Dim Bulb

Dim Bulb Award for March

dim-bulb Sometimes I have to hunt around a bit to find a candidate for the Dim Bulb Award. Other times, it just falls into my lap. Such is the case with The Award for March. One simple criteria for the award is when a particular display of dimness attract national attention.

Brent Crane’s ignorance in using the example of Rosa Parks to champion states rights serves as more evidence to the rest of the country that elected Idaho politicians are a collection of rubes who have recently fallen off the turnip truck. Here, for example, is the response from Wonkette under the headline,  Hero GOP Idaho Legislator Will Sit At Front Of Bus For States Rights and Freedom From Healthcare

Oh, state legislature debates in Idaho must be veritable Lincoln-Douglas dialogues, right? They’re likely all super-erudite and engage in thoughtful research before….fuck, we can’t even keep up this pretense for the rest of this sentence. We are totally gonna generalize and say that on the basis of this one GOP guy in Idaho, their GOP is mindnumbingly dumb. How dumb, you ask breathlessly? Dumb enough to use Rosa Parks as an example of why states rights matter.

The No. 3 Republican leader in the Idaho House says he made a “slight mistake” when he described Rosa Parks as a champion of states’ rights.

“One little lady got tired of the federal government telling her what to do,” Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane of Nampa said during Wednesday’s debate on Gov. Butch Otter’s bill establishing a state-run health insurance exchange. “I’ve reached that point, Mr. Speaker, that I’m tired of giving in to the federal government.”

What is this we don’t even…Did the number 3 Republican Leader in the Idaho House, a position that no doubt brings with it an unlimited amount of hookers, blow, potatoes, and militias, ever actually, you know, pay attention in school? Did he absorb even the tinest idea about how the civil rights movement worked and that it was actually a challenge to the horror of states’ rights and created a federal superstructure that actually trumped the racist fuckwit ideas of individual states? Nope!

Crane told me he received no feedback about his error until I inquired Thursday. “I had people say, ‘You did a great job in your debate.’ People understood the point I was trying to make. And I’m sorry if it was an oversight. Obviously, I didn’t do my research.”

Did Crane know the historical context before he Googled “Rosa Parks” on the House floor in preparation for his debate?

“I’m sure we went over that in history class in high school and possibly in history in college, possibly,” said Crane, who graduated from Nampa Christian High School and has a bachelor’s in political science from BSU.

Possible in history in college, possibly. Well-spoken AND on top of his facts. We could go on AND ON AND ON about how dumb this is, but seriously? It isn’t like you Wonklanders need an explanation of 8th grade civics to know this is jaw-droppingly dumb. You Wonklanders may, however, appreciate some friendly advice that perhaps political science at BSU should not be your major if you actually would like to learn some political science.

Hats off to you, though, Mr./Ms. Idaho Statesman reporter who has to cover this jerkwad. We’d advise you, in the future, to make good use of the Molly Ivins quote about a Texas legislator in reference this human pile of derp: “If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day.”

This was not the first time Crane let loose a jaw-dropping quote making him the object of national derision. In 2011, while debating a bill outlawing abortion after 20 weeks,

The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

Focus for a moment on where Crane received his education in civil rights and American history, Nampa Christian High School. Then consider a bill just passed by the Idaho legislature today.

The House is now debating HB 286, the bill to give $10 million in tax credits for donations to scholarships to send Idaho kids to private schools, with the idea that the state would save millions if kids dropped out of public schools to enroll in private schools instead. Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, told the House that his children attend private schools. “This levels the playing field and it’s a great step in the right direction,” he said.

Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, countered, “I think the issue is not whether private schools are good for children in this state, because they are. I think the issue is this is policy that siphons money away from public and charter schools to be used for private schools. … We don’t give tax credits to adults who have no children, nor should we be giving tuition tax credits to those who have chosen an alternative to public education. It is their right and their choice, but the state should not subsidize that choice. We do not have enough money for public schools and public charter schools right now.”

Any question as to how Crane voted on the bill?  I didn’t think so.

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The Crane/Rosa Parks story gets a bit funnier (in a sad, pathetic way). In the Idaho Statesman article initially pointing out Crane’s flub, Dan Popkey included the photo below.

crane labrador

Who is that somewhat blurry figure in back of Crane, you may ask? Yes, it is Congressman Raul Labrador. According to Popkey, Raul was less than pleased to be connected in any way with Crane.

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador’s spokesman asked that a photo including Labrador alongside Idaho House Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, R-Nampa, be replaced on the Statesman’s website.

