and an anti-drug task force. There’s not going to be a parade in his honor, just business.

Of course, a big deal is being made of Governor Otter not meeting with the Attorney General:

It is interesting to note that Gonzalez is not even meeting with our Governor. That is probably because when he was a Congressman, Otter was one of the strongest opponents of the deceptively-named “USA PATRIOT ACT”, an act that President Bush and his AG are using to undermine over 100 years of protected civil rights in this country.

This is most likely because there’s nothing the two need to discuss and the Governor’s schedule is full. If they needed to meet, they would. Even if you disagree with someone in another department, if you’re elected to office, you cooperate for the good of the country. It’s part of mature leadership.

Hat tip: 43rd State Blues

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | Leave a Comment »

Now is the Time for All Good BSU Fans…

Posted by Adam Graham on June 25, 2007

To stand up for their Broncos. The BSU Broncos are up for 2 ESPYs: Best Game and Best Play. Cast your votes, Idaho.

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | Leave a Comment »

There Is No Joy in Liberalville

Posted by Adam Graham on June 24, 2007

Today, there is no joy in Liberalville. Why? Senator Larry Craig (R-Id.) has his personal reputation, his career, and his marriage still intact. Dan Popkey once again failed to deliver any news on his several months long hiatus from the Idaho Statesman, instead opting for a piece on the Boise mayoral race.

Sadly, there are liberals out there who are hoping for the personal destruction of Senator Craig, the destruction of his family, and would like to see his personal reputation tarnished if only it would help Larry LaRocco or another liberal end the Democrat’s 34 year draught on winning Senate elections. Popkey, as we’ve talked about, spent months digging up dirt on Larry Craig, passing Craig’s photo around D.C. area gay bars, and also sharing unconfirmed data on a potential sexual disease he believes the Senator to have with a local gay blogger.

I find such politics distasteful, but apparently the left does not. But they’ve got a little problem. Popkey delivered a devestating analysis of the failed campaign of liberal Larry Grant for Congress. How much do they dare go after Popkey? Go ahead and undermine him now and when (if) the big sleeze bomb is dropped, it’ll have less impact.

My response (indicating this was an attempt by some Democrats to provide information to knock Grant out of the way) ignited a firestorm in the blogosphere, earning praise and links from the Idaho Values Alliance and Trish and Halli, and attacks from three lefty blogs include Idablue and Mountain Goat Report.

Alan at Idablue wrote:

Adam G opines that Dem long knives are coming out early in order to clear the way for Rand Lewis. Without knowing who Popkey talked to, this is a leap too far. It’s more likely that the Rs Popkey talked to are trying to hobble Grant, and Popkey is helping them.

Thus, it makes sense that Rs would lob a preemptive strike toward the Dem candidate who almost beat Sali, in order to take him out early. Rand Lewis may be a fine candidate, but he’s an unknown, whereas Grant has proven that he is a strong candidate for the district. No doubt Grant learned much in his first campaign; he will be a stronger candidate the second time around.

Apparently, Alan has never heard of a sophomore surge (i.e. on average 2nd term members of Congress increase their vote totals 8-10%) and a 5 point race isn’t a landslide, but it’s hardly close and to think wooden liberal Larry Grant can close the gap is wishful thinking. More likely, next time he’ll get beaten more solidly, particularly if he faces a primary.

However, referring to the Popkey article, stating that Republicans are the source is counterintuitive as Popkey wrote:

Democrats are grieving and resentful. Folks close to Grant don’t want their names attached to criticism, but they want this story told in hopes he’ll reform. They told me he’s “a hard guy to help,” and “a pain” who “knew everything.” His brilliance remains unquestioned, but, said one, “part of being brilliant is knowing how to listen.”

Unless Popkey totally lied about his sources, they were Democrats. And if lied about his sources, how the heck are we to trust him on anything he says of his trip to Washington?

Mountain Goat Report writes:

. The extreme rite wing blogger, Adam Graham, hailed the column as “vindication” in one breath and then called Popkey a “tool of liberal Democrat campaigns” in another.

Graham, when earlier discussing Popkey’s special assignment, described [mp3 recording] Popkey as “using sleaze-ball tactics” and upon merely seeing the reporter at the Statesman building says it was “dislike at first sight.” Being vindicated by a man you dislike seems rather shallow.

I have no clue what the spelling of “rite” is supposed to mean or how it’s supposed to be derogatory. Is he referring to me as religious or tyring to somehow blame this on Ride Aid.

