Idaho's Hall of Shame

I asked the same question Betsy did about Idaho's Hall of Fame. But while she delved into the founder's desire for highlighting accomplishments by Idahoans I came up empty when I observed this year's inductees. Besides the now infamous Larry Craig its mostly a Who's Who of Idaho Republicans including, Craig, Otter, Risch and Vadersloot. And the ceremony emceed by Dave Leroy no less. Before its inadvertent hiatus in 2002 there seemed to be an attempt to acknowledge other Idahoans of repute with nods to Senator Church. Now it seems just a crass self congratulatory vehicle for the aggrandizement of Idaho Republicans and the big business backers that hold their leashes.

The website sheds little light on the program other than to disclose that it is a 501(c)(3) entitling it to tax exempt status. It also discloses the Board of Directors which contain three notable Idaho Republicans, Donna Jones, Ann Rydalch and Harry Magnuson.

But its self stated focus is on Idaho's greatest resource, "its youth!!" It states: "One of our newest endeavors will involve the combined efforts of our Education Community and the Idaho Hall of Fame Inductees. The idea is to establish a program that will enable our Inductees to share with students around the State, their life experiences……. to pass on to them the importance of hard work and the determination to succeed no matter the odds. We feel that the concept of mentors and real life heroes has been lost and with this combined effort our goal will be to reestablish this link."

Now with a mission statement like that one has to wonder about the decision to leave Craig on the list of inductees. Certainly he's brought fame to the state in ways no one desired. But since Craig isn't getting his day in Court at least he has the group's youth forum to explain this stuff. It seems the event's founder was quite pleased with the media attention and overlooked the reasons for it. Neither did any inductee choose to boycott the proceedings or otherwise have a scheduling conflict. It would seem that Idaho Republicans seem comfortable enough with Craig's bathroom shenanigans leading me to again wonder how long they've known about Craig's propensities and chose to overlook them.

There is no published criteria for induction. I note that just about every major mining company responsible for the nation's single biggest environmental disaster is also on the list of inductees. Many inductees are not native Idahoans and neither did they live their formative years in the state. Even still I missed seeing several "famous" who call Idaho home like Ernest Hemingway, Olympian Gretchen Fraser, Jazz artist Gene Harris, and the inventor of Prodigy and Idaho humanitarian Greg Carr. Hell I didn't see Bruce Willis or Demi Moore. Cecil Andrus is covered under the moniker "all former Idaho governors" but there is no mention of Idaho's first female Congresscritter Gracie Bowers Pfost. And a sizeable amount are people I've never heard of which undercuts the very purpose behind the acknowledgment.

By failing to remove Craig as an inductee, the event and the organization appears to have hitched themselves to Craig's wagon making them the same laughingstock he is. If not bringing outright shame Craig's award certainly diminishes the value of the award to those already acknowledged for their accomplishments.

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Larry's bust design

I heard a comment on Dennis Miller's radio talk show mentioning that Larry's bust for the hall of fame ought to be of just his feet in a "wide stance".