Friday, August 4, 2006

Otter fails openness test

Pat Murphy

Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who's leaving Congress to run for Idaho governor, can't be allowed to avoid explaining why he doesn't support fellow Republican Mike Simpson's Central Idaho Development and Recreation Act.

By not adding his support to generally popular legislation, then refusing to explain why, only raises questions of Otter's motives and whose interests he has at heart, if not the public's.

This is a critical moment for Otter. He would have voters believe he's the best suited by experience and temperament to be Idaho's chief executive.

Clamming up on a vital public issue is not the stuff of a governor. Nor is this especially smart politics, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brady breathing down Otter's neck.

Has Otter been conditioned by his few years in Washington to mimic the environment of political secrecy that characterizes the Republican administration?

Idaho needs none of that. Idahoans want straight and open talk and want to be convinced of a political candidate's worthiness by his or her willingness to answer questions and take positions that are explained fully.

Butch Otter has failed that test. Not only has he disappointed a fellow Republican (Rep. Simpson) who sought his support, but also is suggesting to voters he would run and hide as governor rather than answer questions he dislikes or are too uncomfortable.

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