An endorsement of Rep. Bryan Zollinger in Wednesday’s paper incorrectly stated that he had “sponsored” a bill to ease debt collections.

On September 5, in the weekly commentary space extended to the Bonneville GOP, Party leader Bryan D. Smith authored a look at this November’s Medicaid Expansion Initiative. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith’s piece was not up to the task.

In the allotted 450 words, Smith referenced President Obama or Obamacare thirteen times. Several sentences were wasted on “fake news,” “false facts,” and “fake facts.” He also chose to throw in other charged code words: “left-wing group,” “progressive activists,” “inconvenient truth” and “bamboozled” (which I liked).

In addition, in the penultimate paragraph he attributed to the conclusion of a Goldwater Institute study a quote not there. The sentence quoted is found in the Executive Summary. (For those interested in reading the cited report go to the Goldwater Institute website and search the page for “Medicaid expansion.”)

What I did find in the report’s conclusion is this, “While further study and continued evaluation are needed, the big lesson for state lawmakers from Arizona’s experience is that the primary beneficiaries of Arizona’s Medicaid expansion are not the people, but the politically connected hospitals.”

My criticism may seem to be nit picking but I believe it speaks to what I see as Mr. Smith’s penchant for hyperbole. Was Mr. Smith just preaching to the choir? Does he not grasp the gravity of this debate? Perhaps, he feels that by using politically charged code words he can obfuscate rather than address the real issue. I don’t know. What I do know is the readers of the Post Register and the voters of Idaho deserve better.

At the suggestion of a friend, I recently attended a meeting of Reclaim Idaho. I found the attendees not “left-wing” zealots as implied by Mr. Smith but in fact earnest citizens advocating a solution to a serious problem. After the meeting, I decided to put my theater and public speaking training to use as a volunteer presenter. I was not “bamboozled” nor do I consider myself a “progressive activist.”

As an ardent admirer of former State of Washington U.S. Senators Dan Evans and Slade Gorton, though not card carrying, I identified as Republican. Twice I was selected a delegate to district and county caucuses, I was even approached about seeking a precinct committeeman position. Alas, the party left me.

In today’s parlance, I would derisively be called a RINO. I suspect so would be T.R., Ike, the Gipper, Poppy Bush, and perhaps even Tricky Dick. As for Barry Goldwater, namesake of the Goldwater Institute, I believe the Senator would be apoplectic at the idea of cozying up to despots, overlooking Russian transgressions, and trillion- dollar deficits.

Many serious issues face Idaho and our nation, Medicaid expansion here being just one requiring rigorous debate. Politically charged code words will not cut it. As I said, Idaho deserves better.

Editor’s note: The following posthumous statement was read by McCain family spokesman Rick Davis following Sen. John McCain’s death on Aug. 25.

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