Regardless, I think it can very well be both a vindication and a tactic in support of liberal ideals. When you read Dan Popkey’s columns over time, you understand he believes in a far more liberal Idaho. According to Popkey, our state is too far to the right, doesn’t spend enough on various programs, etc. How do you move that state further to the left. When you have a chance, you can push things a little left by advocating for liberal Republican Candidates in the primary or pushing Democrats in the Fall where effective.

Certainly, this doesn’t mean Popkey’s not a talented reporter. He is. His work on the Jack Noble case was very well done. What he’s not is unbiased. He’s using his talents to serve an agenda, and he’s not quite up front with the people of Idaho about that.

Yes, I disliked Popkey when I first saw him. The expression on his face upon seeing me at the Statesman office was quite unpleasant and offensive. That doesn’t mean that in theory were we to sit down and have lunch at Eddie’s or something like that, I couldn’t come away liking him. But my intuitive feeling was negative.

And I’ve been borne out on that. When I did that podcast, I was furious at Popkey, and I still am. He’s part of why good people don’t run for office. We don’t get top flight people involved in politics usually, in part because people don’t want their names drug through the mud with innuendo, gossip, and half truths. If Senator Craig never had a homosexual encounter in his entire life, he’ll never be able to prove it. Who among us can provide proof positive that we’ve not? A few anonymous audio recordings and Senator Craig will be stuck with these rumors for the rest of his life, no matter how untrue they might be.

Popkey rather than turning from the tawdry mess, wallowed in it, going on a fishing expedition in hopes of bringing down Senator Craig personally. The only thing that could redeem Popkey in my eyes is if the coverage of the Mike Rogers homosexual story were a cover for “the real investigation.” As it is, either way, Popkey will be guilty of a huge transgression against our system, through sleazy practices worthy of the National Enquirer.

If you don’t like the word “Sleazy” perhaps you’d prefer the words used by a gay bloggers: “creepy” and “witch hunt”. A Daily Kos poster went as far as to declare Popkey is weird. Another Daily Kos poster seconded the “Creepy” motion and warned:

Are we headed down a road where every elected official can expect investigative reporters digging through their entire personal lives? There are many things that we just don’t need to know about public officials.

While some argued it was all about GOP hypocrisy, a homosexual poster reminded Democrats they could be accused of hypocrisy:

We claim to be the party that believes in a right to privacy. If we now decide that outing people, even hypocrites, is OK, we open ourselves up to exactly the same charge of hypocrisy. Either we’re for privacy or we aren’t. There is no middle ground on this. And I say that as a gay man. Whom I sleep with is nobody’s business other than the man I’m sleeping with. And if I were still in the closet and wanted to stay there, I would expect to be allowed that luxury unless and until I decided, for myself, to come out.

Others on Kos called Popkey’s investigation wrong, disturbing, and abhorrent. and assailed Mr. Popkey as “ignorant” and a “kook”. This is on Daily Kos, folks, but many in the Idaho lib blogosphere won’t call this “investigation” by its right name. Thanks to the folks at Kos for doing so.

Yet, many Idaho liberals still wait for the boom to lower, for the results of Mr. Popkey’s abhorrent and creepy investigation to come to light. It wasn’t this Sunday, but each new day brings new hope to many liberals that Dan Popkey’s investigation will at last destroy Senator Craig and bring the life of his family into ruins. That few others will call Popkey’s tactics what they are is a disturbing and sickening sign of the state of our politics.

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | Leave a Comment »

Binky Boy or James Madison?

Posted by Adam Graham on June 22, 2007

Binky Boy took issue with Bryan Fischer for quoting Benjamin Franklin’s call to prayer at the Constitutional Convention:

Below is a speech recorded by James Madison and

purported to have been made by Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional
Convention on June 28, 1787:

Binky Boy fires back:

The word purported is the single reason that this is not to be believed 100%. It’s unconfirmed, it’s not proof, and it easily could have been wrongly attributed, just like half of Ben Franklin’s “quotes”.

But Madison wrote it down and I don’t know of a serious historian who will challenge Madison. So the question is who do you believe on the Constiutional Convention, Madison or Binky Boy?

UPDATE

One other thing to look at is Dr. Franklin’s own view of God and religion:

Revolving this project in my mind, as to be undertaken hereafter, when my circumstances should afford me the necessary leisure, I put down from time to time, on pieces of paper, such thoughts as occurr’d to me respecting it. Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the essentials of every known religion, and being free of every thing that might shock the professors of any religion. It is
express’d in these words, viz.:

“That there is one God, who made all things.
“That he governs the world by his providence.

“That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving.
“But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.
“That the soul is immortal.
“And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice either here or hereafter.”

Franklin’s deism was far more genial and respectful thing than that preached by folks like Binky Boy, Sam Harris, or Christopher Hitchens.

