Guest editorial: GOP: Go to Moscow, come back to reality

Enough with the foolish squabbling. It’s time to actually govern.

This week’s GOP Convention in Moscow is make or break for Republicans. Either they get their house in order or Idaho descends into the abyss.

The Grand Old Party spent the past half-decade slicing its own flesh, while locked in an intra-party spat between conservatives and hyper-conservatives. That’s all well and good. On second thought, it’s a sham that’s placed party ahead of Idaho and is driving the state off a cliff.

Let us count the ways.

1. Idaho’s per-capita income plunged from 43rd in 2007 in the nation to 49th in 2012, say researchers at the University of New Mexico.

2. State spending for education and roads still lag well behind 2009 prerecession levels, even with an influx in students and residents. We’re 49th in per-pupil educational spending. Idaho’s education cuts since the recession are the nation’s deepest. Priorities.

3. Idaho is second to last in the percentage of workers earning minimum wage. Take that, Tennessee.

There’s more, but we thought the highlights would suffice.

Put plainly, the “establishment vs. tea party” spat is destroying Idaho. That’s the problem with a one-party state. If the dominant party goes off the rails, the entire thing falls down.

Idaho’s GOP is too busy arguing about the important stuff, like mounting a losing defense of “traditional” marriage or spending mountains of cash on a doomed-but-pandering bid to somehow “take back” federal lands that Idaho never actually owned.

The establishment — for years petrified of the dreaded tea party weapon, the primary — let the right flank set the agenda. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the Republican Party platform established in 2012 right here in Twin Falls. It calls for, among other things, repealing the direct election of U.S. senators and a return to the gold standard.

Yup, the important stuff.

And let’s not forget about the wolves. Showing how much they’re hated, we mean really hated, is worth a heap of money, too. The pesky school children can do more with less.

The party’s platform and chairmanship this week are up for grabs. The right-flank was pretty handily defeated last month in most of the state’s primary elections. Even the closed primary strategy wasn’t enough. That’s a signal of what people think of the poverty-inducing itinerary that’s hurdling Idaho to the bottom of the American heap in first-class style. The establishment must take the initiative, stop fretting about getting primaried and bring the GOP back into the realm of the real.

Idaho’s power class has spent all of its time worrying about party while the state burns. Enough with the feel-good, meaningless, post-primary calls for unity. Enough with the absurd initiatives only designed to make “statements.” Enough with the lunacy. Go to Moscow and get the house in order.

Republicans run Idaho. But we all suffer, unless they grow up and get a grip.

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