The Ad Every Idaho Democrat Should See

Updated I & II below

No mention of party affiliation except for "Walt Minnick, Right for Idaho."

"I've had to say 'no' far more often than I've said 'yes'." Wassamatta Walt, embarrassed by the party members that got you in office or the 70% voting record you have for voting with the Democratic Party? A great man once observed "In matters of principles, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." I would venture to say that Thomas Jefferson also denoted the difference between a follower and a leader. Are you a leader, Walt? I'm none too interested in following after that ad.

I am perplexed by Walt's assertion that he voted against Wall Street bailouts. That vote occurred in October, 2008, a month before he won election.

Update 9/9: As Brother Bubbles mentioned, and as Annenburg was also fooled by when they fact checked, Minnick didn't "vote" no on bailouts, he "said" no. W00t. Also there was a John Miller article in the Statesman today on the RNC producing their own ad touting the fact that Minnick is running against Obama and Democrats. Go Walt.

Updated 9/10: Her goatness calls BS on Walt's saying "no" to bailouts.

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In all fairness...

... in the ad for Keith Allred in the post below yours, his ad doesn't mention party affiliation, either.

Allred's campaign is probably doing it to try to appeal to as many Idahoans as possible. That may also be the case for Minnick's campaign, but I think it's much more likely that the lack of a "D" in his ad is because, in his heart, Wally's about as much a Democrat as his old boss Dick Nixon.

Is that all

the fairness you could muster? ;-)

I don't mind a candidate avoiding a label of party affiliation in Idaho. I do mind them deliberately running against it like he was ashamed of them.

And what's with the bailout nonsense? That was an unecessary gaffe.

I like...

... the birds screaming their feathered little heads off throughout the Minnick spot. You just know the audio guy was silently swearing up a storm during that recording.

I don't have anything cool to say

But, if I don't at least every once in a while, I start to feel too much like a lurker. Not that that's a bad thing, but I like to make my presence known in some way. Hope everyone's day is going well.

Parsing Comment

In Walt's defense, he didn't say he "voted against" the bailout, he says he "said no" to it. This is consistent with his stated opposition to it when he was campaigning in 2008.

"When all else fails, revel in the absurdity of it all"


There was a snafu on that from a fact checking site which Foster corrected. But I gotta say, and you gotta admit, its misleading. I'll wander about and get that link and the other one from the ap article in the paper today. Hopefully it will garner more interest cause I'm genuinely interested in getting Democrats to weigh in. Given Republican sponsorship of the bailout it actually militates in Walt's favor. Nevertheless the general tenor of the ad is still running against Democrats.

Plain & Simple: Walt is a DINO

I had to vomit when I saw the ad, but I can't honestly say I was surprised. I remain offended -- DEEPLY offended -- that the state party expects me to financially & otherwise support this bozo. Again. And I remain offended -- DEEPLY offended -- that Minnick has the balls to solicit money from me when he's proven he's nothing more than a DINO. Ain't gonna happen this time, nor will I be knocking on doors this go 'round. I was willing to give him the benefit of my doubt the first time, but "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

My dh was subjected to a rare (LOL) rant from me after the ad, and I'm quasi-genuinely conflicted about how to vote. The argument that I MUST cast my vote for a DINO to keep The Orange Man Who Lies from becoming speaker is a good one, but I also find the arguments that Minnick will win precisely because he's a DINO & thus will garner enough votes from Idaho's quasi-intelligent Red voters compelling.

I'll likely abstain from casting my progressive vote for Minnick on the misguided Ideal that he'll get a message from those who refuse to cast a vote for a DINO, and my dh will likely cast his vote for Minnick in a misguided notion that voting for the lesser of two evils is taking the high ground. So, our vote/lack of vote for the office will cancel each other out, which is rare in this household.

Par for the course for Idaho, a Red state with a truly pathetic state dem party, IMHO.


It is refreshing to hear someone other than MG or myself hammer away at the misguided notion that re-electing Walt Minnick is somehow good for Idaho Democrats. Thank you, northidaholady.

I'm now a voting resident of the 1st CD and there is no way in hell I can vote for Minnick. This ad served to remind me of that. I'm not happy to have Labrador as the alternative, but that's neither here nor there when it comes down to whether or not I want a man re-elected who is destructive to the Democratic party in this state.

Devils advocate

Thanks for weighing in lady. Its just the type of comment I was hoping to elicit so we can have a discussion on this. And to spur that along I'm a gonna nit a few of your well stated points which I'm sure are shared by many Idahoans.