Finally, if you review the actual convention journals for June 28, 1787 in Farrands Records which are based original notes, you see the following note:

[Note 12: 12 Madison originally made an abstract of Franklin’s speech in about 200 words. This was later stricken out–and this note made: “see opposite page & insert the speech of Doctr F in this place.” On the opposite page under the heading “June 28, in convention” is the speech which is here given–but without Franklin’s name.
Among the Franklin Papers in the Library of Congress is a copy of this speech differing hardly at all from the text except in more frequent use of capitals.]

So, again, Binky Boy can take his fight up with the curators of the Franklin papers, and Mr. Madison himself.

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | Leave a Comment »

Wither the Idaho Liberal Blogosphere?

Posted by Adam Graham on June 21, 2007

Bill from Free In Idaho posted in the comments, he raises the number of active conservative blogs in Idaho to seven:

Adam’s Blog

Marv Hagedorn
Right Mind
The Idahoan
Trish and Halli
Free in Idaho
Clayton Cramer
Magic Valley Mormon

Idaho Chooses Life

So, that brings the figure to 9. Not too impressive, but far better than it being three like it was all last year. Meanwhile, something interesting has appears to have happened on the left. Their blogs have gotten a lot less active.

Liberal Blogs with a post in the last month:

Idablue
Red State Rebels
The Unequivocal Notion
Rob’s Idaho Perspective

Mountain Goat Report
Fort Boise Weblog
The Political Game
My Idaho Rocks
Huckleberries Online
F Words
A Seattleite in Idaho
43rd State Blues
United Action for Idaho

Nil’s Ribi
Moriale Kofa

Rockefeller Republican blog against Being Blown up by Al Qaeda:

The Stupid Shall be Punished

Liberal leaning Political Analyst:

Ridenbaugh Press

Straight News Political Blog:

Eye on Boise

I’d also list Dennis Mansfield and Blog Idaho as conservatives with blogs, but as their blogs really aren’t about politics, let’s leave them out of the discussion, as well as those with blogs not about politics regardless of the owner’s pursuasion. In addition, New West should be considered more of a magazine than a blog.

Essentially at this moment, we have 24 blogs (and yes, I probably missed some, feel free to let me know in the comments.) that are actively talking about politics. Liberals enjoyed a huge edge in the Idaho blogosphere, the last year or so and now that total is down to a 6 blog advantage, with one of those bloggers headed to Nevada for the Summer and no certain plans after that. What does this suggest to me? There are several reasons for the drying up of the liberal blogosphere:

1) It’s Summer

Posts have been a little sparcer at Trish and Halli with mostly cross-posts. Lots is going on and some may not have the time. This may do as a partial answer. There’s a good chance that BYU-Idaho College Democrats will be back in the blogosphere in the Fall.

However, I don’t buy that as the full explanation. Once a week, you think folks would find the time. Instead, we have dead silence from most blogs. Some haven’t had posts since March or April.

The problem with cyclical blogging is that it kills you on traffic and search engines, Bryce over at Politics is Applesauce wrote after a month long hiatus:

Judging by the downward trend in visitors, it may take a few months to return to readership to its once held levels. I’m up for the challenge…

That was 2 months ago and since then, no posts. But his larger point is true. Nothing is harder than restarting blogging after quitting, because you have to regain audience that you’ve lost and starting all over again isn’t something most people will do.

2) Bored and Fatigued:

Fact: There are 200 million abandonned blogs in the world (probably 220 million.) Many people lose interest in blogging. I’ve done it a time or two in the past until I finally figured out the power of this medium.

Blogging isn’t always easy and the payoff can be small, with few readers in the grand scheme of Internet hits. Clayton Cramer’s blog is the most well-read in Idaho and its conversations on Idaho politics are few and far between. Those that focus solely on Idaho poitics will have a problem from the beginning. There’s the problem of getting recognized, getting links, and understanding how to get readers that is lost on many people.

3) Political Reasons

Perhaps, the lack of change in Idaho and/or American politics has turned people off. Some may have had unrealistic expectations of what a blog could do. The conservative victories in the last legislative session, coupled with the failure of National Democrats to accomplish key liberal goals may have turned off Idaho liberals to politics or at the very least online politics.

4) Conclusions

It’s a too early to make hard conclusions about how severe the change in Idaho blogging politics will be. We might see two or three, or five or six blogs come back which will change perhaps restore the libs to a 2:1 advantage, which is nowhere close to what they’ve held in years past.

There are, however, some conclusions I can draw:

1) The liberal love affair with the blogosphere is not as strong as it once was, while conservatives are beginning to discover it. The result will be an equilibrium shift that should make Idaho’s political blogosphere more reflective of its population.