Crane, a top prospect for Labrador’s congressional seat should Labrador decided to run for governor against Otter in the 2014 Republican primary, is among Labrador’s closest friends. The photo was taken when Labrador was in the Idaho House in 2010. Also pictured is then-Rep. and now state Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, Labrador’s spokesman in Washington, D.C., Michael Tate, sent me the following brief email:  “I noticed an article from you today featured a photo of Congressman Labrador in a story not about him. Politely wondering if you are able to use a photo in the story without my boss?”

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Godwin’s Law- Meet the Idaho State Legislature

dim-bulb Wow! the 2013 Idaho State Legislature is hardly underway and we feel the need to award our second Dim Bulb award of the season. Perhaps we should change the name to the Dim Chandelier award. That way we could include a cluster of Republican Dim Bulbs in just one award.

Most people who are aware of internet memes, have heard of Godwin’s Law. The idea originated with Mike Godwin in 1990. According to the web site, Know Your Meme:

Godwin’s Law is an internet adage that is derived from one of the earliest bits of Usenet wisdoms, which goes “if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.”

Which brings us to today’s Dim Bulb.

Nuxoll Senator Sheryl Nuxoll, Republican from Cottonwood. Nuxoll is convinced that Governor Otter’s proposed state health insurance exchange is socialism and sent out a mass e-mail and posted a message on Twitter to warn her constituents of the coming danger.

Never mind that the proposed state health insurance exchange is a boon for private insurers, or that the Idaho health insurance industry supports Otter’s plan, and never mind that the Federal Government will establish a federal based exchange which is certainly closer to dreaded socialism, Nuxoll believes insurance companies are being duped. Just like the Jews (Godwin alert! Godwin alert!) were tricked into boarding the trains taking them to the concentration camps, the insurance companies are being used by Führer Obama to take us down the road to Socialism. According to the Spokesman Review, Nuxoll’s e-mail was headed “Another Reason against the State Health Insurance Exchange” and said in full:

The insurance companies are creating their own tombs. Much like the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps, private insurers are used by the feds to put the system in place because the federal government has no way to set up the exchange. Several years from now, the federal government will want nothing to do with private insurance companies. The feds will have a national system of health insurance and they will pull the trigger on the insurance companies.

As most Dim Bulbs end up doing, Nuxoll claimed she was misunderstood. She meant no disrespect to the Jews.

Nuxoll said she made the analogy because “I felt badly for the Jews – it wasn’t just Jews, but Jews, and Christians, and Catholics, and priests. My thing was they didn’t know what was going on. The insurance companies are not realizing what’s going to end up in their demise.”

According to Dan Popkey, Nuxoll is just a pawn in anti-Idaho run health care plan. The real leader of the opposition is the Senate Majority Caucus Chair, Senator Russ Fulcher. Fulcher, being a bit more politically savvy than Nuxoll avoids Godwin’s Law. Rather than using Holocaust analogies, Fulcher claims the “evil genius” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is luring the private insurance industry’s support.

Writes Fulcher: “Part of the evil genius of PPACA is that it depends on the private insurance industry to put the exchange mechanism in place. Ironically the organizations pushing hardest to implement state-based exchanges (the insurance carriers) have the most to lose….”

Fulcher’s bottom line: “If you believe in the principles of socialism and turning over an INCREMENTAL 1/6 of the nation-wide GDP to the federal government (via healthcare), then you will want to support the state-based exchange.

“If you believe in the free market, capitalism, personal responsibility and liberty, you will NOT want to cooperate with a state-based exchange.”

Hmmm- at least two bulbs for our Dim Chandelier.

Dim Bulb Award 2013

lightbulbAha! The Idaho Legislature is back in session, so it is time to dust off the Dim Bulb Award. The Dim Bulb Award is an RNWMV tradition. It is an award that I give out to any worthy member of the Legislature who has, through word or action, reached the acceptable level of abject stupidity. What is my standard for stupidity? Well, as I said in 2009, ” . . . to win the award run-of-the-mill dimness won’t do. Winners must not only display jaw dropping ignorance, but they must also have such a complete lack the self-awareness they have no sense of shame, and, in fact, revel in their dimness”.

So, our first Dim Bulb of the 2013 legislative session is Rep. Ron Mendive, Republican from Coeur d’Alene. Mendive keeps the Republican winning streak alive. Since the first Dim Bulb was awarded in 2007, every honoree has been a Republican.

RMendive

What did Mendive do to deserve this honor? Boise Television station KTVB’s Capitol Watch has an article today entitled “N. Idaho lawmaker compares abortion and prostitution”. The headline alone tells you that what follows will be dim bulb worthy.

