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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002

  Opinion Column

Idaho GOP: 
Father Knows Best

Express Staff Writer

The reigning Republican political hierarchy in Boise is sending a powerful heavy-handed message to Idahoans about GOP stewardship — lump it or like it.

Start with Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s order sealing off roads leading to the Capitol and ringing it with 24-hour state police and National Guards troops in the name of national security (?). He won’t explain to Idahoans the menace that imperils the Statehouse grounds. Trust me, says the Guv.

Then, Republican Attorney General Alan Lance dreams up a witch’s brew of legislation in the name of national security (?) to close public documents to the public, and empower public officials with authority-by-fiat to arbitrarily deny public access to documents. Since the state’s chief law enforcement officer concocted this police state legislation, Lance presumably would turn a blind eye to reckless abuse of the law that could even conceal political tomfoolery.

Then Republican state legislators declared that Idaho voters didn’t know what they were doing when they twice voted for term limits on elected officials, thereupon rebuking voters by repealing the public’s term limit votes, even overriding Gov. Kempthorne’s veto of the repealer. This patronizing Father Knows Best superiority seems to be a Republican trait: President Bush’s attorney general, John Ashcroft, is in court trying to reverse the decision of Oregon voters to allow physician-assisted suicides, presumably also because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Not to be outdone by coarse GOP politics elsewhere, the Legislature’s Republican caucus has met at least five times behind closed doors to craft a new state budget. The beauty of secret meetings is there’s no public record of who made what deals in exchange for what.

Finally, the "independent" (?) state Fish and Game Commission danced did its political duty by gangplanking Fish and Game Department Director Rod Sando, who refused to play political footsie and knuckle under to agricultural interests.

So, there it is. Repealing the public’s right to vote, sealing public documents, doing business in secret, and forcing out a professional wildlife manager – Idaho Republicans prove the observation of 19th century English historian Lord Acton, that "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

With Enron hearings under way, Americans will get another earful of how high ranking corporate chieftains dodge telling the truth when caught in nefarious schemes.

Remember the last time such ranking brass lied through their teeth at a congressional hearing – during investigations of revelations that cigarette makers had known for years that smoking is addictive and dangerous.

There they sat, the five CEOs of the largest cigarette makers, shoulder to shoulder, under oath, each repeating in rote the phrase, "In my opinion" smoking is not addictive or dangerous, though secret reports from their own research labs confirmed the perils of smoking.

These merchants of death were never prosecuted for perjury, nor for peddling poisonous merchandise, and presumably went off into the sunset with satchels of millions of dollars in retirement benefits.

Enron brass who don’t take the Fifth have a dodge – they swear with a straight face "I didn’t know" what was happening, although they were paid kingly salaries and stock bonuses for being the best and brightest executives that money could buy to run Enron.

Thieves in corporate suites are the same under the skin as common street pickpockets: when caught, they whine excuses no one believes and reveal their unmanliness in refusing to face up to their disgusting venality.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.