2) Political blogging won’t be for all activists, which is good. IF everyone blogged, what would there be to cover?

3) Idaho political blogs will take less work. Given the post volume of active liberal and conservative blogs, a fairly active blog could be said to be one that has 2-3 posts a week. It’ll be easy to be Joe or Jane Blogger, with expectations not set so high by nearly daily blogs.

4) Blogs will come and go, so don’t get too attached. There’ll be allies and opponents leave, and new opponents and alies arriving. That’s the nature of the game.

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | 3 Comments »

Apparently, I’m the Issue

Posted by Adam Graham on June 20, 2007

Well, it only took three days for Julie Fanselow to fire back on the whole Dan Popkey-Larry Grant story in which Popkey suggests Grant lost because he didn’t listen and was too stubborn too liberal.

Julie writes:

I wasn’t at all surprised to see Bill Sali apologist Adam Graham (pictured here, from left, with Sali, Larry Craig, and Norm Semanko) pounce with a lengthy diatribe hours after Popkey’s piece appeared. Absurdly calling Popkey’s work “the real story of the Grant campaign” – even though Popkey interviewed few if any of us on the staff and named none of his Democratic sources – Graham could hardly contain his glee in dancing on what he is sure will be Grant’s political grave

I was curious why she saw the need to post the picture. I’ve not been hiding my support for Sali. I guess the picture just makes people happy. Who knows?

Popkey claimed to have sources, Dan Popkey at times may be wrong and a bit of gossip, but a liar? I doubt it. He spoke to some folks “close to Grant” according to the article. Given that what happened when Grant spoke to General Contractors (key points in the story), spoke to the DCCC (key point in the story) doesn’t require campaign worker validation.

As for dancing on Grant’s political grave? Hardly. I enjoyed the vindication primarily. I’ve spent the past year or so being told that up is down and down is up and that I’m just a radical right winger who has no clue. I’ve been fighting 12:1 odds and to at last have it exposed, “This is the real Larry Grant,” was what I enjoyed. I doubt Grant’s totally dead, but it is bringing a healthy dose of division to the Democrat party. Grant will have to spend hundreds of thousands in the primary, Lewis will have to explain why Grant doesn’t deserve a 2nd chance. If Lewis starts to gain or even become a leader, Grant will have to go after him. The result a divided Democratic Party that’ll beat up its nominee before the Fall, while Sali will probably sail to re-nominatio without serious opposition.

We’re Idaho Democrats; we’re not organized enough to anoint anyone, and even if we were, Popkey hardly does our bidding.

Yeah, that’s why Popkey knew about the Republicans for Grant website in advance and wrote an article about it timed to coincide with Dick Cheney’s visit.

I will give Julie that, given the sorry state of the Democratic Party in our state, it’s hard to believe they could organize much else than a 3-on-3 basketball game, but even that’s a stretch. However, I doubt it’s all Idaho Democrats, just quite a few.

Despite all this late quarterbacking, the fact is Larry Grant isn’t the issue. Bill Sali is, and he got less than 50% at the polls last November (and 26% in the primary). The majority of 1st District voters didn’t want him, and many who chose him were simply picking the “R” guy as usual, perhaps because they were too busy or too distracted to research the candidates.

49.94% with 1.06% to the Constitution Party Candidate. Come on, give me a break. You had the media repeating every Bill Sali story, ripped out of context time and time again. And what do they have to make things different? “Out of the Mainstream” votes on bills that Idahoans couldn’t care less about. Bill Sali will be in Congress a long time.

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Competence and the Court

Posted by Adam Graham on June 20, 2007

Reading Dan Popkey’s latest shrill screed, one would think that Idaho is headed for the 19th Century:

Idaho has a chance to turn back the clock and make the Supreme Court an institution of white males — just like the bad old days.

Gov. Butch Otter will soon chose among four white men nominated to succeed Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder. That’s in part because of 19 applicants for the first of two vacancies, only two were women and not one was a minority.

Those bad old days predate the enlightenment of 1992 when a woman joined the court, forever shattering the male dominance of the court and guaranteeing freedom and equality for all, but according to Popkey, it’s all at risk because a woman’s not being appointed. Indeed, only two applied, and why:

Gutierrez told me he will apply for Trout’s seat. “When you lack diversity,” he said, “there is an erosion of trust among those who look to the work of the court, whether as a litigant or as one who pays taxes and has never walked through the doors.”

Sadly, Gutierrez’s colleague on the Court of Appeals, Karen Lansing, told me she will take a pass. Why? First, she likes her job. Second, she’s reluctant to face an election challenge in May when voters get their chance to affirm the governor’s appointment or elect another candidate. Lansing has twice been elected, without opposition, because judges on the Court of Appeals haven’t yet attracted challengers. Women on the Supreme Court, however, have faced the only challenges to incumbent justices since 1970: Trout once and former Justice Cathy Silak twice.