First, I wouldn't ago blaming the party. Minnick's office has an uneasy relationship with the nice and well meaning folks in party central. Rumor is that Roark actually got up in front of some north Idaho Democrats and spoke for twenty minutes without ever mentioning Minnick's name. I think that's just dead wrong. Like it or not, Minnick is gonna be the de facto party leader simply because of his electoral success. Until a progressive can do better that's just a tried and true fact of life. Unfortunately you'll see far more trying to emulate him rather than do better.

And I wouldn't ago flinging DINO labels at someone who voted with Democrats 70% of the time. Minnick is a reliable vote on civil liberties and keeping government out of our private lives, something you'll never get from Labrador. Indeed, while Walt lines up fiscally conservative, an ideology wholly out of whack with the times and most economists, he never made any bones about what he was. This ad on the other hand....

My main problem is with him actively campaigning against Democrats. Walt has successfully demonstrated our big tent. He's convinced some knee jerk Republicans to take a gander over at the Democrats for an alternative. And in this state that's huge. With Republicans moving to the right in Idaho, moderates desperately need the choice Walt is providing. Democrats need to come to grips with the fact that white flight immigration into the state is bringing some nasty right wing politics along with their bigotry. Its a crimson tide. As Stapilus has observed, we used to bandy back and forth between D and R, but that changed twenty years ago.

Having said that, I think its also a fact, and perfectly legitimate, for progressives to evaluate their time, money and votes based upon Minnick's campaign against Democrats. He wants us to just go along with this deception as if it doesn't hurt us. And as hard boiled as I am, that's even a little too cynical for me. Like I said, he's earning leadership of the party by his success. I'd certainly vote for him, but I understand where others might think he's earned a no vote on the whole party leadership thing by a campaigning against Democrats.

I expect Minnick's office even kind of welcomes this criticism. He'll flag it as evidence if his independence and centrism. And that really chaps me since its the last nail in the coffin in saying there are no good ideas over here. I'm a strong believer in progressive ideas as popular politics. In that regard he's fighting us, not leading us, earning the scorn.

In the end, if he loses, this'll be the reason. He has given us little reason to work for him, to send him money, or even to get out of our chairs to vote for him. But he's not going to lose. His team did an amazing job getting the candidate they wanted to run against, in the same way Harry Reid did. And the money he'd otherwise get from us is now coming from those big business donors he's stolen from Republicans, yet another double edged sword since that's the constituency progressives are often running against.

The obvious campaign move to motivate us is to go negative on Labrador so we'll have something to vote against. We'll see that in October I expect. I wonder what Allred's doing.


It would sure be nice to see someone showing leadership at this point.

Where is Jim Hansen?

If Roark isn't big on Minnick, as maybe that north Idaho event suggested, why not say that privately to the Democrats in this state who feel shunned and won't help anyone in the party because of it.

Where are the days of joint press releases and IDP media advisories about the legislature? The only press release I've seen come out recently--at least to my inbox--was ridiculing the Idaho GOP for that ridiculous convention they held this summer. Can we not get together and run against the Idaho GOP's policies that are ruining this state?

Apparently we can't if our de facto leader believes in those policies. Minnick may be voting 70% of the time with his Party, but if you take a close look at his voting record, that percentage is skewed by the number of procedural votes and approval of the Congressional Record. He may appear to be 70% on our side, but he's certainly never on our side when it comes to issues that really matter (i.e. Stimulus, health insurance reform, Wall Street reform, anything that actually costs money).


"why not say that privately to the Democrats in this state"--how do you know he's not?

"who feel shunned and won't help anyone in the party because of it."--do you wanna talk? People are rejecting the party? I don't think so.

Yeah they should leave the ridicule to us. Well Serephin anyway.

I don't want to have to defend his voting record but his votes didn't really matter on those issues. Almost on HCR though. But you're right about not leading. Vote Smart has his votes and where he stands. I strongly disagree that he doesn't vote with us where it counts.

As a practical matter, your complaints are usually addressed in the primary. I noticed no one ran against him. Probably because in that district, anything left of Minnick will get their hat handed to them. Still, as a pragmatic matter, he should highlight one issue important to his base. But I've said that before.

Please note the new poll out today. Looks like he can afford to blow us off.

Whaaaa? Back atcha...

Mr. Sisyphus, you, my friend, are hard on my blood pressure! ;)

You strongly disagree that he doesn't vote with us where it counts? Are you kidding? Name a *major* piece of legislation since he took office that the Democratic Party has championed and he has been on board with. I can't.

