Sometimes a noble fight lost achieves more than a pragmatic compromise.
Stephen "Steve" Kren Jr. and Idaho's Republican Ticking Time Bombs
Every problem is an opportunity.
The loss of 43rdSB posts creates a window for some reprinting and a chance to look back on questions we were asking many months ago, in light of new information.
From Rex Rammell's "Obama Tags" to Blake Hall's fall from grace (See: Semen on the Dress: Blake Hall Cannot represent Idaho to the Nation), to a Republican Honcho snapping over a bad real estate argument (See: People don't settle disputes. Guns do!) -- this entry from February 3, 2009 on Daily Kos -- becomes even more interesting to reconsider:
Steven Kren, Jr. "after two full legislative sessions and working on his third is still like a fish out of the water, clearly in a league that is not his own," reads a story called Nampa’s Jr. Representative, still stumbling, on The Unequivocal Notion blog. "How much leeway do you give a legislature? How much time do you give them for on the job training? I’ve said it before, I don’t have anything personally against the guy, I’m sure he’s a heckuva guy, but there comes a time when Idaho needs qualified, knowledgeable legislators making decisions that will affect everyday Idahoans. Kren, like so many others in Idaho’s legislature just isn’t that type of person."
On December 15, Idaho Press Tribune managing editor Vickie Holbrook debated our 43rd State Blues entry about Representative Kren: the one where we called him "Canyon County's Republican Ticking Time Bomb."
"The writer suggests that Nampa's Rep. Steve Kren (Nampa, 13B) may be the next politico who does or says something — dare I say it — stupid like we've seen in the past year from some of Idaho's elected officials ...," Holbrook wrote of our prediction.
"Sure, Kren was kind of snarky when he said 'I wish she would have given him more money, it might have made it more competitive' (to the Asssociated Press regarding a donation to his Democratic opponent's campaign ... from the wife of our Republican governor). 'I understand they used to work together and it's understandable she'd want to support him.'"
Holbrook continued: "But to compare his comment to the antics of Sen. Larry Craig, Canyon commissioners Matt Beebe and Steve Rule and Rep. Bill Sali is pretty lame. Of course, we all have a right to our opinion, but I'm not sure that suggesting that Rep. Steve Kren is a 'ticking time bomb' is fair. ... To be fair, he's no longer a freshman and Canyon County eyes — including Democrat challenger Bryon Yankey and his supporters — will be watching closely to see what he does for local folks."
(Beebe had said he knew he had Americans working on his house because they were all white men who looked and spoke like him. Read about Rule's racism toward Michelle Obama here).
What a difference one month can make.
On January 22, in an entry called: Kren aims to change F&G rule, but not before ... Holbrook wrote:
"... just put yourself in the Legislature for a moment. Maybe you are a representative. And maybe you've got some residents in your district who have a beef about something. So you decide to fix it. Sounds like this you are doing exactly what we elected you for. But ... if you wanted to change rules in a particular agency, wouldn't you at least review your plan with key people in that agency? Even if you figure you won't get the support of that group, it just makes good sense. It's called communication. Come on Steve, learn from this lesson."
What exactly did Kren do (or not do)?
Betsy Russell, on her blog at the Spokesman Review, elaborates: Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa, got himself peppered with questions today when he proposed legislation in the House Resources Committee to limit so-called "super hunts" mostly to state residents, allowing only 10 percent of the permits to go to non-residents. That's the case already for most controlled hunts, but the super hunts are a special program in which about 40 tags are raffled off each year, allowing the winners to choose from any valid open hunt in the state.
According to Russell: Kren said about 30 percent of the winners have been out-of-staters, and that's gotten folks in his district grumbling. "People feel that Fish & Game is working very hard to attract non-residents, that they're getting preference over residents," Kren said. "I think it's important that Fish & Game works hard for the sportsmen, and understands that it's the residents of the state who they work for."
Kren, who said he's entered the raffle himself "a couple of years" since it began four years ago, never checked with Fish and Game before introducing the bill.
"One gripe I had about the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press-Tribune endorsing Rep. Steve Kren was that they both acknowledged his weak performances as an appointed two-term representative," continued Chris, blogging on The Unequivocal Notion. "Everyone knew that Kren, after two sessions still had a lot to learn, he was still behind the curve."
So was Kren the next Idaho Republican politico to do or say something -- dare I say it -- stupid?
Back to Steve Rule, he "isn't a Blago-esque national punchline, but he's a letdown in his own way," wrote Kevin Richert, opinion page editor of the Idaho Statesman. Due to Rule's behavior, Richert was forced to write a column called: Steve Rule: Yup, we endorsed him ..., in which Richert spoke about how "the Canyon County commissioner forwarded an inappropriate and offensive e-mail comparing Michelle Obama (or her election-night choice of dress, as Rule spins it) to a black widow spider."
At the Idaho Press Tribune, Holbrook said that she is taking a wait-and-see attitude: "Yes, we endorsed Kren and we'll have to see how it all shakes out."
Who will be the next Idaho Republican Politico to provide material for late night comics and who will make endorsement editors backpedal?
See 123idaho's diary on Daily Kos