Yeah, that’s right, Idahoans are sexists if they dare even think about challenging or not voting for a woman justice. Here’s the truth, I’d be all for a woman justice if she strictly interpreted the Constitution and had the right judicial temperament. That’s what it’s all about.

Justice Gutierrez is wrong, we don’t need different perspectives on the Court, we need competency and adherence to the Constitution and the law. The law is not Black, White, Hispanic, Male, or Female. If our law means anything, it means the same thing regardless of who is interpreting it.

I believe in merit, I believe in the best person for the job. If it’s a woman or minority, great, I’m 100% for it. If it’s a white man, that’s great as well.

A society of equal opportunity is just that. It’s based on merit, not other considerations. Popkey’s suggestion that we ought to use affirmative action with seats on the High Courts and disqualify good potential judges because they’re white males is itself asking us to discriminate on race and gender. And that I’m against.

Posted in The Idaho Conservative | 2 Comments »

An End to Irregular Elections

Posted by Adam Graham on June 19, 2007

Many anti-Federalists declared during the founding era that where annual elections ends, tyranny begins. Well, let’s revise that when elections can be called whenever people want, tyranny begins as Rep. Marv Hagedorn notes:

I recently received a letter from a concerned and upset citizen of Meridian regarding our elections. She was livid, as were many, about the fact that there were 3 local elections and all three had different election voting locations and one was on a different day than the other two. The elections I’m referring to were the Community College, a school bond and a new Library bond… and the voting process for each were held in different locations and 1 of the 3 on different days within a couple weeks!

While I was voting in the Library during that bond election, a gentleman came in and really dressed down the ladies working the election regarding why “they” were doing it again and not letting anyone know about the bond election AGAIN.

He was telling them that “because the last one failed, they were trying to pull a fast one and getting only those who were for the new bond to vote by only letting them know”. I hung around to make sure that the gentleman didn’t get out of hand with the ladies and wished that this type of thing wouldn’t happen… but I’m afraid it does and has all over the state. Folks are getting frustrated and apathetic towards a system that doesn’t seem to represent or reflect their desires. Sadly, this apathy causes fewer and fewer of us to go to the polls…

There were several bills introduced to remedy this problem as Rep. Hagadorn explained, but the most important may have been one restricting the number of elections:

House bill H0196 was passed in the House that would have consolidated all of the elections to two days per year and limited the number of elections that could be scheduled per year. Recognizing that when a bond election fails, it seems to take little time for supporters to get another scheduled, this bill required that limits were placed on these types of elections. If you take a look at the bill, you will be able to see the details of the changes, but for a summary look at the bottom of the bill.

H0196 was sent to the Senate for discussion and vote, but was put in a drawer and left there….

Arguments against the bill were that districts like sewer, water, irrigation, schools and others would have to move their place of election and coordinate with the Secretary of State in scheduling their bond elections. And it was argued that the timing of the elections would not work with the timing of the districts scheduled budgeting process… in my mind these seemed to be weak arguments for maintaining the current system.

Indeed, with many pushing for vote by mail to increase voter turnout, it seems odd that we tolerate a system that leaves so many on the outside looking in. School board elections are a great example. The vote for school board here in Boise is held in August or September, and about 3% of the people decide who gets to represent them. I think voting twice a year is enough and when we have a situation when folks can call election whenever they have a mind to, we make a joke of representative government.

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A Sadly Avoidable Accident

Posted by Adam Graham on June 18, 2007

FromChannel 2 news:

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) _ A teen driver was apparently using a cell phone to send electronic text messages when she lost control of her vehicle last week on Idaho’s U-S Highway 95 near Genessee.

One passenger remains in a Lewiston hospital in serious condition after rupturing her spleen.

Texting while driving? I’m not a cell phone guy at all (I’ve got one, but rarely does it make it in the car to even ring.) But Texting while driving? Wow!

In neighboring Washington state, lawmakers have passed a measure to make it illegal to use a cell phone or tap out a text message while driving.

Salt Lake City municipal employees are barred from texting or using hand-held phones while driving on public business.

Idaho hasn’t favored similar prohibitions.

Do they have laws barring applying your makeup or shaving? It seems there’s little to be done when common sense goes out of vogue. Would she have been safer, emailing from a laptop?