The stupidity came Wednesday during a legislative breakfast on criminal justice reform sponsored by the Idaho branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to the Article,

[Mendive] drew audible gasps when he asked representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union-Idaho if their pro-abortion rights stance also means that they support prostitution.

Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, made the comparison Wednesday morning during a legislative breakfast presentation held by the ACLU on criminal justice reform and other issues.

Mendive asked the organization’s executive director, Monica Hopkins, if she felt the ALCU should support prostitution since it supports a woman’s right to choose abortion. Mendive then said that prostitution is also “a woman’s choice.”

Hopkins said a woman’s right to reproductive health care is constitutionally protected, while prostitution is illegal. She also reminded Mendive that prostitution is not always a choice, noting that legislation targeting human trafficking may be presented during the legislative session.

Every time a Republican decides to pontificate about abortion or a “woman’s right to choose”, you can rest assured the results will be cringe worthy and likely to catch the attention of the national media. Consider, for example, the 2010 legislative session when Idaho State Senator Chuck Winder (Republican, of course) introduced one more doomed-to-be-unconstitutional piece of legislation. His remarks on the Senate floor got the immediate attention of The Huffington Post, resulting in him becoming a national laughing stock. The chances are high that Dim Bulb Mendive’s comments will also go “national”.

Dim Bulb Award

lightbulb

Dusting off the award

Here we are  deep into the legislative session and I have resisted handing out the “Dim Bulb”  award to anyone this year. This hesitancy was not because there hasn’t been the usual amount of stupidity on display, because, of course there has been.

But you must remember to win the award run-of-the-mill dimness won’t do. Winners must not only display jaw dropping ignorance, but they must also have such a complete lack the self-awareness they have no sense of shame, and, in fact, revel in their dimness.

We shoulda never went there

harwood27

Today the House passed (51-17) a non-binding memorial sponsored by Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, to declare Idaho’s sovereignty from the federal government and ask the feds to “cease and desist” from violating that sovereignty.

According to Betsy Russell at Eye on Idaho,

Harwood read from the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and told the House, “With them words, the states of this United States created the federal government.” It was meant to be an agent for the states, he said, not the other way around. Harwood decried federal actions that push states to comply under threat of losing federal funds. “They’ve moved us in a direction that we can’t afford to go … and we shoulda never went there,” he said. And he told the House that he believes the United States is not a democracy and not even just a republic, but a “confederacy,” adding, “To be accurate, we’re a confederated republic.”

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, a retired high school government teacher, gently pointed out that we are not a confederacy and that we fought a civil war to clarify that point. Not that it did much good.

Harwood is one of those Idaho Republican legislators who graduated from the “School of Hard Knocks.There is no point in confusing him with facts

Dim Leading the Dim

Two more of the dimmest of the dim followed Harwood’s lead.

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, spoke out in favor of a return to the gold standard, and said he supported the memorial because of its statements against the federal reserve system. Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, also spoke in favor of the measure.

UPDATE: Harwood digs the hole deeper. Again from Betsy Russell,

Political scientists said Harwood’s dead wrong, and a longtime Kootenai County human rights activist said the use of the term “confederacy” is offensive. Harwood said, “If I’m wrong, then I guess I’m wrong. But my understanding of it all was that we were a confederated republic.” He said he thought President Lincoln changed things so that states couldn’t secede, but that the nation remained a confederacy. “Lots of things that have happened in the history of our country never get told in college courses.”

That’s right, Dick, stay away from them college courses with their lies and all.

I Wonder Who Idaho Legislators Think They Represent?

It certainly isn’t the average working man or woman. This comprehensive study indicates that 34% of the available jobs in Idaho don’t pay a living wage for a single person. The number jumps to 80% for a single parent with two children. Meanwhile, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee rejected Gov. Otter’s plan for tax breaks to low income residents. Rep. Moyle echoed the libertarian philosophy that any plan that might provide some help for those most in need is “social engineering.”

The committee iced Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s plan to give up to $90 a year in tax relief to low-income residents. Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star. . .said Otter’s approach amounted to “social engineering.”

Meanwhile, the House State Affairs Committee rejected the Democrat-sponsored measure that would have raised Idaho’s minimum wage to $7.25 an hour and indexed it to rise with inflation. Most Republicans who voted against the measure were content to do so without bothering to explain their reasoning to the voters. Those who did comment demonstrated the critical thinking and sharp analysis we have come to expect from Republican legislators

The “Dim Bulb” award goes to Russ Mathews, R-Idaho Falls, for this great quote:

“If it’s so exciting and neat to raise it, why don’t we just raise it to $17 an hour?” “Would that be a good idea?”