The cuckoo nest

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Carrie: It’s June and time, once again, for the Idaho state Republican Party to hold their annual convention.

Jerry: You mean Idaho’s version of Saturday Night Live?

Carrie: Yes… and this year they have an especially entertaining cast of characters.

Jerry: Who’s running for party chair? Is Jonathan Parker running again?

Carrie: Mr. Parker, who was elected chair in 2017, resigned in February. He is facing bigger challenges now that he’s been arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-wife.

Jerry: Is he the guy I read about in the newspaper that stalked her by “repeatedly hiding in the bushes, masturbating, disguising himself with a wig.”

Carrie: Whoa! What kind of wig? You mean like the ones worn by our founding fathers?

Jerry: Hmm... I can’t picture George Washington hiding outside of Mount Vernon doing something like that to get Martha’s attention!

Carrie: Looks like Mr. Parker won’t be a candidate. Who else is in line to lead the state GOP?

Jerry: The current State Chair is Jennifer Locke. Ms. Locke is a Kootenai County deputy clerk and a precinct committee officer for the Kootenai County Republican Committee. Her county GOP committee’s recent claim to fame was a resolution to let Alt-Right Austrian nationalist Martin Sellner into the U.S. He has been banned by federal authorities.

Carrie: Why did they want him in the U.S.?

Jerry: Because Mr. Sellner’s fiancé, Brittany Pettibone of Post Falls, asked them for help. According to media reports, Ms. Pettibone was a “major promoter of the hoax known as Pizzagate.”

Carrie: Oh my gosh! That was the false story that Hilary Clinton was involved in a child sex trafficking ring supposedly located in a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor. Some guy actually believed it and took a shot at the parlor with his rifle.

Jerry: I guess that tells you something about the political leanings of the Kootenai County Republican Committee. Their chairman, Brent Regan, is also chairman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Carrie: With that kind of baggage, I doubt Ms. Locke will run for party chair. Does that mean Idaho GOP Second Vice Chair Bryan Smith will run?

Jerry: He may have been interested, but he’s gotten a lot of bad publicity recently for his medical debt collection practices. East Idaho News did a big expose about his debt collection company, Medical Recovery Services, charging huge legal fees against people who couldn’t pay their medical bills.

Carrie: There were over twelve hundred posts on the East Idaho News Facebook page from people who felt victimized by Bryan Smith’s company.

Jerry: Guess he’s out of the running. Looks like the race for the state GOP chair is turning into a negative power struggle!

Carrie: They seem to like people who generate bad publicity. If that’s the case, how about Rep. Chad Christensen?

Jerry: You mean the guy who can’t go to breakfast in Boise without showing off his gun? I think he’d be better suited for sergeant at arms, and I do mean arms!

Carrie: The only person, so far, who has publicly announced he’s running is Tom Luna.

Jerry: Wasn’t he the former state education superintendent whose controversial “Luna laws” got overturned in a public referendum?

Carrie: Yup. Idaho’s current GOP party leaders seem to favor people who are out of touch with the general public.

Jerry: It’s rumored Raul Labrador is interested in being party chair.

Carrie: Seriously? He’s the guy who presided over the 2016 convention when the party had a major meltdown and abruptly adjourned.

Jerry: Maybe they’ll pick him because he’s had some experience!

Carrie: Very funny.

Jerry: Well, you gotta laugh. As someone once said, “Sometimes you laugh to keep from weeping!”

• • •

Jerry is a retired farmer/rancher and native Idahoan. Carrie is a retired nonprofit administrator.

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