Guest editorial: Crash course in ineptitude

From the Twin Falls Times-News

The state Republican Party is officially unfit to govern. It’s a sad state of affairs for Idaho’s dominant political force, one that won’t change until the tea party rash has been purged from the GOP’s flesh.

The right flank insurgency — and years of establishment Republican compliance — has offered little but bad ideas and terrible leadership. Idaho is essentially the national low water mark in educational funding and per capita income. Tax dollars are spent on doomed bids to seize federal land, an insane lust to be on the wrong side of the gay marriage revolution and the mass slaughter of wolves, ravens and any other creature that state lawmakers find annoying. We’re a hub of corporate welfare, all the while touting one of the nation’s lowest tax burdens. Idaho is headed straight to the bottom of the national heap, and the GOP has overseen the lion’s share of the freefall. We’re a failing state and enough is enough.

The ineptitude was supposed to end last weekend in Moscow at the GOP’s biennial convention. The establishment — fresh off a throttling of the tea party in last month’s primary — said they were going to reassert themselves. The establishment said they were going to bring a hint of sanity back into the political entity that’s recently more concerned with waging a mythical culture war against everyone but the most devout. It didn’t happen.

The entire fiasco quickly devolved into another embarrassing bit of intra-GOP infighting. The party that runs Idaho is too busy trying to govern itself — too busy managing a gaping chasm amongst its own ranks — to actually preside over Idaho. It’s small-tent politics at its worst.

Cops and administrators with genuine concerns about arming college students weren’t even allowed last winter to testify in the state Senate. It’s but one example of the tone-deaf, narrow-minded tactics applied in Boise, where the causes of the few trump the representation of the many.

Republican Party delegates last weekend gaveled in, sniped back and forth over which faction should have power, and gaveled out. The ridiculous GOP platform that for two years has been used to beat any reasonable candidate over the head remains. An election of a new state GOP chairman who could actually lead was never even discussed. It’s unacceptable behavior from the political organization that expects nothing less than unilateral control over a state of 1.6 million.

Idaho’s feckless Democratic Party is no doubt part of the problem. The GOP doesn’t have to display any semblance of competence when Democrats rarely muster much in the way of a viable challenge. The GOP has been left for too long to its own devices and under no threat of ballot-box reprisal. They’ve gutted the state without the threat of indictment and permitted the insane to run to asylum.

Idaho’s GOP has come to consider dominance over the Gem State a birthright. But the Republican Party can’t even govern itself, let alone the state of Idaho.