Idaho citizens have endured some bizarre political behavior over the years, but the recent end-of-times antics by Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin gave us a spotlight onto what a McGeachin governorship would look like. And it’s not pretty.
We’ve had other outliers in Idaho political history, including Congressman George Hansen in the 1970s, whose conspiracy theories hid his personal corruption and campaign fund fleecing. He was defeated in 1984, and sent to prison. Then there was Idaho Rep. Phil Hart, who in addition to failure to pay taxes, took it upon himself to cut trees on a state forest to build a home, saying since he was an Idaho citizen, the “public logs” were his to claim. He was defeated in the next election, still blaming “big government” for his self-imposed troubles.
These charlatans share several traits with McGeachin. They all consider themselves the one-and-only way forward for the state. They are narcissistic in the extreme, always alert for an opportunity to toot their own horns. It’s always “about me” all the time. They’re publicity hounds, thrusting themselves into the spotlight. They all talked a good game, invoking state “sovereignty” and anti-government rhetoric. They say they want to “drain the swamp” of government, yet when confronted by the rule of law, they say “it doesn’t apply to me.” Indeed, they encouraged others to disobey laws at will. They’re deceitful and dishonest, furtive and conspiratorial, seeing enemies among anyone who disagrees with therm.
In McGeachin’s case, she secretly and deceitfully waited for Gov. Brad Little to be out of state, then sprung an ill-conceived “order” prohibiting masking in public buildings. She apparently consulted no one but her henchmen. Coordination with others? Nope. Testing the idea with a wide circle of other interested parties? Nope. Just issue a decree. Isn’t that the definition of “tyranny,” which McGeachin frequently accuses Little of practicing? Fraudsters are often like, that, pushing their own way through life, then blaming others for their own mistakes, leaving the remains for someone else to clean up.
Little learned early in 2019 following the election, that McGeachin wasn’t going to be of any help in improving the state, or its economy. She had other goals. Among her first hires was an anti-police verbal thug long connected with the Idaho Freedom Foundation as a “security officer,” her own private police agent.
She then doubled down with a photo of herself and two III Percent militia ruffians at her office door, a clear signal on who had her ear. When the COVID pandemic struck in 2020, she flitted about the state blaming Little for not doing enough and claiming he imposed mask mandates, which he never did. Wrong facts don’t seem bother her; she’s in it for the glory and the power.
But none of these actions can compare to her brazen attempt last month to issue an “executive order” while Little was out-of-state. In doing, she showed herself to be petty, vindictive and impulsive. Those aren’t the traits Idaho needs in the governor’s chair.
Little, to his credit, handled her screaming tantrum appropriately. He rescinded her “order” and in doing so, called it c clear political stunt and reminded us all of the value of a measured response. Good for him. Sometimes, you have to tell it like it is.
The upshot is that citizens got a look at the “full McGeachin” and will certainly wonder what a McGeachin governorship would look like. This past week, I got an email from a Magic Valley citizen who will now jump into the coming GOP primary, at least temporarily, to add a vote for Little’s common sense.
It won’t be the only such vote. By next spring, there’ll be thousands of such “Republicans-for-a-day-only” voting for Little on the GOP ballot. Rather than RINOs, we might call them RFADOs, They’ve already had enough of McGeachin’s twisted idea of governance, and her “Full Monty.”
Stephen Hartgen, Twin Falls, is a retired five-term Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee. Previously, he was editor and publisher of The Times-News (1982-2005). He can be reached at Stephen_Hartgen@hotmail.com