COMMENTARY: Elephant Metamorphosis
| August 5, 2022 1:00 AM
There are two types of people who get into politics; those that are called to serve and those that desire to rule. The natural evolution of governmental systems is for those that are called to serve are slowly displaced by those seeking power.
Because politics is a process that involves status and power, in the fullness of time the goals become less about serving the needs of the people to more about concentrating power. This evolution happens nearly imperceptibly and those in power justify the concentration of power as a necessary element of their “service.”
This process leads to the rising dissatisfaction of ordinary citizens with the established political “machinery” until it reaches a critical mass that motivates many voters to ask a fundamental question, what can I do to fix this? Some decide to run for elected office. Many more step forward to volunteer time or money. These uprisings of the political base are referred to as ‘grassroots’ because they consist of vital, but typically unseen components of the political process, ordinary citizens.
The Republican Party in Idaho is currently undergoing one of these fundamental renewals. At our latest convention the entire party leadership slate was replaced in a landslide election. The entrenched establishment is not happy with this new reality. Those that have become accustomed to power often begin to see that power as their right so any challenge to that power is met with vicious rhetoric, juvenile antics, and sometimes extra-legal actions.
When the convention delegates elected the new executive team, the Twin Falls chairman attempted to crash the convention by issuing a quorum call and then instructing his delegation and others to leave. It didn’t work.
So shocked by their losses, a longtime establishment member and Monsanto lobbyist was reduced to incoherent mutterings labeling the majority of convention delegates a “cabal,” “a junta” and “reminiscent of gangs in Europe that put heads on spikes.” Ironically, he also bemoaned a loss of civility.
Closer to home, after the last North Idaho College Trustee election, establishment members immediately began what was ultimately a successful operation to overthrow the will of the people. They initiated an accreditation complaint against NIC and then used this as “justification” to openly blackmail one if the trustees, threatening litigation unless the trustee resigned. Facing thousands of dollars out of pocket to defend a zero pay job, the trustee resigned. Both the Secretary of State and the Attorney General agreed that there was no legal basis for the threatened suit.
Not satisfied with power sharing, the remaining establishment trustees resigned, reducing the board below quorum and allowing the unelected, appointed by the governor, State Board of Education to fill the remaining board seats with establishment loyalists.
Their joy and self-congratulations at subverting the will of the voter may be short-lived as the three board seats are up for election this November.
In the run-up to the May primary, a self-selected group of establishment politicos formed a committee and declared themselves the only “true” Republicans. In a bizarre, bi-polar display they claim to be a “big tent” for Republicans while simultaneously listing over a dozen Republican organizations that they disavow. Notably, the democrat party is not one of them.
When the Secretary of State asked them about their activities they claimed that they were spending less than $100 and had no requirement to disclose their financials. In fact they had spent many thousands of dollars and when the Secretary of State discovered their lie they were fined the maximum allowed under the law.
To compound this humiliation, the results of the primary confirmed that their list of endorsed candidates was a list of the losers.
Undaunted, the leaders of this new PAC penned a recent My Turn which contained a laundry list of libel against the official Republican Party. Their claims either contradict themselves or can be debunked with a rudimentary internet search. Having lost all credibility they seem intent on bringing others down to their level. This craven lust for power makes for a sad display and reinforces the need for them to retire from public office.
Active citizens are key to maintaining a healthy Republican form of government. When the establishment elites lose touch with the citizens, the citizens must rise to install new representatives.
The Republican Party is dynamic and energized and while change can be messy, it is also needed to bring the party back into alignment with the people it serves. We can be thankful that so many Idahoans are willing to do their part.
It’s just common sense.
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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.