Idaho politics. We have a temporary governor, Risch, who is going to run again for Lieutenant Governor, rather than for Governor (he is apparently going to wait for the next election cycle to actually run for Governor). During his brief tenure as Governor he managed to get his Republican controlled legislature to pass what passes for "tax reform." His tax reform bill reduces property taxes and increases the Idaho sales tax. As a result of this, starting on October lst, everyone will pay one cent more for sales tax. The actual result of this "reform" is that 60% of the benefits will benefit either business or absentee landowners (like the Gropenfuehrer of California), while only 40% will benefit local homeowners. The Republicans passed this plan even though there was a Democrat plan that was much better and would have returned the savings to those who truly need them (local homeowners). This Democratic plan was not even discussed or considered although polls showed that a majority of Idaho residents preferred it. Republicans just do what they want and to hell with what the people want. Anyway, for the moment this is neither here nor there. Risch is refusing to debate his Democratic opponent, Larry LaRocco. His idea of a debate is to allow him to say his piece, then leave before LaRocco gets to say anything. That is, they would not meet face-to-face. Why do you think he would want to do this? He obviously wants to run but will he really be able to hide? LaRocco ran once before and very nearly won. I think Risch is not very comfortable with his position. It seems to me if he was really smart he'd want LaRocco to go first. But who ever suggested he was smart?
In another important race our former Lieutenant Governor, Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter is giving up his seat in the House of Representative to run for Governor. As he has accomplished virtually nothing as a Representative, and says he is "bored" with it, I guess it is just as well. As he also did next to nothing while he was previously Idaho Lieutenant Governor for several years, one might well wonder why he thinks he should become Governor. As near as I can tell he has no real qualifications other than being a genuine Idaho "good ol' boy." He does have a DUI on his record, and he also twice was fined for violating Idaho water laws. I guess his major claim to fame is that he once won a tight jeans contest in a bar. Anticipating his election to our Governorship he recently married one of his girlfriends. I guess he figured out that his conservative base might not approve of his continuing to live in sin while inhabiting the Governor's mansion. He, too, is doing everything he can to avoid debating his Democratic rival, Brady, who previously ran for Governor and very nearly won. Otter seems to think that the Governorship ought to be his by virtue of his many years of joining as many organizations as possible.
Finally, for the moment, we have a contest for Otter's replacement in the House of Representatives. The Republican candidate is Bill Sali, a true right wing conservative. Sali, I have recently read, still believes there were WMD's in Iraq. As he also believes abortion causes breast cancer I guess this is not too surprising. He opposes abortion, I am told, even in cases of rape and/or incest. He is pathologically homophobic. He has been described in public, even by members of his own party, as an idiot. Apparently most of his financial support comes from outside the state from those who share his ultra-rightist views. Dick, the Slimy, Cheney actually came to Boise to raise funds for him although I gather it was not terribly successful. As Cheney's poll numbers are somewhere around 18% or less, I guess his endorsement is a real winner. Sali's opponent, Larry Grant, is a retired Micron executive, a lawyer, Idaho born and raised, a moderate Democrat, intelligent, informed, personable, willing to listen and compromise if necessary, and, in short, everything Sali is not. Sali, need, I say it, does not want to debate him. There was a report today on Red State Rebels (a blog) that a recent poll indicated Grant was actually ahead. Sali apparently tried to get the papers to suppress this report (I confess I do not know if this is really true).
So what is it with these Republican candidates who do not want to debate? What is it they fear (other than fear itself). They seem to believe that as Idaho is such a red state they will be elected no matter what they do, or fail to do. Could it be that Idaho might actually elect some Democrats this time? I fervently hope so, and you should too. Enough is enough.
Here at Sandhill we are currently under siege. Wild turkeys. A few years back Wild turkeys were introduced (or perhaps reintroduced) to North Idaho. We thought it was a great idea. Still do. Except for the fact that it has proven to be far too successful. At first there were just a few and they were a real novelty. When you occasionally saw some it was with pleasure. Then there were more of them. In the last couple of years they have multiplied. They actually come onto our deck, land on the roof of our house, and even peer into the windows at times. But this year they have completely taken over our garden. It must have been an exceptional year for wild turkeys as they obviously bred most successfully. We have had as many as sixty at a time in our yard. They scratch away the mulch, eat some of the plants, dig holes in which to rest, and poop everywhere. We still love the idea of wild turkeys, we are learning to not be so enchanted with the reality of them. Furthermore, you can't get rid of them. We go out and shoo them away but they leave only begrudgingly and then return. They have no fear of us whatsoever and move away only when you press them so closely they have no choice. And they are unutterably stupid. They will repeatedly try to get through a fence even though they cannot and ignore an open gate nearby. They are dinosaurs. I guess you know that. Think of it. As they are the only surviving dinosaurs it is not hard to understand why the other dinosaurs are extinct. They were just too stupid to survive. Never mind theories about comets crashing into the earth or changing climates or whatever, the dinosaurs disappeared out of their idiocy. You want to know how turkeys have survived? It is because they have domesticated us. I know, you want to believe your ancestors were smart enough to domesticate them. But in the case of turkeys it is quite the other way around. Once they find you they settle down with you and what was once yours becomes theirs. You can't kill them. You have to have a license. The license only allows you to kill one or two a year. They breed as fast as rabbits. It is a lost cause. Even the coyotes can't keep up with them. We now even have to stop and wait for them to cross the county roads, which they do only at their leisure. Turkeys, turkeys everywhere. I guess things could be worse.