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Fred Thompson and Trevor the Vampire

Posted by Adam Graham on June 18, 2007

I’m a semi-fan of Home Star Runner and I like Strong Bad’s E-mails. In this regular feature, he responds to bizarre fan e-mails, with an eye towards making fun of the writer. Anyway, one person sent him an e-mail that ended like this:

This is Trevor from Hampden Maine and I was wondering if you could teach me how to be as awesome as you. I am a vampire and

This left Strongbad puzzled as he questioned,”And what? That’s it? I’m a vampire and here’s a million dollars…or I’m a vampire and here’s your own spaceship…”

This brings us oddly enough to the latest Idaho Chooses Life commentary which mentions Fred Thompson on abortion:

Apparently he has a pro-Life record from his days in the U.S. Senate. That offers some hope – though he too suffers from the McCain “reluctant bride” syndrome. Where, for example, are the bills he carried to help stem the bloody tide?

But last week, Thompson confirmed that his candidacy is not a panacea for social conservatives. During an interview on Hannity & Colmes, Thompson declared that he didn’t agree with Roe v. Wade. But then he went on to say that he would not support criminalizing abortion

The quote was curious. As somoene who’s supporting another candidate I needed to know the source and the exact quoated. I need to know whether to scrub Fred Thompson from my list of people I could stomach a vote for in the Fall, so I hunted down the transcript:

But here’s what the deal is on that. I’ve always thought that Roe v. Wade was a wrong decision, that they usurped what had been the law in this country for 200 years, that it was a matter that should go back to the states. When you get back to the states, I think the states should have some leeway.

I might vote against one approach, but I think the state ought to have it. And I would not be and never have been for a law that says, on the state level, if I were back in Tennessee voting on this, for example, that if they chose to criminalize a young woman, and…

Like Strong Bad, I’m puzzled, because immediately after this, Sean Hannity cuts Thompson off and we’re off to another subject. The answer could mean several things depending on the full text of what was to come after the “and.”

“I don’t want to criminalize a young woman.” could mean that he wouldn’t support an abortion law that punished women for seeking an abortion, only the doctor who performed it, which is the position of most leaders, as the specter of arresting women for abortion prolongs its legality.

He could not support criminalizing a young woman who gets an abortion because of rape.

What was coming after that and? What was the rest of the sentence? There lies the meaning and hopefully he won’t leave us to keep speculating.

However, I did some point from David Ripley of ICL that’s worth addressing:

Most of us have been sitting on the sidelines, praying that a Duncan Hunter or Sam Brownback might find the money to generate a competitive campaign. So far – not enough from either.

As somebody, supporting a candidate outside the main three, John Cox, all I can say is that folks who want to see change in this election, stop sitting on the sidelines, get in the game! Do people really think that being unsatisfied with our current field is going to change it? Where do candidates get the money, volunteers, etc. needed to compete. Well, it’s not brought by the tooth fairy. It’s people getting involved and fighting for what they believe in.

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Vindication on Larry Grant

Posted by Adam Graham on June 17, 2007

Today is a good day, becuase I got a gift of sorts from Dan Popkey, vindication.Last year, I spent a lot of time being informed of how wonderful Larry Grant was and how he’d bring us all together, and I spent a lot of time responding to this nonsense. Today Dan Popkey tells us the real story of the Grant Campaign:

Grant said he’s “disconcerted” by the criticism. “If folks think I’m gonna just toe the Democratic line, then I didn’t do a good job of presenting my position. What I probably need to do is talk with more of these folks more about their issues.”

Talking is one thing. Grant’s problem is listening…

Grant didn’t seize the moment. His campaign chief was an amateur working on her first campaign as a paid staffer. Grant also was hamstrung by his discomfort with retail politics — the county fairs, house parties and Rotary clubs where Idaho voters expect to be wooed.

Enter the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the little outfit that engineered Democratic takeover of the House. DCCC urged Grant to hire a professional campaign manager. Grant met the guy, but didn’t make the hire. “When the DCCC said, ‘You need this kid from California,’ I said no,” Grant recalled. “What could he have added to the campaign that we didn’t already have? The answer is nothing.”

Grant had watched former Rep. Richard Stallings lose to Dirk Kempthorne in the 1992 Senate race, in part because he hired an outside campaign chief who didn’t get Idaho. But it turns out the DCCC’s “kid” was an experienced hand in his 30s. With guidance, he could have helped.

The biggest riddle of 2006: Why, with polls showing a dead heat in October, did DCCC provide Grant no money? Answer: Because he was bullheaded and busy running what he liked to call “a different kind of campaign…”

It was a different type of campaign.

