Thrown Out Of The Idaho Republican Party
[Local Idaho politics warning!]
I've been a Republican my whole life; I've never voted for a Democrat for President. I went door-to-door passing out campaign literature for a Republican Congressional candidate back in Nebraska in 1978. I wasn't active in politics during my 21+ years in the Navy, but always considered myself a Republican. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, however, apparently doesn't think that I am one.
What did I do to make him mad? Well, I'm supporting Democrat Larry Grant in the Idaho 1st Congressional District race against Republican Bill Sali. I've blogged before about why I'm upset with the current crop of Congressional Republicans (of whom Mike Simpson is one), and also about why I like Larry Grant over Bill Sali. This isn't a decision I've reached lightly -- I've put a lot of thought and research into it. I'm probably one of the few people who has met and spoken to both Grant and Sali on the campaign trail this year. (I talked to Sali last week after the Flag Day rally at the Capitol that Alan at IdaBlue blogged about recently. He's very personable when you're talking to him one-on-one, and will be a tough campaigner.) Because I'm "leaving the reservation", so to speak, to vote for a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Democrat with a record of real-world business success, Congressman Simpson (and apparently the Party Chairman) don't want me, or others like me, in the Republican Party anymore:
"I've heard some talk about Republicans for Grant," Simpson said. "There is no such thing as a Republican for Grant. They are Democrats."I'll be honest -- this upsets me quite a bit. I feel I've done enough for my country to be accepted as a member of either one of the two main political parties, no matter who I happen to vote for in one election. And anyway -- who is Mike Simpson to throw me out of my own party? This is a guy who not only votes for every pork-laden budget bill that comes down the pike, he has the gall to actually defend earmarks as being required by the Constitution. I didn't realize that I had to believe that the Constitution stipulates that budget items be put into bills without a committee vote, frequently during late session conference committee sessions, in order to follow Simpson's brand of Republicanism. (Instapundit mentions today an earmark that needlessly took up a lot of the Submarine Force's time; more info is here.)
Party Chairman Kirk Sullivan reiterated the point — and anyone who differed kept quiet at the convention.
In all seriousness, the Republican Party as represented by Mike Simpson and Bill Sali isn't one I recognize. Simpson especially seems interested in the federal government spending more and more money, and both are apparently obsessed with what people are doing in the privacy of their own homes -- I always thought Republicans stood for less government interference. (Simpson has quite a long screed about how he intends to protect us from another glimpse of Janet Jackson's breast.) While Simpson would have us believe that we have to vote for Sali in support of Republican unity, it's clear from Sali's actions that his concept of unity doesn't permit any deviation from his party line.
My feeling is that it's the Idaho Republican Party that left me, not the other way around.