Our View: Divided Republican Party Destroying Itself, Now in Idaho

2013-09-13T02:00:00Z Our View: Divided Republican Party Destroying Itself, Now in Idaho Twin Falls Times-News
September 13, 2013 2:00 am

The war for the national Republican Party’s soul has come to Idaho, and it threatens the career of eight-term U.S. Rep Mike Simpson.

The tea party right has been on the warpath since President Barack Obama’s 2008 election to the White House. The GOP, mired in an internal philosophical battle between Reagan-type neoconservatives and the angry and well-funded right wing, is slowly eating itself.

Simpson’s tea party-aligned challenger for Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District, attorney Bryan Smith, rolled out a commercial last week blasting Simpson’s lack of “conservative” credentials. Smith’s campaign ad incorrectly states that Simpson hasn’t joined “true conservatives,” such as Rep. Raul Labrador, who voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

Smith is a true-blooded “courageous conservative,” the ad states.

The problem with Smith’s claim is it’s patently false. A quick search of House roll call votes confirms Simpson’s claim that he voted 40 times, including on Thursday, to either repeal the ACA completely or rescind certain parts of it.

If anything, the one place to criticize Simpson here is the fact that any House proposal to repeal Obama’s health-care law is nothing but useless political grandstanding. The Senate is in Democratic hands, and completely repealing the law is about as likely as Rush Limbaugh taking Nancy Pelosi out for surf and turf over candlelight.

The race for Idaho’s 2nd will be a hot one. The Republican primary is six months out, and already the two are taking pretty serious swipes. Smith says Simpson, R-Idaho, is a closet liberal. Simpson counters that Smith is one of those “personal injury attorneys.”

The true significance of Idaho’s most contentious federal race isn’t the name calling. It’s the fact that the war for dominance of the GOP has come to the Gem State.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said last year that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get elected in the modern Republican Party. Reagan, widely hailed as the remaker of American conservatism, would be too centrist for tea party tastes.

Bush is right, and that’s the problem.

The Pew Research Center in April found that tea-party Republicans comprise just 37 percent of the national GOP’s ranks.

The GOP has a numbers problem. The more right-of-center Republicans move, the fewer people they actually represent. That’s a potentially terminal disease in a system that relies on the popular vote. Those who scream the loudest might get attention, but the silent masses turn out and vote.

What we’re seeing in the battle for Idaho’s 2nd district is another example of a party in chaos. That battle will play itself out here for months. Capitol tracking website www.govtrack.us, which uses complex algorithms to rate members of Congress on the political spectrum, has Simpson solidly among his Republican peers. No, he’s not out on the wings. But his voting record clearly shows he’s not some conservative-in-name-only, either.

We’re all for a spirited fight for Idaho’s 2nd district. That’s the beauty of the American system. A clean-slate challenger can hammer an incumbent whose very job creates baggage.

But Smith’s campaign is largely funded by Washington-based tea party groups, cash flooding in from moneyed interests whose only stake in Idaho is yet another seat in Congress.

Such is the state of Republican politics these days. And if Idaho is next in line for such a show, we can at least ask for a semblance of honesty from both sides.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. Jim_Bob
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    Jim_Bob - September 20, 2013 7:29 pm
    GARrrh Liberals....
  2. nicholebell
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    nicholebell - September 18, 2013 7:14 am
    It's a hoot watching Tea Party members get all riled up...and keep supporting people that don't actually get anything done, don't do any actual work. Which is impressive...being a Tea Party member AND a socialist at the same time! Y'all crack me up. Keep posting!
  3. XPublius
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    XPublius - September 17, 2013 3:14 pm
    Great example of a biased, agenda pushing, political reporting. At least get the facts straight. The articles states, "Smith’s campaign ad incorrectly states that Simpson hasn’t joined “true conservatives,” such as Rep. Raul Labrador, who voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare....The problem with Smith’s claim is it’s patently false." Um? No it's 100% true. Smith's add does not state that Simpson has not voted against Obamacare, it correctly points out that Simpson has not joined the other Idaho delegates who have said they will vote not to fund it. Simspon himself explained this stance on the radio today.

    Simpson is a big government, progressive, career politician and it's time for a change in the right direction. I also love the tag of Smith as a Tea Party candidate. No where has he claimed such a title. He is a straight up conservative Republican with great family values who can see that we have to start shrinking government. Simpson's support of the bailouts, cash for clunker's, and etc. have helped to put this country in the crisis we are now in.
  4. jdyreson
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    jdyreson - September 16, 2013 10:13 am
    He's against the Tea Party, because he's a progressive liberal just like Mike Simpson. They just hide behind behind the "party". Most of us know these folks as Rino's, there isn't really a dimes difference between Simpson or Ramsey and any other liberal Democrat.
  5. Tom_Young
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    Tom_Young - September 16, 2013 9:14 am
    ^^^^ Another boring personal attack on individuals with no mention about how their "views" are out of the mainstream. "Extreme" and "Delusional" are not very descriptive without quantifying what you are talking about...it's just 3rd grade name calling, and only serves to provide further proof that the left is adept only at parroting talking points and making group-think generalizations.

    I can do the exact same thing and point to Jane Fonda, every Hollywood celebrity, the entire Kalifornia congressional contingent, Michael Moore, ad infinitum.