As for my complaints being addressed in the primary, I sure tried to get a real Democrat to run against him. Can you blame the reluctance of those who wanted to run against him when they know he can bankroll his own campaign and has the IDP eating out of his hand?

Oh Now

SCHIP funding and Lily Ledbetter were the first two major things that jumped to mind.
The recent aid to states for Medicaid and Education. He's also on board for Democratic discrimination legislation, Obama's foreign policy, and protecting women's health privacy. He also made sure Idaho got Craig Wyden payments for rural schools.

Great Conversation & Points, but . . .

I was just thinking how nice it is to learn, converse, & debate without the vitriole that's rampant these days! Lots of good points & food for thought, but . . .

I *do* blame the state party in large part. It seems to me the party is responsible for recruiting *quality* candidates for the state & national legislatures, and I genuinely think that the "After all, this *is* Idaho" and "Minnick is the best we can do" mentality doesn't serve Idaho Dems well at all. I'll also add that I've heard from more than one candidate that the state party as well as some local chapters leave those elected twisting in the wind when there are wins. Never having been an candidate , I can't speak from personal experience, but I'm also not willing to say that those who've made the comments are trying to blow smoke up my rear. I think that it's not a fear of losing that hurts us in Idaho but rather an ineffective state party that's part of the problem. Feel free to convince me otherwise :-)

And, I have to say that I really don't appreciate the state party peeing on my head & trying to convince me it's raining. I didn't have great expectations for Minnick, and I accept that anyone can call themselves a Dem, but for the state party to overtly *continue* support someone who was elected because Repubs were sick of Crazy Sali is allowing a co-opting of the party in the state, IMO. Which further damages the party morale in state & local matters.

I agree with thepoliticalgame that the 70% figure, while technically accurate, is misleading. I understand your point that Minnick's bad votes on most of my "litmus test" issues perhaps really didn't matter to the outcome, but principle *does* matter a great deal to me and to people like me. Yeah, I know we're talking politics, but it's a point I'm going to stick to. Besides, look at the voting records of other Dems, and of Republicans, and it's pretty inarguable, it seems to me, that 70% (counting the fluff) really isn't something Minnick or any Dem should be proud of. And, the fact that Minnick voted against so many of the things I consider pivotal differences between Dems & Republs rightly earns him the DINO label in my book.

For instance, it's flatly unconscionable IMO for Minnick to say he "knows" we need health care reform yet work against it . And, his ideas about what would be "better" are, to put it bluntly, incredibly anemic and wouldn't have accomplished anything meaningful. I'm not willing to give my vote to someone who is content to do nothing while 45,000 Americans a *year* continue to die because they don't have health insurance . . . to continue to fiddle while Rome burns and Americans DIE, so to speak.

It nauseates me that Minnick was all for creating the DEA, a worthless bureaucracy if ever there was one, yet is against creating "bureaucracies" to protect we-the-people.

I completely agree with you about the ad, and about Minnick campaigning against Democrats. I'm genuinely conflicted about what to do with my vote (not cast a vote or vote for DINO Minnick), but that ad has pretty well convinced me that heck will freeze over before I cast a vote for Minnick. Of course, if Minnick has his way, that will be sooner rather than later ;-)

Another point of contention from me is Minnick's "claim" to be fiscally conservative. I understand that he's "fiscally conservative" with respect to some commonly accepted definition, but can we *please* quit applying the lable "fiscal conservative" to those who routinely vote against things to help we-the-people but vote to continue to support an incredibly bloated war-mongering DoD?

And, let's be blunt: don't you think the *only* reason Minnick won in the first place is because enough "reasonable" Repubs were sick of Crazy Sali, and Labador apparently currently isn't perceived by those same people to be much better? Do you not think if, for instance, an anti-immigration reform candidate had won the Repub primary that Minnick would surely lose that $ and the upcoming election?

I think Minnick opting to run as a Democrat was simply a shrewd convenience for him and a significant detriment to true Democrats & progressives. There's a part of me that thinks letting the whack jobs continue to get the freaks they want to govern is the *only* hope we have because when enough of their personal oxes are gored, maybe then they'll wake up. Maybe.

I know, I know . . . it's not too likely . . .


Thanks for writing. Keep in mind, I'm not out to win this debate, just to have it.

