McGeachin as governor? Seriously? | Columns

We can expect to hear a lot from Janice McGeachin over the next 11 months. Hopefully after that, after losing the Republican primary elections to a more plausible candidate, she will lose her audience. If she wins the primary, one can only hang on to the low probability that moderate Republicans, appalled at the idea of ​​becoming governor whose social and economic views are those of the 19th century, will vote for a Democrat.

Of course, it can be a good thing to hear a lot from her. She is an inept activist and ineffective speaker, at least if her candidacy speech was a typical performance. His recent executive decree on wearing the mask (when he was governor for a day) was an exceptionally stupid blunder. Without a doubt, she thought it would highlight the differences between her and the Governor, but in reality, it drew attention to her own irresponsibility and opportunism. As the governor explained when revoking his order: it would have violated the applicable law and would have prohibited government agencies from requiring the wearing of the mask in situations where it was clearly essential – in the testing laboratories of the State, for social workers visiting people particularly prone to contracting infectious diseases, etc.

She seems to think it’s a good idea to publicize her friendship with villains like Ammon Bundy and members of the Three Percent Militia (some of whom are on the verge of being prosecuted for their organizing roles in the Uprising of Jan. 6) and being approved for governor by Eric Parker, founder of the Idaho Three-Percenters, who was convicted for his role in the infamous standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. There may be anti-government right-wing Idahoans who are favorably impressed by his associations with these people, but surely that is not enough to win a primary.

McGeachin decided to crown herself queen of “Ain’t no gummint gonna tell me what to do!” crowd. She allied herself with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, even hiring a writer from that organization to help. It’s attaching your dream of power to an organization that is widely known as nothing but a crony to the wealthy right-wing industrialists desperate to prevent higher corporate taxes and increased regulation.

She claims to speak on behalf of those whose views are not represented in the Legislature. She might be partly right about that, but only because these people are crypto-anarchists who don’t want a government at all. These are the people who think that if a city has a sheriff, deputy, and the occasional troop, that’s about as much government as anyone needs.

These extremists also believe in unfettered capitalism. England realized before the end of the 19th century that, without regulation, capitalism produces immense suffering and misery. All advanced countries have accepted this fact and acted upon it. Right-wing misfits also deny the reality of racism in America and believe that if everyone carried a gun we would all be safer. They tend to be guided by religious dogmas that perpetuate social injustice.

These are the people McGeachin says she will speak to when she is governor. These are not the Idahoans that I know. The Idahoans I know are the ones who voted for Proposition 2 on the ballot in 2018, who signed petitions to get this proposition on the ballot, and voted, by 60.6%, to expand it. eligibility for Medicaid. These were not people who believed in “weaning yourself off the federal pacifier,” as Janice quaintly put it, but people who welcomed the help their fellow Americans had offered them.

One wonders how well Janice understands these Idahoans. She is rich and privileged. She owns a pretentious home in Ketchum, as well as one in Idaho Falls. She will never hesitate to consult a doctor when she is ill because she cannot afford to pay the medical bill; she will never spend six months looking for an apartment that she can afford, like a disabled friend of mine. She may claim to be a small business owner, but if the Celtic bar she owns went bankrupt, she would still be rich.

In her candidacy speech, she identified “three pillars” of her campaign: “individual rights”, “state sovereignty” and “traditional values”. In the first category is what she, a self-proclaimed “devout Christian”, calls “inalienable rights given by God”. One of them, of course, is the right to bear arms. And then there is “the right to non-traditional health remedies,” which must refer to the supposed right of the Followers of Christ religious sect of Idaho to let their children die rather than seek professional medical care. Janice seems to believe that parental rights trump a child’s right to live (except, of course, if the child is not yet born.) She also brings up a personal right hitherto unknown: the right not to raise taxes. Try to find that one in the Constitution – or in the Bible, for that matter, where, if I remember correctly, it is advisable to give back to Caesar what is Caesar.

McGeachin’s second pillar, state sovereignty, is clearly intended to serve the same purpose that the appeal on “state rights” made during the southern battle against desegregation. For McGeachin, any progressive federal program is one that can be accused of violating Idaho’s sovereignty. She talks about the “encroachment” of the Affordable Care Act, as if it had been imposed on Idaho by a foreign power. McGeachin says the federal government is “trying to bribe us”. We wonder, bribe us to do what? Lead a safer, healthier, happier life, perhaps? No no; the feds are trying to enslave us, to make us give up our freedom in exchange for their socialist tyranny. Ah, the ease with which the rich preach to the poor the supreme value of individual freedom!

Finally, as “traditional values,” she lists her personal Christian beliefs (high Baptist; now Presbyterian), her opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, and she reiterates her recent accusation – proven unfounded by independent investigation – that Idaho universities instill Marxism ideology among students and their teacher, as it puts it, “to hate America and others.” In reality, universities teach American history with precision and challenge students to seriously think about racism and their own preconceptions.

She also clearly expresses her belief that the only valid goal of higher education is to teach marketable skills, an attitude understandable to someone who seems to have learned nothing at the University of Arizona except accounting. company and who shares the conservative view that universities are evil haunts. of liberalism.

My overall assessment of McGeachin as a candidate is this: She’s a calculating and ambitious woman who embraced outdated, harmful and unfair social, economic and political views in an attempt to secure a Trump-style victory in the primaries. from Idaho in 2022. How many of these opinions are sincere, I have no way of knowing. In any case, she thinks she can win by addressing exclusively the extreme right of this state.

She clearly warned us in her candidacy speech that today “everything that makes Idaho great is under attack.” She failed to tell us that she is the abuser.

Leonard Hitchcock of Pocatello is an alumnus of the University of Iowa and did graduate work at Claremont Graduate University and the University of California at San Diego. He taught philosophy in California and Arizona for 15 years. In 1985, after graduating as a librarian, he was hired by Idaho State University. He retired from the Oboler Library at ISU in 2006.

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