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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 19 - 25, 2002

  Opinion Columns

Idaho GOP dusts off a wacky golden oldie

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Idaho’s state Republican Party workhorses came away from Sun Valley this week with at least one crumb for the party’s extreme right wing.

Never mind that Idaho’s state budget is in shambles because of ill-conceived tax cuts orchestrated by the Republican governor and Republican Legislature just before the economy collapsed.

Never mind that Idaho’s standing on national lists of public programs always hovers in embarrassing low percentiles.

One of the early agenda items for party regulars during the state GOP party meeting was a golden oldie of the Far Right — get the US out of the United Nations.

In the South, where I grew up, three billboards have been ubiquitous along rural roads for generations.

One was "Impeach Earl Warren" — the conservative-turned-liberal Eisenhower-appointed U.S. Supreme Court chief justice (1953-69).

Another was, "Jesus Is Coming."

And finally, "Get the US Out of The UN!"

Warren was never impeached, and died in retirement in 1974.

Jesus hasn’t yet returned.

And the United States is still firmly ensconced in the United Nations as one of its charter founders, despite the best efforts of the misanthropic Sen. Jesse Helms to default on dues obligations and the relentless efforts of fringe Republicans to pull the plug on "The United Nations Participation Act of 1945" that created a home for the UN in New York City and made us a member.

After "respectfully but firmly request(ing) members of Congress to use appropriate constitutional authority in order to extricate our nation from the threat of freedom posed by the United Nations," Idaho GOPers endorsed reviving the mechanism for ditching the UN — U.S. House Resolution 1146, the flamboyantly named "American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 1999," a title that might lead unthinking Americans to believe the United States has once again become a colony of servants to a foreign royalty.

House Resolution 1146, now growing whiskers, was introduced in 1999 by a handful of Republicans, including Idaho’s former congresswoman, Helen Chenoweth, who was especially paranoid about the United Nations.

There’s no indication the resolution was adopted by a congressional majority or any evidence then-President Clinton took it seriously or current President Bush plans to heed it.

It’s a strident, no-ifs-ands-or-buts document that would be a sweeping repeal of laws and agreements that bind together the United States and the rest of the world.

Thousands of diplomats serving at the New York City headquarters, for example, would be stripped of diplomatic immunity and cast adrift, a breathtaking repeal of an international accord.

The United States would abandon hundreds of unglamorous and uncontroversial UN agencies, committees and organizations devoted to global weather forecasting, world communications, trade, international aviation routes, health, refugees and the like.

The United States would no longer belong to peacekeeping operations.

Put simply, Idaho Republicans voted for the United States to become more isolationist, to abandon the place where talk is preferred over shooting, to send a message we’d rather go it alone in a world ever more interdependent.

It was a case of the Idaho GOP lacking any new ideas and dusting off something old, borrowing it and making it look new.

Yet, be thankful this is as far as Idaho’s Republicans went in associating itself with creepy ideas.

Truly far-out bashers crazed with bizarre myths about the UN might’ve produced a resolution denouncing the United Nations for sending unmarked black helicopters over Idaho at night to spy on us in preparation for an invasion by UN troops from Burma hidden in boxcars on railroad sidings in the woods.


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.