One little letter, one big difference
Not sure if this should be a history lesson, a spelling lesson or a psychoanalysis session — or all of the above. But a single dropped letter in a local Republican email accidentally puts our local political situation into perfect perspective.
Three times in the email, the writer, serving in a volunteer capacity for the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, meant to refer to the local Reagan Republicans club. The point of the email was to encourage recipients “to keep up the pressure!” on guest speaker Bill Brooks, a county commissioner who had been scheduled to speak about potentially different forms of government. “Please show up and tell him to stop this madness,” the email implored.
What’s funny, though, is that all three references to the Reagan Republicans were written “Regan Republicans.” Not Reagan, as in Ronald, but Regan, as in Brent.
Reagan is a former U.S. president of some note.
Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.
It might actually be more accurate to refer to the local Republican club as the Regan Republicans, because Republicanism in Kootenai County has sadly taken on more of the image of the local leader than the other guy.
And that’s why traditional Republicans lament the party takeover by Regan, Brent and his followers, many of whom are fairly recent arrivals to our community. More traditional Republicans would prefer to see the party functioning at least remotely like it was done by Reagan, Ronald — the "big tent" of a party that welcomed different views so long as society as a whole benefited.
Brooks declined the ambush after facing the equivalent of a firing squad last week. Attendees at that “Republican” meeting weren’t interested in hearing Brooks talk; they already had decided that nothing good can come from allowing the citizens of Kootenai County to consider if there might be a better way of governing than having three commissioners rule the roost.
Regardless of what their critics might say or do, Brooks and fellow Commissioner Chris Fillios are determined to let a process play out — a process that terrifies Regan, Brent and his followers because they perceive some threat to their attempted stranglehold on local politics. The stranglehold depends largely on keeping things just as they are — which has resulted for many years in every county elected position being held by a Republican.
That's no longer enough. Now, Republicans running for any office, partisan and nonpartisan alike, must swear fealty to the central committee or face opposition and ostracism.
For the record, Brooks and Fillios, a duo demonized by the same Republican Central Committee that tried hard to defeat them in their last election, are both Republicans. They’re conservative Second Amendment allies, fiscal hawks, principled men working hard to represent all county residents.
You could say they’re a lot more like Reagan, Ronald than Regan, Brent.