There was the whole flap over Grant thinking that having God in the pledge was unconstitutional (not reported by the Statesman), deceptive campaign advertising, hijacking an e-mail list to spam supporters of another candidate (not reported by the Statesman), ran TV ads with depressing music and tone, refuted himself on social security, never gave me a straight answer on whether they painted or photoshopped their donkey, and who could forget the Larry Grant for Congress broom drill team. Really, the arrogance that Popkey now writes about. Of course, Grant blew many opportunities

Immediately after Sali’s bruising primary, Grant had a great chance to establish himself as a moderate, business-friendly alternative. He had two meetings with the Associated General Contractors, who doubted Sali’s reliability on infrastructure spending, including highways.

Instead of courting them, the Ivy Leaguer from Fruitland lectured the contractors on unions, the minimum wage and a gas-tax hike, and said his aim would be to clean up Congress. “You may hate unions, but that’s the way it is, guys,” Grant recalled telling AGC. “I’m not afraid of being on the side of the working guy.”

So, the problem was that Grant was too liberal not only on social issues, but economic issues and was quite combative with these groups. Hmm. Didn’t that deserve press attention at the time?

Apparently, Popkey didn’t think so. I wouldn’t buy it if he said he didn’t know about it. Nobody gossips like political folks. Why didn’t we hear about how Grant campaign turned down offers of help and pushed aside timely advice?

Because the liberal media didn’t want us to hear about it. Dan Popkey was busy spouting nonsense such as, “Democrat Larry Grant appears poised to win by eroding the GOP vote.” go actually tell us the disaster going on with the Grant campaign. Don’t you think this was kind of important for voters to know about? Given that the chief media argument against Bill Sali was “doesn’t play well with others,” we ought to have known about Grant’s issues as well, but we didn’t. The media just regurgitated the same four or five stories of Bill Sali’s encounters with self-important legislative officials.

Why is this story coming out now? My opinion is that the intent is to head off a 2nd Grant campaign. Rand Lewis looks like a good bet to some folks in the state Democrat Party, much better than trying the second time to make a good first impression. It’d be a lot easier if Lewis ran unopposed or with token opposition rather than against Grant who has the money to compete, some national connections, and name recongition, but is almost certain to do worse in a 2nd round with Bill Sali.

Popkey’s piece will deal a blow to the Grant campaign, as Popkey continues to be the tool of liberal Democrat campaigns.

UPDATE:

Linked by Idaho Values Alliance and Trish and Halli.

Thanks. Idaho Rocks comes to Grant’s defense:

Popkey also criticizes Larry’s campaign manager, who, based on my personal experience, was always on top of everything and available for any questions. Popkey conveniently never mentions Larry’s blogger, Julie from Red State Rebels, who almost single-handedly catapulted Larry into national attention and brought interest to this race on the DailyKos. Also, I don’t know which country fair, house party, or Rotary Club meeting Popkey attended while Larry Grant was present that caused him to quip about Grant’s “discomfort with retail politics,” but it obviously wasn’t in Idaho’s far north, where Larry always seemed at ease as well as having the ability to put others at ease as well.

Finally, I think that any Democrat who is “grieving and resentful” is more a figment of Popkey’s imagination than any reality I know of. I may be in Idaho’s far north, but I’m not stupid enough to fall for “the arrogance and political deafness” of some newspaper writer who decides to dump on a very viable, popular, and well-liked Democratic candidate.

Well, my friend, if Dan Popkey is now making up Democrats, than he’s continuing the same process of making up Republicans and predicting certain GOP doom on election day.

Randy Stapilus provides a more even-handed approach.

We do disagree on a couple of other points.

One mistake he attributes to Grant is his decision to use local help rather than national (one reason he didn’t get as much national party financial help as some other candidates). Maybe; but having seen parts of the national party/consultant world up close, we’re very hesitant to conclude that it was a bad call. Over the years, the Idaho track record of Democratic national operatives is spotty at best – take that as a generous view. (There’s a fine big-picture view of this point in the book Crashing the Gate by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga; their take on the Democratic consulting world is spot on.) Not knowing enough to evaluate the specific personnel in this case, we aren’t concluding that Grant made the right call there. But he may have.

Popkey suggests that Grant could have won this race save only, presumably, for his mistakes. We see no reason to think so. In an extremely close race, small things – a TV ad that technically was better or worse, or the shift of pockets of voters, could shift the results; anything could. This race wasn’t that close. Grant’s vote total was about 12,000 short of Sali’s, too much to make up with small-scale alterations. There is also the fact, not often mentioned, that Sali’s race, primary and general, was cannily run, and little was left to chance. The race was monitored intensively by Sali’s money backers (the same people, Club for Growth and associates, who had been with him since he entered the primary), and it was pouring in funds in the final weeks. So what if Grant missed out on a few hundred thousand from the Democratic party? The Club would have truck-loaded in much more than that in compensation. Most of the internal Republican issues that Sali faced post-primary were healed within a couple of months, and there’s little Grant could have done to change that. And this is a very Republican district that, up-ticket and down, continued its Republican voting patterns last year as they had been doing. There’s no evidence in the voting record that this race was so closely up for grabs.

