Sunday, February 05, 2023

We've got an ax to grind with our leaders

by Mike Ruskovich
| April 16, 2010 9:00 PM

We in Idaho should be very proud of the quality of the elected officials we send to represent us in Boise and in Washington. They have our best interests in mind and do not embarrass us in any way. But that was not always the case.

There was a time when we were foolish enough to elect men like Frank Church and Cecil Andrus, naive politicians who actually looked out for the little guy and who did idealistic things like preserving large chunks of public lands so wealthy private individuals and companies couldn't own them and lock out the common man.

How dumb is that? Any real American knows that what is good for the wealthy, for big business, and for the banks is good for the country. Money talks, and we in Idaho know it. And if not money, then loud special interests stuck on emotional issues.

But America sometimes falls for a politician who preaches compromise and sharing. So it is a good thing they have us to set them straight and to show them how to elect the right kinds of lawmakers. Guys like our governor.

OK, so maybe the governor doesn't have a great grasp of the needs of the middle class and the poor, but by golly what a great first impression he makes. The man could be on the cover of any men's fashion magazine.

Cecil Andrus, on the other hand, may have been a great statesman and outdoorsman, but the way his backside fit into a pair of pants never made the news like it did for Butch Otter. And what's more important, anyway, what you stand for or the clothes you stand in?

We have to keep up the image and the good work, Idaho, and not slip back into our embarrassing old ways, even if the rest of the country picks on us. That's right. The rest of the states just don't know quality when they see it. I mean, look what they did to our Larry Craig. The guy takes an anti-gay stance his whole career and they harpoon him just because it happens to be a wide stance. What's this country coming to, anyway?

So let's lead the way, Idaho. In next November's elections we have a lot of one-issue, ax-grinding candidates running on their own personal, religious and political platforms. And isn't that the way it really should be? Aren't the ax grinders the ones who keep things sharp enough to maintain clear-cut separations needed in a society?

Isn't that better than the unrealistic dreamers who promise to keep the best interests of the public in mind and who want to bring people together instead of driving them apart? Togetherness? Isn't that just another synonym for communism?

We have a duty to get out there and vote to keep people like our current legislators in office. People who keep a clear-cut separation between themselves and someone who hasn't been ordained by a public vote or who holds a minority opinion. People who see being elected as a clear-cut separation between themselves and the common man. People who saw the wisdom in voting themselves a nice pay raise while cutting back big-time on the rest of us. People who were unabashed about allowing millions to be spent remodeling the State Capitol building while some school buildings literally crumble for lack of funding.

Because, let's face it, good teachers can do their job in a barn, but legislators need marble walls and alabaster columns to remind them of the wealthy and powerful to whom they ultimately owe allegiance if they haven't already bound themselves to a particular special interest.

We have no excuses not to get the right people elected next fall, since we have quite a variety of just our kind of candidates. First, we can stick with our dandy incumbents and get rid of those few who were stupid enough to think a legislative raise was a bad idea when other budgets took historical hits. If they couldn't see they deserved a raise during these hard times, then we don't want them representing us, do we?

We can also vote out those who aren't smart enough to keep the wealth with the wealthy and the power with the powerful. We need to replace them with our kind. And for extra variety we have lots of ax-grinding, self-serving candidates. Some would like Idaho to be a sovereignty (doesn't President Otter have a good ring to it?). Some want to make political protests against the feds that might garner them votes but would ultimately leave empty spots in wallets that aren't theirs. But as long as they don't raise our taxes, who cares what it costs us?

No, there is no shortage of variety, but if a recent article in the Nickel's Worth was right, you might have a hard time finding Idaho candidates willing to put a "D" by their names. That might be a little too much variety. But who cares? We still have plenty of ax grinders.

One guy's ax is the pre-born child, and he advertises that he's had 16 kids, eight boys and eight girls. Now if that isn't leadership material, then what is?

Who knows what other choices we'll have by November? Perhaps there might even be someone we can vote down for suggesting we all work together. No, I guess not. Who wants to spend all that time, money and energy on a campaign and then lose?

So let's keep up the good work, Idaho. Elect single-issue divisive ax grinders (as long as they don't belong to an ax grinders union!) who only watch out for their own narrow ideologies, and who know that money talks loud enough so those without much of it won't come here and pollute our state with the dreamy expectation of being represented in either Boise or in Washington.

Mike Ruskovich is a Blanchard resident.

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