Friday, May 14, 2021

A few words for our leader

| November 18, 2020 1:00 AM

Go ahead, badmouth Brad if you must.

Idaho’s governor, barely a year into a job that was pretty much sailing along going back to predecessors Butch Otter and Jim Risch and Dirk Kempthorne, collided with a coronavirus that turned the world upside down.

With barely restrained panic raining down around him and political pressure being exerted from every direction, Brad Little didn’t flinch. He assembled experts from the arenas of science, business and education, and he and his team created a battle plan that, because the coronavirus was a previously unknown but lethal enemy, would have to be constantly revised.

People like predictability. They don’t like anybody putting rules in place and then changing them, again and again. Least of all when that anybody represents the government.

If there’s a tougher job out there — November ballot counters being a possible exception — we can’t think of it. Nor is the challenge eased when your alleged right hand person is stabbing you in the back. Gov. Little’s lieutenant, Janice McGeachin, has worked hard to derail the governor’s best efforts to protect all Idahoans.

But as the months and deaths have mounted, Little has kept his composure. He’s been a steadfastly positive influence, a poised leader who has erred on the side of being out in front of the pandemic as much as possible rather than picking up the pieces after more dire damage is done.

Before making decisions, he’s scrutinized problems from multiple perspectives, but always has acted after peering through the lens of keeping Idahoans safe.

The governor’s return to Stage 2 on Friday, with some important modifications and a boost from the Idaho National Guard, was certain to upset people who felt he was doing too little and people who felt he was doing too much. Those who hoped for a statewide mask mandate were disappointed. Hard as it is to believe, there are also those among us who think a completely hands-off approach is best, letting the virus do its devastating thing while God watches from the sideline.

Brad Little isn’t a sideline guy. He would never have run for the state’s highest office if he were. And he would not gain the respect and the heartfelt appreciation from so many of us who simply want to say, We’re proud of our governor. We trust his judgment. And we believe he'll continue to do whatever is necessary to keep Idahoans safe.