Idaho Republican Victory Director: "Regressive is the New Progressive"

You can't make this up. The Idaho Republican Victory Campaign 2010 is a DC Republican effort primarily to get wingnut Raul Labrador elected to congress. The campaign recently hired former Lt. Governor Brad Little aide, Phil Hardy, as its director. DFO of HBO interviewed Hardy about Idaho Republicans and their newly minted platform.

DFO: Has the Idaho Republican Party been taken over by the Tea Party wing?

Phil Hardy: It’s not the Tea Party people who have taken over. The state of the country has become such that more people than ever want to get involved in the political process. What we see is a lot of new folks coming in. Someone used the phrase that I’m going to use now: Regressive is the new progressive. In my lifetime, I can’t remember people going back to the federalist papers and the Constitution and reading this stuff. Perfect case in point is the 10th amendment. Over last year, I’ve been forced to read the 10th amendment. It’s in the bill of rights. Framers were pressured to come up with Bill of Rights to get the Constitution passed. Either we repeal (the 10th amendment) or enforce it and these people are asking these questions.

DFO: How can Idaho Republicans support repeal of the 17th amendment?

Phil Hardy: I go back to the phrase regressive is progressive. People want to go back to what framers originally constructed. They’re looking at it and wonder if that’s a better way to go. It’s a fascinating question. It’s amazing that we’re even talking about it.

Emphasis mine. Truer words were never spoken. Its almost refreshing to see those words in print. Regressive has been defined as

relating to behavior that is not responsible or controlled, or is like that of a child

the regressive and unruly aspects of human nature


supporting methods and ideas that existed in the past

a regressive prison regime

Idaho Republicans seek salvation through their nostalgic worship of a mythological perspective of the founding of this country carefully omitting any inconvenient historical fact or rationale which led to the demise of whatever constitutional virtue they seem to be extolling. In other words they're grasping at anachronisms as solutions for this country's problems. And using "regressive" in response to the question on repealing the seventeenth amendment is a perfect example. The seventeenth amendment was championed by Idaho's popular progressive Senator William Borah (R-ID). As Marc Johnson points out:

As to the 17th Amendment - the direct election of U.S. Senators - I think it not an overstatement to say that Idaho's most famous Republican would have been appalled that modern day GOP adherents would openly call for its repeal.

McKenna wrote in her 1961 biography about Borah's leadership on the issue: "It was an excellent public service, but few know or remember Borah's part in it. The fight had been long, cutting across party lines and pitting conservatives against progressives. Borah found this groping of the electorate toward a truer and more efficient democracy most heartening."

Asked years later if the change in how Senators are elected had improved the Senate, Borah had no doubt. He trusted the popular will. "What judgment is so swift, so sure and so remorseless," he said, "as the judgment of the American people?"

There were two principle reasons Borah favored the election reform, one very personal another moral. He knew that his Senate career would likely be a short one if he couldn't appeal directly to the voters and he was genuinely disgusted by the corruption involved when legislators elected Senators.

And its not just limited to planks in the Idaho Republican Party Platform, to go back on the gold standard, or the assertion of states rights not enjoyed since before America fought the Civil War. Nationally Republicans want to go back to Bush's tax cuts to the richest one percent at the cost of three trillion dollars but categorically refuse to add to the deficit in order to get relief to the unemployed. Republicans want to finance their failed economic policies on the backs of America's unemployed instead of their rich friends. They actually call for a return of the robber barons. They want to take economic policy back to the time when there was a teeny middle class and major conflict between the very rich and the dirt poor when the rich controlled government through corruption. They want to take America back to a time when the party of rich white middle aged men knew who they were better than. Having a black man occupying the White House is a might confusing for them.

Hardy's quote also speaks to Republicans utter inability to grapple pragmatically with Idaho's issues. The Idaho Republican platform does nothing to address solutions to the serious problems vexing this state. Nothing in it gets students current textbooks, adequate educational facilities, an enthusiastic teacher to guide them to a bright future. Nothing in it guarantees a quality university from which the students would be proud to graduate. Nothing in it provides for a ready, willing and able workforce which might be attractive to a business seeking to relocate here. Nothing in it provides for the 25% uninsured in the state and the burden they place on the taxpayers through the CAT Fund. Yet it will spend money to fight the fed's efforts to solve this problem. It ignores any solution to Idaho’s failure to administer Medicaid funding in order to prevent a cataclysmic burden on that same fund. Nothing in the Republican platform wrestles with our skyrocketing corrections budget or humanely deals with the mentally ill who overburden that system.

Instead the platform discloses an intellectually bankrupt party obligated to import ideology from libertarians, a fringe organization which has never enjoyed political success for very good reasons. Moreover they employ tea bagger anachronisms appealing to a perverse mythological perspective of our founding and a overly simplistic view of our Constitutional principles, past and present. In short the Idaho Republican Party Platform is a backward looking prospectus in an untenable alliance with a failed ideology which does nothing to provide guidance for practical governance. Indeed it comes across as more schizophrenic than anything.

One thing's for sure. America will have a clear choice in November. Backwards or forwards.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Slogan: "Back to the Future"

It's safer to go for the 1950s if you're searching for nostalgia. The 1960s had some conflicted elements.

'Regressive' is...

... not the new 'Progressive', Rethuglican/Teabagger Regressive is the new Dark Ages. It's disheartening how few sober-thinking Republican there seem to be anymore, and even they're considered persona non grata by the far-right wingnuts driving the bus. The arc of the Rethuglican universe is long, but, unfortunately, it bends sharply towards incompetency.

Make a list

of all the backward looking policies upon which Republicans are running this year. Nationally they wanna reinstate the Bush tax cuts. What else?

wink, wink, sparkle, sparkle

You bet'cha! No disrefutations either, also.