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Stapilus: The Bundy position

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Have you seen Ammon Bundy’s campaign website?

Check it out before you dismiss his chances in an already-complex 2022 race for governor.

And plenty of people do dismiss him, as a political figure at least.

You can start with Tom Luna, chair of the Idaho Republican Party:

“First, Mr. Bundy is currently not registered to vote in Idaho, and he is not even registered as a Republican. Furthermore, we do not support his antics or his chaotic political theater. That is not the Idaho Republican Party, and we will not turn a blind eye to his behaviors. To be clear, I was elected Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party to unite all Republicans to share and celebrate conservative values and preserve our traditional way of life. Conversely, Ammon Bundy wishes to divide our party, openly supports defunding the police, and has known alliances with the radical factions of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Republicans are the party of law and order, and Ammon Bundy is not suited to call himself an Idaho Republican let alone run for Governor of our great state.”

There’s that, and you can go on from there, taking in the standoffs at the Malheur wildlife refuge, the invasions of the Idaho statehouse (I use that verb because police wound up arresting him and hauling him out), his battles against efforts to protect public health during a pandemic, and more. If you pay attention to the news reports around the Northwest, you know the story.

He is seeking to be the chief executive of Idaho’s government without any kind of experience in working with or even dealing with government in any way other than protesting it. (Remember that every Idaho governor in the last 80 years, of both parties, had significant state or federal elective office experience before becoming governor.) That absence of practical experience coupled with Luna’s legitimate political complaint, not even to mention his periodic brushes with the law, should logically wipe Bundy from any kind of serious consideration. Yes, outsiders have tried for the office before, some in recent years, but none have come particularly close.

And yet … this is a Trumpian time, very much so in Idaho, and it’s not hard to see an Ammon Bundy generating a big, powerful charge from the many, many Trump supporters in Idaho.

On a gut level, the raw appeal is much the same.

And—if that’s not enough to convince you to take him seriously, as it might not be—look at his website. Really.

It is one of the most polished, professional (whoever crafted it deserves an award for web design) political campaign websites I’ve seen, matching up well with presidential-level operations.

It has well-edited essays (not saying I agree with them, but well-written) on not only his platform but also rebuttals to much of what’s being or been said about him, including most of the points in the preceding paragraphs.

It is so well fleshed out that there’s even a campaign song with a music video ready to play. (I’ll refrain from quoting it since you may be eating breakfast as you read this.) I intend no irony here about the quality of Bundy’s website; it’s top notch.

There’s both money and skill, on a serious level, behind it. (I do wonder about the source of all that.)

So I and many other people may have been fooled by Bundy’s initial bungled-appearing announcement of his run, which I now think may have been intended to convey the impression of a low key and poorly-run campaign.

His much more formal announcement in Meridian before a large crowd was far more effective, and it may be a better indicator of what’s to come.

Keep an eye on the Bundy campaign.

Randy Stapilus is a former Idaho newspaper reporter and editor and blogs at ridenbaugh.com. He can be reached at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com. His new book “What Do You Mean by That?” has just been released and can be found at ridenbaugh.com/whatdoyoumeanbythat and on Amazon.com.

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