ICYMI: Our View: Endorsement – Simpson Brings Influence, Reason to Congress

Posted on 05/12/14 in Uncategorized, No Comments

Times-News

May 11, 2014

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson lives in the world of nuanced legislative reality. His challenger, Bryan Smith, is little more than a walking checklist of pre-fab talking points.

That’s why Simpson is the hands-down choice May 20 in the GOP primary for the 2nd Congressional District.

After eight terms, Simpson is a respected leader on the Hill, one with real clout who is equipped to stand up for Idaho’s interests. Taxes, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Endangered Species Act — these are arenas where Simpson has flexed his earned muscle.

A lot has been said in the past few months. Outside cash, thanks to massive Super PACs and Citizen United, have resulted in an ugly battle between Simpson and the Idaho Falls attorney. The squeals from the masses have gotten louder. They’re sick of the bull and, frankly, so are we. Neither camp has effectively sold themselves to the voters. Instead, we’ve been inundated with million-dollar television campaigns riddled with half-truths and cherry-picked votes from the 20th century.

Simpson is many things, but he’s no liberal. His voting record — that of a pragmatic conservative — proves that.

Smith is indeed an attorney with a history of personal injury work. He does own a collection business. But attacking a man’s livelihood is a weak argument, at best. You’d think Mr. Smith sold puppies into slaughter by the way the Simpson campaign has played up his career.

But the fact remains that Smith never evolved from the cookie-cutter caricature that right-wing groups, such as the Club for Growth, have put up in race after race for years across the country. Smith never bothered to learn the issues. Ask him about sage grouse, you get a vague, pie-in-the-sky comment about a state land grab. Ask him about the EPA, he calls for its abolition.

Democrats do exist, Mr. Smith. It will never happen.

Stick to the script from K Street. That’s the mantra for tea party candidates. It has nothing to do with the people of Idaho’s 2nd Congressional. It has everything to do with securing a seat for the Republican fringe, the very same cadre that gave us last year’s government shutdown — that gave us international embarrassment.

We pounded Simpson for his part in last year’s shutdown. He followed ally and friend House Speaker John Boehner into a pit of humiliation by siding with about three-dozen radicals. But some good has come from the fiasco and the center is isolating the right flank. Simpson is transforming from silent accomplice to a leader.

A defeat for Simpson on May 20 would mean a fringe ideologue, who considers compromise a cardinal sin, would carry the banner for Idaho’s most influential party. All of that power and influence that comes with legislative staying-power would evaporate.

But most of all, it would mean Idaho could potentially elect a man owned by the Club for Growth and beholden to ideas that speak for only the most angry Americans controlled by their base instincts. It would mean that a state too often confused with Iowa would become even more irrelevant.