The party machine is an Edsel and its a self defeating apparatus. It's in desperate need of both a sugar daddy and some smart operators. But as it is now, no one wants to contribute to it and you get what you pay for. I agree it is not much of a backstop for office holders nor can it be effective recruiter with those other problems. Somehow its gotta be up to us to fix it. Pointing to successful candidates may be one way. Blaming it for all our ills is definitely not.

There's two thing the party gets from working with Minnick, a successful candidate and a demonstrably bigger tent. Clearly there is a large schism in the Republican party, with their moderate/socially liberal wing being jack booted to the curb. We'd be remiss in failing to offer them a place in our party, particularly with the changing demographics in the state.

Minnick's voting record is the most conservative of the blue dogs. And its the most difficult thing to defend. But this is his formula for re-election in this district and damned if it isn't working.

I completely agree Republicans have no right to the term fiscally conservative. Minnick on the other hand seems to be using it ideologically at a point in our history when its folly to do so. It does get bandied about as an excuse of convenience, kinda like Otter's libertarianism. But I don't buy into the conspiratorial notions of his candidacy. Minnick was recruited by some top Dems, including Cecil Andrus, largely from Larry Grant's ability to get tantalizingly close yet failing to win.

I'm on record for warning Minnick about alienating his base, not that they needed it. Ward would definitely have given Minnick a run for the money and its a credit to Minnick's campaign that they got the weaker candidate. Now Minnick's office is not as dependent on us as they might be. But I still think they are risking more than they need to. And I'm not fond of the patronizing tone of the office when we bring that to their attention.


He voted for the bill to set the framework for repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"When all else fails, revel in the absurdity of it all"

Minnick's votes

And repeatedly against unemployment benefits, against the energy bill, against federal employees paternal leave, voted to condemn his own party and in doing so charged them with "willful abuse", voted to weaken the financial reform bill, voted against the GREED Act, against pay for performance, voted against the small business jobs bill, said he would have had no problem being the vote that killed health care reform, and consistently votes in favor of big business and special interests (especially the ones he has stock in). Excuse me for not appreciating the DADT positioning that hasn't actually amounted to ending the damn policy.

Yeah he's a dirty rotten bastard

but he's OUR dirty rotten bastard. ;-)


I'd feel better if that were actually true because then it might be possible to have some hope. As it is, I think the only reason he ran last time as a Dem was because he's shrewd & knew that he had a good shot of winning due to Crazy Sali and *not* because of any deeply held convictions to Democratic principles. I think he thinks that if he's reelected, it will be because of those people who were sick of Crazy Sali & are worried that Labrador is too close to craziness (and perhaps have some bigotry) who have very temporarily jumped ship in that race *only* rather than because of any support by a Democratic base.

And, I think that's why he feels no need to listen -- really listen -- to his Democratic constituents.

Is Minnick Different from Allred?

We're squabbling over Walt and yet, Keith Allred is out there and people are saying the same things about him.

It's a might powerful argument that Sis makes for what the Democrats get with Minnick (and possibly with Allred):

"a successful candidate and a demonstrably bigger tent".

Democrats continue to fight with each other and the Republicans, who are usually in solidarity with each other, have their own factions this year between the Teahadists and the moderates.

But make no mistake, come November, those moderate Republicans will likely still vote with that magical (R) instead of with the DINO. And then we lose it all.

...searching for the truth...

The million dollar question

As Serephin noted earlier, Allred is eschewing the party label as well. But I do NOT see him running against Democrats. Indeed the issues in that race are decidedly less partisan. Well, that's not exactly true. Otter wants to make it partisan by attempting to deflect attention away from his sorry record of governance by attacking Democrats in Washington. Allred keeps trying to bring it back to how we fix Idaho offering alternatives that seem to escape Republicans in the statehouse.

Both strategies tell you that these candidates are well aware that Idaho is firmly red these days. They are grappling with actual numbers from previous campaigns and where to make up the differences. And its mighty tough for Democrats here. Just look at the recruitment. And while both Allred and Minnick have decidedly different methods for achieving electoral success, Democrats failing to assist in their endeavor by providing at least their vote to these guys are failing to properly evaluate the alternative. They don't get to gripe about them later.

As Usual, Sisyphus

You've nailed it. It's a tough damned life for a Democrat in Idaho, especially one who is in office or running for office.

Those of us on the sidelines with 20/20 vision about what they should have done (to satisfy their base) don't have the numbers that the Teahadists have in other states to advance our own leftist candidates to challenge.

Instead, the challenge comes from the usual devil incarnate that we already why would we willingly do that to ourselves, just because we wish our candidate bled blue more often ?

...searching for the truth...