Well, of course, Stapilus is right, there’s no proof that what the DCCC suggested would have done anything other than expend resources, but lest we forget, none of the incidents involving Bill Sali were ever put in context, so why put Grant’s issues in context. The important thing is that Larry Grant ignored advice: good, bad, or indifferent, does it really matter? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Also, Stapilus hits the nail on the head, Larry Grant didn’t lose the race. Bill Sali ran it, with a great campaign and organization from start to finish. Julie Fanselow has oddly enough posted a link to Stapilus’ piece.

One of the commenters is still trying to slam Andy Hedden-Nicely for running as a third party:

Not to nix competition but ANDY-HEDDON-NICELY former publisher of the BW was approaching all the liberal voters that wouuldn’t go near Sali ans telling them how He had a much better plan than grant.What was that plan andy? The Plan was to shove Grant out of the way of liberal voters while pushing a loser for the peple of Idaho into Congress.

Okay, lets take a look at the results, Bill Sali won by 11,908 votes, Andy Hedden-Nicely received 2,882 votes. Had the third parties not been running, Grant would have needed to win 98% of their votes to come out the winner. Sali got 49.94% of the vote. He won. Get over it.

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Confusing the Issue

Posted by Adam Graham on June 16, 2007

Charles Hulbert’s Letter to the Editor shows a confusion in terms:

For the graduate Kaylan Vogele, practice what you preach. In your comments made June 4 you said, “It’s really hard today, it seems, to have a strong sense of what morality is unless you’re coming from a religious background.” Then you said: “People need to understand each other’s perspective a little bit more. People, I think, need to be more willing to actually learn about different world views …”

Before you learn about different world views, learn about the views of our own society. I am not a religious person in any way. Yet you say I have no morals simply because I don’t believe in religion. When I was in high school, students would get drunk at lunch, students would go smoke a joint when they were snowboarding and students would get so intoxicated that they throw up or pass out. Almost all of them believed in a religion of some sort and probably practice it in some way or another. I have done none of these examples, and yet you say I have no morality.

I think both Vogel and Hubert are confusing the issue. The issue is not whether people without religious faith can be moral people. Obviously, you find one decent law abiding agnostic and that argument has ended. The real issue and the meatier debate is over whether morals in society can be maintained apart from religion.

And that I believe is not possible. There’s no doubt in my mind, we’ve seen a general decline in morality in recent years. Sadly, much of this has been due to the Church letting down standards in many cases. Still, I would caution that Hubert’s asusmption that his high school classmates practiced their religion is just that-an assumption. High School (and college) years are a time when many drift from their moral bearings. But let’s be clear, our society’s problems are not helped by the church’s refusal to be counter-cultural.

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I Respond to Senator Stennett

Posted by Adam Graham on June 16, 2007

Over at New West, I take on Senator Clint Stennett’s attack on Republicans for closing the primary. Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve followed politics for many years, but I must confess that this is the first time I’ve seen a political leader argue that his own ineptitude in candidate recruitment should be the basis for government policy. That Senator Stennett can’t get enough Senators elected to fill a Toyota Sequoia should not mean that the Republican nominee should be a Democrat-lite. Contrary to what some argue, Democrats are not out of power because of facist mechanations in the Republican Party, but because their ideology doesn’t play well outside of the North End of Boise or Sun Valley.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Update:

Randy Stapilus responds:

The point, albeit made in a partisan way, is legitimate. For one thing, there’s no obligation of the Republican Party to nominate someone “acceptable” to non-Republicans, other than (if they feel the need) as a matter of political strategy. Besides that, if Republicans nominate a candidate who represents the views of only a minority of the voters, then logically that should open an opportunity for Democrats (or an independent) to seize the seat. If it doesn’t, then maybe a closer re-look at the voter population, or the candidates in question, is in order.

Indeed, Stapilus goes on to write:

Over the years, we’ve discussed the idea of party registration in Idaho with a number of elected officials. Among those who were Republicans, the view was overwhelming: Registration would be bad Republican strategy, for two central reasons. One is that many independents in Idaho have naturally gravitated toward Republicans; force them to formalize that, and who knows what they might do? The second point is equally simple: Republicans have fared spectacularly well under the current system, so why should they change it?

The issue is going to be out of the legislator’s hands. Supreme Court rulings on this are clear. The legilslature has the right to close the primary and it will be closed, that I can assure you of.

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