    Average minds gossip about others. How about keeping the discussion about "ideas" instead ??
  6. duke
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    duke - September 15, 2013 2:57 pm
    are you against the tea party ,people call them extreamists,why cause they want smaller goverment? they say they are racist, no proof,,so lets vet what the democrats want.i am an ind.and thing are not going well on either side....show me wher things are getting better????
  7. SKC_ID
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    SKC_ID - September 14, 2013 9:04 am
    So, being able to finish a 32 oz. soft drink is somehow commendable?
    I will use my "limited vocabulary" to explain why I see the Tea Party as Extremists:
    Christine O'Donnell, Ron Johnson, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, Ken Buck, Carl Paladino , Dan Maes, Linda McMahon and Marco Rubio, just to name a few. These people and their views are welcomed and embraced by the Tea Party.
    In my opinion, anyone who is able to think logically and rationally can listen to people like these, and know immediately that their views are not only extreme, but delusional.
  8. Tom_Young
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    Tom_Young - September 13, 2013 9:43 pm
    No matter what, Simpson has been in Washington TOO DARN LONG, and needs to retire. He is becoming a poster child for Term Limits.
  9. Tom_Young
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    Tom_Young - September 13, 2013 9:36 pm
    JR - Please qualify your statement regarding your personal opinion as to how the Tea Party "ranks" in your personal belief window. The "small" numbers you reference equal about 1/2 the total GOP, maybe more.

    Instead of stating your vague opinions, how about instead addressing how the Tea Party's positions on the issues I mentioned above are "out-of-the mainstream" ??

    Tell me how wanting to reign in federal over-spending is considered "extremist", for example. Tell me how the Free Market is inferior to other methods of economic activity, and how Obama's policies have helped Americans prosperity the last 5 years.

    PS - The soda swipe was at Nanny Bloomberg's police state mentality embraced by statist 'moderates'...I don't know why you felt that was a personal attack. Weird.
  10. Ramsey
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    Ramsey - September 13, 2013 1:37 pm
    Tom, the Tea Party by it's very nature, it's position on the political spectrum (from far left to far right,) it's small overall numbers, and a number of other factors are what place it in the the extremist camp. And, since you took a right handed swing at me (because real "patriots" like Tom Young would never do anything that wasn't right) I don't drink soda anymore. I'm a grown up.

    The Tea Party getting defensive anytime they aren't wrapped in the flag, covered in bald eagles, and called the saviors of the country is predictable and dull. Have a super day, Tom.
  11. Tom_Young
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    Tom_Young - September 13, 2013 11:59 am
    I love how the self-described "moderates" always refer to Tea Party members as "extremists". Wanting to follow the Constitution is now considered "extreme". Asking the government to reduce it's yearly TRILLION dollar over-spending is "extreme". Wanting to keep Health Care and other businesses part of the Free Market is now "extreme". Resisting Federal over reach into individual's lives is "extreme". Supporting the 2nd Amendment is "extreme". I submit that anyone who uses the word "extremist" has a limited vocabulary and probably couldn't finish a 32 oz. soft drink, anyway.
  12. jdyreson
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    jdyreson - September 13, 2013 10:47 am
    When liberal "editors" think Mike Simpson is the "right man for the job, it should tell you something about the man himself. He's a Liberal ! And he gets plenty of money from out of state groups himself no reporting on this huh..... this article is nothing more than a liberal hit piece. And you people think Idaho is a conservative state.......wake up or get real!
  13. jdyreson
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    jdyreson - September 13, 2013 10:42 am
    Simpson is a liberal and would vote yes in a heart beat for amnesty and Govt- run health care. He is nothing nor has he ever been anything but a party stooge. He votes no on liberal policy when its assured the vote has no meaning, but every time he has the opportunity to shove this country to the left he jumps at it. He has done nothing for average Idahoans and everything for himself and a few lobbies here and in DC.
    And maybe the reporter should actually meet some Tea Party folks because its idiotic to say Tea Partiers wouldn't love Reagan today. How soon people forget that Reagan was despised by the Repube party just as guys like Ted Cruz and Raul Labrador are today.
    The fact of the matter is that in todays Repube party JFK would be a right winger!
    To everybody out there that wants real change, dump the whigs in the Repube party! Its time for a Tea Party and I think Brian Smith is agreat place to start!
  14. magicparts
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    magicparts - September 13, 2013 9:14 am
    I watch how Simpson votes, he represents us very well! he also is a career politician! as your opener points out!
    "The war for the national Republican Party’s soul has come to Idaho, and it threatens the career of eight-term U.S. Rep Mike Simpson."
    Career politicians are bad for america!
  15. Ramsey
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    Ramsey - September 13, 2013 6:19 am
    The Tea Party is a cancer in the Republican party. The more it fights to reshape the GOP into a party of reactionary extremists, it further alienates the rest of the nation. Soon (sooner than they think) the GOP will go the way of the Whigs and the Federalists. I don't write this as a rep of any party (I'm a PROUD independent), I write this as someone who understands how demographics work. It's always in the math and until the right purges itself of the screaming, ultra-nationalist, jingoist "patriots" in it's ranks, the numbers will continue to stack against them.

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