Friday, December 08, 2023

EDITORIAL: Governor throws a knockout punch

| September 24, 2023 1:00 AM

Texas, schmexas.

It’s Brad Little you don’t want to mess with.

Raul Labrador learned that lesson in the 2018 Republican primary, when Little knocked him off the road en route to his first term as Idaho’s governor.

Janice McGeachin still bears tire tread marks from her 20-point loss to Little in the 2022 gubernatorial primary.

And now, after overstepping their lanes, three large state U.S. senators have felt how hard a knockout punch a 69-year-old from little Emmet, Idaho, can throw.

Gov. Little’s Sept. 15 letter to Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Dick Durbin and Richard Blumenthal was exactly what the University of Idaho — indeed, the entire state of Idaho — needed. From on high, the three senators had lectured university and state officials on the proposed UI purchase of University of Phoenix.

In short, they gave Idaho zero credit for figuring out this massive, controversial acquisition on its own. They basically indicated that crossing Russian minefields would be safer than bringing Phoenix into the Idaho higher ed family.

The trio clearly are not fans of Phoenix, which they accused of continuing predatory, over-priced practices, but who knew they held Idaho’s braintrust in so little regard?

You can read Gov. Little’s counterpunch and accompanying article from IdahoEdNews:

It’s guaranteed to excite fans of political fights, but the bare-knuckled bashing administered by our governor also unleashing some of the frustration that supporters of the purchase are feeling.

UI’s $685 million pursuit of Phoenix has been pummeled from many quarters — now including leaders from other states. The proposed purchase represents a huge financial commitment for a tarnished brand, the secrecy behind negotiations was unsettling to every enlightened supporter of transparency, and the risks involved could reach beyond Idaho’s borders.

But as Press editorials argued June 14 and June 16, and the governor’s scathing letter spelled out earlier this month, UI President Scott Green and the Idaho State Board of Education are doing exactly what they should be doing: exploring innovative ways to make higher education more available and more affordable to Idahoans seeking to improve themselves while bolstering the state’s already enviable economic position.

So let the critics wail. But a word to the wise? Think before you take a swing at our governor. And be ready to duck.

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