Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Idaho Politics Update

As we're now a little less than three months from the election, I thought I'd compose my thoughts on what we'll be seeing here in Idaho as November draws closer. We've got two real races of potential national interest that have open seats: the race for Governor, and the 1st Congressional District. While Idaho really hasn't been in play for the Democrats since 1994, I think it might change this year. (Disclaimer: I posted a while back about how I was planning on voting for Democrats this year, and nothing's really changed, except that as I learn more about the candidates, I'm realizing that I'm voting for the Democrats as much as, or even more, than voting against the Republicans.)

In the Governor's race, we've got a respected newspaperman, Jerry Brady, representing the Democrats; he ran for the same office in 2002, losing to the incumbent Governor 56-42%. This time, he's coming into the race with better name recognition, and his opponent doesn't seem nearly as formidable. The Republicans nominated current 1st District Congressman "Butch" Otter (or, who as his official House website is currently calling him, "Rep. C. L. "Butch" Otter"), who seems to have something of a tin ear politically, as well as not exactly reflecting the type of "family values" that Republicans are used to. (Kind of off-topic, but I'm curious: Otter's previous 28 year marriage was "annulled" by the Catholic Church -- what's the status of his kids from that marriage? Is it as if the marriage never happened?) I think this election will be closer than many people think; if the Republicans were to lose the Idaho Governor's mansion, I'm thinking that would maybe be the kind of "wake-up call" the national party needs. (Note: I tried to link to Otter's campaign website, but I'm getting a "Server Not Found" when I link to the address I found on the State GOP Candidates page.)

I've blogged about the Congressional race before, and the last three months have seemingly been about fund-raising for the candidates, so there's not much new news. One interesting development, though, has been that it appears that the national Republican leadership is starting to worry about the race. The big-name Republicans only have a certain number of days to travel around and support candidates; that's why it interests me that the GOP has seen fit to send both Vice President Cheney and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert out here to raise funds for the Republican candidate, Bill Sali; they've also made him one of the ten candidates to benefit from a special D.C. fundraiser -- if they weren't worried, there are better places they could be spending the money.

While Democratic candidate Larry Grant has been getting pretty good press, it's been a bit tougher for Mr. Sali and his supporters, and it could get worse. The big event in Idaho this month will be a special legislative session to consider a property tax reform bill that a lot of people don't like. There's more on why it's a bad bill here, but I'm going to be interested to see how Mr. Sali, who's still a State Representative, is going to vote on it. See, the plan includes a 1% increase in the sales tax. Up to now, no matter how many Republicans call Sali an "absolute idiot" or other bad things, no one has questioned his integrity -- he generally stands for what he believes, and doesn't allow politicial expediency to get in his way. That's why I was surprised to see him listed as "undecided" about the bill in an article from today's Idaho Statesman. On his campaign web site, he makes a big deal about never supporting a tax increase. Here's what he said (in case it goes down the memory hole):
In the Legislature, I made a pledge that I would never vote for a tax increase. I am proud to say that I have kept that promise for my entire career. Not only did I vote against the recent 1-cent increase in sales tax that the Legislature imposed on Idaho taxpayers, I led the fight against it!
In my mind, he's moved a long way from "led the fight against it" to "undecided". My guess is that he'll eventually vote "no", but if he doesn't, it might be hard for him to avoid being labelled as a flip-flopper and pledge breaker... and that's the one thing he had going for him.

More as the election gets closer.

Update 0759 15 August: Adam responds to my post, and we talk a little bit in his comments. Adam points out that Mr. Sali voting "yes" on the upcoming bill might not break the letter of his pledge, but the reasoning has a little bit of a "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" vibe to it -- and we know that Mr. Sali would like to avoid sounding like that. That's why I think he'll vote "no".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Catholic Church teaches that children from a marriage that is later annulled are considered legitimate, and there is nothing "wrong" with them. I hope that clears up any confusion.

8/14/2006 1:51 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Thanks. I honestly didn't know the answer to that one.

8/14/2006 1:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Care to comment on Jerry Brady calling for good jobs in Idaho while paying his own workers $7.50 an hour for telemarketing jobs that are going for $9.50 in the private sector?

8/14/2006 10:57 AM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

Bubblehead, I've been wondering the same thing about Sali and the special session. The way I see it, he can't vote for Risch's plan because it increases the sales tax.

Sali has gotten himself into the same situation that George Bush I entered when he said "Read my lips, no new taxes" and then had to raise taxes. What Sali doesn't say is that the temporary 1-cent sales tax he fought against was to help keep Idaho's public schools afloat during the very difficult economy earlier this decade. It lasted the promised period, then it expired, as the Legislature promised.

Taxes are how we fund government services - you know, schools, roads, police and fire protection, little luxuries like that. Sometimes we have to raise 'em. Any politician who vows never to raise taxes is a fool, a liar, or both.

Fortunately, the Democrat in this race - Larry Grant - is at least as fiscally conservative, and a hell of a lot more intellectually honest - than Sali. And no one has EVER called Grant an idiot.

8/14/2006 11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grant's an idiot
There I said it.

8/14/2006 2:06 PM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

Hardy har har.

8/14/2006 8:11 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I guess we should have said, no one of consequence has called Larry an idiot.

8/15/2006 12:07 AM


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